Monday 13 July 2020

JASMIN MAJORELLE by Le Jardin Retrouvé

One of the facts about perfumery is that everybody has very definite opinions on certain ingredients. This can often be because of a questionable fragrance in our youth, that possibly featured a particular flower, or even the memories that it may conjure up. It’s this idea of jumping to conclusions without smelling that can occasionally see us miss out on some wonderful perfumes. One of the most “judged” ingredients has to be jasmine. This potent flower has been used for centuries but not always with a delicate hand. One man that did know how to tame it was Yuri Gutsatz, and Jasmin Majorelle is a testament to his skill.

Yuri Gutsatz was a master perfumer and the founder of Le Jardin Retrouvé. After a long and successful career in the world of the big fragrance houses, he realised that the industry was going through a dramatic change, and it wasn’t one that he wanted to be a part of. He recognised that marketing was becoming equal, if not more valued, than the actual perfumes that were being created. He also saw that the cost of ingredients had become more important than the quality. So, in 1975, he walked away from Roure Bertrand Fils and set up what is recognised as the first niche fragrance house.

The company achieved an impressive worldwide following but, after the death of Yuri in 2005 and then his wife Arlette in 2012, Le Jardin Retrouvé momentarily slipped into the shadows. Private orders were being fulfilled, but it looked as though this really could be the end. However, Yuri’s son Michel took on the challenge to revive the company, in a real “phoenix from the ashes” story, and along with his wife Clara relaunched Le Jardin Retrouvé in October 2016. Seven fragrances were rechristened, but the formulas left intact, and a whole new audience were able to rediscover the true beginning of niche perfumery.

Jump to the end of 2017 and the company had to decide on the next fragrance to rerelease. They still had a good selection of original scents in storage and so these were opened, smelled, and discussed. Lys was discounted, as were Vetyver and Chèvrefeuille, but the ultimate choice was Yuri’s 1981 Jasmine. In the end, Michel and Clara actually gave the final decision over to their customers in the form of the Perfume Revival Project. They recreated archive fragrances, of which Jasmine was one, and customers were asked to vote. Whilst it didn’t win, Jasmine was released as a limited edition and is every floral lover’s dream.

Originally described as “a luxurious bouquet,” Jasmin Majorelle opens with a combination of bergamot-like citrus and a rush of the bright white star floral. However, the support of ylang and carnation add both a fruity aspect and also a clove-like edge to the blend. The bouquet continues with touches of orange blossom but an unusual aromatic addition of coriander helps to give a foliage quality to the perfume. The jasmine in here gives a more sensual effect rather than animalic and, with a final touch of sweetened sage and even a hint of heliotrope, shows that Yuri was at the top of his game.

Jasmin Majorelle is available from the Le Jardin Retrouvé website at priced at €102 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Clara Feder]

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


  1. An excellent, and insightful review, as always Stephan. I never actually smelled the Jasmin Majorelle, but it does sound wonderful. It sounds as if he has done for Jasmin, what he did for Tuberose, in Tuberose Trianon, and Rose in Rose Trocadero. Until I smelled the TT, the only tuberose that I liked was Lutens' Tuberose Criminelle.

    1. Hello Barry, Yuri was definitely skilled at using florals, and hopefully more will be released over time. Best, Stephan