Sample Summer: Patou’s Joy

Joy might seem an odd choice for a post emerging out of a poke through one’s sample box. After all, it’s generally not hard to come by a spritz of Joy from our aunt’s dressing table, or from a tester at a local store. So why purchase a sample?

Actually I have owned Joy EDT for years, and I wore it often until I finally admitted to myself that it irritated me. The joyous opening would fade after half an hour to something flat, dry and scratchy, almost like fly spray. ‘The costliest fly spray in the world’, you could say.

Joy EDT sat in a drawer for ages until it occurred to me that the EDP might suit me better. I only ever saw the EDT in the stores*, so I about a year ago bought a 1 ml EDP sample from TPC. Unfortunately this was only a tiny improvement. I still try it every now and again and I do get a glimpse of that ravishing jasmine and rose that I know is there. But again, the scent gradually collapses into a skeletal version of itself.

Imagine moving footage of a woman laughing. She is beautiful. You love watching her and you laugh too. But then the footage slows and freezes. The sparkle fades from her eyes and her ravishing smile turns into a fixed, irritating grin. You stare in horror for a few seconds, and then turn away, shivering. Lauren Bacall has turned into Cruella de Vill.

I will hang on to my Joy EDT for sentimental reasons (I bought it in 1993 shortly after I got my first real job), but I have pretty much given up the idea that I can wear Joy in any form. Some perfumes will just never sing you the song that other people hear.

And recently I have found a similar perfume that does sing to me. SSS’s Nostalgie has notes in common: rose, jasmine, sandalwood, orris … Nostalgie does not have that joyous opening, yet it retains a round, golden radiance for hours on end with not a discordant note anywhere.

So that’s enough of me mixing my metaphors. What have you found lurking in your sample box recently?

* And now I don’t see Joy at all. First by Van Cleef & Arpels is another department store staple that I never see any more.

12 thoughts on “Sample Summer: Patou’s Joy

  1. This is especially timely, as I just purchased a special box in which to store my samples and decants… Nostalgie is one of the very few perfumes which my husband asks me not to wear! It is not “me”, or perhaps just doesn’t mix well for me. I can tell it is very well blended, however, and perhaps it needs to go into my mom’s mother’s day box! The Perfumed Court sample of Chanel No 22 does nothing for me, and I had the same experience with Joy and 1000, which I thought would work for anyone. Oh, well! More money to spend on the Ormonde Jaynes of this world!

    1. Oh indeed! That is the joy (pun intended) of sampling. I wonder what it is in Nostalgie that does not suit you? Here’s hoping your mother will like it. I’ve never tried 1000, but I remember that Angela on NST gave it a great review last year.

  2. I don’t actually own that many samples but I enjoyed this post. It’s funny, Joy has such a great reputation in the wider world.,(you always used to hear that it was the most expensive perfume in the world and that the Queen wears it), but I rarely see it mentioned on the blogs. I have to say it is one of those classic “perfume-y” fragrances that leaves me cold. I’m glad you found a more wearable version in Nostalgie.

    1. Thanks Tara. You are right about not seeing Joy mentioned much. It may be that this is one of the ‘greats’ that many of the established blogs reviewed years ago, and it has not gained much attention since.

      1. No joy in Joy for you then. I was surprised at your first comment, because I thought Joy would be very much in your range. Still, money saved. Joy is no longer the costliest fragrance in the world but it is not in the cheap thrills category either, at least from where I sit.

  3. I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried Joy on my skin since I never liked it even on paper. But I have it in my samples box (not sure in what concentration though). And I have probably another 100+ samples I’ve never tried/smelled before to keep it company. Though I cannot say they’re lurking in there since they are all accounted for in the database (including where they’re stored – in case I need to find them fast 😉 ).

    1. Ah yes, you have complete control of your collection, I know! No lurkers or lay-abouts in there. But still, does that mean that there is no element of surprise for you? You know: ‘Oh look! I had forgotten about THAT one … I wonder how it smells these days … ?’

      1. Nope. In addition to organizing everything I have through the database, I still have a very good memory. Well, at least a passive one: I might not be able to name all the samples I have but if asked I’ll know if I have it or not. Let’s see what happens once my collection grows closer to 1000 😉

    1. Could she not wear it? Funny, I reckon that for the women who can wear it, it would indeed smell like heaven. I’m glad you love it, I envy you a little … Still, when it comes to the grand classics, I’m okay. I can wear some: No 5, Arpege, Femme. Must try First some time.


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