Since I’ve built a career in the world of scents, I am always interested to hear what has inspired some of the world’s most renown olfactory experts. Jean-Claude Ellena, the official perfumer of Hermès, shares his thoughts on perfume in his new memoir and I think this will be the perfect summer read for me.
A scent is such a personal thing, capable of transporting you to your past, of kindling fantasies… out of thin air. It is quite a task (one that I love) to create each candle, capturing the essence of the candle’s namesake (Peony, Vetiver, Wild Fern…). And so, in the name of research, I am looking forward to sticking my nose into this memoir by Jean-Claude Ellena, the official perfumer of Hermès: “The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur“. Available now from Rizzoli.
Per the Rizzoli website:
An intimate exploration of inspiration and creativity, from the “parfumeur exclusif” of the house of Hermès. Where does inspiration for this visceral art come from? How does one capture the essence of emotions, of desire? Jean-Claude Ellena has a sublime gift. As “parfumeur exclusif” (or “the nose”) for Hermès, he elevates fragrance to an art form. A “writer of perfume,” his concoctions are as finely composed and evocative as a haiku. He is also a conjurer of sorts: “I create an illusion that is actually stronger than reality . . . you enter the scent and follow the path.” The Diary of a Nose is a collection of Ellena’s meditations on the world of scents, and what stirs his creation of some of the world’s most desired fragrances. Inspiration can come from anywhere—a market stall, a landscape, or even the movement of calligraphy. Though each smell has its own distinct character, a gifted perfumer creates olfactory experiences that are intensely personal and unique, that blossom on the body and leave a trace of us lingering after we have left a room. Seductive, delicate, and elegant as any of Ellena’s creations, The Diary of a Nose seeks to capture the most elusive facets of this rarefied and mysterious art.
About the Author
Jean-Claude Ellena has been the exclusive perfumer to the house of house of Hermès since 2004. Over the course of his career he has created some of the world’s bestselling fragrances, including “First” from Van Cleef & Arpels, “Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert” from Bulgari, and “Déclaration” from Cartier.