Celebrating and Defending Naturals in Perfumery

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The future of perfumery requires both naturals and synthetic chemicals, noted Jean-Claude Ellena, the director of perfumery for Hermès, during a presentation at the European Federation of Essential Oils’ annual general meeting in June in Grasse, France.

Ellena, who began his career with essential oil house Antoine Chiris at age 16, is the nose behind such Hermès fragrances as Jour d’Hermès Gardénia and Absolu, Rose Ikebana, Terre d’Hermès, Kelly Calèche, Un Jardin sur le Nil, Voyage d’Hermès, Voyage d’Hermes and L’Ambre des Merveilles among many others. Noting that natural products are a “chapter” with a strong story, the perfumer explained that Hermès takes a perfumery, rather than a marketing, approach to fragrance, embracing ingredients and highlighting them in marketing.

The Hermès fragrance legacy extends back to 1951, Ellena said, adding that all of the brand’s scents remain available to this day, ensuring that consumers can always access their olfactory memories. As for the future, he said, naturals will play a key role.