Friday, January 29, 2016

Claude Montana Parfum de Peau

Certainly in my top ten of all time, if not top five, Montana is a landmark in avant-garde 1980s perfumery that still exists in excellent, faithful form after IFRA regulations. This is one of the weird animalic 80s rose chypres that modern American noses would turn from in confusion and horror. There are others like it--Paloma, Animale--but there is something so distinctive in Montana's blinding neon green glow that reminds me of nothing else. Montana and Mugler were the kings of ruthless, fascist-inspired, unwearable 80s leather couture, yet Mugler did not put out a scent until 1992. In Montana one sees what a Mugler scent produced during his heyday might have been like. In fact, Alien's streamlined neon jasmine accord reminds me somewhat of Montana.

As for what it actually smells like, it is a giant electric rose surrounded by pepper, sour greens, sour fruit, and a salty,garbagey, urinous castoreum leather accord. From what I understand, Montana's popularity in the Middle East contributed to the development of the now-popular damasceone rose-oud accord; in a way, this predicted the Montales of the present day 20 years ahead of time. It smells exotic and Arabian, neither male nor female. Others will probably not encourage you to wear it, but that's beside the point. This is not a perfume that wants to be pretty. 
A bottle of it can be seen on Catherine Tramell's boudoir in Basic Instinct. That says it all, as far as what type of woman would wear this. 
Ignore reformulation talk of this one. I have had many bottles from all eras and think it is remarkably consistent. A fragrance this dirty needs its fresh green top notes and some of my older ones did not smell quite right. The bottle remains gorgeous and unchanged. A perfume this good warrants paying full retail price if necessary. For lovers of Yatagan, Magie Noire, Amouage, and the 80s in general.


  1. I am sold. Sounds incredible. But Mugler, Alaïa and Gaultier were never better than they were in the early 90s. It was their...apotheosis. Exactly concurrent with the Supermodel scene.

  2. Matt, I'm reading through your comments and am glad you're enjoying my slipshod, infrequently updated blog. Montana is such good stuff, perfectly representative of the Mugler-Gaultier-Alaia moment. Interestingly, whoever currently owns the Montana license advertises the Basic Instinct connection on their official website, with text plagiarized from perfume blogs.

  3. I've got a bottle of this and I don't wear it very often. I like the pissy drydown but sometimes it's sourness actually makes me salivate. As for Yatagan, I wish I could appreciate it. To me it smells of celery, vegetable stock cube and scorched herbs..