Spray It Don’t Say It
With a founder who shuns the public eye and a practically nonexistent marketing structure, Montale Paris is as mysterious as its east-meets-west scents. Brimming with oriental influence, the Parisian shop transports even the most jaded of noses.
It may be one of the best-kept secrets in Paris. There are no glossy ads promising romance and no savvy press releases announcing the latest scent. There are no press agents to be found or viral ad campaigns for that matter either. There is just a website and a few simple social media accounts touting Montale Paris’ latest creations, and these are about all you’ll find on this 13-year-old company. The mastermind behind the brand, Pierre Montale, is just as much of an enigma. There is no background about him, no previous work experience, no glowing testimonials, not even a single picture, let alone an interview. “That’s why people love us so much, when you buy a perfume from Montale you know that you’ll be the only one wearing it,” explains the sales assistant at the brand’s Parisian flagship store, located on Rue Pierre Charron, between Avenue George V and the Champs Elysées. Still, there are various reports that the real Pierre Montale has been spotted by customers in his Paris shop, helping clients discover his mouth-watering scents. That we find this old-fashioned way of doing business unusual is telling about the day and age we live in. And the fact that Montale Paris is thriving, with a glossy shop in a swanky neighbourhood, in addition to a solid distribution network, is indicative of the quality of their products. Perhaps this mystery, this sense of secrecy, even adds to the appeal. The unknown man behind Montale, and for that matter, another stealthy brand – Mancera, is in fact Pierre Montale. After some thorough investigative work, we uncovered a telling trail. Pierre Montale’s real name is in fact Pierre-louis Reppelin, and Reppelin’s half-sister is none other than Marie Josée Fournier, the founder of Comptoir Sud Pacifique, an equally inspired perfumery brand, launched in 1975 but sold in 2002, around the same time that Pierre headed to the Middle East. After a year spent researching, sniffing and soaking up the culture in Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly created perfumes for the royal family, Montale returned to Paris, his suitcases brimming with bottles and potions he intended to share with the world. Recreating the oriental scents with a European mind-set resulted in the aromatic birth of Montale Paris in 2003, for which he opened a flagship store on Paris’s prestigious Place Vendôme. What Pierre Montale did before anyone else was to introduce the natural element oud to the established world of French fragrance. Commonly referred to as ‘liquid gold’ or ‘wood of the