You may have come across comments online that suggest that Montblanc Explorer is a less expensive substitute for Creed Aventus, but I disagree.
Creed Aventus is an expensive fragrance, but it’s also made using handpicked ingredients and premier extraction methods. Montblanc values craftsmanship but fragrances are one of many different products that they make. Therefore, Explorer isn’t made with the same breadth of knowledge and technique as Aventus.
Still wondering which one is better? Let’s take a closer look.
Creed Aventus vs Montblanc Explorer: Product Comparison
Honestly, it’s a challenge to compare these two fragrances. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The House of Creed
Established in 1760, The House of Creed is a seventh-generation fragrance house – one of the world’s oldest. In existence for over 250 years, there’s no wonder why they’re able to create highly refined and timeless fragrances.
Fragrance is the heartbeat of The House of Creed. Part of their process involves a “4000-year old infusion technique to capture the highest quality concentration of natural oils” from the finest ingredients.
“From father to son since 1760” is the legacy of this company and shows through in the care and attention that they give to each fragranced product.
Creed Aventus Fragrance for Men
- A chypre fruity fragrance for men
- Fresh, warm, delectable & masculine
- Top notes of bergamot, blackcurrant, apple & pineapple
- Heart notes of juniper berries, birch, patchouli & jasmine
- Base notes of musk, oak moss, ambergris & vanilla
In keeping with the sentiment of this scent, the glass fragrance bottle has a narrow neck and broad shoulders – ready to rule. From the high waist of the bottle to the bottom rim, you’ll find a textured black label that acts as a backdrop for the Aventus man steering a galloping horse.
The Creed logo is embossed in black, and a shiny black cap covers the spray nozzle. Their most popular bottle size is the one I’m sharing in this article, 100 mL (3.3 fl oz). But 250 mL (8.5 fl oz) and 50 mL (1.7 fl oz) bottles are also still produced.
Initially released in 2010, Creed’s fragrance profile for Aventus is quite surprising.
Typically, fruity fragrances are reserved for teenagers or young adults. You might expect one of Ariana Grande’s earlier fragrances to be fruity, not an adult men’s fragrance.
But I’ve learned that how the essence of a fragrance is derived from its quality ingredients also influences how it smells.
House of Creed uses natural infusions, absolutes, and “artisanal filtration” to masterfully capture the essence of flowers, fruit, spices, and woods.
Here are the Creed Aventus fragrance layers:
- Top notes
- Blackcurrant leaves
- Middle notes
- Pink berries
- Base notes
- Oak moss
Even after reading the Aventus fragrance profile, it is difficult to describe how this fragrance smells. It’s unique and something to simply be savored. Creed describes this scent as “legendary and unpredictable.”
Top layers – the first impression of a fragrance – typically last no longer than fifteen minutes. But Aventus’ top layers last long after that. You can distinctly smell pineapple notes above all the other fruit notes even after the middle layer takes rise. Aventus dries down to an earthy sweet musk and some wearers swear that they continue to smell pineapple until the very end.
Its trail is present without being forceful. And you’ll continue to smell this fragrance until long after you begin to peel off your clothes at the end of the day.
Their recipe hasn’t changed over the years, but how it’s worn by individuals will vary, therefore the final scent profile truly is unpredictable.
The scent is more like an indescribable experience, “celebrating strength, power, and success.”
With its balanced profile, longevity, and superb sillage, Aventus can be worn every day and during every season.
- Emphasis on tradition and legacy
- A fragrance for all seasons
- Made using the finest ingredients
- Memorable, long-lasting fragrance
- Extremely expensive
- Scent profile doesn’t appeal to everyone
Firstly, known for their luxurious writing instruments and timepieces, craftsmanship is so important to this company that products are made in the region of expertise.
- For instance, each timepiece is made in Switzerland – known for quality and premier craftsmanship.
- Leather goods are crafted in Florence, Italy – where the best leather is made.
- And their pens are made in Hamburg, Germany – known for their meticulously engineered nibs.
There doesn’t seem to be as much specificity involved with making Montblanc fragrances. The company is committed to sourcing materials as ethically as possible. And they aim to use recycled glass bottles to contain their fragrances.
Based on the company’s approach to crafting goods, it’s unlikely that they’d completely neglect to invest in the production of fragrances. At the same time, it’s clear that Montblanc doesn’t have the same level of commitment to fragrance development as The House of Creed.
Montblanc Explorer Eau de Parfum
- Item Package Length: 8.2cm
- Item Package Width: 8.2cm
- Item Package Height: 13.2cm
- Item Package Weight: 0.36kg
- (Playback Language)
Explorer is a fragrance for the adventurer in you. It’s woody and less subtle than Aventus.
Reminiscent of scents you might smell while backpacking across the country, the tagline for this fragrance is, “Once you have climbed a new summit, you start thinking of the next challenge.”
It’s a fragrance for those who are always on the go – aspiring towards the next goal.
Released in 2019, this 100 mL (3.3 fl oz) bottle has a slender cylindrical shape that suggests a strong presence. This thick-walled glass container is wrapped in a faux-leather sleeve that is assembled by hand in Germany. The bottle is topped off with a shiny gunmetal gray cap that covers the atomizer.
As we transition into highlighting scent note, this is the point where it’s truly perplexing how Montblanc Explorer is often suggested as a substitute for Creed Aventus. Aside from ingredients and processes used to make each fragrance, their fragrance profiles don’t have much overlap.
Montblanc Explorer scent accords include:
- Top notes
- Pink peppercorns
- Clary sage
- Middle notes
- Haitian vetiver
- Base notes
- Indonesian patchouli
- Cacao pod
As you can see, these fragrance notes are significantly different from Aventus. And it’s not that any of these notes are alternate versions of the ones used to make Aventus, they’re simply different.
Your initial encounter with Montblanc Explorer would be slightly citrus but pungent and spicy due to the bergamot and then the soft underpinnings of herbaceous sweet sage. Then the scent becomes smoky and leathery – notes excluded from Aventus.
Explorer dries down into spicy, sweet, earthy, and woody notes – more scent characteristics that aren’t present in Aventus.
Although this scent has more dominant notes than Aventus, it’s still refined. Montblanc describes it as “refined masculinity, presence and charisma.”
Similar to Aventus, you can wear Montblanc Explorer year-round, although it may not project as much during colder winter days. The fragrance will last you through early evening but not for a full day as with Aventus.
But if you’re looking for a less costly alternative to Aventus, this isn’t it.
- Less expensive than Aventus
- Decent longevity and sillage
- More dominant fragrance notes
- Great value for the price
- Still pricey for some budgets
- Won’t truly replace Aventus
Creed Aventus vs Montblanc Explorer: Face to Face
While both companies are forward-looking and have created scent profiles to represent progress, each vision is slightly different.
Symbolically speaking of the ideology behind the scent notes, Creed seems to be nations-focused while Explorer seems to be region-focused.
Creed Aventus vs Montblanc Explorer Face to Face Comparison
|Established in 1760
|Founded in 1906
Acquired by corporation (1977)
|Based in Paris, France
|Based in Hamburg, Germany
|“Legendary and unpredictable”
|“Adventure has no limits”
|Hands-on ingredient selection
Extensive scent infusion process
|Natural and synthetic ingredients
Outsourced scent development
|100 mL (3.3 fl oz)
|100 mL (3.3 fl oz)
|Fragrance top notes
|Fragrance middle notes
|Fragrance base notes
Creed Aventus: Scent Inspiration
What I meant by that is that Creed Aventus was inspired by the life and rule of Emperor Napoleon. Being that Creed is a French company, it’s no surprise that they’d want to capture and produce a scent reflective of the life and influence of one of the most memorable French military commanders.
Napoleon actually crowned himself the first emperor of France, which supports my suggestion that Aventus isn’t simply about traversing the earth and being exposed to new environments. The mentality of one who wears Aventus is more about declaring authority over a territory.
In this day and age, one would hope that this would be carried out symbolically and respectfully and without all the bloodshed of the Napoleonic Wars, but you catch my drift. There are fewer question marks and more declarative statements for those who wear Creed Aventus.
Creed Aventus: The Legacy of Scent
This fragrance was a joint effort between father and son. Master perfumer Oliver Creed and his son Erwin Creed created the fragrance profile, and it’s been the best-selling Creed fragrance in the history of the company.
The name of the scent was chosen to represent a man that’s driven. In Middle English, the prefix a- can mean “off, from” and in French, “vent” means “wind.” So, Aventus translates into “from the wind” which is why there’s a man on a horse with the wind at his back.
According to the House of Creed, this man is being pushed towards success. They describe Aventus as “a sophisticated blend for individuals who savor a life well-lived.”
Considering the fact that this company was founded nine years before Napoleon Bonaparte was even born and is still thriving, it seems that they have earned the right to create a fragrance that’s described using such bold statements.
Montblanc Explorer: Scent Inspiration
Unsurprisingly, Montblanc Explorer is built around the theme of adventure. According to the company, this fragrance “tells the story of adventures, quests for excellence, challenging conventions and exploring the four corners of the globe.”
More exploration and inquisitiveness, less conquering and declarations. I think each has its place and there’s a clear distinction between how life would be approached by individuals wearing these scents.
Notes of this fragrance were composed by three top perfumers from the Swiss manufacturer, Givaudan:
- Antoine Maisondieu
- Jordi Fernández
- Oliver Pescheux
Considering how all of Montblanc’s lifestyle products – watches, leather goods, fountain pens and such are at the forefront of the company, it follows that they would outsource the development of their fragrances.
Givaudan develops fragrance stories for brands across the globe. They consider it an artform stating, “We live to perfume life and bring beauty to the world.”
As a company, they’ve been developing fragrances for about as long as the House of Creed. According to their website, they “blend creative expertise with the latest technology,” and their fragrance laboratories are located in Paris, France. Their fragrances fuse the natural and synthetic.
Thus, while Montblanc isn’t the creative force behind their own scent profiles, they relied on the expertise of a well-experienced and highly resourced company to develop their initial concept into a memorable fragrance.
Even though Montblanc Explorer is less expensive than Creed Aventus, it’s still well-crafted and was created with thought and emotion to help support you in your daily lifestyle.
Montblanc Explorer: The Legacy of Scent
Montblanc is based in Hamburg, Germany. Similar to Creed, Montblanc has built quite the legacy over the years.
You might first associate them with fountain pens – that’s what I remember them as when I was a child – the fancy pen company. Now they also sell leather backpacks and accessories, headphones, watches, wallets, stationery, and more.
There’s no doubt that they take their brand seriously and deliver exceptional quality to their customers.
Scent ingredients were carefully chosen by the three perfumers. And they not only offered their expertise, but infused parts of their own emotion into the fragrance. The result was an “authentic fragrance, full of adventure and freedom,” just as they intended.
At the same time, I believe that relying on in-house perfumers makes scents even more personal and impactful. For this reason, I am slightly more convinced of the care and attention given to Creed developing Aventus over Montblanc sourcing out to develop Explorer.
Which is Better? Creed Aventus or Montblanc Explorer?
You may find this annoying, but I think that you can understand why I believe that both of these fragrances are winners in their own right.
Unlike designer fragrances that have you buy into a visual story played out by famous actors and performers, Aventus and Explorer represent ideologies set forth by the company. Each fragrance note was chosen to align with their concept of freedom and success, but in different translations.
In essence, you’re adopting these concepts when you dress yourself in these fragrances.
The winner depends not only on your scent preference but also on how closely you align with each ideology.
Creed Aventus: Results of a Superior Process
The House of Creed specializes in perfumery. In addition to personal fragrances, they create fragranced products for the home and body:
- Bath and shower gels
- Fragrance oils
- Body lotion
- Scented candles
- Aftershave balm
Associated products include toiletry bags, leather fragrance sleeves, and atomizers.
Offering specialized products helps a company focus on specific customer needs while developing expertise in one area. The House of Creed began as a tailor-based service that evolved into a niche perfume house.
Originally based in London, the company relocated to Paris at the behest of Napoleon III and his Empress. Creed was the official supplier of the royal household and have continued to infuse that level of service into the inner workings of their company.
Over time, they’ve created over 200 perfumes.
The Making of a Fragrance
House of Creed creates “highly original artisan fragrances for men and women,” using the “finest ingredients the world has to offer.”
Something that distinguishes Creed’s approach to perfumery is that they primarily use natural ingredients. More specifically, they age their formulas just as wine is aged.
Signature Creed ingredients are internationally sourced from countries best able to develop such crops. For instance, irises are hand-picked in Florence. Jasmine from Egypt. Roses grown in Morocco, Bulgaria, or Turkey.
Both Oliver and Erwin travel to inspect the crops, conduct research, and source new ingredients.
Creed’s Infusion Technique
All of their perfume bottles are still filtered, filled, and labeled by hand but before this even happens, their infusion technique is allowed to unfold.
They still use a laborious and time-consuming process to develop each scent into its optimal potential.
In addition to high premium ingredients, the quality of their fragrances can be attributed to one word that’s typically used in the world of wine, millésime. In French, it means vintage.
As the “fragrance wine” ages, the fragrance evolves, developing nuances with each batch. Although they use the same formula, the aging process can produce a pleasant surprise once the perfumes have been filtered.
This is why Aventus is described as “legendary and unpredictable.” The personal wearer element still applies. How a fragrance smells on you will differ from the way it smells on the person standing next to you. But in addition to that, fragrances that undergo the millésime process will have subtle differences.
If you were to research the House of Creed further, you would learn more about the level of detail and commitment dedicated to the entire process from understanding growth conditions and nurturing crops, to fragrance attributes and artful development over time.
All of these small steps add up to a significant difference in the final product that is bottled and made available in stores. I’d venture to say that their care and expertise also validate their asking price for each bottle of fragrance.
And this is at least part of the reason why Creed stands out as a brand.
Montblanc Explorer is a nice fragrance in its own right but when it comes down to it, there’s really no comparison. Creed Aventus exists in a category of its own. And each scent has something unique to offer.
Choose Creed Aventus if:
- Legacy and process is as important to you as the fragrance itself
- You want a refined fruity fragrance supported by floral and musky notes
- You have the budget for a higher caliber fragrance
Choose Montblanc Explorer if:
- You’re looking for a woodsy, leathery masculine fragrance
- You want to support a brand with a history of craftsmanship
- You are price sensitive
Explorer is an adventurous traveler, but Aventus has arrived and conquered. Fragrance-wise, Explorer is a woody aromatic while Aventus is a fruity chypre. Regardless of what you may have read online, the scent experience will be different depending on which fragrance you choose.