Joy (Dior) citrus floral ***
Updated: Sep 16, 2018
First, the obligatory righteous rant: a few months ago LVMH bought Jean Patou, owners of the one and only Joy, an imperishable 1930 marvel due to Henri Alméras. I thought it good news, since P&G had done little with Patou, being clueless about luxury. A few weeks later, it became clear what the intent of the LVMH sludgebuckets had been all along: to bring out their own Joy and make sure they got no lawyer letters. I cannot think of a more craven overdraft on karma in the history of perfumery.
There never was, and never will be another Joy. The very name evokes gold letters on a black glass bottle with a coral-red top as if by synesthesia. It was, is and —unless LVMH does the unthinkable and kills it— always will be the greatest floral bouquet ever. I once visited the production line, saw the enormous steel (or was it silver? the contents would warrant it) barrel with a tap and a riveted curved brass plate that said JOY engraved on it, as if there might be another one somewhere labeled SORROW.
Now we have to grit our teeth and listen to François Demachy pontificate about how "[he] was fortunate to know its name from the beginning. And what a name! Short, and lively yet not affected, it is open to all possibilities". I must say his pronouncements are of such exceptional banality —"What we propose is a perfume that is made up of different ingredients"— that you feel LVMH may be holding a Demachy family member hostage somewhere till the PR is done. Nobody wants a repeat of Lagerfeld saying "Whatever Allure is, it is not a perfume".
We know what Demachy is good at. From his time as overseer of LVMH fragrances, it is clear that Demachy may not have had a really original idea since Antaeus in 1981, but that he is the world's most accomplished polisher of perfumes. Everything he does comes out perfect, whether it was worth perfecting or not.
Now to the fragrance: not bad. And how could it be, when it is made mostly of what Calice Becker brought to the floral, with a touch of Diorissimo zipping by in the first five minutes, a hint of Dioressence some time later, and a slug of Dune in the dry down, all this expertly assembled? What it most definitely is not, is a great Dior fragrance. It has no discernible shape or tune, just a (mostly) pleasant floral- powdery cloud. It is quite a bit better than Gabrielle, if that's any consolation. LT