Perfume Directory

Joy (1930)
by Jean Patou


Joy information

Year of Launch1930
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 418 votes)

People and companies

HouseJean Patou
PerfumerHenri Alméras
PackagingLouis Sue
Parent CompanyShaneel Enterprises Ltd > Designer Parfums
Parent Company at launchJean Patou

About Joy

Joy is a feminine perfume by Jean Patou. The scent was launched in 1930 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Henri Alméras. The bottle was designed by Louis Sue

Joy fragrance notes

Reviews of Joy

1991 EDT.

Opens with Peach Adelhydes and full blown Jasmine with a touch of Quality Tuberose.Tiny dash of Civet to background and offers a little animalic. At times I thought a musk mixed with the Civet offered a skanky canvas, which sets a blooming, highlighted and stunning Rose. The Quality Sandalwood softens and butters. It's obvious that all ingredients are of superb quality.
Now I am ready to explore different Vintages and strengths of this Gem.
30th July, 2020
drseid Show all reviews
United States
*This review is of the vintage original formula of Joy with only reference to the current formulation, solely for comparison.

Joy (vintage) opens with slightly sparkling nose tingling aldehydes, with deep, smooth peach coupled with supporting rose and carnation florals before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the aldehydes vacate, replaced by moderately powdery ylang-ylang that joins remnants of the peach now taking a supporting role as the carnation infused rose takes the fore in a big way. During the late dry-down the rose remains, now co-star to a musky-woody accord in the base through the finish. Projection is average, as is longevity at around 9 hours on skin.

The house of Jean Patou has an amazing history. In my mind the house belongs right beside the all-time greats. That said, a good deal of the house's prestige occurred during the tenure of Jean Kerleo as its great master perfumer. While the more recent praise is wholly warranted, the house was churning out winners all the way back in the early to mid 1900's, and Joy by Henri Almeras is a fine example of its early success. Joy is a stunning amalgamation of peach-laced sparkling aldehydes and rose, carnation and ylang-ylang natural smelling airy florals with just the right amount of powder that never goes over-the-top. The carnation may actually not be in the composition at all, but certainly the way the rose combines with the peach and ylang-ylang gives off a distinct carnation-like accord that smells incredible. I have heard from many that this is a great example of jasmine in perfume, but alas I must be anosmic to whatever the perfumer used (or my skin is just eating it up), because I really don't get any to speak of, with the rose dominating on my skin. No matter, the composition fares just fine without it. As a quick aside, my bottle of Joy is an early vintage, but I purchased a sample of the current formula just to see how the perfume held up... Wearing the two side-by-side, the current formula lacks some of the depth of the rose found in the vintage, but the two smell quite similar through the mid-section. The big difference is with the performance. The current stuff disappears after about five hours, not displaying much of a base, whereas the vintage has much better staying power. The bottom line is the $65 per 50 ml on the aftermarket Almeras composed vintage Joy may not quite reach Kerleo's latter heights for the house, it certainly is a fine example of perfumery in its own right earning an "excellent" 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5 rating and a easy recommendation to classic rose lovers in particular.
02nd May, 2020 (last edited: 05th May, 2020)
Henri Alméras pulled out all the stops when he created Joy. It was possibly the lushest, most opulent fantasy ever coaxed from a perfume organ.

Joy is a huge bouquet of jasmin and rose set on a pale soft background like blancmange. The contrast between ground and florals is heightened by the use of bergamot, lilac and aldehydes, which lend the theme a jewel like brightness.

With a gem-like floral shining from its hazy background, Joy was the ideal mix of bling and self regard, a sparkling cocoon for the rich, perfect to insulate them from the harsh realities of the 1930's.

It was the brainchild of Jean Patou, his defiant or even reckless dream - to create not only the 'most expensive perfume in the world' but more pertinantly, the most luxurious one.

Driven by Patou's obsession and liberated by his deep pockets, Alméras would have thought big. It appears he based his perfume on a model that was equal to the grandiose vision of his boss : Chanel No5. But this was only the starting point. Alméras poured many rich naturals into his lush but abstract formula in what looks like an attempt to out-do the Chanel. Basing their magnum opus on No5 was not only a question of artistic excellence, it was also sound business sense, the Chanel was a clear market leader by that time.

And the gamble paid off, Alméras's skill was vindicated and Patou made a packet. The public were ravished by Joy, which - despite the price tag - became a sensation. For a long time it was the second best selling perfume in the world, probably because it was the most luxurious, as well as being the most expensive. It was also a masterpiece.


Two squat rectangular minis without boxes, one FB.
Vintage Eau de Toilette
18th February, 2020 (last edited: 27th February, 2020)
I love Joy on summer nights. It smells like a sweet Jasmine vine overhead, climbing in the pergola and opening in the dark. Joy feels like a soprano holding the high note so beautifully you swoon. Joy is sweet, strong and almost sharp green but it doesn't hurt. It dries down and reveals a bit of dirt and baseness, a "bat squeak of sexuality"(Brideshead Revisited). A very adult, very experienced sexuality waits under the heavy precise white flowers. I have worn Joy in all of its forms off and on since 1989. I used to walk through a department store on the way to work in college so that I could use the tester when I couldn't afford to buy it yet. When I married I wore different scents (Chloe, Chanel No. 5, Mitsouko, and Oscar) because my husband's mother also wore Joy, and I felt strange about it. But eventually, I gave in.
08th January, 2020 (last edited: 10th January, 2020)
After falling very hard for 1000, I knew I had to try Joy. And, now that I have, I find that I do appreciate this scent and its creation and history, but I have very minimal desire to actually wear it. It's simply TOO much for me in every way: too floral-laden, too rose-y, too heavy and "thick," and much too traditionally feminine.

I would love to smell this on a young, very butch tomboy because the dissonance would be wonderful--but on a 40-something female from Dallas with bleached blonde hair and lots of gold jewelry...well, it would seem simply stereotypical and uninteresting.

(Nothing against Dallas, y'all!)
09th August, 2019
The legendary Patou Joy (1930) is one of the most-praised perfumes in the canon of classic Jean Patou fragrances, and being far before the time of the revered Jean Kerleo as house perfumer for Patou, it does sometimes get mistakenly lumped into his work portfolio by casual fans since he made the most prolific mark on the house in modern times with his mastery of the chypre accord. Henri Alméras was the nose behind this and all Patou scents through until the mid 20th century, but unlike many of his creations, Joy has endured far beyond its time. This perfume often gets compared to Chanel No. 5 (1921) for having a similar aldehyde floral structure and slightly animalic chypre base, futher bolstered in the public memory as a prized perfume worn by the late former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, becoming No. 5's only real rival for many years, but I find the differences far more stark between them than that especially in the final dry down of both fragrances. Joy also gets touted alongside No. 5 as one of the most expensive-to-make perfumes in existence (or -the- most expensive depending on which house you ask), adding to the legendary allure among perfumistas for whom such criteria is enough to matter in a purchasing decision. The main theme of Joy is to be an aldehydic white floral, and as such has a great deal less complexity than the comparable No. 5, but achieves a balance between the brightness of its opening, the indole of its heart, and the animalic growl of the base, that you may forget the "whiteness" of the floral core altogether.

Bergamot and peach open Joy, taking a page from Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) and soaking in the aldehydes of Chanel, but to a lesser extent. The calyx and leaves of the rose are used along with rose absolute itself, giving a "whole rose" kind of smell you only get by sniffing the flower. Jasmine indole and fleshy tuberose creep up before long, but a white floral backing choir of muguet, iris, ylang-ylang, and orchid help keep Joy from bearing too much leg. The base is a musky oakmoss base expected from the pyramid, with civet and sandalwood adding a dab of dry creamy sourness to keep Joy straddling the line of bridal and brothel. Joy is a far more playful and casual experience than No. 5, but neither would seem so to modern noses not trained on historic perfume styles. Joy is truly a joyful perfume, happy and bouncy, effervescent with aldehydes and peach sparkle, then pretty, inviting, and just a tad flirtatious especially when found on skin. Joy came in a dizzying array of concentrations and formats like so many of these "Great Dame" perfumes of the 20th century, but the differences fluxate less between them than many of the same format variations found among peers. The extrait is obviously denser and fruitier,with fuller peach and indolic notes. The Eau de Parfum is all about the soft roses and jasmine interplay with the creamy semi-animalic base while the Eau de Toilette is thinner with sharper citrus and white floral notes. Long-gone "Eau de Joy" variants (different from modern EdT) had more noticeable civet and sandalwood alongside moss, and feel a bit funkier, but some of that may be maceration.

Joy also seemingly has a problem very similar to Guerlain Shalimar (1925), in that it was targeted by other houses as a baseline style for their own entries into perfume. Shalimar became the "makeup" smell much like Coty L'Origan (1905), while every drugstore perfumer needed a copy of Joy on the shelves, a fate spared to No. 5 due to its impossible complexity. Avon Topaze (1959) likely came closest to a blue-collar iteration of something like Patou Joy, but with more of a yellow floral feel and bitter moss finish. With the house of Jean Patou constantly on life support and changing hands numerous times throughout the years, it is amazing that Joy has consistently stayed in production and also consistently stayed not only high-quality but high-priced during so much tumult, but this just speaks volumes of the enduring appeal of Joy if anything, since the perfume still finds new wearers despite its long time on the market. Young women without a perspective beyond what the shills at the mall tell them might see this as a perfume for mom or even grandma, but the kind of soft-spoken sophistication and self-assurance Joy inspires, combined with its approachable nature within the context of this kind of traditional floral genre, makes it a gateway of sorts to the larger world of perfume, even if it doesn't quite have the unisex flexibility that Shalimar and No. 5 have picked up over the years due to that nature. Still, this is a classic that every perfume lover needs to experience. Thumbs up.
16th May, 2019

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