Article on Jean-Claude Ellena and Terre d’Hermès in Forbes

Terred27hermes

“Ideas for fragrances strike Ellena like proverbial lightning bolts–or they ferment, their recipes jotted down and left to steep in palm-sized leather notebooks. His desk is strewn with tiny bottles of past, present and future formulas in various stages of development. Some of his favorite work has been the creation of Hermessence, a group of “olfactory poems” such as Poivre Samarcande (inspired by an old oak on Ellena’s property that had to be felled) and Ambre Narguilé (the evocation of an oriental smoking den, bubbling with water pipes). These are a perfumer’s perfumes–scents so elusive, half the challenge was bottling them.” Read the rest of the article here.

PS: Be sure to click on Comments under this post to read Mike’s excellent review of Terre d’Hermès. Thank you for sharing, MC!

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14 Comments

  • Mercedes Rey: Hi, Victoria! I bought Terre d´hermés just yesterday…I love it. It´s definitely mineral, with a hint of bigarade and very, very elegant. It´s not the typical vetiver fragrance for men. I think this would be a must for me in the summer. They gave me a travel spray with 12 ml. free! February 28, 2006 at 4:22am Reply

  • Marlen: Really looking forward to trying this one, but keeping my expectations modest. February 28, 2006 at 7:35am Reply

  • annE: Thanks for the link,V. I would love to meet M. Ellena; have you ever? And I can’t wait to try this scent. Although none of the Hermessences worked for me ultimately, they are wonderful creations. February 28, 2006 at 8:12am Reply

  • MC: Hello Victoria,

    I tried Terre d’Hermes today too. I’m still trying to make up my mind about it. It opens well, with lots of sparkling grapefruit and sweet orange. There’s a hefty dose of cedar and patchouli in the topnote – vivid memories of a slightly lighter Cartier Déclaration here. The powerful grapefruit note is also clearly reminiscent of Jardin du Nil.

    After a short time a kind of candied, ice-cream orange sweetness emerges. Maybe a touch of fig in there too, possibly some of the caramelised sugar of Vetiver Tonka. It’s a little like the creamy-orange note in l’Egoiste, though much lighter than Chanel’s scent. Nothing vile and gourmand – just a little too sweet for my taste.

    No such ambivalence about the base, though: It’s fabulous. Lovely and clean and woody, with just a touch of patchouli. I get hints of hot earth, tea chests and incense, with a soft, “skin” scent in there too. Perhaps the grapefruit just about outstays its welcome – grapefruit is a pleasant enough opener but usually goes sour if allowed to hang around as the scent progresses. It might just be like that on my skin, though.

    What’s disappointing is that I expected more mineral, terroir earthiness from this scent. Silex notes were played up in the publicity materials, but definitely subdued in the scent: I can just about detect a whiff of gunflint on the card, but it doesn’t emerge clearly on the skin. I wasn’t expecting Odeur 53 – Terre d’Hermes is a determinedly commercial release – but something a little more daring would have been nice.

    I’d quite like to see the “director’s cut” of this one, I have a feeling that there would be more stone and more earth. I imagine some fans will dismiss Terre d’Hermes as another contemporary minimalist citrus-woods cologne, but there’s definitely more to it than that.

    On the plus side, though, this is a perfectly pleasant if unchallenging scent. Its concentration is ideal for men: Subtle, quite close to the skin, won’t dominate the room. I think it will blend very well with natural skin odours. The quality of the ingredients is excellent, the blending polished and precise.

    I won’t mind particularly if I smell this one everywhere on the metro this summer, but I suspect I won’t go for it. February 28, 2006 at 10:58am Reply

  • Linda: Interesting article! Thank you for posting about it. MC, thank you for your review. I can’t wait to try Terre d’Hermes. February 28, 2006 at 11:52am Reply

  • Tara: Pity, I was hoping it would be more “stone and earth” as MC says. I’m looking forward to smelling it anyway – I want to know what Vincent Perez was smelling like in “Le Hussard sur le Toit.” 🙂 February 28, 2006 at 3:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, it sounds very interesting! It should be in New York very soon, and I cannot wait to try it. March 1, 2006 at 12:23am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marls, I am very excited, what can I say! Please let us know what you think. March 1, 2006 at 12:24am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ann, I would love to meet Jean-Claude Ellena, but I have not had a chance yet. I very much enjoy Hermessence range, although some are more appealing than others. My favourite is Vetiver Tonka. March 1, 2006 at 12:26am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mike, thank you for a great review! Sounds like a rather fascinating composition (and indeed similar to the official description, although less mineral than what I would anticipate). Interesting comment about sweetness. I have not expected that, to be honest. Like you, I am always open to more daring fragrance, but I did not think that the first big release by Hermes created by JCE will necessarily follow that trend. Still, polished and elegant is in line with my expectations. March 1, 2006 at 12:30am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, do post your thoughts if you get a chance! March 1, 2006 at 12:30am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara, I know. I was hoping for that as well. Nevertheless, I am open to testing Terre d’Hermes when it comes my way. March 1, 2006 at 12:31am Reply

  • Joytika: Just a note, this article isn’t available anymore! I was so disappointed, there are a few Jean-Claude Ellena fragances that I enjoy, and I’d love to learn.
    Do you happen to have any other resources I could use? March 12, 2006 at 6:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Joytika, unfortunately, it seems to have been archived already. I can recommend reading these materials:

    http://www.newyorker.com/
    (about creation of Jardin sur le Nil)

    http://www.parfumeur-createur.com/article.php3?id_article=22
    (the interview is in French though)

    http://boisdejasmin.com/2005/09/perfumer_jeancl.html
    (my short article with a link to an interview on Scented Pages) March 12, 2006 at 7:47pm Reply

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