Starting the year with a flash of optimism brought by a fragrance which catapults us forward to springtime, a mossy bed of greenery and a stroll through the forest.
Bergamot, incense, lentisque (mastic resin), aquatic notes, fig accord, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar.
At the moment, with the lingering threat of covid and the dreary winter days, in North Yorkshire at least it can feel a bit as if we are trapped in some bland version of Narnia when the White Witch was in control, only without the snow to prettify everything. Always drizzle and never spring. Perfume, however, can provide us with some pleasant respite from the grey weather. So step forward Mousse Arashiyama to do just that.
Mousse Arashiyama, a new release from Le Jardin Retrouve, opens bright, green and bursting with the optimism of spring. This is the scent of those thick, leathery green shoots which are the first adventurers to venture forth once winter recedes, the first signs of new life. There’s nothing tentative about this opening though, it’s forceful and determined. The bergamot gives a sour tang but it sits alongside vedant greenery which calls to mind a carpet of snowdrop leaves but yet without their floral heads.
Mousse Arashiyama takes off once the top notes have faded and immerses us in a riot of energetic and vivacious elements. There’s a significant level of complexity in the heart of the fragrance and it takes a while to wrap your brain around. A waft of incense floats over a more aromatic herbal facet, something like celery seed lends a dry tone, and a vein of a metallic, salty tang starts to ribbon its way through the composition. The fragrance moves from being out sniffing the greenery of spring, to something which is a little more harnessed, a little more captured but still complex – perhaps spring as seen in the powders and potions of an apothecary’s shop. Spring which has been distilled, dried, powdered.
On paper, the fragrance smells much more figgy than it does on my skin. On the blotter it is rounder, fruitier, a little juicier, whilst my skin plays up the drier elements and the dusty aromatics. Definitely a scent to try on your own skin too before you buy.
Mousse Arashiyama feels like a fragrance which is front and middle loaded with the bulk of its composition. A burst of greenery and a complex and full heart are followed with a much quieter and more restrained base. There is the lingering fig element, particularly on the blotter, and in the background, thrumming along nicely sits the oakmoss.
If the start and middle of the fragrance are the bountiful energy of spring, then the end of it leaves us at the beginning of summer. Calmer, less showy, its ebullience a little faded, the base is the least forcefully defined part of the scent. On the blotter the fig becomes almost apple-like and crisp, with a slightly sweaty, slightly metallic undertone. It’s interest remains. On my skin it is much drier, more mossy and much warmer than the blotter would suggest.
Like all the fragrances of Le Jardin Retrouve, Mousse Arashiyama has its roots in the vintage formulas of the founder, but of all their scents this one has translated to the modern perfume market most successfully yet without losing that vintage-inspired feel. It is that duality which is interesting, and it is the sort of fragrance which would appeal to those who love green scents, those who love the oakmoss base – restrained though those must be now – or indeed anyone who wants a scent which is clean, easy to wear, and versatile.
The other stuff
The longevity of Mousse Arashiyama is moderate, lasting four to five hours following application. The projection of the scent is also on the polite side, going to somewhere between hugging and handshake distances – although one can’t help but imagine that in the warmth it would be carried further.
Mousse Arashiyama isn’t an obtrusive scent. There’s something quite polite about it, even in its boldest and most complex phases and as such it feels like it would be an excellent workhorse of a scent, doing daytime wear, office wear and frequent wears all very comfortably. If you’re looking to add something green to your collection then you could do a lot worse than look to this considered and crafted scent.
We’ve previously provided a brand guide to Le Jardin Retrouve should you wish to delve further into their line up.
Le Jardin Retrouvé are a house which appear both classical and traditional in their approach. Originally founded in 1975, but relaunched in 2016, the house uses formulas left by the founding perfumer – Yuri Gutsatz – but reimagined for a modern market by Maxence Moutte.
The house has recently enjoyed an update of their packaging and website which brings them a more contemporary feel and aesthetic but the character of their fragrances retains a sense of the grand tradition of European perfumery and each individual fragrance has that kind of more traditional, well crafted and timelessly elegant approach.
Le Jardin Retrouvé produce a line of fragrances, scented candles, room scents, and a small selection of body products.
The house has also given thought to sustainable practice, and environmental impact and they outline their commitments to these on their website.
Mousse Arashiyama is available from Le Jardin Retrouvé web boutique where it is priced at €42 for 15ml or €98 for 50ml of EdP. You can opt to have the fragrance in a traditional cardboard box package, or supplied in a recycled fabric pouch if you prefer.
We were very kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by the brand, with no strings attached. We thank then for their kindness.
Banner image of forest by jplenio on Pixabay, other images by The Sniff.