“Nowadays, most perfumes are made of ambroxan, phenyl ethyl alcohol, citronellol, coumarin, hedione, heliotropine, hydroxycitronellal, iso E, ionone, lilial, methyl ionone, synthesized musk, patchouli, synthesized sandalwood, salicylate and vanillin. What dictates this choice of products is their unchanging characteristics, their linearity. They are fragrant substances manufactured in vast quantities and used in all perfumes: they are tools.”  –  Jean-Claude Ellena

Jean-Claude Ellena, 65, was born in Grasse, in Provence, the son of a perfumer. In 2004, he became in-house perfumer for Hermès, where perfume sales have since more than doubled. The company set up a laboratory for Ellena near Grasse in a late 1960s architect’s villa surrounded by black pines and blessed with a view of the Côte d’Azur through full-length windows. Ellena’s new memoir is entitled: “The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur.”