There seems to be quite a bit of mystery surrounding the Montale brand and whether Pierre Montale even exists. The line was started in 2003. This very prolific line has a reputation for producing very high quality fragrances with many of them based on oud. There has never been a interview with Pierre Montale; nor does any photo of him appear on the Internet. The company itself does not do very much marketing or advertising. Ammar Atmeh is listed as the founder and owner of the Montale trademark. He is a Palestinian living in Dubai.
It appears that Pierre himself is a myth and the story behind the founding of Montale is just clever marketing. Their official statement on the company is: “Montale is one of the most extraordinary perfume brands of the world. Pierre Montale, the perfumer, has created perfumes for the Saudi Royal Family, including kings, queens, princes and princesses, for many years. The Montale perfumes are special for Agarwood or oud, which is little known in the Occident. After his return to France from his journey in the Orient, Monsieur Montale opened his perfume house in Paris to present his dazzling creations. His enchanting compositions have made Montale one of the most acknowledged luxury perfume brands.”
There is also speculation that Montale is changing their name to Tanelli. However, there is information that Montale will continue to be called Montale in the United States but Tanelli elsewhere.
Whether he exists or not (and popular opinion is not) it does nothing to diminish the fact that the fragrances are well thought of. There are the detractors, of course, who believe that there are too many releases and that there is some confusing naming going on. Fragrances are named differently in the US than abroad or a fragrance is released under one name and then changed to another. An interesting note is that on the Montale website, it states “Pierre Montale takes a back seat and lets his fragrances speak for themselves. He communicates through his intense and highly concentrated perfumes that can be savoured and admired at his legendary store at Paris Place Vendome.” Note that this store is currently closed and they will be opening a new store at the end of September.
So whether the entire line is just the creation of someone in marketing or a VERY prolific perfumer, it does little to lessen the opinion of the product itself. The fragrances are very beautifully created – yes formulaic – but there are some devastatingly gorgeous scents such as Black Aoud and Oud Cuir d'Arabie. Black Aoud is regarded as one of the best oud scents available; it features notes of oud, rose and patchouli. Oud Cuir d'Arabie is a blend of tobacco, leathery, birch and oud. Right there, what could be better? But the blending of these notes creates this raw, animalic fragrance that is perfect for both men and women. Not for the faint at heart but it is my personal favorite from the entire line.