Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars43
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£14.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Essentially this is the professional diary/notepad of the head parfumeur of Hermes; it gives an insight into his daily meetings and resopnsibilities; the precise way that he approaches his work; but it's also a sensuous experience in many ways - when he talks of aromas and scents, his precise language reveals moments of beauty.

His words can be interpreted as light and whimsical, but each diary entry contains a moment of insight. The French language is perfect for conveying these things - the original version would be a pleasure to read, but the translator appears to have captured the essential character of the writer really well.

Overall, reading this felt very 'Zen': I've read Zen tales about a monk realising how lovely a strawberry is (to precis rather horribly), and these entries remind me of this at times. There is an interesting duality between the author as a controlled and efficient professional, and his romantic expansiveness when talking about his passion. The 'Summary of Smells' at the back is invaluable for any perfume makers out there, but I suspect that it's not entirely comprehensive.

I can't help feeling that if this book had originated in the UK, it would have been a coffee table hardback with big glossy pictures of figs, cinnamon and vanilla every other page, to fill the space up. Instead we get no illustrations, just blank, clean empty spaces - sometimes there is little more than a sentence on a page - and the book is a small hardback. Typically for the sentiments expressed on the pages, they feel wonderful to the touch - very smooth, and the dust jacket has a very tactile quality to it, too. That they have chosen this way of doing things is consistent with the author's approach to creating perfume: use only the best ingredients, use them sparingly, and keep things simple. The author preaches a minimalist creed - that no more than seven scents should be used, 'to keep the nose active' - and this book gets that same message across very well.

This book says things quietly - among those things is that there is beauty everywhere; even in the mundane. It is up to the reader to listen carefully if they want to appreciate what it has to say.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 August 2012
This was purchased as a birthday present and the person who received it was very interested in perfumes so she said that she found the book interesting and very informative.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like another reviewer I too had read the Denyse Beaulieu book, The Perfume Lover: A Personal Story of Scent: A Personal History of Scent but unlike him, I had been profoundly irritated by that book, as it was far more about Ms Beaulieu herself than the subject I had hoped to be reading about (perfumery). And I found her loud and annoying - some people's company you enjoy and some you don't.

Now THIS book is unbelievably different, and I immediately wanted to book a flight to Monsieur Ellena's magical workshop. He is, by this book, a reflective, modest, philosophical and creative person, weaving in interesting debates about fashion, trends, capitalism, botany, chemistry and much much more.

I LEARNED so much from this beautifully written, slight but profound book. For example, though I work with some of the original ingredients of perfumes - essential oils and absolutes (before aromatic molecules began to be synthesised and invented in the lab) I did not realise quite how precisely chemistry changes, month by month, when expressing the oil of bergamot - Ellena effortlessly scatters fascinating snippets, almost like little meditations upon all sorts of topics, integral or tangential to perfume. So he is as fascinating about what might act as a creative catalyst to the creation of a perfume - the look and sound of an Arabian garden, for example as he is about rough drafting chemical notes as a jotting or initial sketch for a perfume.

There is something curiously akin to Zen about his journey, which he describes at times in terms of emptiness, the spaces between odour notes and accords. He seems to be journeying towards a simplicity and a precision. It is all very far from loud marketing or team creation, his immersions and meditations with aroma. There is something quite wonderfully LISTENING in his developing of a perfume. Yes. I think he is making a piece of art.

And my utter delight in this book has sent me immediately to buy Ellena's earlier book Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent
22 comments|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 18 April 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Diary of a Nose isn't quite the book I was expecting. Rather than a traditional diary, it is more like a book that contains snapshots and snippets of a year in the life of Jean-Claude Ellena. It reminded me much more of poetry than of a book with an overarching narrative and contains musings on his inspiration, his travels and impressions of places and the works he had in progress.

I could see that it would be quite maddening to think you were getting a book about the perfume industry or an autobiography and instead get a few pages on how the arch of some calligraphy inspired him to create a new scent.

I didn't dislike it exactly, but it wasn't really my thing. Having said that I did learn a few snippets of information such as how distillation can affect smell.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 2 June 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Diary of a Nose - A year in the life of a Parfumeur - was not really a diary - more some thoughts and jottings covering a year but not covering every day, more 3 or 4 days per month by Jean-Claude Ellena, parfumeur exclusif for Hermès.

The book itself is only 145 pages of diary and then a "Summary of Smells"

I love perfume and am interested in its creation and so thought I would be very interested in this book but for me it was only slightly interesting.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 September 2015
The most chilled out dreamy book I've ever read
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 27 May 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I get the feeling that this book was most probably originally conceived as an impulse purchase, something that was stacked on the till at Hermes perfume counters to be bought as a stocking-filler. It's a pretty but ultimately insubstantial book, a year's diary entries that mix some admittedly sublime observations on the perfumers art with a lot of inconsequential everyday mundanity. At the end of the book there's a list of perfume recipes, which would be very handy if I had some C-18 prunolide in the garage, but seem to be there mainly to pad out the book to legally meet some sort of EEC minimum book size diktat. I mean, it's a nice little artifact and everything, but probably designed more for posh ladies to arrange artfully on their bedside tables than to actually be read. Though if you are planning to read it, you will need to put aside 35 minutes to do so.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 February 2013
Jean Claude Ellena is a great nose. A master of the craft and an Artist. With so much insight into the world of perfumery one wonders why we are offered such slim pickings. While at times his pondering are insightful and worthy of our attention I can't help thinking there should be more...much more. As in house perfumer at Hermes one would have hoped he'd offered insights in to that relationship and his process which is something he skims over rather than delves deeply into. The truth of the matter is that this is better than nothing and at times the diary entries seem like meditations whose brevity belies the depth actually being offered - a good thing! The upside is that when we are invited to journey with him it's a great ride. I just wish it were longer.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 27 June 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A little hard to get into at first, but I believe worth the effort. When it says a diary, it really does mean that. It charts several months of events in the life of the author, from his inspiration to interviews and corporate dealings. This does mean it takes on a tad of a flowery writing style at times, and can seem disjointed, but there are some great insights into the way he creates at what he does with his scents.

At the back is a few pages dedicated to the composition of various smells in the chemicals that are used. This is certainly very interesting.

I would say that this is more for the enthusiast rather than a casual reader, but enlightening none the less.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 April 2016
Lovely book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)