New Perfume Review Cartier Carat- ROYGBIV

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When you are a child, teachers provide all kinds of mnemonics, so you can remember things. One which has stuck with me for almost my entire life is the one used to remember the colors of the rainbow or a spectrum; ROYGBIV. That translates to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Even though I learned it at six it helped when I was faced with the idea of infrared or ultraviolet at later age. It even helps when I want to get the layers of a rainbow cake in the correct order. I hadn’t thought to apply it to perfume until I received my sample of Cartier Carat.

Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent wanted to translate the colors of the refracted light through a diamond, the spectrum, into a perfume. She would go so far as to assign each ingredient a color. The easy one is violet for violet. The others are more interesting analogies; lily for indigo, hyacinth for blue, ylang-ylang for green, narcissus for yellow, honeysuckle for orange, and tulip for red. Mme Laurent doesn’t make a perfume of ROYGBIV hers is a creation VIBGYOR or an inverse spectrum. It is a much more dynamic perfume than even that implies.

Mathilde Laurent

Many of the large mass-market perfume companies have made a concerted effort to produce a transparent floral fragrance. This is done to capture the new young generation of fragrance enthusiasts. As I’ve observed this over the past couple of years there have been nicely constructed perfumes but the move to transparency has left me wanting for a richer complexity. Which does not seem to be what the mass-market desires. Mme Laurent puts that to rest because as much as Carat is a transparent floral it is also as intricately constructed a perfume as I could desire.

This rainbow comes together a few colors at a time. Right away there is a watery green accord of violet and lily. Mme Laurent uses both notes tilted towards the green facets. The next color is the unctuousness of ylang ylang. This is so precisely applied it never gets out of control while providing a spine for the rest of the spectrum to hang upon. Hyacinth and narcissus provide the deeper colors in this spectrum, A captivating honeysuckle and a recapitulation of watery floral with the tulip complete the spectrum. Here is where Carat stands apart. Just as you look at light being refracted through a diamond; as you turn it certain colors flare to life momentarily. That is how Carat spends its time on my skin developing as if I was rotating a precious jewel through a beam of light. A bit of narcissus transforms to honeysuckle to violet to ylang. It stays with the same seven ingredients but it sure as heck isn’t linear.

Carat has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Carat is a marvel for its kaleidoscope-like construction while retaining a transparent nature. Mme Laurent has reaffirmed my belief that she is the best of the current in-house perfumers. So many of her contemporaries have taken a swing at this to strikeout completely or hit an uninspiring single. Mme Laurent hits a rainbow arc of a home run to produce the best mainstream perfume of 2018.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Cartier.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Providence Perfume Co Lemon Liada- What Modern Perfumery Is

The origins of perfume were using what was available to add to your body to smell nice. When the era of modern perfumery began in the late 19th century the combination of new synthetic materials along with the advent of efficient extraction processes changed things. It allowed for such an expansion of ingredients perfumers had new versatility. It allowed for artists to think in abstract terms. They could re-create a natural smell through a combination of synthetic molecules and natural sources. Some of my favorite perfumes are when there is an ingredient in the name and it is nowhere to be found within the note list. The ones I like best are from the perfumers I think most highly of; Providence Perfume Co. Lemon Liada is a new addition to my list.

What I enjoy so much about perfumes like Lemon Liada is when a perfumer, in this case Charna Ethier, allows me to reconsider my thoughts on what is being abstracted. For Lemon Liada Ms. Ethier wanted to create a summery eau de cologne. Lemon is a great place to begin when you are doing that. Ms. Ethier took a different tack. How about a lemon eau de cologne which has no lemon in it? How about a true abstract of lemon? How about a lemon perfume which lies about having lemon in it? That’s what Lemon Liada translates to.

Charna Ethier

If you’re going to achieve this, you will rely on the lemon-like ingredients within your palette. Ms. Ethier does that with three of these sources; verbena, petitgrain, and citron. The verbena and citron come together to form the frame of the lemon effect in the early moments. My childhood days of picking lemons off the tree smells a lot like this, a combination of external rind and green leaves. The next two part of this are petitgrain and mimosa. The mimosa is the key ingredient to the success of Lemon Liada as it imparts a gauzy veil over the entire construction. The petitgrain provides a brilliance atop that. At this point the lemon accord is complete. The final phase of Lemon Liada is where a bit of powdery iris and watery lotus provide some contrast as the accord begins to fray over the final hours.

Lemon Liada has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I don’t know why I am always so enthralled by these kinds of olfactory illusions. One reason is they don’t come around that often. Another reason is they often don’t hold together. When I encounter one as good as Lemon Liada it reminds me what modern perfumery is.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Providence Perfume Co.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review House of Cherry Bomb Pussy and Resist- Step Up, Speak Up, Scent Up

Ever since we moved to the greater Washington DC area I have been surprised at how much politics is woven into the fabric of the region. Even out in Poodlesville which is 18 miles from the front gate of the White House the feel of living in the Nation’s Capital is different from everyplace else I’ve lived. Over the last seven years there have been moments where the voice of protest has been raised up. To see the numbers of people who gather on the Mall to speak up about their issue almost every month is something which makes me happy to be an American where this takes place. It is the essence of being a vital Democracy; the opportunity to step up and speak up. Independent perfume brand House of Cherry Bomb has decided to add scent up to that with the release of Pussy and Resist. Perfumers Alexis Karl and Maria McElroy have composed what they call “Revolution Perfume” as they capture the idea of this current generation of protest.

Maria McElroy (on steps) and Alexis Karl

On January 21, 2017 the world became acquainted with the pink knitted cap known as a “pussy hat” as millions of women worldwide stepped up and made their voices heard. Pussy is a perfume meant to capture that sense of women’s advocacy. The perfumers choose to display that by using a deep floral accord clenched in a leather fist.

Tuberose comes right to the foreground as fig and honey accentuate this forceful floral. The leather accord comes forward and wraps itself around the tuberose. Encasing it in an animalic frame. The animalic part intensifies over the final stages with amber and musk abetting that.

Resist is an homage to the last fifty-plus years of active non-violent protest in the US. Every march has taken place on the streets. The smell of the urban landscape is what the perfumers capture by using sets of accords meant to capture pieces of that.

Resist opens with a duet of metal and cement; a true cityscape in scent. This is marching among tall buildings hearing your voices amplified against the facades. This scent then shifts to a small hopeful jasmine before the march becomes more active as smoke and oud show resistance does not mean unopposed.

Pussy and Resist have 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Of the two perfumes Resist works best for me as both statement and as a perfume. The smell of the streets is nicely captured which is where most resistance takes place.

If you’re interested in adding “scent up” to those moments you want to stand up and speak up these two perfumes might be the right choice.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by House of Cherry Bomb.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense- Missing the Sweet Spot

Of any review I have written on Colognoisseur in four and a half years the one which has garnered the most outright disappointment within the comments has been Tiffany & Co. The comments are very disappointed in another perfume called Tiffany which has replaced the original. As I pointed out in that review I believed it was Tiffany’s desire to make a perfume for a younger demographic than those who remember the original Tiffany perfume. It was much more transparent trending towards an iris soliflore. Over the year since I posted that review the lovers of the original have made their voice heard; they don’t like this new perfume. Because of that I was quite interested in the new flanker Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense. Could this be the bridge?

Going in to trying this the press release carries this line, “A richer, deeper version of the original signature scent. Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense echoes facets of the original composition” It does revive some of the original Tiffany ingredients, but I think this probably misses the sweet spot it was looking for.

Daniela Andrier

Perfumer Daniela Andrier is taking her iris soliflore of last year’s model and adding some character in the accords which surround the iris as the sole floral in the heart. This is the biggest difference between old and new; a single floral in the new versus a bouquet in the older version.

Mme Andrier opens with the green mandarin she used last year but this time blackcurrant buds and baie rose are added. The changes the opening into a greener more herbal citrus. It is much more complex than the soliflore. Iris is allowed to flower, again, in a rootier more earthy style; the powder is kept under control. The base is all about sweet resinous warmth as amber and benzoin are sweetened by vanilla. It is comforting like the sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver, and amber of the original.

Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Do I think Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense is going to win over those who miss the original Tiffany? No, I think this could make the loss keener because there are more recognizable pieces but not near enough to hold a candle to that perfume. Do I think the person who liked last year’s Tiffany & Co. will be excited to wear this flanker? Probably not because this crosses the line from transparent to something heavier in effect. The marketers say those who like the transparent simplicity of Tiffany & Co. should not want anything to do with Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum Intense. What about me? I liked it, probably more than either of the two groups outlined above. This was less of a trifle than last year’s model. They may have missed the sweet spot they were aiming for, but they found mine.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample from Tiffany & Co.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Kilian My Kind of Love Collection- Sympathy for The Kilian

Independent perfumery is made up of memorable characters. The more memorable the character the more likely you are to try their perfume. In 2008 I was introduced to one of the best at employing this principle; Kilian Hennessy. M. Hennessy was debuting a deluxe luxury brand called By Kilian. He was a spectacular spokesman for his fragrance brand. He would use that to go from the original six fragrance collection to becoming one of the largest niche brands in the world. Two years ago, this kind of success was noticed by the large cosmetics companies and Estee Lauder acquired Kilian.

This kind of acquisition is met within fragrance circles with suspicion. We worry that the big company will perform all kind of depredations upon the beloved brand. The funny thing is what it has really brought to the brand is more visibility. When I get e-mails from readers who don’t live near big cities it is difficult to tell them where to go see if they appreciate the difference in fragrance between niche and mass-market. Estee Lauder has been taking different approaches at broadening the availability of their recent niche brand acquisitions. A new initiative is exemplified by the four fragrance Kilian My Kind of Love collection.

The concept is simple broaden the distribution by releasing a Sephora collection. Have M. Hennessy add his trademark double entendre names. Then instead of creating a full-on mutli-faceted Kilian style of perfume; create a single multi-layered accord. The collection is clever enough at doing that if someone was to tell me they liked one of these four I could easily point them to one in the main collection.

The names are where the flirtatious puns exist and each perfume in the collection is a sentence unto itself. For example, Bad Boys Are No Good But Good Boys Are No Fun which is shortened to Boys. I am going to use the shortened names, but you can see the longer names in the header picture if you’re interested. Also, despite my best efforts I was unable to track down the perfumers but most of the perfumes in the Kilian collection have been composed by Calice Becker or Sidonie Lancesseur I am betting one or both were involved. A reason I think that, is each of these perfumes feel like the heart accord of a larger Kilian perfume.

Kilian Hennessy

Boys is meant to provide a cola accord and it does; a Diet Coke with a lime. Boys opens as you squeeze the lime into your drink and then the scent of the cola mixes with it. The accord is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel. It spends more time on the spicy citrus side than the gourmand sweet soda side.

Adults is a luxurious fig scent which starts with a ripe creamy version of that ingredient. Vanilla enhances the creaminess while cedar provides a clean woody contrast. All together it is a rich fig perfume.

Princess takes one of the most memorable pieces of one of the first By Kilian releases, Love, and weaves a simpler perfume around it. It starts with a springy duet of green tea and ginger before marshmallow rounds it out. The marshmallow is an example of bringing a niche style to a simpler construct which works well here.

Kissing is my favorite of these four because it is the most obviously gourmand. It starts with a green lily of the valley which is dropped upon a pool of sweet milk. The green floral threads of the lily of the valley cut through the vanilla and warm milk accord in a very pleasant way. This will find its way into my fall rotation when I want a nice milky gourmand.

All four perfumes have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Those of us who have enjoyed Kilian perfumes for the past ten years know M. Hennessy’s persona very well. I am thinking when there are big pictures of his come-hither gaze and unbuttoned shirt you can almost hear him singing, “Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man of wealth and taste” We can call this Sympathy for The Kilian as it spreads out to every mall. I think the My Kind of Love collection is a good way to introduce the Kilian style to a wider audience.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Clinique My Happy Blue Sky Neroli- Nice Bang For The Buck

It is one of the more frequent conversations I have with husbands about their wives’ perfumes. They ask me to recommend something. I respond, “What do they wear now?” Probably the most common answer I get is “Clinique Happy”. Happy has found the right combination of easy-to-wear along with modest price. As a fragrance brand it has been content to soldier on with flankers for twenty years. It has been so long since something with Clinique on the label has caught my attention; until a recent visit to Ulta.

There was a grouping of six brightly colored tall thin bottles which caught my eye. When I got to the display I saw they were part of the Clinique My Happy collection. The concept was to make these six perfumes “layerable” in such a way that you could create your own version of My Happy. I am not a fan of layering because I expect my perfumes to stand, or fall, on their own. Plus, when I see “layerable” it usually is synonymous with linear. Meaning you need to buy a few to have a perfume which actually develops over time. As I sprayed each of them on a strip in the store I was pleased not to find linear fragrance in search of being a perfume but actual perfumes in each bottle.

Celine Barel

Cocoa & Cashmere sprinkles cocoa on an expansive synthetic jasmine. Lily of the Beach loads a pile of salicylates on top of florals to create a light beach style fragrance. Peace & Jasmine uses green tea as the contrast to fuller jasmine. Peony Picnic is a fun fruity floral with plum providing its part of the equation. Splash is a citrus floral that is a clear relative of Happy minus the woody base. You might notice that is only five. The sixth, Blue Sky Neroli, is the one I purchased and took home; along with a sample set.

Blue Sky Neroli is exactly what you expect from a name like that. Perfumer Celine Barel uses the commonly used ingredients to create her effect, but it works very well.

It opens with a mixture of ozonic fresh air ingredients brightened with lavandin, cardamom, and citrus. It is the judicious use of those last three which provides some texture to the same old blue-sky accord. The same happens in the heart as neroli finds some rose support. The base is a fresh vetiver riding on a white musk accord.

Blue Sky Accord has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

The whole My Happy collection is moderately priced, and you can get a sample set for the same price as a bottle. It makes these perfumes great bang for the buck for being well executed perfumes. When you’re out and about give these a try you might end up with one in your shopping bag like I did.

Disclosure: this review is based on a bottle and samples I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfumes Review H & M The Essences Collection- 5 for 25

Anyone who has read my perfume writing over the years knows how much I despise huge debut collections of fragrance. It is because nobody has enough ideas to produce 8, or 10, or 12, or more perfumes all at once. Somewhere in all of that there are two or three completely realized ideas; the rest are mostly forgettable filler. It has been said these kind of mass releases are just a different kind of market research by allowing the consumer to drive the future of the brand. I don’t go along with that because there are times when it takes diligence to find what’s good in a sea of mediocrity. Few out in the real world are going to try them all. My compulsion to smell everything that makes it to my doorstep is even tested by these. If there was ever a time where my resolve was going to crack it was the 25 new releases from Swedish brand H&M.

Let me say I didn’t realize I was going to get an envelope filled with 25 different perfumes. I had seen a press release on a new collection of ten called “The Singles”. When my contact asked me if I wanted all the new releases I said yes thinking this was all of them. Au contraire, mon frere. There was another entire collection called “The Reveries”; ten in total. Then five more which comprise “The Essences”.

All the perfumes were composed by either Nisrine Grille, Olivier Pescheux, or both together. Twenty-five new releases irritate me so I’m going to help those of you who are faced with this ridiculously large amount of new perfume. Everything in “The Singles” is exactly what that intimates single note or accord perfumes. What is so blasted annoying about all ten is there is nothing extra to showcase the keynote. They’re all just flaccid single ingredient formulas a step up from anything at the health food store; maybe. “The Reveries” are equally boring because they are just a box-checking exercise to have poorly done examples of every style of popular perfume. Derivative in the extreme they are like drugstore versions of better perfumes. If you’re thinking about skipping the entire H&M fragrance section, and I wouldn’t blame you, there are five worth trying.

Olivier Pescheux

The remaining five releases make up a collection called “The Essences”. All five were done by M. Pescheux alone. These are all better versions of the boring ones done in “The Reveries”. There are glimmers of real interesting fragrance within these five. I thought I’d give each a couple of lines.

Comoro Ylang– I really like a full spectrum ylang which is what M. Pescheux uses as his nucleus. Wrapped in ginger and a set of linen musks before some benzoin warms things up at the end. This will be a nice fall floral.

Les Cayes Vetyver– M. Pescheux uses grapefruit and vetiver which is a typical pairing. The addition of the sweet earthiness of carrot seed was surprising. Finding the gaps between the tart green woodiness of the other two.

Makassar Patchouli– M. Pescheux takes the earthy herbal-ness of patchouli and contrasts it with the purple flower duo of violet and lavender. Warmed in the base with amber. This will be the sample I’ll probably use up.

Rose Absolute– A spicy rose architecture with cinnamon and cedar on both sides of a Turkish rose.

Santalum– M. Pescheux seemingly couldn’t just settle on one woody ingredient. Cypress, pine, cedar, and sandalwood form a fresh woods laden accord. Some jasmine in a small quantity is all that provides contrast. More interesting than it sounds as the woods developed dynamically on my skin until the sandalwood was the lone survivor.

All five of The Essence Collection has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’ve made my case about the crass cynicism behind dumping 25 new perfumes at once on the market. What I can say is there are five out of that mess worth trying. I can only hope they are the ones which have the best sales, so H&M is encouraged to do more in that direction. I have a feeling that’s not going to be the result.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by H&M.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver- Vetiver on Top

If you are succeeding a perfume legend would you step right up and invite comparison? I think if you are confident in your abilities the answer is yes. The perfumer who succeeded Jean-Claude Ellena as in-house perfumer at Hermes, Christine Nagel has spent some time showing she is confident enough to invite those comparisons. I have been very impressed with her early releases for Hermes. Even so I admit some trepidation at the thought of her creating a flanker of one of M. Ellena’s best known perfumes, Terre D’Hermes. Turns out she continues to show respect for the Hermes aesthetic refined by M. Ellena while continuing to re-define it. The new Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver is a great example of how she does this.

Terre D’Hermes was groundbreaking in 2006 because M. Ellena relied on one synthetic ingredient, Iso E-Super, in overdose. The formula was 55% Iso E Super. Because of the size of the molecule there are people who can’t smell it. For those people if you ask them what they do smell they will say vetiver. That’s because in the non-Iso E-Super 45% Terre D’Hermes is a grapefruit and vetiver prominent fragrance. That is where Mme Nagel begins.

Christine Nagel

I don’t have access to all the synthetic vetiver ingredients but for Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver it seems like Mme Nagel has decided to allow what I believe is a vetiveryl acetate analog to take up some of the Iso E Super percentage. The reason I think this is there is a saltiness to the vetiver that I’ve only experienced in synthetic versions I’ve smelled. It is a fantastic effect by itself. Layered onto the core of Terre D’Hermes it forms a summery bright fragrance.

The opening is the classic bitter grapefruit and pepper. For Terre D’Hemes Eau intense Vetiver, Mme Nagel switches out the black pepper of the original for the more versatile Szechuan pepper. I like this top accord much better than the original. I have really come around on this complex ingredient. It carries lots of nuance which allows for Mme Nagel to find just the right version to use. What comes through is more herbal quality pepper which captures a bit of the sulfurous grace notes in the grapefruit. It has an almost minty freshness which sets the stage for the synthetic vetiver. This is a salty vetiver with a hint of smoke. Mme Nagel uses it to pick up on the green zestiness of the grapefruit and the herbal quality of the Szechuan pepper. It comes together in an expansive vetiver dominant accord that is compelling. Then the Iso E Super arrives with its scent of desiccated pencil shavings. This is still here in high concentration, but I will bet it is under 25% this time.

Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

Terre D’Hermes Eau Intense Vetiver is a recognizable flanker of the original. It is also a recognizable change from the original as Mme Nagel chooses to amplify some different qualities. The vetiver she uses makes it seem like we are near the coast without tripping over into full on aquatic. By putting vetiver on top, she has created a worthy successor to one of the best masculine perfumes of this century.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana- Farmgirl to Chypre Fatale

I delight in finding new perfume brands. It is part of what makes me enjoy writing about perfume. Like an olfactory Lothario I am always looking for a new relationship. The bad part of that behavior is the possibility to ignore one of the longer-lived brands when it is doing something extraordinary. I hope that I am a better correspondent than that, but it is human nature to put the new over the old. One point in my favor is I have been very impressed with the current direction at Jo Malone overseen by creative director Celine Roux. 2018 is shaping up as a prime example. The new Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana continues a fantastic year.

Celine Roux

I often write about how a strong creative director paired with a strong aesthetic is a formula for success. Mme Roux has placed her very distinctive direction upon one of the more recognizable perfume aesthetics by not being afraid to explore the fringes of that. Jo Malone is a classic British line which honors that in every perfume. Mme Roux has embraced that in the best releases over the last few years. Honeysuckle & Davana shows all of that.

Anne Flipo

The press materials for almost every new Jo Malone release offers quotes from Mme Roux and the perfumer about the creative process. For Honeysuckle & Davana the collaborator is perfumer Anne Flipo. Honeysuckle is not a flower which can be extracted easily. The alternative is for a perfumer to undertake headspace analysis where they capture and analyze the material in its natural state. By seeing the chemical makeup of the natural scent, they can then undertake an effort to produce that scent in the lab. The press release tells of Mme Roux and Flipo spending a full day at The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire. They took headspace samples throughout the day including one at midnight. They discovered an ever-altering scent profile. It was the late-night version which captured their attention as they felt it fit into a chypre construction. This effort pays off.

I didn’t speak about the other ingredient on the label; that one shows up right away. The top accord is rose oxide and davana. Both ingredients bring a fruit-tinted green to things. The rose oxide also has some earthiness from which the honeysuckle can spring. The honeysuckle accord comes next. It starts off very bright but Mme Flipo really turns it into an after dark version with osmanthus to contribute its leathery floral quality. There is the movement from innocent farmgirl to femme fatale. That is deepened as Mme Flipo uses the classic patchouli, moss, and sandalwood chypre base. Innocence is gone as the bad girl comes forward. It is this final stage of the perfume which impressed me. Even using the low-atranol oakmoss it is one of the few times I have not missed the bite of full octane oakmoss. The honeysuckle accord struts right through it all.

Honeysuckle & Davana has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Honeysuckle & Davana is my favorite Jo Malone release of 2018. It is also one of my favorite new releases overall in 2018. Mme Roux is making this Lothario take another look at the one he left behind; gloriously so.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review: Joy by Dior- Shaking My Head

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When it comes to my favorite dead brand, Jean Patou, I am a bit like Charlie Brown and Lucy when it comes to her holding a football for him to kick. Every time I think I will get some gratification only to find myself on my back looking at the sky. About a month ago I read that Jean Patou had been acquired by LVMH. What was odd was it had been done in such a way that people only learned of it well after the fact of the acquisition. Why was that? The press release announcing it was appropriately hopeful about giving the brand an elevated profile. Then the truth came about two weeks later when I got a press release announcing the new release from Dior; Joy by Dior. They acquired Jean Patou so they wouldn’t have to have any problems with the name of their new perfume.

Jean Patou Joy is one of the acknowledged masterpieces of perfumery. It is seen as one of the greatest perfumes ever. Because Patou has been so decimated as a brand it is not as cherished as its other contemporaries. Which is why it is puzzling why Dior would make the decision to produce a new perfume with the same name of a masterpiece. The cynic in me says because they’ve unleashed their market research staff and found out most consumers have no idea there is a previous classic perfume called Joy. Which fits with the perfume that has been produced. Joy by Dior is a good perfume put together via the perfume assembly line of focus groups and market research; as cynical as it gets in other words.

Francois Demachy

Francois Demachy the in-house perfumer at Dior is responsible for Joy by Dior. It is very simple, very fresh, and very derivative. M. Demachy chose to create a mash-up of two huge best-sellers. The citrus opening is straight out of Chanel Allure and the floral heart is Dior J’Adore. In other words, it is just a re-tread. This has become a disturbing trend that has bled over into niche perfumery (Try the new Serge Lutens for an example). If you want a crowd-pleasing top seller just combine some of the best accords from your past, or another brand’s, and toss them together into a “new” perfume. Count on the consumer to just go with the happy flow. Voila! You have Joy by Dior.

The top is citrus. Studies say everyone loves citrus. M. Demachy blends a slightly bitter orange version. Flowers, everyone loves flowers; especially rose and jasmine. Yes, but don’t make them too heavy that makes people uncomfortable. It also might remind them of that other Joy. So, make sure the rose and jasmine are composed of expansive synthetic versions. What's the safest base we can use? Oh yes, another synthetic sandalwood wrapped in linen musks to make this as soft as can be. Because above all we want you to feel comfortable with your purchase.

Joy by Dior has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Of all the big brands Dior has been the one which has been the most openly cynical about the mass-market consumer. The whole Miss Dior Cherie-Miss Dior debacle is a prime example. Joy by Dior joins that list of dubious distinction.

Bottom line, Joy by Dior is going to sell like crazy. It is a perfume for people who don’t like perfume but still want to wear perfume. It is going to find its way into Holiday presents galore. If it isn’t the best-selling new perfume this upcoming shopping season, I’ll be shocked. It is why I’ll be shaking my head every time I smell it in the mall for the rest of the year.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Dior.

Mark Behnke