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Handshake – Jean-Claude Ellena


One is frequently compared to a watercolour artist or a chamber music player because of his elegant, simple, and gentle approach to perfume-making and the other is known as a fragrance editor and the father of niche perfumery. Jean-Claude Ellena and Frédéric Malle are gentlemen who’ve built a solid relationship on mutual respect and, of course, admiration, from their first handshake in Mr. Malle’s office to their latest olfactive project. What’s the fruit of this friendship and working partnership, you ask? Scents that helped change our perfume consumption amid the mass marketing of fragrances, starting with ‘Angéliques sous la pluie’ in 2000 and continuing with ‘Cologne bigarade’ in 2001 and ‘L’eau d’hiver’ in 2003.



Over the years Jean-Claude Ellena, who can be defined as one of the biggest masters in the perfume industry, has been encouraged to express himself to the fullest by Frédéric Malle, who pushes Mr. Ellena into taking risks, even when that means playing around with hot spices. Starting out as a challenge, their latest creation, ‘Heaven Can Wait’, envelops the skin just like a warm ever-lasting embrace, with spicy notes of pimento, ambrette, clove, carrot seed, and ever so beautiful iris. ‘The message I wanted to send with this perfume is that it’s never too late to fall in love’, said Jean-Claude Ellena commenting on the inspiration behind ‘Heaven Can Wait’. 



Through their hard work, the two gentlemen have not only managed to bottle the most refined seduction but also reinterpreted a classic theme in French perfumery, and they couldn’t be any prouder: ‘When I first smelled ‘Heaven Can Wait’, I said to myself: ‘Well done, Jean-Claude!’, told us at The Greatest Magazine the master perfumer during the fragrance’s launch event at Lake Como’s Villa Sola Cabiati. What else to add but a warning to the faint of heart? This perfume is bound to draw you in and remind you of what love feels like, so get ready for a journey to the intimacy of a private heaven.



Photographer Simon – Talent Jean-Claude Ellena – Interview by Marco Martello