Jean-Claude Ellena is the creator of some remarkable fragrances, including Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, for Bulgari; Osmanthus, for The Different Company; and Terre d'Hermès, for Hermès (of course), where he's currently the in-house "nose" and resident perfumer. His style has an element of nouvelle cuisine about it, eschewing hearty traditionalism for the transparency–and zest–of fresh-from-the-garden fare. We mean that literally: his latest scent, Jour d'Hermès, conjures up not just flowers, but an entire kitchen garden planted just beyond the windows and basking in the sun. So, while a quick first spritz of Jour d'Hermès suggests lily of the valley (along with the sharp, vegetable tang of tomato stems), followed by gardenia, rose and (perhaps) hyacinth, there's also a tenacious presence (with hints of cucumber, sage and even olive oil) that grows stronger and stronger as the other notes dry down. Gradually, a familiar, soap-scrubbed personality takes shape, and you realize someone else is in the room–perhaps a parent, sibling, grandparent or spouse. Ultimately, it's the smell of warmth, love, cooking and the comforts of home. In other words, chez soi.
Photograph by Noël Sutherland