Following the work of perfumer Jean Claude Ellena, I came upon The Different Company, a small niche brand which was started by him with the sole objective revealed in its name: to be different!
In one of his aphorisms, Jean Claude had professed that classical perfumery although beautiful is too perfumey for today's sensibility, much like reading Stendhal. In his quest not to understand the market though -antithetically to what major brands do, running focus groups tests for their every product- he has always been about making the market instead.
Artistic freedom obviously meant everything and in order to discourage copycats and lowly competition Ellena along with his collaborator Thierry de Baschmkoff, a relative of his and engineer-turned-bottle-designer, opted for the most smart stratagem: make the juice too expensive, too top quality.
The Different Company opened its doors in 2000 with four stunning scents: Osmanthus, a fragrance based on the precious little Chinese flower with its divine apricoty smell, Rose Poivrée which Chandler Burr has famously -and complimentary- attributed to Satan's wife in Hell, Divine Bergamot, sunny brilliance and dirty hints under the sun of Calabria and Bois d'Iris, an extraordinarily expensive in the making woody orris fragrance fit for an exiled princess.
When Jean Claude got his in-house position at Hermès in 2004, the baton was passed to his daughter, Céline Ellena. She went on to compose both rich and decadent juices such as Jasmin de Nuit as well as diaphanous organza veils ~such as the fragrances in the ‘Explorations sensorielles’ (=sensory explorations) line that is essentially a garden trio: parfum d'Ailleurs & Fleurs (of flowers and beyond), parfum de Charmes & Feuilles (of leaves and charm), and parfum des Sens & Bois (of woods and the senses). And last but not least, the incredible Sel de Vétiver, inspired by Céline tasting water aromatized with vetiver roots at an eastern friend's appartment in Paris.
Their latest Sublime Balkiss, inspired by the queen of Sheba and a modern chypre composition no less, has been having the perfume circles talking and anticipating. (notes of violet, blackcurrant, Bulgarian Rose, blueberries, blackberries, clusters of lilac and a special fraction of the essential oil of patchouli, highlighting its cocoa powder aspect)
It seems we have been richly spoiled! And to top it all of, they have opened a new boutique in Paris.
Niche fragrance brand The Different Company has just opened a stunning new boutique in Paris, in the heart of the trendy Marais quarter. For the occasion, they have paired up with make-up brand Maison Calavas, who is sharing the space. Maison Calavas is specialized in top-of-the-line make-up, with a wide range of palettes presented in colorful shagreen, lizard and snake-skin boxes. 10 rue Ferdinand Duval, Paris 4è – (+ 33) (0)1 42 78 19 34
Their own website is still great to navigate through.
Info & pic via Osmoz and The Different Company