Okay, so I said I would write about 4711 since some people on FacePlace asked (one of whom is one of my oldest friends who has the most dirt on me..) but none of the online retailers I checked could have a reasonably-sized bottle here in a reasonable time. I would have gone to check it out at Marshalls or Thrifty Drug but I got up to find I have a flat tire. No spare in my midget car. And there were no buses. And the dog ate my homework. Did I mention that LA was invaded by giant man-eating clams? You didn’t hear about that? Crazy.
So 4711 will be next time, If Amazon is to be believed on it’s delivery time.
So I am going to cover Joy. Joy as you all know is one of the brightest stars in the pantheon of scents, perhaps only second to Chanel No 5 in the public’s mind. Joy was famously “The Costliest Perfume in the World” but didn’t have the stamp of approval of Marilyn Monroe, who claimed it was all she wore to bed. Barbara Hutton wore Joy.
Joy was also a favorite of my mother, who told the story of losing a bottle on a trip from Paris to the un-pressurized cargo hold of the plane- even sealed it leaked all over her luggage. I’m not even sure this was true, but it’s a great story. In any case, she wore it for special occasions, whether that would be a dinner party, a night out somewhere nice, or even in an interview like a parent-teacher conference which may or may not go that well. Joy was beautiful, but it was also armor: as the “Costliest Perfume in the World” it read “Don’t F&*k with Me Fellas” in a most ladylike way, even more effective than Faye shouting.
Joy, along with the rest of the Patou line of scents is apparently discontinued. I suppose that several factors were involved: Patou is likely, if unfairly, tarred with the “Old Lady” brush, I am sure that ingredients formerly used are now considered as safe as Asbestos flakes with plutonium dressing by the Powers That Be, and it cannot be cheap to massacre half of Grasse for the flower petals to create it.
I did go onto Fragrancenet and splurge on a small bottle of the EdP, just to remind myself what it used to smell like. The one I received smells thinner than I remember- more skimming over those fields of flowers than just bashing into them, face-first. The Joy I remember reveled in the excess: bowers of roses, masses of lilies, clouds of tuberose backed with some of that “don’t F with me” musk that must have been civet back in the day. This is nice. Nice and sweet, with only a hint of the previous hedonist.
Which brings me to wonder, will I miss it if it’s really gone? I suppose. But am I missing a memory when memories are notoriously fickle? My memory of what I was smelling on my mothers dressing table in the 70’s may be woefully inaccurate. What she was smelling in the 70’s may have seemed thin as opposed to what she remembered from when she wore it as a young woman in the 50’s, and what she wore in the 50’s may have been something that Gloria Swanson (another aficionado) didn’t recognize as what she remembered from when she bought it in Paris when it came out in the 30’s.
So, after almost 100 years, there may be no Joy. Like the original (real) Miss Dior, Je Reviens, or Jolie Madame they are likely best remembered and perhaps not resurrected, no matter how much we would like to.
I purchased my bottle of Joy EdP on the interwebs.