Tag Archives: perfumes for summer

Le Jardin Retrouvé: Scents that Tell a Story

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yuriLe Jardin Retrouvé is a perfume house that’s both new and old. The nose behind the scents, Yuri Gutsatz, sadly died in 2005 and the brand closed.  We owe Yuri a debt of gratitude, because not only did he create these beautiful scents, but he was also one of the founders of the legendary Osmothéque. His original work has been honoured and continued by his son Michel and his wife  Clara, who have relaunched Le Jardin Retrouvé using Yuri’s original formulations.

The happy result is that the world gets to revisit these delightful, high quality fragrances anew, and what a joy they are!

I was sent a small selection and asked for my opinion, which I happily give, unburdened by bias or bribery. The tricky bit is choosing a favourite. That, my friends, is the hardest bit of all. Each scent comes with its own whimsical scenario that prompted my ever ready imagination to wander even further into colourful and fanciful territory.

 

Eau des Délices

1970: The garden of delight, painted in 1503 by Heironymous Bosch, intrigues everyone who comes to see it, including you

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A bouquet of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain and lemon makes this eau fraiche a classic cologne. Uplifting and invigorating, each ingredient is  distinct, yet blended seamlessly. This makes me want to throw open the windows and belt out a Julie Andrews number. Fans of Eau de Cartier, O de Lancome and 4711 Aqua Colonia will love this.

 

Sandalwood Sacre

1786:You walk towards a sacred grove that houses a small Hindu Temple…

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This beautiful 70s style sandalwood reminded me of those wonderful ethnic market stalls I used to frequent as a teen. I’d buy pungent patchouli oil and floaty skirts with tiny mirrors on them.  The sandalwood is soft with floral nuances (via orange blossom),  a subtle undertow of patchouli and a delicately feminine white musk finish.  It’s addictively sniffable and leaves a beautiful wake.

Verveine d’Etè

1878: You walk in the Summer Garden in the heart of St Petersburg…

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With ingredients that smell so-fresh-it-tingles, this is a happy, playful scent in a similar vein to Eau des Délices above. With basil, lemon, bergamot and the all important verbena, this is the best verbena scent I have ever smelled, and I’ve smelled a fair few on my travels.  There’s a trail of oakmoss in the basenotes, which makes me even happier.

Cuir de Russie

1920:The opera ball is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballet Russes.

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For some reason, I always get cuir (leather) mixed up with cuisse (thigh), so I initially read this as Russian Thigh. Actually, I’m not far off since this scent was inspired by the Russian Ballet.  Cuir de Russie reminded me of those wonderful vintage chypres with strong powdery notes muffling the oakmoss in time honoured fashion. Specifically, this reminded me of the day I entered the chypre portal via Balmain de Balmain and never looked back. Cuir de Russie is violets, cinnamon, wood and styrax. The wood and spice gives it muscles and the violets give it delicate fairy wings. This is a stunning juxtaposition.

Rose Trocadero

1935: Behind you, the Eiffel Tower. Before you, the Trocadero Palace.

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Rose Trocadero is not your typically pretty rose petal scent. It’s darker than that. Using hefty Bulgarian Rose Absolute, this stuff will fill a room (in a good way). There’s something spicy and dark at the heart, but it may just be the genre of the rose. Fans of Miller Harris Rose En Noir will love this take on roses. I found hints of spice and heady jasmine. This rose is rich and deep and makes a bold statement.

Citron Boboli

2000: The view of Florence is stunning, but a grotto on your right draws you with chilled air.

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This is another lemon based scent but has the distinction of added spice, namely cloves and black pepper. Opening with greener than green petitgrain,  and bursting with the freshness of citrus, the spiciness gives this an almost sherbetty kick. I loved it.

Tubereuse Trianon

1689:You are headed towards the Trianon in the garden of Versailles where the King has had a profusion of flowerheads planted.

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I have somehow gone nuts for tuberose lately and cannot get enough. This may have begun back in October when I entered the By Kilian boutique in London and was greeted by Good Girl Gone Bad.  Tubereuse Trianon opens with both tuberose and jasmine. The creamy headiness of both brings out the best in each other and this gives me an almost exaggerated soapiness that I cannot get enough of. The blurb says “your heart just encountered love. It melts” It did. It melted. I love this so much I think I may have to marry it.

Stockists

You can buy these fragrances from the website, which launches November 2016 ( i.e now)

Acknowledgenments: samples kindly supplied by Le Jardin Retrouve. All photos are my own.

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L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade

green tea

This new collection from L’Occitane combines the scents of the French Riviera with the aromas of nature’s landscapes. L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade is one of four scents in this small capsule collection.

As summer tentatively dips its toe in the water, it’s time to start exploring lighter scents. This one fits the bill perfectly. There are few notes that I can call more refreshing than Green Tea. You only have to look at the long term, unwavering success of the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea range to see this.

The way L’Occitane has done this is, as you would expect from this brand, impressive and innovative

The green tea comes through at first spray, but it is not alone. This a cologne style eau de toilette. Like all good colognes, there are citrus and herbs in there: notably bitter blood orange and aromatic thyme. The whole blends down into a faintly white musk, clean finish, but the lovely sharp opening settles into a light and refreshing base note that almost smells floral in its delicacy. I have a 7.5 ml Splash bottle, but it also comes in bottles ten times this size. Usually a light, citrus fragrance doesn’t last long, but this one does. I wore it for around four or five hours yesterday. It made me feel and smell like I had just stepped out of the cleanest most invigorating shower ever.

Stockists

I obtained my splash bottle from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy theses boxes from The Perfume Society website. Full bottles are available from John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

4711 Ice: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot.

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 4711 Ice by Maurer and Wirtz is not strictly a fragrance, more a cologne. In the UK, eau de cologne is not used in the same way as it is by our continental cousins. Across the Channel, cologne is used to complete the bathroom niceties. Post shower, Imagesplash it all over, leave the bathroom and get dressed. It’s not meant to have longevity or to replace your daily perfume. Among the colognes, 4711 is the leader of the pack, and is a wonderful, timeless unisex scent that I have long enjoyed.

A friend recently introduced me to 4711 Ice, and once I’d admired its laughably cheap price, I naturally bought some myself. It has been surprisingly hot here in the UK, and  despite having moaned about rain and cold for the last nine months (the longest Winter EVER), I am now complaining that the sun is too hot. Being pale and having freckles, I was not built for sun and I get what my Canadian friend calls the “hot fussies”.

However, this is exactly the kind of case that calls for Doctor 4711 Ice.  Directed at the male market (but does that matter?) it has a cooling menthol effect on spraying which is unbeatable. The smell is clean,  almost liquorice, with maybe a hint of eucalyptus and mint. In other words, everything that qualifies as “refreshing” has been added in spades. The scent itself is gender neutral and there is some brief longevity to be had, which for 2.29GBP is a bonus I was not expecting.

There is a whole list of notes that I think is rather an ambitious boast, as it includes Pineapple, Lily of the Valley, Plums, Peaches, Amber, Musk,  and Violets. In fact, 4711 Ice is a straightforward pleasant smelling minty menthol mixture. I will admit that I could pick out the Bergamot from the list though.

If someone were to criticise 4711 Ice, they might compare it to mouthwash or cough sweets, and I would listen equably to those arguments without retort. However, if you need instant cooling down with an inoffensive clean smelling scent, and you don’t mind if it doesn’t last for hours, then this is for you. I picked my bottle up on Amazon and the price has even gone down since last week. It now has a permanent place in my handbag  It is perfect for Festival season.

4711 Ice is what every cleavage needs when there is no shade and no help.