History – Le Jardin Retrouvé Blog
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History

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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

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.

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.

1942 proved to be the most devastating year of Yuri Gutsatz’s life. Having signed up for the Foreign Legion, Yuri stayed in Marseille after a year of service. As a Russian Jew, it was unsafe for him to return to occupied Paris. Sadly, his mother Alvina and his grandparents were trapped by the German occupation and unable to flee. In July of 1942 Alvina’s letters to Yuri stopped and he was later to discover that she and his grand-mother Gueni had been victims of the Vel d’Hiv roundup and taken to Auschwitz where they were not heard from again. Meanwhile, David Gutsatz died the same year in Leningrad, most likely due to the famine and disease during the siege which saw a million persons lose their lives.

On Yuri’s return to Paris in 1945, he found himself alone in the world. His grief and loneliness are unimaginable, but a light shone through the darkness when he met a young woman named Arlette, whom he remained in love with until his dying day. But that’s another story…

The photograph above is from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and shows Jews in occupied Paris before the purge.

Did you know that Le Jardin Retrouve was the first niche perfume house in the world? Yuri Gutsatz didn’t follow trends, he started them.
After several years in India, Yuri returned to Paris and felt frustrated that perfumers were still so anonymous, and that fragrances could only be produced by and for large companies. He felt this stifled the true nature of creativity in perfumers.
So what did he do? He founded Le Jardin Retrouve, the first niche perfume house. He ran the business from his Paris home, aided by his loyal wife Arlette and their sons. A year later, L’Artisan Parfumeur followed suit and after that, many more small indie brands came into being, but Le Jardin Retrouve was the very first, and we have Yuri’s pioneering spirit to thank for that. Every one of our fragrances is made from Yuri’s original formula: all timeless classics that don’t compromise their integrity to meet passing trends and fads.
Not only was Yuri the first perfumer to start his own brand, he was also the first to add accessories to the fragrances, such as matching lotions and soap. Prior to this, he was the first perfumer to fragrance an entire opera house! And did we mention that he was a co-founder of the world famous Osmotheque?

Today, we are guardians of his hundreds of formulae and we are proud to continue his work so that the world can appreciate his talent, even after he has gone.

At London’s famous Victoria and Albert Museum, you’ll find a breath-taking exhibition opening today, 6 th April and running until February 2020. Yuri was the creator of one of Mary Quant’s earliest fragrances, PM. With an AM and a perfume PM, the advert told women to “two time him” with both. Sadly, it’s now discontinued, although a collectors’ item among connoisseurs.
We were just too late to meet the call for exhibits. The Garden Found would have happily recreated PM from the original formula. We take a great pride on how you can get your work done in the USA, France, and even Swinging London! Not bad for the chemist’s sound from St Petersburg. 

“OhPerfumer! your name is no-one” wrote Yuri Gutsatz in 1979. When Yuri was immersed in his career, he and his fellow hard working noses, were kept out of the picture. Why? Because the couture houses who were launching fragrances encouraged a touch of mystique surrounding their scents. If that led their customers to believe their perfumes were created by couturiers and not perfumers, well, that was fine by them. But can you imagine Yuri and his contemporaries being ignored today? Germaine Cellier created Fracas, Bandit and Miss Balmain. Jean Carles created Miss Dior, Shocking and Ma Griffe. Yuri himself created what later became Chromatics for Estee Lauderand Chasse Gardée for Carven (both sadly discontinued).

Luckily in 2019, we can appreciate their genius with the gratitude and the credit that they all deserve (and this is why at Le Jardin Retrouvé we put Yuri Gutsatz’s name on the bottles – and Maxence Moutte’s name on the Mousse Mystique candle he created for us).

Perfumer, your name matters.