Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Jean Patou - Joy EDP, shot in the face with jasmine

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.


  1. I tried Joy just once for the educational purposes and didn't like it at all. As to your problem with the initial spray, maybe you could check out if their extrait comes with the stopper?

    1. Hi Undina,

      Sorry to hear that Joy didn't give you any joy.

      That's a great idea, extraits seem to bypass the big top notes don't they? My Vol de Nuit extrait doesn't have the marvellous zingy opening that the EDT does.

      I have actually bought it now, from a friend that doesn't want it either! I am desperate for it to arrive so that I can get to that incredible dry down. It really was one of the most beautiful endings that I've ever smelt.

    2. You might try putting it into a roll-on bottle or a dab vial and wear like that.

  2. I have tried to like Joy but it is too old school in a way that I can't come to terms with - the animalic floral quality is too full of contrast for my taste, but I totally agree that this is a fat perfume. I think I have called it 'unctuous' too, ditto Roja Dove Scandal, which it reminds me of, though Scandal is a tad more modern. I couldn't tell you wherein lies its modernity, but it's just a vibe I get off each. I do like Joy Forever, mind you, which is squarely modern and a lot more wearable. I also have some Joy shower gel, which you might like too, I sense!

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      I like the idea of 'fat' perfume. Perhaps that is going to be my new measure of what I perceive to be brilliant!
      I am curious to try all the other Patou scents now. I may have to hunt them out this weekend. I've been having a phase of being underwhelmed recently and Joy's vast perfumeyness has seemed to drag me out of it. I'm very relieved... Are you sure you don't want to give it another whiff? I do have a big bottle on it's way to me and I'm sure it will take me 20 years to get through it! You are welcome to a Joyous gift.