The first time I got a whiff of Joy by Jean Patou I remember feeling underwhelmed. I expected something more from what was introduced over eight decades ago as the most expensive perfume in the world.

When I smell it now I wonder how I could have missed its majestic proportions of floral grandeur. There is nothing ordinary about it.

Joy was created by perfumer Henri Almeras in 1930, just after the stock market crash that hurled us into the Great Depression. The story has it that in response to the bleak mood that enveloped the western world and especially the United states, Jean Patou commissioned Almeras to create a lavish perfume that was “impudent, crazy, and extravagant beyond reason”. This intoxicating scent very quickly came to be known as the world’s costliest perfume and women the world over had to have it.

The dominant notes are absolute of jasmine and Bulgarian rose, two of the world’s rarest and most expensive essences, as well as ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, orchid and tuberose. A single ounce of Joy contains the essence of more than 10,000 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses. Top notes are aldehydes, peach and greens and its base notes are sandalwood, musk and civet.

Joy is a timeless classic perfume with an unmistakable stamp of elegance, wealth and confidence. I think of it as a warmer weather scent but some reviewers insist that they prefer it during the cooler months.

While not inexpensive, it is no longer even close to being the world’s most expensive fragrance with perfumes like Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty Perfume costing over $12,000 per ounce and many niche perfumes selling for 4 or 5 times the price of Joy.

If you aren’t willing to commit to a full bottle purchase, you might want to purchase a Jean Pattou mini coffret fragrance set. That way you could try a .5 ml bottle of Joy as well as three of his other top-selling fragrances: 1000, Sublime and Joy Forever.

How about you? Are you ready for a little (or a lot!) of Joy in your life?


  1. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for another great perfume review. Unfortunately any perfume with rose doesn’t work for me. I get irritated for some reason which is strange because I love it when my fiance brings me roses!

    I was wondering if you ever heard Scentbird? It’s a subscription based perfume website and I would love to hear your opinion about your experience.

    • Erica says:


      I am familiar with Scentbird. If you want to try sampling a number of different scents without having to venture into stores or making multiple online orders, I think it is a great way to do this. At $14.95 a month, it’s not inexpensive but it’s still less than the other major scent subscriptions, ScentTrunk and Olfactif, which are both $18.00 per month.

      If you end up subscribing, please report back. I’m always interested in hearing others’ feedback about their experiences.


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