The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


New Release: Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir de Russie


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

24_vaslav_nijinsky-theredlistWHAT 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


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.


Tabac Blond by Caron

tabac blond

WHAT I SMELL:  Tabac Blond opens with this really pretty floral iris that quickly becomes ensconced in a light leather.  Funny, the word “blond” really does feel appropriate as it conveys a woodyish, blond like aura.  The fragrance is rather cool and aloof, yet approachable.  Like many of the other Caron fragrances, there is “pretty” surrounded by an edge of something naughty.  Here, the leather, albeit light, is rather tough and slightly aggressive.  When initially applied the projection is incredible, but the fragrance begins to settle down as the spice of the carnation makes its appearance.  After around ten minutes that carnation and spicy clove moves the lighter initial florals to the back.  After some more time, the tobacco comes in full force, drying out the fragrance making it more woody and rather masculine.  But just as soon as you believe this will go full on manly, Tabac Blond starts to become powdery and the spicy florals become center stage again.  After around an hour, the patchouli comes into play bringing this very earthy and musty like aura to Tabac Blond.  After a couple of hours, the fragrance reduces to an earthy patchouli skin scent that reminds me greatly of Dr. Vranjes Ambra e Iris.

From the Caron website:

In 1919, to mark the dawn of women’s liberation, Caron made the bold move of dedicating a deliberately provocative fragrance to the beautiful androgynous women, nonchalantly holding their long ivory and mother-of-pearl cigarette-holders.

Notes listed in Fragrantica:  leather, carnation, lime blossom, iris, vetiver, ylang-ylang, cedar, patchouli, vanilla, ambergris, musk.

dried flowersWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A dried flower arrangement with lingering floral hues and dusky earthiness.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE TABAC BLOND:  self-assured, earthy, grounded

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TABAC BLOND: Kafkaseque, The Perfumed Dandy, The Scent Detective

BOTTOM LINE: The first few hours of Tabac Blond are wonderful.  It’s complex and hard to pin down as it seems to change and morph continuously.  The final drydown stays with you for a considerable time, but I find it just a bit too earthy for me.  But no problem, I’ll spritz on some more!

  • Bone Rating: 4 for the first hours, 3 for the final drydown (out of 5 possible bones)
  • Scent: Floral Leather
  • Classification: Feminine, yet rather masculine
  • Expense: Review based on parfum extrait. $100 for 7.5ml.