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The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur Hardcover – 5 Jul 2012
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Diary of a Nose explores the conundrums of his profession with the delicacyof an olfactory poet (The Wall Street Journal)
Jean-Claude Ellena has always played the fragrancegame as high art (Fréderic Malle Editions de Parfums)
Based on a year's worth of notes from the author's notebook, 'Diary of a Nose' aims to seduce (Metro)
In Diary of a Nose is the rarest of books. In it we sense that Jean-Claude Ellena appreciates the world with the passion and attention of an artist (Elle)
The man is a magician, a nose, a parfumuer ... His journal reveals in simple words a real secret: the creation of perfumes. Day by day, every emotion, every encounter, every precious moment is preserved. Here, everything is customary but nothing is ordinary, for this is where the magic happens (Le Monde)
More than a chemist or composer, I'd call Ellena a poet (Suzi Feay Independent)
Ellena's diary of the 12 months from October 2009 is sensual, serious (Carl Wilkinson Financial Times)
About the Author
In 2004, Jean-Claude Ellena was made Hermès' first 'perfumeur exclusive' at Hermès. He lives and works in the hills in Grasse in France, and designs his scents at his studio in Cabris.
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Top customer reviews
The life of a parfumeur must have elaborate prose. To describe in such an elegant way what goes into the smells and fragrances of what is essentially smelly expensive water.
It's a bit like listening to a fashion expert describe clothes. Fascinating, but ultimately they are still clothes.
What did surprise me most of all is the author, Jean-Claude Ellena, is obviously French. To capture the poetry of the original French text is amazing. The translator should certainly be commended.
I rather like the authors turn of phrase. It doesn't surprise me though, as if you had to describe why you like your aftershave or perfume most people would simply say, "It smells nice" to at best, "it's a bit flowery"
But this author has had decades of being a "nose" so has gotten used to describing in elaborate, but lovely, prose the process and story behind a perfume.
If this has taken your fancy there is a lovely French best-seller that I could also recommend.Le guide du parfum pour elle et lui Or the film staring a nose.I Do (Prête-moi ta main) [DVD]
The author works in the epicentre of the perfume industry in Grasse in the South of France. I would warn you though that if the book has encouraged a visit-Don't. For such a glamorous, fragrant, expensive industry the town is rather drab.
Overall a lovely book that is a pleasant read.
Having read his book, I will definitely be investigating the perfumes Ellena evokes so well as well as viewing my own perfumes in a new light. Refreshingly Ellena doesn't spell everything out for the reader and this, combined with the fragmentary nature of the diary entries, can sometimes result in opacity. Overall, however, "The Diary of a Nose" is an engrossing, stimulating, and enjoyable read which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in perfume.
They are interspersed, however, with a more rambling and sometimes very mundane monologue about the tyranny of marketing departments, snippets of travel and so on that felt chaotic (and not in a good way) to me.
This is a short book, only about 145 pages and many of them are left blank as each `journal entry' starts on a new page.
So there are some gems here particularly when Ellena is talking about scents and perfumes in almost a metaphysical way. But these moments are more sparse than I expected, and there's a lot of padding to fill out what still remains a short and slight book.
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Most recent customer reviews
I wasn't disappointed.Read more
Ellena's passion for scents, his family, life and women comes across as romantic and sensuous.Read more