I wanted to love Joy, but the civet was just too much. On me, I got a strong "nursing home urine" from the very beginning that just stuck around and never quite faded away. The florals tried to push their way forward, but just could not overcome. Such a pity.
A powerhouse feminine classic.
The greenest of roses and the greenest of muguet explode from the bottle, take hold, and never let go. This is one of the most feminine scents ever created and so strong (due to the concentration of essential oils) that a little bit goes a very long way.
Marketed as "the most expensive perfume in the world" at the moment the depression hit, it was a bold and brassy ploy that worked. This is a wildly over the top floral medley that has been copied but never truly duplicated.
Top notes: Peach, Calyx
Middle notes: Jasmine de Grasse, Bulgarian Rose, Muguet, Tuberose, Ylang, Orchid, Orris
Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk, Civet
Costly, but economical, since so little is needed to fill a room with scent.
Like Narcisse Noir, No.5, and Fracas, Patou's Joy is a monument from another era in women's perfumery. It's not the kind of scent that would be made today, except perhaps as an exercise in irony. Too bad.
Joy opens up with indolic jasmine, powder, a jolt of aldehydes, and a very well-integrated note of civet. The powder, indoles, and civet remind me (believe it or not) of Amouage's Gold for Men, only without the frankincense. Joy sweetens with age as the aldehydes calm down and tuberose and a very rounded rose note join the jasmine in the foreground. Within thirty minutes of wear Joy unfolds into a powdery, semi-sweet white flower bouquet. I can't honestly describe it as "light," but the dominant accord is certainly less heady and lush than it could have been. I consider this a good thing. The drydown is mostly sandalwood and powdery musk, with the civet still lurking in the shadows.
Is it "perfumey?" Yes. Is it "old school?" Yes again - but only in the manner of a true classic. Joy reflects another time and place, where sensuality was dressed in dignity and elegance. Joy is very adult and very ladylike, but there is also an element of animalic lust deep in its heart. It seems at once formal and romantic to me now, and I concur with earlier reviews that suggest it as a bridal fragrance - at least for a mature and self-assured bride.
I really wanted to try this at least once in my life so ordered a minute sample of the pure perfume from The Perfumed Court. When it arrived I realised the size of it - 0.25 ml - was going to make it difficult to handle so I diluted it with 0.5 ml of perfumers alcohol. I assume I didn't change its character by doing this.
I applied it to my wrists sparingly and could hardly smell anything so I used the whole amount. Thinking about it, even that probably wasn't enough. I assume a spray of perfume delivers more than 0.25 ml of product. I say this because it may well have affected my assessment.
The opening appeared to be pure rose, as in crushed red rose petals, but settled into a blend of rose, rosewood and a very brief impression of burnt rubber. I later got some honeysuckle followed by jasmine. It's all a bit too sweet. The drydown gave me dirty civet which I wasn't that keen on, but it was at least more interesting than what had gone before.
Because of the size of my sample I can't comment on sillage, except to say that I couldn't smell it unless I put my nose to my wrist. My husband didn't appear to notice it, but maybe he's become inured to my olfactory experiments.
I wouldn't buy it and even if someone gave it to me I probably wouldn't wear it. I have other perfumes in my wardrobe that I much prefer, even some that were dirt cheap.
Reviewing the vintage perfume:
The opening is based on a fresh peach top note that is combined with a strong aldehyde component, the latter not unlike Chanel's No 5 in some aspects. The drydown is a beautifully green and rich floral mix, with jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and tuberose dominating on my skin, with a pleasant rose added later on. The woodsy base is the underpinning for a dark musk, which gains a touch of an animalistic edge by added civet, but on me really only a touch; it is truly a floral-aldehyd scent in essence. The silage is excellent and the projection good, and I get about five hours of longevity. Beautifully blended without smoothing out the different constituents of this composition too much, it is supremely crafted, traditional and with depth. One of Patou's classic.