Thursday 3 May 2018


When a company chooses to release a new fragrance it usually goes through various hoops before it hits the shelves. From evaluation to IFRA compliance checks, most of these happen behind closed doors with the first glimpse being reserved for focus groups. Le Jardin Retrouvé have chosen a different approach for the launch of their latest fragrance and have invited perfume fans to vote for their favourite out of four options via their #PerfumeRevivalProject. Using original formulas discovered in Yuri Gutsatz’s archive, Le Jardin Retrouvé’s offerings run the gamut from solar floral to oriental, but which one did I choose?

The history of Le Jardin Retrouvé is pretty well known but what was a surprise to the family was that the founder, Yuri Gutsatz, had kept meticulous records of all of his unused creations. Recently discovered in a storage box, the seed was sown to release a “new” fragrance that had never been smelled before. The decision as to which one would be launched was to be given over to the fans in a risky, but fascinating, gamble. Once they had signed up to the website,, the four colour coded contenders were dispatched and from these they got to vote for their favourite. So, let’s look at the fragrances.

We'll start with the yellow formula from 1981, which is a beautifully constructed perfume built around jasmine. This is a bright white floral that is given extra body by the addition of ylang ylang but enhanced by an orange blossom and carnation pairing. The sage and coriander in the heart is smoothed by what smells like tonka in the base and perhaps even a touch of heliotrope? It would be a wonderful addition to the range but I feel that recent jasmine releases from other companies could possibly overshadow this one if it were chosen.

We’ll jump back to 1973 now and the green formula, which is an interpretation of the vivid blue flowering gentian plant. It is wonderfully aromatic and sees the quality of bitter gentian oil blending with bergamot and thyme to produce an almost cologne-like freshness. The use of marigold helps to add a green fruity note, which is slightly reminiscent of apple, and the composition is finished with a dose of white musk and ambrette. I also get a final touch of orris that completes the powdery dry down and makes for a wonderfully uplifting scent.

Next on the list is the striking oriental black formula from 1963. As you would expect there is a large dose of vanilla and rose from the outset but the dry down is definitely owned by an oakmoss, patchouli and vetiver combination. The bergamot is gloriously prevalent throughout but unfortunately there appears to be a lemon and clove pairing that seems to dominate and, regrettably, throw the balance out. This very much feels like a work in progress and it is a shame that Yuri never revisited it.

We end with the red formula that dates back to 1967, although it was first started in 1954. This was Yuri Gutsatz’s attempt to play with the classic fougère structure. All of the expected ingredients seem to be here, lavender, vetiver, oakmoss, geranium and coumarin, but the addition of tobacco and clove beautifully enhances the mossy base. The lavender in here really pushes the camphorous quality, making it incredibly addictive, and this is the fragrance that I couldn’t stop smelling. Le Jardin Retrouvé haven't provided full ingredient lists with the samples and so the reviews are based on my own impressions.

If you would still like to be part of the #PerfumeRevivalProject then you can visit and register to receive the four samples. Voting closes on 6th June and then we’ll find out which one is the winner. [Samples provided by Le Jardin Retrouvé]

* I worked freelance for Le Jardin Retrouvé in 2017 but all opinions in this article are my own.


  1. Blimey you're good at this! I liked Red the best too,(sandalwood to me) but I'm going back to all the others before I can be sure. I got leather from "Black" but it may be a melange of butchness that fooled me.

    1. Hello Samantha, without a list of ingredients we all smell differently. It’s so liberating. Best, Stephan