The Scent of the Century: JOY

This photo started the rabbit trail on the history of the fragrance.

The Scent of the Century

Mom wanted to delight me with this little bottle of genuine JOY perfume when I became a mother. The, uh, aroma gave me such a headache. I’ve saved the treasure ever since 1974, but I’m still leery of even a little whiff of it. 

One photo started a delightful rabbit trail, because what I do enjoy about this little bottle of expensive perfume is its history.

The American press called Jean Patou the most elegant man in Europe. He created his own fashion house in 1914, but the Great Depression caused the market for luxury fashion to collapse. Created in 1929 by perfumer Henri Almeras in 1929, JOY was introduced in 1930. Even though pricy, it became a success, saving Patou’s company. It remains their most famous fragrance.

Voted by the public in the 2000 Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards, JOY was chosen the “Scent of the Century.”

According to, “The nose behind this floral fragrance is [perfumer] Henri Almeras. Top notes are Bulgarian Rose, Ylang-Ylang and Tuberose; middle notes are Jasmine and May Rose; base notes are Musk and Sandalwood.”

I confess that this Iowa farm girl prefers the aroma of recently mown hay to expensive fragrances. But my little bottle of JOY is another winsome heirloom with a story.

Mother’s Day 1976, Dan was 17-months old, and I was 30 years older than that. Aurora, Colorado. (We moved back to Iowa that December.) (BTW, I sure enjoyed when that shag haircut was in style!)
You know what my husband thought it was at first glance.


  1. I remember when it was all the rage to wear colognes and perfumes,so your blog certainly brought back memories.Of course, I feel the same way you do now-let me smell the earth, the lakes, and wet streets!

  2. Interesting… but I rolled my eyes for the first few lines . Joy thinks guys want to read a post on scent of a perfume ?!?
    Loved the post; especially fresh rolled hay smell; which is so nostalgic. It takes my wife and I back to childhood, a season and places in the heart.

  3. Side note off subject trajectory.(yes, guy stuff I guess)..When I was newly married I managed a couple of egg laying chicken barns (300k chickens). I often told my wife I was going to bottle some of the chicken waste and keep it so if I ever tried to get another job like that I could bring that bottle out and take sniff of it before deciding what to do.

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