So, to lay a little bit of casual groundwork: Joy’s claim to fame is that it is (or was) The Costliest Perfume in The World. Created by the French house of Patou to make American women feel luxurious even in the midst of the Great Depression. On one hand, awww, France… thanks! Between Joy and the Statue of Liberty, you guys have historically been grand buddies of the USA. I’m sorry that our leaders tend to get all butthurt every time you disagree with our politics, because you have for the most part been most excellent allies, both politically and culturally. Don’t listen to them. You are appreciated for all you have done and all that you are, France, including Joy de Jean Patou, which remains one of the great perfume big guns of history.
And lawwwd have mercy, what a big gun she is! It was suggested by Jae in the comments section that I try Joy on for size, and try her on I have. To be fair, I already had Joy in my stash before she said anything about it, but I took her out for another spin yesterday, a freezing stay-inside-if-you-can doozy of a cold, cold day. The parfum is amber in color, thicker and more sticky than the average parfum, and packs a stinging eau-de-vie wallop right out of the vial. Give it a few moments and it’s Grasse jasmine singing a dramatic soprano aria, joined a bit later by the earthy, mezzo murmurings of the Rose de Mai. These notes are so strong, distinct, and almost crudely rendered that it smells as though you’ve just put pure essential oils on your skin. Joy goes on like this for about an hour before the other part kicks in, and the other part is this mellow, honeyed, salty warmth that calls to mind nothing more than a clean but slightly sweaty ass crack. In the best possible way. I offered my wrist to a friend and asked him if it didn’t smell like ass crack. He sniffed me for awhile and finally said, “I don’t think ass crack is a bad thing.” That about sums it up. The ass accord is commonly attributed to civet, but since I don’t know anything about all that, it smells more to me like all the flowers in the opening have wilted slightly, sweated into their costumes, gotten very relaxed and sleepy, and are ready for bed after a long night of hard work. It’s lovely, and very human-smelling even if you don’t buy the ass crack line and haven’t personified perfume notes into opera singers. Also, all stages of this perfume are very strong. People will smell you if you wear this. They won’t be sniffing and looking around and wondering loudly who has swamp ass on the subway, but they might pick up on a bit of subliminal sex and start looking at you like you possibly have some for them. So basically, it accomplishes what the D&G Light Blues and Fresh Sugars of the world won’t: actual suggestiveness.
When viewing it all through the filter of Joy de Jean Patou, it’s easy to imagine that French sympathy for Americans during the Great Depression carried with it a wise, understated message: lighten up, take the ass crack with the flowers, and shit, if the stock market crashes, definitely pick up a bottle of the costliest perfume in the world to tide you over until happier days arrive. Joy is your birthright. Don’t let anything take your humanity from you, and don’t believe anyone who tells you they’ve never smelled an ass crack and liked it.
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