I own both the EdP and the EdT. I owned the EdT first and liked it enough to purchase the EdP. This review is for the EdT.
Upon first application, all I could smell was roses, roses, roses, and jasmine. Then, after the dry down, I could begin to detect other lovely flowers with rose and jasmine still rather predominate. Unfortunately, my nose is not well tutored enough for me to identify all of the florals, but they smell lovely. If this had been strictly roses only, I probably would not have splurged on the EdP.
Joy is a very feminine, floral fragrance. I personally do not detect a strong powdery note in it. I do not detect anything animalic in it either. It is just a very pretty floral with heavy doses of roses and jasmine. In my mind's eye, I can imagine Katherine Hepburn wearing this in the Philadelphia story. It is reminiscent of that deep, intoxicatingly floral smell one would detect if one walked into a small florist's shop where all they sold was flowers. I am not sure those shops exist any more. Those shops largely have given way to the big stores as have the small Mom & Pop grocery stores of yesteryear, but this fragrance is definitely reminiscent of those small florist shops.
I can detect the EdT on myself pretty well for about two to three hours. I do not know if anyone could smell it on me after that or not. Sillage and projection are moderate. Longevity is moderate.
Overall, this is a nice floral that reminds one of beautiful, wealthy, young ladies of yesteryear. I say this because flowers used to be a lot more expensive than most are these days. "In the old days," it cost a pretty penny to send a dozen roses to one's sweetheart, and I am sure that in the midst of the depression, it must have cost much more, hence the description of Joy as the costliest parfum in the world at that time.
I like it and think it would be appropriate for both daytime and evening wear, church wear, weddings, and any time one wants to affect a feminine, soft, rosy floral. I think this is definitely a year round fragrance, too.
Honestly, if there's a short list of the most necessary, important, iconic perfumes ever, Joy is probably in the top 3 or 4. Of course it smells fantastic!
So what does it actually smell like? The stars of the show are the flowers - I mostly smell carnation, indolic jasmine, and rose over a mix of white florals. There are plasticky hairspray aldehydes on top, which I usually don't like but don't mind here because they mix with the indoles in the jasmine in a really interesting way. There's a creamy base underneath, sort of musky and sort of woody, with just a pinch of funk.
Today, I've been wearing the current EDP, which really features the flowers and the aldehydes. But my pick is definitely the extrait, which tones down the plastic in favor of much richer basenotes, which make the whole thing much more luxurious, but also a bit funkier.
OMG. This is heavenly. I am testing the vintage perfume purchased on eBay. Rose and jasmine with other notes, perhaps sandalwood and civet, though not much civet on my skin.
More on the feminine side, and more on the old (classical) side, but it doesn't matter as long as it smells wonderful.
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.