The French bestseller The Diary of a Nose is the story behind the creation of a perfume, from the head perfumer at Hermès.
Perfume creation is an exclusive and secretive endeavour. What is day to day life like for a perfume-maker? How does the creation of a new scent begin? How do you capture the essence of a smell on the skin?
For one year, Jean-Claude Ellena kept a diary of his life as 'parfumeur exclusif' ('le nez' or 'the nose') for Hermès. Believing that creating a scent is like creating a work of art, and describing himself as a writer using 'olfactory colours', he explains how all of the five senses come into play when creating a perfume. He also reveals how inspiration can come from a market stall, a landscape, or even the movement of calligraphy, and concludes this charming, perceptive diary with recipes for natural fragrances, each made up of three synthetic ingredients, to create the illusion of smells like freesia, orange blossom, grapefruit, pear, chocolate, cashew and cotton candy.
This is the story of a quest to capture what is most elusive. Jean-Claude Ellena offer readers a rare insight into the secrets of his business, his art, and his life as one of the world's most important and admired perfumers.