Jean-Claude Ellena

France France
Jean-Claude Ellena has an awe-inspiring answer ready when asked about the secret of his success: friendly resistance! He sees himself as a polite nay-sayer, which is also the recipe... Read more
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Interesting Facts

Jean-Claude Ellena has an awe-inspiring answer ready when asked about the secret of his success: friendly resistance! He sees himself as a polite nay-sayer, which is also the recipe for his unbroken success story as a "nose." The only classic thing about him is his preference for timeless fragrances.

Born in Grasse as the son of a perfumer, his path into the world of fine fragrances was predetermined. However, his school performance was so poor that he was denied higher education and therefore never completed formal education at one of the large cadre forges. However, he was fascinated by perfumes enough to join Givaudan in Switzerland in 1968, where he learned the basics of perfume composition from scratch. There, he was soon able to draw attention to his talent and score numerous point landings for the traditional house.

In 1992, the German company Haarmann & Reimer, now known as Symrise AG, approached him. In 2004, he moved to Hermès, where he served as chief perfumer until 2015. Since then, he has put his good nose to work as a sought-after freelancer on notable projects. Jean-Claude Ellena no longer has to prove anything to anyone. He can look back on over 50 creations that he's composed for Hermès alone. In addition, he has created for Bulgari, Frédéric Malle, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Van Cleef & Arpels, Balenciaga, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Giorgio Armani and many others.

The modest superstar lives and works near Grasse. He describes himself as a writer of fragrances, as each perfume begins with handwritten notes of his thoughts. This talent has led him to publish two highly acclaimed books along the way. In 2012, his diary "The Dreamed Scent - From the Life of a Perfumer" and "Perfume. A Guide to the World of Fragrance." In total, he received the FiFi Award of the "Fragrance Foundation" six times. In 2015, the German perfume award "Duftstars" followed for his life's work.

Success cannot be planned, says Jean-Claude Ellena in one of his rare interviews. Every new fragrance is like an adventurous journey that has to be pursued. And the best way to do that is by following your nose.
Research and text by ParfumoParfumo