Jean Claude Ellena
“Perfume, a matter of smells, is a poetry of memory, and foremost a creation of the mind.” – Jean Claude Ellena
Jean-Claude was born into a family of perfumers in Grasse and from an early age, picked jasmine with his grandmother to sell to perfumers. Ellena worked various other jobs, such as being an apprentice at the factory of the essential oils maker Antoine Chiris before learning his trade from the age of 17.
In 1968, he became the first student at what was at the time the newly formed perfumery school of Givaudan, one of the oldest perfume factories, in Geneva. He left Givaudan in 1976 with two others perfumers for Lautier in Grasse. In 1983, he joined Givaudan Paris as chief perfumer and Roure-Givandan and then he worked at Haarmaan & Reimer in Paris (which merged in 2003 with Dragoco to form Symrise). In 1990, he became one of the founding members of the Osmothèque, an international scent archive based in Versailles.
Ellena was very much influenced by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, particularly his article “Advice to a Young Perfumer”. He writes short and not very concentrated formulas to reinforce the subtlety and expressivity of his compositions.
Since 2004, he has been Hermès's exclusive in-house perfumer. He has created fragrances for several major perfume houses including The Different Company, which he founded before joining Hermès. His daughter Céline Ellena now creates for The Different Company.