The kind of perfume that might make you see fireworks when you kiss it. First time I’ve worn it this is exactly what I did: I happened to stumble upon a small bottle of the EDT in the drugstore, and bought it on the way to watching the fireworks festival on the beach. Of course I opened the package right away and worn it. It was summer. And Joy EDT smelled like peach, lily of the valley and a lot of jasmine and rose. It was a nice date, but I didn’t feel like it was “the one”, despite the fireworks…
Years later, I was fortunate enough to sample the parfum extrait from a perfume friend. This was a completely different story: carnal jasmine underlined with carnal civet. The repetition here is intentional, as carnal it was. When the opportunity rose, I ordered a new bottle via eBay. I opened it and tried it and was terribly disappointed: something terribly powdery was lingering at the top. The juice felt somewhat overly fresh… As if the components haven’t married quite into what I sampled (which I am now certain has matured somehow more after the flacon was opened). The aldehydes seemed disturbing and the florals seemed cloying and disharmonious somehow. Yet the dry down was the right thing, so I knew the juice had the potential… Besides, one can’t just skip on a classic and dismiss it just because of several wearings. Give it a chance and try it another time or season. It may win you over.
And so I did. Yesterday night, as I was writing, I felt like Joy. I dabbed some on, and between the heat, the dim-lit room and the contemplative writing, I discovered my new affection for this classic that survived The Great Depression and the age of celebrity perfumes (Joy was created in 1930, by Jean Patou's in-house nose Henri Almeras).
It starts with peach aldehydes and heady powdery top notes, and quickly moves into an opulent floral bouquet of jasmine, rose de mai, and a bit of lily of the valley. The base is ever so luscious and carnal, drenched in civet and adds a pulsating raw energy to what otherwise would be just a polite fruity floral. Even though the jasmine is a heart note per-se, in this perfume it is present in all the phases: top, heart and base. First it is more heady and slightly green, and as it dries down it becomes more indolic until finally it becomes soft, even ambery.
I believe it is best worn on a balmy evening for a candle-lit dinner on the patio of a fine restaurant. If you prefer to smell the dewy rose de mai, you may prefer the Eau de Toilette or simply wear it on chilly winter days to your boardroom meeting. But don’t be surprised if your colleagues won’t be able to concentrate on the agenda.
Top notes: Peach, Aldehydes
Heart notes: Jasmine from Grasse, Rose de Mai from Grasse, Lily of the Valley
Base notes: Civet, Sandalwood, Musk
Image of Joy vintage black glass bottle from Parfums Raffy.