An episode of The Simpsons featured a storyline where Homer decided to become an Inventor. Amongst his failed concepts was a double barrelled rifle that had been adapted to apply a full mask of make up. He shot Marge in the face with it. This is how I felt 3 hours ago in House of Fraser when I sprayed a large dose of Joy Eau de Parfum towards myself.
Joy resides amongst the group of perfumes that no longer gain a great deal of attention online, aside from a dedicated following of vintage collectors who speak lovingly of it’s decadence. It’s a shame that niche lovers neglect these Grand Dames as they offer a whopping great explosion of perfumey perfume that many of us would find delightful, especially those with an Amouage habit, a brand most certainly influenced by the immense aldehydic florals of the twentieth century. If you haven’t smelt them recently, please do get your nose around Joy, Arpege, Ma Griffe and First. I insist.
As you may know, I have recently been exploring my increasing fascination for jasmine, which both enchants and repulses me. So today I revisited Joy for a dose of the heady white monster. I sprayed with abandon and found myself agog with the intensity of this action. I was rooted to the counter for a few seconds as I experienced a great excitement and an almost instant headache. The Homer Simpson imagery was immediate, the effect of the scent being almost gunshot like – BANG! It’s perfume.
As I wandered outside, the air on the street offered some relief and diffused the fragrance, allowing me to appreciate its complexity without the migraine factor. The overwhelming feeling from Joy is that of an endless floral bombardment. They are all in there; jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, rose and ylang, and crikey do they smell authentic! Add to this Joy’s marginally urinous drop of civet and it becomes the archetype of glamourous perfume.
My estimated jasmine content of Joy!
If you’ve ever cooked Indian or Pakistani curries, you’ll be aware of the importance of fat. Low fat curries do not work. A big dollop of clarified butter acts as a sponge to absorb the many spices and herbs and hold their fragrance within. Within Joy, I can sense the process of enfleurage, where particularly fragile flowers are initially suspended in fat to draw out their scent. I am sure that I can smell fat, not actual fat, but the idea of a rich substance holding the fragrance together i.e. the ‘concept of enfleurage’. This has never happened to me before. It’s possible that Joy has reawakened my slightly flagging enthusiasm.
As I take a whiff of my arm now (4 hours later), I smell the perfect perfume, I'm not scattering my words lightly here, I mean it. The floral elements have quietened and the civet has merged with sandalwood to create a creamy and honeyed effect, as gentle and velveteen as the opening in loud and bombastic. Is it possible that this is the most beautiful dry down that I have ever smelt?
If I can ever get through the shock of the initial spray, I will buy this.
Last month I wrote about Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfumes. I now realise that Salome is Joy’s purple haired punky granddaughter who is currently at art school. If you would like to take a peak click here.