Monday, October 24, 2011

Jean Patou - Joy

Affordable Luxury

Jean Patou released Joy during the Great Depression in the 1930's with an advertising campaign that billed it as "the costliest perfume in the world." Does that seem odd? It was actually a very clever marketing move. After the Wall Street stock market crash in 1929, the Parisienne fashion house lost many of its American clients who could no longer afford haute couture clothing. So, Jean Patou offered instead a luxury perfume that, while expensive for perfume, was still more affordable than the clothes. Joy offered a taste of uncompromising quality and luxury that still fit his clients' budgets.

To create Joy, perfumer Henri Almeras famously sourced that most precious ingredients in huge amounts. Ten thousand jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses are required to make each bottle of Joy parfum. Jean Patou has its own dedicated fields of jasmine and roses in Grasse, France.

I have a bottle of the EDT. Joy opens with sparkly, waxy aldehydes and green lily of the valley. After a few minutes you begin to appreciate the fragrant jasmine and rich rose bouquet. It's lush and very well blended. The dry down has a dark, slightly bitter note behind the flowers and a touch of warm muskiness.

According to the Jean Patou website, the formula for Joy is unchanged; I find that hard to believe, but the quality of Joy is undeniable. It is gorgeous and I highly recommend it to any fans of plush florals or jasmine. Joy may no longer be the quintessential luxury perfume (I found my bottle at Winners), but it's an everlasting beauty.

House: Jean Patou
Nose: Henri Almeras
Notes: (From Jean Patou website)
Top: Bulgarian rose oil, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose
Heart: Rose de May, Jasmine de May
Base: Musk

p.s The top photo is Greta Garbo in Mata Hari, 1931. Here are some more photos of her. Delicious, isn't she? I believe that's a bottle of Joy on her dressing table, on the left, in the last photo.


  1. I find Great Garbo absolutely stunning in every possible way.
    But I haven't smelled Joy (now I have to find some). :)

  2. After this write up and these pictures I just had to wear my (vintage) Eau de Joy today. Gorgeous stuff. Thanks for reminding me:-)

  3. Ines, you MUST try it. It's one of the few perfumes of its vintage that still is wonderful.

  4. Joy is one of the most amazing fragrances. Always will be. I find the civet pretty intense but it's never too much (thank goodness). Greta Garbo is the reason I named my little pug Greta :)

  5. Hi Abigail: I think I'm civet insensitive. I didn't mention it because I didn't really smell it. I have another perfume that has civet and others find it overwhelming but I just think it's sexy.

  6. Thank you for the story - it was interesting to read and I wouldn't have probably found it on my own.

    I tried Joy - just for the educational purposes, and it's definitely not "my" perfume. When I tested it I thought that for me it was a smelling aid for the definition "old lady perfume" (sorry, I don't want to offend anybody's feelings, it's just how I felt; on other people's skin it might smell differently).

    ~ Undina ~

  7. Hi undina! Yes, you're right, Joy is what most people think of as "old lady" - an aldehydic floral, like Chanel No. 5 and Lanvin Arpege. But I still love it.

  8. You found Joy at Winner's? That's incredible! I should go!

    Great review! It certainly makes me want to go out and buy a bottle!

  9. Hi Normand. Yes, sometimes Winners has great finds, and the people who shop there don't seem to appreciate the classics. I watched the bottle for two days before I bought it, and it was such a steal!


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