Perfumers sometimes set aside their flacons and notebooks full of formulas and quickly jotted-down notes and instead pick up a more literary or theoretical pen deciding to write a book. Writings by seasoned perfumers are amongst some of the most interesting texts to read on perfume. Edmond Roudnitska, Jean Kerléo, Maurice Maurin, and Jean-Claude Ellena are some of the ones in the contemporary period that have felt the need to express themselves on paper as well as in perfumes.......
Le Parfum is the second book by now Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and was just released this September of 2007. His previous title, Mémoires du Parfum, was co-authored with Josette Gontier in 2003. Jean-Claude Ellena's interviews have consistently struck us as reflective, well thought-out interventions so we could only heartily recommend reading his new opus if you are interested in the art of perfume creation.
It is a pocket book published in the Que-Sais-Je collection at Presses Universitaires de France, which means that it should offer a somewhat didactic focus at least in principle. A point worth mentioning is that it succeeds to the title bearing exactly the same name and in the same collection by Edmond Roudnitska, which was an attempt to offer a theory of perfume.
According to the ad copy Le Parfum (2007) reveals how Jean-Claude Ellena creates perfumes as well as dwells on the intersection between memory and perfume and its impact on perfume creation,
Les parfums répondent aux modes, sont le reflet d'une époque, la transcendent parfois. Ils sont aussi affaire de chimie, de marketing, de processus de fabrication et de commercialisation. Ils doivent respecter des normes de sécurité de plus en plus précises. Ils représentent un marché international de plusieurs milliards d'euros. Ils sont surtout affaire de création. À partir d'une palette de matières odorantes, Jean-Claude Ellena raconte comment fonctionne l'odorat et comment se compose un parfum. Il nous livre sa manière unique de créer une fragrance, de jouer avec nos souvenirs olfactifs pour rendre le parfum séducteur.
The book is now available for purchase on amazon.fr for 7, 60 Euros. And yes, a copy is making its way to this side of the pond although we find that these types of book are difficult to summarize as they are so full of interesting reflections that reflect the lives of the perfumers themselves.