JC Ellena - Again! - On Perfume & A Petite Rant {The 5th Sense in the News}

 Uniformity, Inez Storer, 2005

This morning we wanted to make sure we would quote another perfumer besides Jean-Claude Ellena before we would call your attention to his latest interview. He is obviously the darling of the media - some, more nastily, call him a "media whore" (courtesy of The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr). Sorry, this is nothing personal because we do not know him on a personal level, but we are experiencing JC-Ellena fatigue, what with his prestidigitator gestures each time he meets members of the press showing them the magic smell arising from two blotters meeting on his lab table. Is this a parlor trick? Please, there are other noteworthy, interesting perfumers that breathe air on this planet and know how to articulate their thoughts on perfume. And please don't refer yourselves for inspiration to his own list of perfumers in his little book on perfume, Le Parfum, because he makes it sound like the perfumers' community has been depleted by WWIII.

Scent of a Man in the Times online 

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6 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Ha ha ha, I was just thinking the same thing. He's more in the papers/articles than Paris Hilton nowadays! I wonder why he's so talkative all of a sudden .. and that perfume notes magic trick he starts off every interview with is getting old.

  2. Heh! If I want blotters of synthetic floral-fruitie thingies flourished in my direction, I can just go to the local mall. You gave me a laugh, thanks! BTW, love your blog and wanted to say so!

  3. I put it on the account of a lack of imagination, fad, and celebrity culture. Honestly, when one sees the free press all talking about the same personality as representative of contemporary perfumery, who himself is producing a kind of repetitive professional act for the media, it is starting to feel weird.

  4. Thank you!

    I hope that next time he does this trick in public, someone throws a fit and jumps out of the window out of boredom and in order to protest!

  5. Dear MH, like you (and clearly, other people like zztop) I just had my own moment of JCE fatigue, reading his profile on the Times website. While I didn't expect the journalist to have a specialist point of view, JCE's line was swallowed whole and made this a pure puff piece. I've just finished reading, belatedly, his Que Sais-je? on perfume, and was left wondering about the editorial angle of the book. The collection is meant to be an introduction to a field of knowledge. In fact, it seems to me to be two different books: a very perfunctory overview of the history and business, on the one hand (which seems to have been ghost-written), and a paean to JCE's views and methods on the other hand. While that section made for an interesting read, it certainly didn't fullfil the aim of this type of publication.

  6. Yes, it also has a corporatist flavor and a-letter-to-a young-perfumer aspect to it, which are not the purposes of this type of publication. A Que-Sais-Je is at the most basic level meant to address the general public who wants to get a crash course in a topic they are unfamiliar with. It can be more interesting than that of course. Roudnitska did something more sophisticated starting with this basic requirement.

    It is furthermore very atypically written in the first person and does revolve a lot around his person. Roudnitska of course expressed personal themes as well but gave them a more universal appeal - he did not give the impression he was contemplating his little belly-button - and he wrote better.

    It is not impossible that it was ghost-written because as I told you already, I know of one QSJ that was entirely ghost-written.

    I'd need to re-read it before reviewing it more in depth. My main critique is that one would have wished for the debate on perfumery at the dawn of the 21st century to be placed at a higher level. I did not get a sense that he had a personal general vision for it, more that he represented himself and a school of thought at best.


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