Jean Patou : Joy eau de toilette (UK version)

Created by : Henri Alméras originally, but this version unknown

Date : 1930

Genre : Iconic floral

Concentration : eau de toilette

Angela from Now Smell This described Joy eau de toilette like this…

The Eau de Toilette starts with a fizzy, stemmy neroli, then a few minutes later bursts into roses tangled with full-bodied but fresh jasmine. The Eau de Toilette stays close to the skin once it dries down and fades into dull roses and a vague warmth after a few hours. But overall, Joy Eau de Toilette feels bright and, well, joyous.

And that is EXACTLY how I felt about Joy when Angela wrote that review… back in 2008.  I remember I was at a luxury department store here in Montreal when the Jean Patou sales associate had me try it.  It was really, really beautiful!  Just two distinct, quality notes… jasmine and rose.  It was something to behold.  I hope I never forget it.  Unfortunately, I had already bust my perfume budget for that month so I left the bottle on the counter.  Less than 6 months later when I went back, the SA told me that they had “distribution problems” and all the Jean Patou perfumes had been sent back and the line was discontinued at the store.  Not long after, I read about the 43rd amendment of IFRA (2009) that restricted jasmine grandiflorum absolute to .7% of the finished product and jasmine sambac absolute to 4%.  Then it seemed that Joy, in all its forms, simply disappeared off everyone’s shelves!  I swear… it was like a science fiction movie!

Moving forward, a discount perfume store called me a couple of weeks ago to inform me that they had received a bottle.  I literally RAN to the store to pick it up.  Unfortunately, I should have run in the opposite direction.  This version of Joy smells horribly synthetic and muddled… no space between the notes, no hint of a jasmine-rose duet.  It smells like cheap, detergent-grade jasmine… no rose oil, a dollop of aldehydes and a mashup of non-descript “floral” notes.

As for lasting power, Joy edt has it in spades which in this case, is NOT a good thing.  It hurts me to write these words, but my bottle of Joy smells… dreadful!

If anyone out there has a great smelling, recently-purchased Joy edt, I’d LOVE to hear about it!  I’m hoping that it’s just my bottle that has gone wrong.

Let’s end this post with the jasmine and rose duet of all-time to remember what Joy was like…


ADDENDUM (added August 6th, 2013)

Perfume friend FiveoaksBouquet sent me this interview with Patou perfumer Thomas Fontaine that gives me some hope that Joy might be restored to its former glory.  You see, Joy was once produced in the UK and it is now produced in France.  My bottle was produced in the UK so I have the version BEFORE Thomas Fontaine got involved to restore the brand.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Thomas Fontaine: First of all, the Big Three of Jean Patou— Sublime, 1000 and Joy—are on the market now. And when I arrived at Jean Patou, they were my first job—to organize the new production of them. During the Procter & Gamble period, everything was produced in the United Kingdom, and now it has come back to France. The concentrate is made in Grasse again, the glass is coming from Verreries Brosse, Normandy and the bottles are also filled in Normandy. In P&G times the sources did not fit the brand image, so we changed the sourcing also, and now the concentrate is more expensive but the quality of it is much higher. That was my duty: to restore the previous quality of Jean Patou perfumes.

Source :

Leave a comment


  1. Oh no the newest formulation of Joy sounds dreadful!

    • Well… there might be some good news in the future. You see, it’s possible that I got a bottle of Joy BEFORE Thomas Fontaine made changes to the formulation. I’ll be writing an addendum.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Tara

     /  August 6, 2013

    And this is why God invented credit cards… after having been burned too many times in the past, if I find something I absolutely love, I buy it, even if it will take a while to pay the bill. But we try to be financially responsible too – – so it is always a dilemma about how critical the purchase is and how clairvoyant we can be about future availability. 🙂 If it weren’t for !”/$% IFRA we would have a lot less problems in this area…. I hope you eventually find a good bottle of Joy!

    • The bottle that I purchased was made in the UK and the new reformulated (by Thomas Fontaine) Joy will be manufactured in France. This fact alone might prevent alot of wasted money in the future on Patou products. I’ll work on an amendment to my post this evening to bring people up to date. Kudos to perfume-sleuth FiveoaksBouquet for a heads-up!

  3. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  August 6, 2013

    Thanks. Hiring a special perfumer to recreate some of the classic Patous is one step in the right direction; repatriating production to France is another. Now if someone can figure out a way to get over the hurdle of IFRA (which I think of as the proprietary-aromachemical-industry bloc), we’re back in business. Good luck, Mr. Fontaine!

    • It’s surprising to me that NOT ONE of the major brands has even hinted at a non-IFRA version of their perfumes. Or any niche brand for that matter. Sad, really. I’m with you… good luck Mr. Fontaine!

  4. Natalie

     /  August 15, 2013

    I am so happy to hear that Joy might be back on shelves in something like its original form. I believe I have only smelled it in recent incarnations, and I haven’t ever liked it. I would really like to smell what it was originally designed to smell like (or a close approximation).

    • I have a very faint memory of it and I remember it being very, very beautiful. I’m hoping that readers send me a “heads-up” when the French version is available in North America.

      • Natalie

         /  August 16, 2013

        In an odd twist of serendipity, a fellow perfumista just offered me a sniff of Eau de Joy (vintage) today, and I thought of your post. Different perfume, obviously, but related enough to further pique my curiousity.

      • Vintage Eau de Joy is today’s Joy eau de parfum… but not really because of the gross reformulation. How was it?

      • Natalie

         /  August 17, 2013

        Ooh, did not know that. It was on someone else’s skin. Immediately after she applied, I said it was “much less of a mess” than current formulation. It didn’t just smell like everything and the kitchen sink dumped in (which is how Joy smells to me), even though it was still clearly a big whopper of a frag. But too much civet for me. After about 20-30 minutes (ish?), it was much more indolic jasmine and I liked it better. My thought was it would be worth trying on my skin to see if I could get past the civet opening.

      • Yes! When I tested Joy eau de parfum, I suggested they call it eau de civet. On my skin, the civet lasted forever! That’s why I was so looking forward to this eau de toilette. Can’t wait to try the French-manufactured formulations by Thomas Fontaine.

  5. I just put up an old review of Joy (when it was joyous). I can imagine this detergent remix perfectly (and with great sadness).

    • Hello and thanks for the comment!

      I recently purchased the Thomas Fontaine-reformulated, made-in-France Joy… and it is a great improvement on the P&G make-in-the-UK version. Not what it was before IFRA… but closer. Not great sillage nor longevity but while it lasts, it’s lovely.


  6. Anne Sheargold

     /  March 26, 2016

    I live in New Zealand. I wore Joy as my Wedding perfume and would like to wear it to my Daughters Wedding in November. The Thomas Fontaine Re-formulation not some terrible P&G concotion. Please where can I buy it and how do I know where it originates from? ThankYou.

    • Where you can buy it in New Zealand, I don’t know. But you can very easily tell the difference between the two. The front of the boxes are identical. But the back of the boxes are not!

      The P&G box will clearly state… P&G Prestige Beauté. Geneva London EC1A 4DD, UK Made in UK.

      The Thomas Fontaine reformulated box will state… SA Designer Parfums Ltd. WD24 7JG – ENGLAND Made in France / Fabriqué en France



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: