Category: Jean-Claude Ellena

Lilies and Valleys

Time hasn’t been kind to lily-of-the-valley perfumes. Stylistically they’ve fallen out of vogue. They are considered quaint and proper, two descriptors nobody with a ‘social presence’ would ever want applied to her. Add to that the conditioned olfactory association with toilet cleanser and it’s no wonder muguet perfumes aren’t trending. Another culprit is the often-overstated limitation on perfume materials, one…

Hermès Collection Hermessence

Jean-Claude Ellena came to Hermès with one of the most impressive CVs in perfumery. With Givaudan training and a thorough grasp of traditional perfumery, he rose to the top of mainstream perfumery at the same time that he became a driving force in the early independent perfume movement. Had he retired before working at Hermès he would still have had…

Hermès Eau de Néroli Doré, 2016

Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. For an established luxury goods producer, the trick to remaining relevant is to promise both the past and the future. The authenticity of heritage and a bright future of previously unimaginable luxury. This two-step is nothing new for Hermès. Their products are exceptional specimens of craft, but their true artistry lies in manipulating perception. The brand’s Eau…

Fruity-floral flankers: Hermès Rose Amazone (2014)

Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. Rose Amazone shows how well Jean-Claude Ellena’s trademarked transparency/minimalism fits into mainstream taste. Not a dig, just an observation. It makes sense, too. Many ongoing trends in perfumery stem his more mainstream perfumes: Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, Cartier Déclaration, Hermès Terre d’Hermès and Kelly Calèche.  He’s one of the most influential  perfumers of his time…

Hermès Bel Ami Vetiver, 2013

Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. I’m split on the recent spate of note-flankers from Hermès. Rose Amazone, Bel Ami Vetiver and Equipage Geranium. Pessimistic: Hermès are stocking the cupboards with a few flankers until Christine Nagel can come up to speed. Optimistic: Contemporary versions of the classics build the past into the future, mirroring the hand-off from Ellena to Nagel. In flanking the…

Hermès Eaux de Cologne

(Image lifted from Loretta Lux.) Jean-Claude Ellena’s work for Hermès is sorted into lines.  They are as much clusters of flankers as sub-brands. They provide as many doors into the world of Hermès as possible and serve to inculcate the buyer to the taste and values of Hermès’s style of luxury.  Sophisticated?  Cynical?  Both, really. I avoid writing about perfume…

Hermès Cuir d’Ange, 2014

Photo from Philip-Lorca diCorcia. 2014 marks Jean-Claude Ellena’s 10th year as in-house perfumer at Hermès as well as his gradual departure from the house.  Cuir d’Ange is his final perfume for the high-end Hermessence line that he created soon after his arrival to Hermès. While he will continue to remain affiliated with Hermès, he will eventually hand over the reins to Christine…

digging (into) vintage: Rochas Globe, 1991

Perfumer: Nicolas Mamounas?  Jean-Claude Ellena? Globe is one of the lost boys from the 90s. Guerlain Heritage (the only one of the bunch still in production), Jacomo Anthracite, Givenchy Insensé, Paco Rabanne Ténéné.  Diverse trends led to the perfumes of the 90s.  The fougères from the 70s, the power frags from the 80s, the remapping of the terrain by Davidoff…

Hermès Terre d’Hermès, 2009

Perfumer JeanClaude Ellena I first tried Terre d’Hermès in the eau de toilette concentration.  It is radiant in the contemporary manner, not forceful, but persistent.   The eau de toilette’s slightly sour edge gives the impression of two voices singing together, one sharp and one flat.  The notes don’t balance each other and they don’t cancel each other out.  They…