Clara – Le Jardin Retrouvé Blog



Yuri Gutsatz was one of the first perfumers to enjoy complete independence in sourcing his ingredients. His suppliers were all personally selected by him, from the growers he met in India to the respected Grasse based company of Argeville. The photo above shows an original invoice to Yuri from Argeville, dated 1983. You can see his “shopping list,” including pure lavender essence, distilled cistus (also known as rock rose), neroli, two types of jasmine, vetiver, patchouli and ylang ylang. In some cases, Yuri was ordering up to two kilograms of these exquisite perfume materials.  One can only imagine the sensory thrill of opening such beautiful ingredients from the fields of Grasse.

Not only do the descriptions of the materials seem to bring scent alive on the page, but the beautifully created logo is a pleasure to behold. It’s changed now to something a little more modern, but we still value Argeville as one of our trusted expert suppliers. (and we secretly prefer the 1983 logo!)

More often these days, people want to be informed before they buy their fragrance and beauty products. Where do the ingredients come from? Who grows them? How are they made into perfume? All these questions are important and deserve answers.

Our ingredients often begin life in the soil of their natural habitat and come to us from the specialist producers who tend them. If our perfumes could tell stories, they would be full of exotic colour and far flung lands. From our tuberose absolute to our Indian Mysore sandalwood, we can account for every single drop. 

Keeping it in The Family

Many of our trusted suppliers are small family businesses, just like ours. These are the  independent suppliers that Yuri formed a working relationship with in the 1960s. Today the next generation of Yuri’s family works with the next generation of theirs to bring you timeless fragrances from their natural habitats. When you work from family to family, not only do you trust and respect each other, but every detail is accounted for.

photo by Brigitte Rivoire-Chevalier

A Perfume Is Born

Our perfumes contain a high percentage of natural ingredients, sourced from specialist producers from all over the world. Our suppliers pick the freshest raw ingredients and process them  into the finest absolutes, hydrolates and essences. This is what we receive at our lab and this is what goes into the perfume you wear.

 The photo you see above was taken in India by Brigitte Rivoire-Chevalier, who was Yuri’s assistant in Paris.

Our Heritage Makes us Different

The link between our Maison de parfum then and now remains strong and unbroken. Yuri was highly respected as a perfumer and we adhere to both his methods and formulas in order to stay true to his legacy. 

Here at Le Jardin Retrouvé, we follow closely in Yuri’s footsteps. Using his exact methods distinguishes us from other perfume houses. Each perfume has been reconstructed by the expert hand of Maxence Moutte. Our fragrance concentrate that Maxence assembles in our Paris lab matures for three weeks and then is sent to macerate in alcool for three weeks. Nothing is rushed to get the perfect result. 

This is the story of every bottle. This is our Maison de parfum.

Feature photo by photo by Brigitte Rivoire-Chevalier

All of us have our own imaginary garden deep within us.  Have you found yours?

Here is the story of the garden of Yuri Gutsatz, poet, perfumer and founder of Le Jardin Retrouvé.

Yuri was a Russian born in 1914, who was looking for a haven in a world in turmoil, where the future seemed uncertain, much like it is today.He imagined being able to offer everyone a space where they would feel protected, meet and unite in the face of adversity.

This space could not, of course, be physical, because Yuri was, above all, a poet.

As fate would have it, it was the world of perfumery that attracted him when he came to France in 1933, after a long journey through Europe that took him from St. Petersburg to Paris, via Berlin.  He joined Parfums Mury, and later Roure Bertrand, where he was steeped in the extraordinary tradition of French perfumery where perfumers are committed to creating fragrances of exceptional quality.

Yuri’s colourful journey through life was inspired by his devotion to his family and a love for the France that had welcomed him. Having created perfumes for Estee Lauder, Mary Quant and Emanuel Ungaro (to name but a few), and also having written poems, and translated Russian poets, Yuri founded Le Jardin Retrouvé, the first-ever niche perfume brand, in 1975.

He dedicated it to all who have an imaginary garden in their hearts: to anyone with a secret garden that helps them to persevere in the face of uncertainty.

Le Jardin Retrouvé envelops us with a sense of wellbeing, soothes us with fragrances that evoke memories and desires, offers us moments to be shared, to experience together. It is far removed from what modern society expects us to be, or what it expects from us.

Yuri wanted to return this sacred dimension back to perfumery, because it is, like poetry, a direct medium of communication with what is the most spiritual in us, the most secret, the strongest.  This dimension is one we need more than ever today.

The perfumes from Le Jardin Retrouvé are meant for the dreamers. Of the heart.  The dreamers who act with determination and whose guiding principles are integrity, authenticity, profound truth drawn from deep within us, and the will to bring about a better world.

Clara Feder, May 2016

The photo above was taken in the 1950s and shows Arlette and Yuri Gutsatz in India, where Yuri’s work took them for six years. They were a close knit couple who remained devoted to each for over six decades, only parted by Yuri’s death in 2005. Arlette was a constant support to Yuri throughout his career, from post war Paris to the twenty first century. Their love was truly legendary and she, his inspiration and muse. Without Arlette, our maison de parfum would not be what it is today.

Here’s a picture of Yuri (far left) during his years in India. He was posted there in 1956 by his employer, Louis Amic, to establish a production plant for perfume ingredients on behalf of the famous Tata Group.

It was a huge responsibility and undertaking, and Yuri with his loyal wife Arlette, moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) for six years. This turned out to be a valuable experience when he eventually decided to go it alone almost twenty years later.

Many of the small family businesses he met out there later supplied Le Jardin Retrouve (also a small family business!) with their authentic ingredients. Let’s just say that our sandalwood travels a long way before it reaches us!

The Met in New York is world famous for its culture. Exhibitions, opera and the sheer spectacle of this landmark make it a beloved must-see in NYC.  Back in 2015, The Met was to play host to an exhibition called China: Through the Looking Glass, showcasing the world’s early fascination with all things “Chinoiserie”, fragrance included.  There was just one problem. Nobody could find the original 1913 fragrance Nuit de Chine from the Maison de Paul Poiret.  More sleuthing unearthed the name of a young perfumer called Yuri Gutsatz who had been tasked with updating forty Poiret formulas just as WWII broke out.  Yuri had preserved the original formula at the Osmotheque, (which he co-founded). Thanks to his foresight,   visitors  to the exhibition could smell 1913 Nuit de Chine as they visited China; Through The Looking Glass exhibition in 2015, over one hundred years later .  You can read more here from the New York Times online article.

Some perfume lovers still regard synthetics with suspicion, but did you know that synthetics have been used since the birth of modern perfumery?

Many of your favourite flowers have a scent that cannot be extracted and so must be created synthetically.  For example, think of the extravagant beauty of honeysuckle, violets, lily of the valley, cherry blossom, wild rose and wisteria. Just imagining them fills your mind with bright colours! However, it is nigh on impossible for a perfumer to extract their natural aromas and it therefore has to be replicated in a lab. Doesn’t sound very poetic, does it?  But the sublime results speak for themselves.

How is it done?

 An “ Isolat” is a molecule  which is extracted from essential oils and replicated to create just a fraction of a scent. They come from nature, but need a lot of scientific help to get noticed. Synthetic molecules are blended with naturals so that the scent of the flower can be produced.

In 1830 a violet molecule was created (alpha-isomethyl-ionone) in the Russian perfumery industry.  You can find this in Le Jardin Retrouvé’s own Cuir de Russie .

In 1874, the first synthetic aldehyde was made for the first time and the reasons were purely economic. The Guerlain family tasked a group of German chemist with  creating a vanillin molecule, which was subsequently used in Vol de Nuit. In fact vanillin is produced from a combination of tree bark and by-products from the paper industry. You would never guess this from the scent of such a beautiful classic as Vol de Nuit

These are just two examples that stretch back to the very earliest beginnings of fragrance and as you can see, synthetics are created with a great deal of care and expertise to do the job when nature can’t.

Did you know that Yuri Gutsatz once fragranced the world famous Paris Opera House? Maurice Lehmann, then director of the Paris Opera, gave him the task of perfuming the theatre during Act 3 of Rameau’s Indes Galantes (Ballet des Roses) This fragrant opera ran for THREE YEARS.

Yes, this is the same opera house where Gaston Leroux set his novel, the Phanton of the Opera. Did you also know that there really is an underground lake underneath the opera house? What an experience it must have been to have sight, scent and sound all at once with such history above and beneath you. No other perfumer had a life quite like Yuri’s!

Did you know that Yuri was the nose behind Miss Lentheric eau de toilette? The fragrance was launched at Glyndebourne in England and Yuri, as the perfumer, was of course invited. On this occasion, he had to leave his beloved Arlette at home in Paris, although they never enjoyed being parted. Miss Lentheric is now sadly discontinued but was a popular perfume for several years after its launch. You can still find it on eBay if you’re lucky, as it has become a collector’s item, like many of Yuri’s fragrances, including PM for Mary Quant and Chromatics for Estee Lauder.

Underneath Yuri Gutsatz’s matinee-idol good looks there beat the heart of a poet and a true romantic.

Yuri married his beloved Arlette in 1945, and wrote poems and love letters to her that she kept until her death in 2012, seven years after Yuri himself passed away. Theirs was a match made in Heaven, raising three sons (can you identify Michel on the above picture?) and supporting each other throughout their artistic careers. It’s especially impressive to think that Yuri wrote poetry in French, when it was his second language, and one of four that he spoke.

We think he and Arlette would love our new Paris space devoted to their life’s work and their shared love of nature and family. Come and see our “heritage wall” and follow their story for yourself at our Experience Store.