The “initial period” of the career path of Jean-Claude Ellena can be found in the most authentic of “grassoise” traditions. He defines himself as “self-taught” and that he “develops as a result of meeting people and knowing their works”. He began as a factory worker in Grasse, before entering the school of Givaudan in Switzerland in 1968, where he became a nose and composed for International markets blending materials and essences, in the search of a style or of a “creative revelation”. The discovery of the work of Edmond Roudnitska at the end of the Sixties is an important moment which enriches not just his method of conception but also his method of formulation. He quickly reduces his palette, rethinks form and relationship between smells, eliminates the superfluous and the repetition.
The meeting and adventure between Hermès and its “nose” from Grasse, based from the beginning on the same shared values of respect for savoir-faire and the same desire for excellence. “In this extraordinary maison which has the profound sense of professionalism, a marvellous dream came true for me: to work with my passion whilst having as much creative requirement as freedom”. In June 2004, Hermès entrusts Jean-Claude Ellena with his own olfactory patrimony and the creation of new fragrances making him the exclusive creator-compositor for the maison. Following the steps of Jardin en Méditerranée, Jean-Claude Ellena composes Un Jardin sur le Nil in 2005 and in 2008 Un Jardin après la Mousson, a water-themed trilogy.
2007: Terre d’Hermès, entirely structured around the vertical alchemy of woods.
2007: Kelly Calèche, an interpretation of the memory of a visit to the l “leather hide caveau of Hermès”.
2009: Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, and Eau de Gentiane Blanche, the two new colognes which accompany Eau d'Orange Verte, the classic, unvaried in its formulation, but forever timeless.
Among his numerous successes: First by Van Cleef & Arpels, Déclaration by Cartier, Eau Parfumée by Bvlgari, Eau de Campagne by Sisley and Cologne Bigarade for the Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.