Jean-Claude Ellena and Andy Tauer ~ Scent Treks

02nd June, 2008

Editor's note: These interviews are the first part of a series in which Marian Bendeth explores what a panel of modern perfumers would say if they could travel back to the time of their choosing, to meet, chat and co-create with a perfumer of the past. An introduction to the series and table of contents is here.

Jean-Claude Ellena

Hermès In-house Perfumeur

Creations: Un Jardin Après La Mousson, Terre d’Hermès, Kelly Calèche, Hermèssence Collection, First by Van Cleef & Arpels, Eau de Campagne by Sisely (more...)

Marian: If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be? Please state century and decade.

Jean-Claude Ellena: XXth century, in 1911.

M: Who would that be?

Paul Poiret, the first couture house which created its own perfumery under the name ‘Les Parfums de Rosine’.

M: What specific questions would you want to learn from them?

I wouldn’t have any questions, but the wish to live a week with him, in his fantasy, share his carefree life, his parties. Well finally I would ask him one question: How did you collaborate with the perfumer who created for you, Henri Alméras?

M: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

As fantasy is important for Paul Poiret, we could create together the first masculine perfume of a man who will change the vision of the world: Pablo Picasso who was 30 years old at that time.

M: If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

Humour and joy of living.

Andy Tauer

Perfumer and Founder, Tauer Perfumes

Creations: Incense extrême, Rêverie au jardin, L'air du désert marocain, Le Maroc pour elle, Lonestar memories (more...)

I am not a fan of the early fifties and based on what I have learned about this time period I would rather like to leave this rubber plant and huge cocktail dress time to get my whiff of patchouli or other weeds later in the sixties. But I would be delighted to travel to 1950.

There is one reason to travel back then: It is Edmond Roudnitska, working on a fragrance that would see the light of this world as Diorissimo in 1956. I would travel back in time, end of April, early May, when the lily of the valley in his garden were blooming and where I imagine meeting this genius. Maybe I would have refreshed my French a little bit in light of this occasion. Bonjour Monsieur, I would say, and blush and would fall on my knees to sniff with him the lily of the valley, growing in his garden.

And then, I would ask him whether he put cumin aldehyde in the Diorissimo, hoping that I am right (I belong to an almost extinct class of perfumers working without GC). I love Diorissimo; and I admire Roudnitska and I have his “qualités fondamentales du grand parfum” always in front of my nose: “caractère, vigueur, pouvoir diffusant, délicatesse, clarté, volume, persistance”. Thus, after the second glass of Champagne, I would be brave enough; begging him to let me know more about the base that he used to fix the lily of the valley.

Marian: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

Not having mastered a really good orange flower fragrance myself, I would like Roudnitska to help me out there, joining me for a few years, waiting for the sixties, and then we would do the ultimate patchouli-sandalwood-orange flower scent together. For Jim Morrison, of course, who would be delighted to pose for our marketing campaign.

M:If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

On my way home to 2008 I would buy Sandalwood from Mysore, as much as I could possibly get, in a quality that I cannot get anymore today, and I would then finally make the scent that I have always been dreaming of.

Join Marian next week for time travels with Camille Goutal, Ineke Ruhland and Antoine Maisondieu.

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About the author: Marian Bendeth

Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. Marian has won six fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing. You can find out more on her website


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