I saw a brilliant programme about perfume last night. I am so envious of creative people who are lucky enough to find their talent or niche early on and can set about on a path that will be always be clear and fulfilling. The doc featured two particular maverick makers – both very different: Jean Claude Ellena who works with Hermes from a virtually hermetic existence in the French countryside. He has a devoted client on tap and is responsible for some of the modern classics. The other, Christopher Brosius is almost an anti-perfumer who reacts against the sanitised over-waxed-n-snipped-mainstream American culture. The film featured a very dejected Brosius researching a bespoke scent for an American Anglophile – who was rather comedic himself. He was dismayed at the lack of diesel fumes, no smoke hanging in the pubs, no ammonia wafts or old phone books in the telephone boxes, no leather in the cabs. Clearly hasn’t been in town for a while. So all his romantic cues were lost to history and he was left to create his own romantic version of England of damp tweed and wet shaggy dog.
Anyway, its an evocative programme about a subject I am quietly passionate about. Its paced well and can be caught here for a little while longer. You should also check out the history of the luxury hotel programme from the sale Guilty Pleasures series on BBC4.
If you’re keen to find out a little more The Royal Institution sometimes repeat a popular lecture about perfume so keep your eyes peeled here.