Brand guide: Le Jardin Retrouvé

We thought we’d try something a little different today and instead of an in-depth review of a single scent, take a wider angle on a whole brand. Our aim is to make your fragrance journey easier, so do let us know what you think of this approach in the comments or via email on the contact page.

The vibe

Well blended, classic-type scents, sometimes with an unexpected slant, Le Jardin Retrouvé offers the vibe of the golden era of perfumes. There’s lots of big sillage here, bold florals and bright citrus, but nothing is tacky, it’s all in the best possible, classical taste. If you think Hollywood starlets in the 1930s and 40s, Marlene Dietrich and Betty Grable, these scents evoke that sort of high glamour and romance.

The brand

Le Jardin Retrouvé were formed in 1975, in France, by Yuri Gutsatz. Yuri was born in Russia and travelled to France as a young man, working for a number of perfume houses before teaming up with his wife to launch his own. Fast forward 41 years later and the brand was revived and reinvented by Yuri’s son and daughter-in-law who have paid close attention to Yuri’s formulas and expertise. Quality and care are paramount to the modern-day team, who carefully mature and macerate their fragrances before bottling them, following practices set out by the master perfumer himself.

Le Jardin Retrouvé offer samples which are refunded the first time you purchase a full bottle. We can’t heartily recommend this practice enough, more perfume houses should take note!

The scents

The brand carry seven scents, to which they are about to add three more limited edition perfumes, following their really interesting Perfume Revival Project 2018.

Citron Boboli

Listed notes: Lemon, petitgrain, orange, galbanum, black pepper.

We expected Citron Boboli to be the zestiest of the bunch, but it wasn’t and that was a bit of a surprise! This is citrusy, but its spicier, almost creamy at times. Citron Boboli starts off with a lemon note, but its warmed and tempered by the pepper which only gets stronger as the perfume wears. There’s a clove-like flavour to the whole scent, but it really dances around your nose beautifully. It’s restrained, understated and very wearable.

Cuir de Russie

Listed notes: Ylang-ylang, violet, patchouli, cinnamon, juniper wood and styrax.

A couple of people had already recommended this scent to us so we had high hopes which weren’t disappointed. It starts with gentle violets and a leathery tone. It’s soft, but fresh, and really optimistic. As it wears it beefs up a bit, and becomes more and more delectable. There’s a dew-on-grass dampness about this scent which made us think of riding horseback through the morning fields (not that we do much of that in urban Yorkshire though). The scent becomes cooler in tone as it wears and is very beautiful and masculine, in a sexy sort of way.

Eau de Delices

Listed notes: Lemon, tangerine, bergamot, petitgrain, oak moss, lavender.

Eau de Delices is very crisp, bright citrus, really clean smelling. It immediately made us think of the sparkling slice of lemon in a gin and tonic. It’s full of energy but isn’t at all scratchy or aggressive on the nose which we really liked. It edges more towards the masculine as it wears, but in such a way that it wouldn’t put off anyone who wanted to adorn themselves with it. This is a dreamy afternoon spent sipping sparkling drinks by the river.

Rose Trocadero

Listed notes: Bulgarian rose, blackcurrant, clove, musk.

Rose Trocadero is a really sparkly rose; rose cordial or fizzy rose water. It has a very sweet, Turkish delight sugariness about it, especially in the first half of the wear. It’s not a totally obvious rose because of the fact that it is so almost gourmandy in tone, and we missed a spike of greenery in it. It becomes creamier and softer as it matures so we enjoyed the second half of its wear more than the first.

Sandalwood Sacre

Listed notes: Sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, musk, balsam, petit grain, coriander.

Sandalwood Sacre confused us, but we liked it. We were expecting a huge woody bouquet, but actually what we got was something much more refined, restrained, and elegant. At times it has an almost toffee like richness to it, but is light, airy, and oh so well balanced. It was this scent which mostly evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood vibe to us. It smelled like 1940s glamour and intrigue somehow. As it matures on the skin it becomes creamier and woodier towards the base with a bolder edge. Intriguing, and definitely one to go back to.

Tubereuse Trianon

Listed notes: Tuberose, coriander, ylang-ylang.

Crikey, this was about the biggest tuberose sillage we’ve ever experienced, you can smell it a country mile away. Definitely one for die-hard fans of tuberose who don’t mind scent-marking the whole room with their perfume. Yes its big and bold, but in the dry down the ylang-ylang comes out more and it become very beautiful indeed. The top was a bit much for our tastes, but the dry down, when it had been applied sparingly was absolutely gorgeous.

Verveine d’Ete

Listed notes: Basil, lemon, bergamot, eucalyptus, vetiver, oak moss.

This was what we found to be the most zesty perfume of them all. It’s lemony, bright, and shot through with greenery. The gorgeous oak moss undercurrent gives depth and complexity. Its cheerful, vibrant and full of energy. As it wears it becomes slightly chalky, which we really liked. One of our favourites of the whole bunch, a really good example of a citrus done beautifully well.

The Perfume Revival Project

As a result of the Perfume Revival Project, three scents are going to be added to the line in limited quantities: Oriental Sans Souci (200 bottles), Jasmin Majorelle (150 bottles) and Bois Tabac Virginia (150 bottles). They’re available now on the website, to ship from late October onwards.

Oriental Sans Souci (Black dot)

This was the winner of the project. Its a complex, masculine-leaning fragrance which changes every time we test it, revealing new facets. It’s heavy on the spices and we detected peppercorns and clove, cardamon and even nutmeg, which are contrasted against a sharper citrus note and a much softer patchouli. It’s quite different and unusual, but one you need to test because different elements seem to shine on different people. Or at least that’s what we found in our office anyway!

Jasmine Majorelle (Yellow dot)

This is a frenetic floral with boundless vibrating energy. Simpler, perhaps, than its peers, it’s a very joyful jasmine-heavy scent which reminded us of the way one of our grandmas smelled when we were children (in a really nice, nostalgic and quite glamorous way). It softens beautifully and goes much creamier as it wears. This one is much more feminine-leaning and definitely one for lovers of energetic, sweet florals.

Bois Tabac Virginia (Red dot)

A dense, interesting scent with hints of leather, woods and tobacco. There’s also something expansive in the mix like eucalyptus perhaps. Another complicated scent which translates well to a modern marketplace, this fragrance has a pleasant density and solidity about it that we really liked. At times it goes a bit soapy, but that was nice too – a sort of old-fashioned, luxurious shaving foam type vibe, definitely hits of “clean” about it.

The verdict

Le Jardin Retrouvé offer classic scents done well, with that old school, quality vibe. They particularly excel at citruses which are abundant in their collection. Stand out scents have to be Cuir de Russie for its obvious quality and craftsmanship and Verveine d’Ete which is just so utterly joyful and moreish.

Buy it

Le Jardin Retrouvé’s collection is available via their web boutique. Prices for bottles of perfume range from €35 – €155.

Exclusively for our readers and for a limited time of one week only (from today), you can claim free shipping on your order when you use code ‘TheSniff’ at checkout. Online shopping just got even more fun!

Le Jardin Retrouvé kindly provided us with a sample pack of their main scents. We participated in the Perfume Revival Project at our own cost however (participants all paid postage in order to receive each of the four perfumes under consideration).

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