Miniature iconic black Joy bottle with red domed cap and gold writing, sitting in the petals of a red-tipped cream rose.

Joy opens bright, rose and tuberose made extra sweet and loud with ylang-ylang.
Jasmine soon blooms, indolic and spring green with rosebuds that slowly ripen then turn almost spicy and dry down to sandalwood. Musk with a hint of cat purrs at the bottom, keeping it from being too pristine.

There’s really no way to explain how perfectly blended the bouquet of flowers is, yet every single element is so distinct–the way a Matisse painting comes together perfectly, the way a string quartet becomes more than the sum of the strings–gestalt theory produced in perfume.

I still have the bottle I bought in Paris when I was sixteen, but I never wear it–I feel like I’m putting on airs (farting above my ass–to use a French idiom) or playing dress up in clothes I’m not woman enough to pull off.


Joy came out in 1930. The next year Josephine Baker released the record that made the world pay attention to more than her banana skirt.

“I have two loves, my country and Paris…”

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