A Modern Type of Joy – Jean Patou Joy Forever Perfume Review

Joy Forever
JOY FOREVER – A Modern Type of Joy

French couturier Jean Patou launched his iconic flagship fragrance ‘JOY‘ in 1930, almost immediately after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Patou created his signature fragrance with a view of making it an affordable luxury for those that were no longer able to shroud themselves in the couture of the day. Quite ironically however, the fragrance was known as the ‘most expensive perfume in the world’ for quite some time, due in part to its prominent use of natural jasmine which, as you will all know, doesn’t come cheap.

It seems poignant almost that the house of Patou should launch a new interpretation of JOY in 2014, whilst the world is in the midst (and hopefully at the back end of) a global financial crisis. This new version of Patou’s classic is entitled ‘JOY FOREVER‘ and is described by the house as being a “stunning floral perfume that unveils a new chapter in continuing story of JOY“. Created by perfumer Thomas Fontaine for “today’s discerning woman”, JOY FOREVER is a more translucent, radiant and vibrant take on one of perfumery’s most iconic and timeless perfumes.

“Her mother may have worn JOY for its sheer luxury but she will choose JOY FOREVER for its natural quality and scent. She lives for the moment….she lives for today!”

JOY FOREVER joins the likes of Chanel’s Nº5 Eau Première and Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial as entry level fragrances for those that aren’t quite ready to commit to the classics. Perhaps the most surprising thing about it is the fact that, whilst it doesn’t smell anywhere near as heady, intense or timeless as the original JOY, it does look back to the past, not quite as far back as 1930 mind you, but instead it looks to the aldehydic florals of the 1980s, from which it takes more than a few olfactory cues.

Joy Forever by Jean Patou
Joy Forever by Jean Patou

The Notes

Top: Bergamot, Mandarin and Galbanum
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Marigold, Orange Flower and Peach
Base: Cedarwood, Sandalwood, White Musks and Amber

How Does it Smell?

In the opening JOY FOREVER is all about the sparkle. It opens with a fresh film of translucent fruit and aldehydes. The sharpness of bergamot and mandarin meets the atmospheric flight of the aldehydic fizz, creating a sweet but biting accord that feels both pretty and domineering. It’s almost as if JOY FOREVER is an intern waiting in the wings and preparing to become one hell of an aldehydic boardroom bitch. She’s just not entirely ready yet.

Underneath all of the citrus and aldehydes is a green stripe of bitter galbanum. As this comes through, one is instantly reminded of fragrances such as Ralph Lauren’s Safari and Estée Lauder’s Beautiful. In fact, it is so in the intense floral chypre style of these perfumes that it instantly reminds me of my mother, who rocked both during the ’90s. Perhaps that makes me a tad biased towards JOY FOREVER, but it is entirely refreshing to see a modern take on this style in 2014.

Flowers play a prominent role, of course, and as one would expect from a flanker to the jasmine-centric JOY, the central flower is instantly recognisable as little white jasmine buds. That said, for the most part the floral accord at the centre of JOY FOREVER is more of an abstract one, evoking the image of floaty, effervescent flowers with inflections of rose, jasmine and orange blossom. As the floral notes intensify, the fruitier notes switch from bright citrus to the warm, blush tones of peach, hinting at white petals tinted with a light shade of blushing pink.

It would be fair to say that JOY FOREVER is a much lighter affair than the original JOY, especially in the base. Where JOY boasts a rich, intense and dirty base of sandalwood, civet and musks, JOY FOREVER is altogether more sheer and opts for the airier feel of white musks, tinged with hints of heady floral blooms. It actually makes for an appropriate finish to a fragrance that remarkably manages to have body and volume in a light and atmospheric manner, and is very much in keeping with the fragrance’s overarching style of radiance.

JOY FOREVER is thoroughly well executed and it works perfectly as a floral bouquet for the woman of 2014. It’s bright, breezy and buxom but it never feels heavy, nor does it feel washed out. It’s a classic aldehydic floral in the grand ’80s style, but crafted with the restraint and the attention to detail required for today. It’s no JOY of course, but like Shalimar Parfum Initial and Nº5 Eau Première, JOY FOREVER doesn’t intend to replace or recreate the classic, it simply serves as a modern interpretation for those looking for something a little bit more contemporary.


Jean Patou’s JOY FOREVER is available in 50ml (£95) and 75ml (£120) Eau de Parfum. Patou is due to launch an Eau de Toilette version later in 2014.

Sample and notes via Escentual*. Image 1 and quotes via jeanpatou.com. Image 2 via mimifroufrou.com. *I write for Escentual as their Fragrance Expert and therefore I am affiliated. My views however, are always my own.