As you probably know, I love traditional french perfumery. I also love seeing former perfume houses being resurrected. Le Jardin Retrouvé fits both of those bills and I’m thrilled that they’re back. Le Jardin Retrouvé debuted in 1975 with master perfumer Yuri Gutsatz at the helm giving birth to the “niche” perfume market by selling and creating perfumes that were personal and which rejected mass marketing and retailing. The company flourished for years, but unfortunately, after Yuri’s death in 2005, the company faded away. But through his son Michel and his wife Ciara this “niche” brand is once again creating perfumes…the same perfumes that Yuri created back in the 1970s. A total of seven perfumes have recently re-debuted. Cuir de Russie is hands down my favorite in the line…and that’s quite something because the entire line is fantastic.
WHAT I SMELL: Cuir de Russie has a soft, warm, sparkling violet and peppery opening. It feels like it dances on the skin with its warmth, yet cool embrace. There’s so much movement to the perfume as it whirls and twirls to the delight of my nose. Not long after that initial rush and exhilaration, a cinnamon note becomes equal with that of the florals, along with the lightest of leather. The perfume falls in a netherworld between masculine and feminine and at times it feels as if it’s a demure beauty, only to feel strong, masculine and self-assured a minute later. As the perfume continues to develop, it warms and deepens as it produces a wonderfully radiating wood tinged with leather and incense. Cuir de Russie is a perfume that is full of positive energy and optimism and these days that’s a welcomed state of being. In the end, the dynamic whirl of the perfume settles into a softened powdery chypre that’s a little bit dirty, but which is incredibly easy to wear. Delightful.
From the Le Jardin Retrouvé website:
1920. The opera hall is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballets Russes. You are seated with a group of flamboyant Parisians in the front row. Wide-eyed, you watch Nijinsky and his soft leather boots. He leaps, he spins, he fills the stage with the bewitching scent of ylang-ylang, violet, and cinnamon enveloping a harmony of cade wood and styrax. You wish that this moment could last forever.
Floral Leather: Ylang Ylang, French Violet, Indonesian Patchouli, Cinnamon, Spanish Cade Wood & Styrax
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: I can’t argue with the imagery of the Ballet Russe, it fits the perfume perfectly.
THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CUIR DE RUSSIE: positive, energizing, classical
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CUIR DE RUSSIE: EauMG, I Scent You a Day, Pierre de Nishapur
BOTTOM LINE: Cuir de Russie doesn’t try to be anything but an easy to wear, but beautifully engaging perfume. As such, I could see this as an anchor perfume in any collection. I also love Le Jardin Retrouvé’s La Nécessaire packaging where the perfume is housed in an aluminum bottle along with two empty glass bottles to transfer the perfume to, allowing you to choose how you want to use and store your perfume. Brilliant! Welcome back Le Jardin Retrouvé.
- Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
- Scent: Floral Leather
- Nose: Yuri Gutsatz
- Classification: Unisex
- Expense: $185 for 125 ml eau de parfum. Available exclusively from the Le Jardin Retrouvé website.
Perfume sample provided by Le Jardin Retrouvé. Opinion my own.