Affordable LuxuryJean 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.
Nose: Henri Almeras
Notes: (From Jean Patou website)
Top: Bulgarian rose oil, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose
Heart: Rose de May, Jasmine de May
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.