How three of the top perfumers - Christopher Brosius, Hermes's Jean Claude Ellena and principal of the Parisian school, Jean Guichard - go about their business.
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Perfume is magic worked by science. Its job - to capture the moment.
Fragrance takes us back to good times, past loves, the moment we realised
-our mother could smell of more than just mum.
-My mum was getting ready.
That child's vision of the most beautiful princess was my mother.
The message is romance, but the language is molecules,
spoken by perfumers or noses. They're artists,
scientists and philosophers.
So many Americans want to smell clean. They really want to divorce themselves as much as possible
from the way their own body truly smells.
There are more astronauts than perfumers.
They meddle with our memories, but their craft is a mystery. Who are they?
Where are they?
And how do you become one?
In August, New York reeks.
Below the surface, citizens endure the commute, breathing hot steel and perspiration.
Above ground, a cacophony of scents
riding on wet steam and rotting vegetation.
If those odours provoke memories of good times,
alternative perfumer Christopher Brosius will bottle them for you.
'I think constantly about how things smell.
'If I'm breathing in and out, on some level I'm working
'because heaven knows I use a lot of things that have never before been considered as perfume.
'The smell of the ink that comes out of a magic marker,
'a box of crayons, a can of paint,
'certain kinds of ink, paper bags, cardboard boxes, magazines. All of these things smell terrific.'
# Do you know where you could be going? #
Brosius makes scents that smell of real things.
He has no truck with the mainstream fragrance industry or even most perfume wearers.
So many Americans want to smell clean. That is one of the reasons
that I Hate Perfume really came to be.
Americans frequently have this idea that perfume is used by the French
to cover up the fact that they never shower. This is utterly and completely ridiculous.
The French are not afraid of the way people naturally smell.
'In fact, sometimes perfumes are designed to really amplify that,
'to make that really alluring and really erotic and really attractive.'
One of his concoctions evokes the scent of a musky, unwashed body.
This one has been known to scare people. It's really a love it or hate it thing.
People smell it and go, "Oh, my God! I can't wear that. That's filthy!"
Let's see what happens with that.
I don't...dislike it. I mean, I'm not in love with it.
-But I wouldn't say I was scared of it. Actually, it smells kind of sweet to me.
It's interesting, smelling around the human body, that there are certain parts that smell very sweet.
This odd kind of sweet, spicy kind of mix.
And that's what that particular scent is really all about.
-Really? You like this?
-I think it's great!
These scents can be challenging. Only the brave need apply them.
There are lots of foods, particularly meats,
that smell wonderful.
Bacon! Bacon is divine!
These are fantastic smells.
One celebrity customer hated perfume, but wanted to remember good times at the family dining table.
She came in here and she said, "I want something that smells good, but does not smell at all like perfume.
"I want this." I said roast beef?
Are you absolutely sure?
And she said, "Yes, I am. I love it."
And I said are you really, really, really sure?
And she said, "Yes."
Christopher Brosius finds beauty in what is real.
French perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena creates fragrance inspired by fantasy.
Ellena lives like a monk in a forest
with a single lab technician and the sea breeze for company.
He is the Obi Wan Kenobi of fragrance.
I want to be alone, only with my thoughts.
It's time to give more philosophy, to give more serenity, to give more spirit to perfumery.
Ellena makes olfactory masterpieces with very few, very expensive ingredients.
I like very much indeed the paintings of Cezanne and Matisse.
And I like also abstract painting.
I don't try to copy the reality. I don't care a damn about the reality.
Because the illusion is more beautiful. It's like a dream
and dreams are always more beautiful.
'Perfumery is an esoteric art.
'Talking to Jean-Claude, it's going to stay that way.'
I think it's very hard for people to understand how to talk about fragrance as well.
So maybe this is the best way to explain. I compare it to colours.
Red, dark red. Dark and warmth.
This is what I can do with perfume.
Red, to me, is also hot. Can red be cold?
Can red be cold?
-Like blue can?
-Ah...can red be cold?
Let me think about it.
'If colour doesn't offer enough parallels, there's always texture.'
-So you're saying smells have texture?
-Yeah. OK, I can take this one.
The thing is, here the texture is... Now it's very cold
because the steel is cold.
It's cold and smooth.
This is the kind of thing I can do with perfume. I can give, in this perfume, a kind of cold note,
quite cold, and smooth.
-Here it's very rough.
-Yes. The concrete.
-Concrete. Very rough.
And, of course, I can play with both.
Smooth and cold, harsh...and dry. Because this is very dry.
-And I can smell the roughness?
-Of course you can smell it.
Ellena is the nose for French lifestyle house Hermes,
but allegedly doesn't have to make a whiff of anything until he feels inspired.
If you ask me to make what you are looking for,
there is a disaster already
because I will not offer you a surprise.
But if you ask me, "Give me a surprise," ah! I am ready to work
month and month and month
and sleep badly.
I want to give you, to share and give you something that you say,
"Ah! Oh, yes! Oh, yes, I like it."
It's not a demand, it's a gift.
If you like my way of doing things,
this is a plus.
But I like very much this approach because...we take the time.
Before he was a sorcerer,
Ellena was an apprentice at the school for noses.
Located just outside Paris, it's run by the biggest chemical company in the fragrance world - Givaudan.
The school trains perfumers who'll win contracts to create fragrances for big-name brands.
Jean-Claude Ellena went his own way. Today students are prepared for a corporate life of strict budgets
and stricter deadlines.
Many apply, few are chosen.
This year, there are five students.
Some years they don't take any.
The Principal is master perfumer Jean Guichard.
He picks the noses of the future.
The perfumer should be a mixture between a scientist and a poet.
When I meet people, I know if they have talent or not.
I don't want you to have people who say, "I am going to be a perfumer to make a lot of money."
That doesn't interest me at all.
Very often they say, "My dream is to be a perfumer since I am a little girl or a little boy.
"And my grandmother say I've got a fantastic nose," and all that,
but then when you look at that resume they have been doing nothing around perfume.
And you have some people after five minutes you are bored.
I say, "Well, I won't like to spend three years with them."
I keep that in mind.
Guichard wants cultured geniuses with winning personalities.
Could I be one?
We can try.
Quentin Biche was a country boy with a dream.
There were flowers everywhere at home.
When I was of maybe eight, nine, ten years old, I wanted to create perfume.
Quentin doesn't know anything about chemistry.
But he was interested in perfume. He came to see me once.
We talked about cinema...
It was a complete disaster. He was trying to make perfume,
mixing, you know, products he saw in shops.
After a while, I was sure that it was over. And then one Thursday afternoon,
I had the phone in my pocket at the time.
I saw the 01, so Paris. I was like, "Oh!" "Hello, it is Jean Guichard."
So I pre-selected him.
He told me, "If you're still interested..." And that was it.
-I think he's got a lot of talent.
-I was hired.
I'm really lucky.
We know in the school how to teach the technique. We don't know how to teach creativity.
'Linda Song had the right stuff, despite her disadvantaged upbringing.'
I grew up in a small town called Greeley in Colorado.
Anybody in Colorado who knows it, their first reaction is, "Oh!"
It was very different from Paris. It's funny. I tried to send flowers to my mom for Mother's Day
and especially with being here and exposed to so many different seasonal flowers,
I had all these grand ideas of what I was going to send her. That's just not available in Colorado!
In the hall, a cabinet of liquid trophies.
They are all products made by people trained by us.
What do we have? Poison by Christian Dior, Lou Lou from Cacharel,
we've got Obsession from Calvin Klein,
we've got L'Air du Temps,
and this one also is doing very well at the moment.
That is One Million from Paco Rabanne.
We say, you know, that one third of the products created in the world
are created by people trained by our school.
One day, I'm sure it will be their products that will be there. For sure.
Right now, the students can only dream of creating scents that will make perfume history,
that will carry us back to other times, places,
It makes me think of first love.
It makes me think of...
The first time I smelt this,
it was on a 17-year-old boy when I was 16 years old.
And I was at school.
He was an absolutely beautiful boy. I'm sure he still is.
And I just assumed when I got close to him and smelt him
that this was naturally what he smelt like.
I just thought some boys were born magically fragrant and lovely.
It was a big shock to find out he was wearing this.
It was a defining scent for me
in terms of how...intoxicating scent can be.
In all honesty, I still have yet to find another male scent that matches this.
The fantasy of what men could be like didn't match up to the reality of men.
I don't think I've ever come across a man who encapsulates everything that I smelt in this,
that I thought men could be. So far. It could change.
Christopher Brosius is in the business of evoking memories.
He profits from the sense of loss that fragrance exploits.
# I remember sky... #
Scent is really about emotion.
There is an enormous connection between scent and memory.
# Or at least I think... #
People smell something and they immediately flash on an experience that they've had.
The smell actually evokes the emotion that you felt at the time
that you were experiencing the thing that became the memory.
# Sharp as thumb tacks Coming down like... #
You know, when people, without, you know,
really thinking it or expecting it, pick up a bottle and suddenly they are really transfixed.
They are in a different place and a different time and feeling something they'd utterly forgotten,
but suddenly in this simple little bottle, here it is again.
I have clients who keep them kind of as a modern smelling salt.
If they're in their office and their boss is being more than a little demanding or incredibly difficult,
they can take a bottle out of their desk drawer or their bag
and smell it and, at least for a few brief seconds, they have a break. They're somewhere else.
They feel better.
Brosius has his own way of recovering times past.
This is... the makings of...
A Memory of Kindness,
which is a perfume that is very, very important to me.
It's really the smell of tomato leaves and tomato vines growing in a garden.
I wanted that smell. Tomato leaves.
One of the earliest memories I have is of...
creeping very quietly
one summer afternoon.
I crawled under the tomato vines in my aunt's garden.
-It was a very good year...
I'm sitting... in the dirt, under the vines,
which to a small child seemed kind of like a jungle.
You know, it's like wild and it's another country in there.
You know, when I was a child in the country, gardens were important, particularly vegetable ones.
They fed the family, frequently, so they were really not to be messed with.
And, you know, a lot of people would have scolded a child for going in there,
but my aunt, that was not her way.
She gave me a cookie and... I realised, you know,
she is perhaps the kindest person I've ever known.
so much of my childhood are memories involving her
and that just all-pervading sense of kindness.
And it all comes back to the smell of a tomato leaf.
-Who lived up the stairs...
So that's what that perfume is really all about.
-With all that perfume in the air...
-I can see you are transported as you smell this.
-Is that what people come to you wanting to experience?
-Bali Hai call you...
A few streets away across Brooklyn is the home of fashion designer Sean Crowley.
-In your heart you'll hear it call you...
He's American, but pines constantly for an England that vanished somewhere around 1930.
Having an English grandfather who was an Anglophile himself,
growing up with lots of old things around, getting to know the comfort of a nice kind of worn-in thing,
really sort of gave me the bug for all things English.
-A bit of a mug.
A pot with a handle.
And thank you. It's complete.
Crowley loves old Albion as only someone who doesn't live there can.
He's got everything but the smell.
There's an unmistakeably British weird, fusty, musty old smell.
That I love. I don't know how you bottle that.
I mean, the kinds of things I imagine. Tweed has a very distinctive smell.
Certainly when it gets wet, it becomes quite pungent.
It smells like a wet dog. If you could make it work, I'd wear it.
I don't have a fragrance at the moment.
Christopher Brosius is renowned locally for his alchemy.
Crowley wants a scent that will take him across the sea without the inconvenience of leaving home.
His vision may be a bit Sherlock Holmes, but it's a start.
Brosius seems to be thinking more Bonnie Prince Charlie.
-You'll see me...
-So what is it that you're after?
-I mean, I'm an Anglophile.
I love old musty things.
I'm a bit of an Anglophile myself.
-Let's discuss your experience of England.
-Things like... You know, pipe tobacco.
-But where do you really smell it when you're there?
-Out of the pipe that I'm smoking.
-That YOU are smoking?
-..are in evidence.
-Wet tweed sleeve.
That's one you should work on.
-Of, you know, like an old army great coat...
-..packed in a crate for 60 years...
-..kind of smell.
-That is a strangely pleasant and distinctively English smell.
-That makes sense.
-I love the smell of old books.
-You took the words out of my mouth.
Well, put that one down. Old books. That was on there.
Is there anything else you can think of that really means England to you?
Mm-hm. All of these things really do fit together. It would make a very, very nice smell.
Before they can create any fragrance, students at the nose school must absorb
a great body of knowledge about scented raw materials, man-made and natural elements,
animal, mineral and vegetable.
In midsummer, Jean Guichard takes his pupils to Provence to study lavender.
You know, they have to see the plant and maybe, you know, looking at the plant in the natural,
when they work with lavender, it is not something abstract.
That might give them, you know, some idea for, you know, a project or whatever.
Lavender is a key note in a whole class of scents - the ferns or fougeres.
There is one family very important. It is fougere, fern.
That family is very successful for men. A big example are the old Brut from Faberge,
Paco Rabanne for men, One Million.
I always tell them work, work, work, but don't work like a rat in a lab
because you won't have the ideas.
-Can you hear the bees?
-Ah, oui. The bees.
I like to be here alone with no noise around.
No people talking, no cars. Just to hear the...
To sleep in the middle of the field
and think about the next future lavender.
Not all ladies, but young ladies. Young ladies, yeah.
Beautiful young ladies.
So that is clary sage. Clary sage. We use that also in perfumery.
It is a raw material that is very successful for men's products.
And some people like, you know, that smell very much.
But very often we say it is a bit sweaty, it smells like sweat, but not female sweat. Male sweat.
Do you like the smell of it?
-No? Yes, you like?
Yes, usually it is very controversial.
After a few days in the sunshine, the students appreciate the value of getting out of the lab.
Jean-Claude Ellena is also out of the lab, looking for inspiration
and finding it in Paris.
'On the top of the Hermes boutique,
'on the roof, we have a small garden.
'Nobody knows from the streets that we have a garden in the top.
'It's a very peaceful place. It's another world.
'So I play with that.'
Ellena has made the relationship between man and nature a theme of his recent fragrances.
And we have a pear. Pear trees here. That smells wonderful.
We have magnolia. Magnolia, yeah?
These then will be the elements in the perfume Garden On The Roof,
next in a series of fragrances inspired by exotic gardens.
Back in the south, Ellena visits specialist chemical suppliers
to order minute quantities of raw materials for his experiments.
If any of these make it into his finished perfume,
the order will be measured in hundreds of kilos, costing thousands of euros.
Back at his desk in the woods, the juices start to flow.
Here begins the story.
And for me it's not a perfume yet.
Maybe I have to bring in this perfume
the feeling of the sun.
The feeling of the dew of the morning.
Once he starts, there's no stopping Ellena.
Ideas tumble out and technician Anne Maynard turns every one into a chemical sketch.
-Here are...all the... How do you say?
-And this is about three weeks' work.
-All of this is three weeks' work?
Per day, Jean-Claude can make...
..like, 10 or 12, maximum, tries like this.
-When you say you often clean it...?
-Because it's full.
-And I need to be...
-To keep them like this.
-I like to clean.
-Yes, but when you say clean I have a horrible feeling you mean throw them away.
-Any one of these could turn out to be a classic fragrance
-that the world would love.
-Yeah, but I have to decide.
-I have to decide.
-But...but some of those could be another Eau Sauvage or a Shalimar.
I'm very shocked by that cupboard.
In there. Great things, never to see the light of day.
'This is what makes great perfume so costly.
'The ingredients are expensive, development's a fortune
'and the creator kills all his babies.
'When it does emerge, this fragrance will become someone's scent signature,
'provoking memories of them whenever it's smelled for ever after.'
I'm outside of my parents' bedroom. She had like a dressing room,
my mother. Before she went out at night, there just would always be this lovely, warm smell.
It evokes in me...
..associations with glamour, of when my mum was getting ready.
A child's vision of a most beautiful princess. That was my mother.
And so, I suppose, it... that scent...
encapsulated not only memories of my mother, but...
also evoked feelings of safety and comfort, I suppose.
To work their magic, perfumers at the nose school must learn to recognise a vast palette
of scent notes.
In their three years here, they don't actually make any fragrance.
It's just one giant chemistry lesson.
First, I mean they've got to learn, you know, the raw materials. It's like the alphabet.
All scents are a combination of odorous chemical elements suspended in alcohol.
There's a lot to learn.
You have to memorise about 500 raw materials.
And to learn how to mix them in order to create something good.
Along with endless smelling, there are countless tests.
Quentin is the only student with no previous experience of chemistry.
What I don't like is when they come to see me without having worked enough.
Then they will lose time and I get upset.
He's been given the task of identifying individual ingredients in solution
and deciding their relative concentrations.
What amount did you have to find?
-10 for the coriander.
-Black pepper, five.
-That's OK as well.
-Nutmeg, I say 10.
-That's OK as well.
Missing a woody product, you know...
Not very far from cedar wood.
-Could it be kephalis?
-It is, yes. Very good.
-I had a really hard time finding them.
-He's a good student.
'My dream is to smell a perfume I have created on somebody who is in the street or subway or theatre.'
And that's...that's that's the dream.
Linda is further along the course and has a more complex task -
dissecting the chemical elements of accords or blends of notes.
Linda, she has learnt the raw materials. Now she learns how to mix them.
Hedione and Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde?
On this one,
in fact, there are three raw materials.
-And you have identified two out of three?
-So I identified eco essence...
-And isoraldeine 70.
-Yes, very good.
-And what is the third one?
-Linalyl acetate 114,
benzyl acetate 116, oil 117
and indoline 118.
Perfect. Very good. Very good.
So this one, it was difficult for you to find indoline?
I find a lot of them very difficult!
149 to 153?
I was missing one raw material.
If you don't know your raw materials perfectly, then you are losing your time.
The investment in this tiny student body is enormous.
They're recruited to fill specific positions in the Givaudan empire,
jobs that will be waiting for them when, if, they graduate.
Christopher Brosius is in London. He's researching its signature smells
for Sean Crowley's British scent.
'England, for me, is a real sense of eternity.'
-Lays me down with my mind she runs...
There's an underlying English smell here which I recognise as London.
Kind of dirty, urban smell.
It's been a while and things have changed.
The perfumer's scent memories are unreliable.
It's really just boring. The old ones had leather seats.
You know, so they had an inherent smell of their own.
I think from, you know, just like a decade or so of people riding in them
the leather was soaked with a much more interesting smell.
'It's changed a lot. There are a lot of things I've noticed that are very different.'
See now? It doesn't smell the same.
I was expecting a more diesel kind of smell.
-Never a frown with golden brown...
RUMBLE OF THUNDER
The scent of phonebooks hanging in the phone boxes.
They were always there on the chain, generally battered to hell.
A couple smelt absolutely dreadful. Apparently, there was no public gentleman's convenience nearby.
I realised that that phonebook smell is gone.
It's...just like the dodo. A thing of the past.
Client Sean Crowley was thinking mildewed frock coats and hansom cabs, but they're extinct.
At least the pubs are still clinging on.
Could I have a pint of Black Sheep, please?
'There is only the smell of beer in here.
'There is no longer the smell of smoke.
'I remember when I was much younger, the first pub that I ever went into, you could barely see the barkeep!'
It's a very London thing.
The problem is...
this is not something
that is going to translate well into something that can be worn.
Think about the scent of Stilton cheese. It's a wonderful smell.
You would not want to be anywhere near a person who smelled like Stilton cheese!
They're not things that you can really put on the human body
and it's gonna smell alluring in any way.
I have a client who's an actress with a director that she'd never worked with before.
Apparently, on the first day of rehearsal, he pulled her aside
and said, "Drinking isn't going to be a problem with you, is it?"
And she said, "No! Why do you ask?"
He said, "You really smell like whisky a lot."
And she said, "Oh, no, no! It's my perfume!"
And she had to bring him the bottle to show so that he would believe her.
And I thought, "Oh, you know, that's not something that I'd really considered before."
-But it's something to be mindful of.
-Was it one of your perfumes?
Alcohol is risky.
Dairy is a no no.
Sean Crowley's scent may be unattainable.
'The smell of a bus seat, the scent of wet London pavement,
'the inside of a taxi cab. You know, I need to be able to have all those little bits and pieces
'that can be assembled to create something that is really, for Sean,
'his ultimate London experience.'
Much of what perfumer and client were after has evaporated over time,
but there is one smell that will be forever England.
You know what? Different books from different countries smell slightly different from different periods.
English books have a very particular smell because it's so...
It really does kind of saturate things.
These are books that lived in libraries where it was humid
for decade upon decade upon decade.
For heaven's sake.
Or there was a wood fire that was burned routinely. All of that soaks into the paper, binding and glue.
These English books smell like England because that's where they are.
Could a book from the right era have the right smell?
Does an edition of Bleak House smell of old floorboards?
-We have some of Dickens' first editions.
-Interesting. Could I just smell one of those?
'What I'll be doing for Sean is creating things that are a London that no longer exists.'
Oh, I see!
'A PG Wodehouse experience of England.'
In September, Jean-Claude Ellena takes his ideas for the garden on the roof scent
to his employers in Paris.
This fragrance must be a liquid expression of quality, craft and provenance.
Wearers must smell it and know it's more than just expensive.
He may have complete creative freedom, but even Ellena has a client to please -
the general manager of Hermes Perfumes, Catherine Fulconis.
Ellena has brought two possible versions of his scent, romantically named 52 and 53.
Now Ellena reveals a surprise - a third scent idea,
something that survived the cleaning out of his cupboard.
The philosopher nose will return to his forest to adjust, refine and dream some more.
Christopher Brosius is about to offer thoughts on the smell of Britain to his client, Sean Crowley.
He's memorised the smells of London and recreated them with a mix of ingredients
sourced from chemical companies.
The army great coast that he mentioned was very intriguing to me,
although I know that fabric smells have been a big challenge to really get right.
It's one of those kinds of smells
that the perfume industry overlooks.
It's like they're not interested in the smell of wool or tweed or cotton or silk.
They want things that are pretty, like flowers, fruits, trees.
The challenge is always do the aroma chemicals exist
that I can use to put this together?
Cos for them it's about, naturally, what is commercially viable.
And what they... Commercially viable, in this country particularly, means easy.
"What can we make a lot of and sell a ton of without really having to do anything about it?" Lovin' that(!)
It's been five months since Sean Crowley was last here.
He's ready to smell Britain.
'It would be nice to have a little jar on a table and just pick it up
'and have a remembrance, but I'd really like it to be something that I could wear.
'I mean, I think that would be the ideal.'
So essentially what we're going to do is sit down and we'll start with the prime note
and play with a whole bunch of blotters and I'll make more notes
-so that the accords can be then specifically made to...
-To just him?
This is a tobacco absolute.
You can sort of see...
-..kind of like where that's going.
-It smells like a pipe after you've...
Let's have a whiff of the firewood, which is very much an English drawing room fireplace
that I thought might be some of the background for that men's club idea.
Oh, yeah. That's nice.
We didn't talk about gin very much. Any thoughts on that?
Cos I have to say that that is one scent that...
a lot of my English clientele, boy, do they get it!
-London dry gin...
It's funny. I was in a pub, a nice, old, proper English pub
and it was the first one I'd been into for a while, certainly since the smoking ban.
Well, that wonderful sort of fusty, smoky, tobacco-y,
cut a little piece off and take it home atmosphere has gone.
-They call that progress.
-We'll get that kind of like human carpet smell, why not?
I like again that faintly mouldy,
-It's like an animal smell.
-Absolutely right. You can smell it?
-Good. It's called wet sheep.
It's like the downmarket is just what you want sometimes.
You want the Cadbury smell. You want... What's my favourite one in England? Fairy Liquid!
-Those are important.
-I just noticed - porcelain?
-A tough note.
There will be more blending and shaping before the scent is ready,
but it's possible to smell a rough sketch now.
This is a lot.
-Somewhere in that cloud is England.
I'm definitely getting, like you said, lots of...
-..green, vegetable kind of...
-Is the chocolate in there? The Cadbury?
-That's great. Thank you.
-Sure. What I would need to do then is go back with these notes,
-further refine those core English ideas.
-I'll put those together into...perfume!
Perfume is always an art about time.
It takes times to create it,
it takes time to... think about it,
it takes time to really have it on the skin telling its story.
All of these things are about time.
In the modern world, time is a luxury that is not cheap.
'It's like having a suit made,
'but much longer! Having multiple fittings and going back
'and smelling and refining and tweaking.'
A bespoke perfume like this costs in excess of 2,000.
'It just adds one more layer to your life.
'You know, it's something that you look for that you didn't look for before, in this case smells,
'fragrances. And, I guess, fragrances from unlikely places.'
And so I really hope that maybe through this
we can actually find something that reeks of England.
It's going to be a long haul, but I look forward to it.
At the Parisian nose school, the students are aquiver.
They're about to meet a famous old boy, a man who once was what they are now.
Outside, master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena is just another face in the crowd.
In here, he's a god.
One of the big perfumers. Wow.
It's like meeting a celebrity.
I was the first student of the school. The first one!
That was terrible.
I know a little bit about the school.
All of you know who is Jean-Claude. Our school has trained a lot of perfumers.
We think 30% of the perfumes created in the world were created by perfumers trained here.
-Unfortunately, that doesn't mean one in every three perfumes in the world is sold by Givaudan!
We train some perfumers and, unfortunately, I hope you will not follow that example,
some of them leave us. Jean-Claude is an example.
Oh, thank you!
Thank you. Thank you, Jean.
Today they are going to leave the school and work for Givaudan.
What advice would you give them?
You have to believe in yourself and at the same time you need to have doubt because...
It means that you are creating feeling.
If you have no doubts,
you have a problem, I believe.
If you are too sure about yourself,
you close your mind.
And I'm sure that the customer can feel it.
So be sure, but at the same time be open.
Not easy. And I'm sure the customer can understand that.
Guichard is taking a risk inviting Ellena.
He's a star, but he's also a maverick who has written his own rules.
The students might get ideas.
He takes you because you are an artist and he likes to work with you because you represent what he is not.
I have no brief. No market test.
No market test on the perfume, on the bottle, no market test at all.
For me, marketing has nothing to do with the art. ELLENA LAUGHS
What I do in Hermes is what I do for me. The signature of the Hermes perfume is my signature.
The trainees have yet to make a fragrance,
but they've had a glimpse of the world of creative expression a perfumer can enjoy.
We could have spent all day with him, probably, just listening to everything he had to say.
There are so many things to think about now and to digest.
It's like new universes that open for us.
When he's talking about the details of how far he can go in his work,
it's something that we dream about and we hope to be at one day.
They may be destined for a different world from the man in the woods,
but their mission is essentially the same -
to create something that is more than just a nice smell,
a fragrance that has the power to inspire the memories of the future.
Such memories... come flying back to me.
As far away as my 18th birthday,
which was just after the war had finished.
Beautiful warm summer's evening
and this just gently wafting up from the flowers in the night air.
Oh, lots of lovely times.
I remember we used to go dancing, which was quite a lot.
It always found its way behind my ears or on my wrist.
Promises, promises, I guess.
I wore this perfume
when I got married and obviously it accompanied me on our honeymoon.
No matter what, this is the one.
It could only be French, couldn't it?
Next time, perfumers seek big opportunities in new economies.
European and the American business have not enjoyed tremendous success. These regions are exploding!
'It's not just about fine fragrance.'
-Is that the magical moment?
-It's one of those.
-'The secret is decoding local tastes and pandering to them.'
-She'll love this one.
'Tales from a liquid gold rush. Scents and sensibilities.'
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011
Email [email protected]
Perfumers are molecular chemists and sensual creatives who seek to trigger pleasurable memories and associations through our most primitive sense. We follow three different types of perfumer - or nose - to find out how they do it and what it takes to become one.
Jean Claude Ellena is in-house nose at French brand Hermes. We spend time with him in his studio in the woods, musing, sniffing and then creating a fragrance inspired by a secret garden. American Christopher Brosius is the Proust of perfume, a punk star with a mission to create scents that that can speak to us of times past - whether through the smell of tomato leaves or musty books. Jean Guichard is the principal of the Parisian school for noses. There are more astronauts than there are perfumers - so how does he spot the right stuff in students who may not be aware they have it?