New Perfume Review: Joy by Dior- Shaking My Head


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

33 thoughts on “New Perfume Review: Joy by Dior- Shaking My Head

  1. Is this your first negative review! Remarkable. – I like that phrase "a perfume for people who don’t like perfume". This shows the status perfume has claimed back, it is part of the individualization people keep on looking for, along with the luxury attribute. May I add I appreciate Jennifer Lawrence as a seriously good actress and personality, and that I am nearly dissapointed to see her in all these Dior advertisements (more than nearly would be naive, I know). 

    • Marcus,

      Not my first but it is a rare occurrence. I share your admiration for Ms. Lawrence but a woman has to make a buck. I hope she’s getting paid as much, or more, than Charlize Theron did for her J’Adore ads.


  2. " a perfume for the people who don't like perfume " !!! Geniale!!!! 

    I was actually very confused when i learned of the name of the perfume and was thinkinhg: how dare they call it Joy, knowing Jean Patou's masterpiece, and at the time selling as the most expensive perfume in the world – Patou being a jeweler!!!! i have not tried this Joy, and probably won't

    • My sentiments exactly.  It is just terrible, that the most wonderful Perfume ever, has been cheapened in this way.  It wasnt necessary.  Very sad.  Does this mean the original is no longer available.?? Must do  more research. 

          • I am a longtime lover of Jean Patou and as soon as I knew about this crazy move by Dior I was shocked. I love perfumes (real ones) and bags (real ones): Dior's Joy is like Louis Vuitton's bags, made for women who are unable to have their own taste and buywhat is just "fashionable". On my perfume shelf, some great classics from Guerlain (L'heure bleue, Mitsouko, Chamade, Shalimar), Joy (the real one), Fleur d'oranger de Serge Lutens… it's nice to find such competence in perfumes in a man, thank you Mark.

          • Patou confirmed that all Jean Patou fragrances are sadly no longer in production.

            >But Jean Patou is also Perfumes, right?
            >Yes, indeed! Jean Patou revolutionised the perfume industry with some of the most iconic fragrances of the 20th century.
            >Today, Jean Patou’s fragrances are no longer in production. However, you can still find your favourite Jean Patou perfumes in select authorised outlets around the world.


  3. Will I be able to purchase original Joy anywhere? It is the most magnificent. I wore Miss Dior ( in the black and white herringbone trimmed bottle) in high school. The new Miss Dior isn’t right. Why isn’t success enough?  Why must they tinker with something so perfect as Joy or Miss Dior?I pray nothing so awful happens to my Chanel 5 !

  4. What a spledid article, cynical it maybe, but truthful it is to the core. I'm now a retired pensioner, (having worked in the UK perfume industry for many years) but remember  how revered Joy by Jean Pilou was by my friends throughout the perfume industry. There was hardly a single perfume launch in heady days when I was in business that did not pay respect to this masterpiece. For over 50 years I became aware of so many "new" perfumes that had some reference to part of Joy!

    So, with Dior owning the old Joy what are the chances of still buying any?

  5. Sad that few consumers knew about the classic Joy. An anecdote…at age 15 in 1969 I lived in a small city near Buffalo. Not a haven of chic. I was addicted to glossy magazines and told my mother I really wanted Joy for Christmas. I had no right to ask for something so extravagant and most people we knew wouldn't have known it from Joy dishwashing detergent. Yet my parents bought me a crystal flagon..small but so elegant and how sophisticated I felt. Even when it was empty, the scent lingered. A lovely memory.

  6. My name is Joy and I love the original perfume. I have enough to last me for ages luckily because I would never want a fake copy with the same name.

  7. What about the recently released J’adore in Joy by Dior? Seems like they’ve already used the name once, why use it again??

  8. So Dior bought the right to call their perfume Joy? They have forgotten that their demographic who can afford good perfumes are slightly older and will only think of Patou when they hear Joy. I absolutely loved the scent of the real Joy on others, but sadly, on me it had faint notes of the barnyard. 

  9. I remember reading a novel in a class in college (early 80’s) and it was mentioned that the woman was wearing ‘Joy’. Not one person, including the professor, knew this was the “most expensive perfume in the world” but me. They all thought it was ‘Joy’ the dishwashing soap and asked why she was wearing it. *sigh*.   Thank you so much for this article because I was curious how Dior could claim their ‘new’ perfume was the timeless, classic Joy. 

  10. One of my best friends swears by the original Joy by Jean Patou. I used to buy it for her in Paris when the dollar was high. I don't usually like the classic perfumes but Joy is simply delicious. Dior has made a real faux pas just for a name, you would think that a copywriter could have found a different name — I'm feeling that any of us could have.

    I also find it curious (and typically French in that they think they understand everything about American Culture, which I've found to be far from true) that LVMH, as a luxury house, has chosen to use Jennifer Lawrence as the representative for their new perfume. Are they aware that she starred in a film about a woman who invented a string mop that was sold on TV, and that film was titled "JOY”? Really classy, LVMH!

  11. just purchased the new joy by dior. Maybe i have lost my sense of smell but to me it had no smell at all. did not even leave a lingering scent on my clothes as other perfumes do. it  may as well have been a bottle of water.

  12. I have been wearing JOY by Jean Patou for over thirty years. While recently in Paris, tried to puchase this JOY…very difficult. Finally found one bottle at a large department store. Where ever I asked for JOY the clerk showed me the Dior copy. So very disappointed as am sure are many, many women. What can replace JOY by JP?

  13. Many thanks for this informative piece. My hackles rose when I saw adverts for the "new" Joy from Dior. I well remember the beautiful fragrance of Joy by Patou. 

    Leslie Williams, how lucky you were to receive a bottle of that heavenly stuff at 15!  As a teenager i begged for some, but was told, "It's too old for you." I suspect that was parent-speak for, "Are you joking? It's WAY too expensive!"

    I won't be trying this cynical new version. I wrote off Dior as a reliable purveyor of fragrance years ago when they launched the VILE Poison.

    So the House of Patou is no more? That's a shame. I'm glad Robert Piguet is still going. Their Fracas is a favourite of mine.

    • I recently hunted down a mid-70’s bottle of Joy perfume. The box had never been opened and still had its cellophane wrapping. It is almost unbelievable that after over 40 years the juice is still in perfect condition.: totally wearable with all notes still intact. Vintage Joy is not cheap, but it is well worth the money.

  14. I am enraged that Dior has taken the iconic name of Joy and put it on some new inferior perfume.  Could't they think of another name? Maybe "Impostor"

  15. Thanks for this article.  I have been a Joy lover since the 70s when I first discovered this most exquisite scent which I can rarely afford.  I consider it a monstrous betrayal that Dior chose to co-opt that name.  The least they could have done is spell it differently or add another word or two, like joie de vivre or some such.

  16. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who thinks the new miss dior versions are a debacle. They smell…disgusting. I love the old original version and I find it more and more difficult to get.

    I won't be buying this new perfume either, I don't like neither allure nor j'adore. I wish I could get a hold of one of Jean Patou perfumes. My mum told me about him.

  17. I am devastated. I’ve been searching for Joy de Jean Patou and everything I find is either a fake or so old it’s worthless.

    And now Dior has destroyed any hope of it ever resurfacing.

    Could someone – anyone – find the recipe and release it under a new name and a new brand?

    Ugh. So upset.

    • Buy only the vintage perfume or extrait, not the EDT or EDP. Make sure that the cellophane is still on the box. This proves that it has never been opened. I just bought a 44 year old bottle to wear and it is in perfect, gorgeous condition.

      • Still looking…

        Still wondering – why hasn’t some enterprising young designer taken it upon herself to REPRODUCE the original recipe? Call it “Jolie,” get Angeline Jolie to be its face… (clearly I’m no marketing genius, I’m just grasping at straws, here)

        Surely the recipe isn’t lost to the sands of time? Someone must have it.

        As far as catastrophes go, this ranks far below the human suffering wreaking the earth. But where perfume lovers are concerned, the loss of this treasure – and the appalling attempts by cynical pirates in the corporate world – is a devastating tragedy.

  18. Thank you for this article… I agree with you most heartedly… I was given a bottle of Joy by Jean Patou by my father, which he brought back with him from a trip overseas, when I was about 11 years old. This started my love for perfume, real perfume. My mother then followed that Christmas with a bottle of My Sin by Lanvin. Wildly inappropriate for a 11year old, but my passion was lit, it has been a fantastic love affair ever since. I have always been complimented by strangers on my perfume, I suppose because there is nothing mean in my spraying, hee hee! Sometimes I even spray perfume on when I am going to sleep, then I can slumber with this amazing fragrance around me. I always check this site, thank you for your posting!

  19. While spending time in Greece with my husband, after dinner we would walk back to our room next to 30 feet of jasmine. It was wonderful. So when I smelled Joy I fell in love with it. When we flew from Amsterdam to London I bought a supply from the Duty-free shop. I spent my time in London drenched in Joy.
    A number of years later I was pregnant and my husband woke one morning from a dream and said, “Her name is Joy.” I ended up in the hospital in Munich for pre-eclampsia at 25 weeks. He gave me a sponge bath every followed by Joy body lotion and perfume and said, “That’s for the baby.”
    Well she was born at 30 weeks and her name is JOY and she is one. Whenever I smell Joy I remember. My daughter is 33years and fully grown from a premie weighing one kilo and she is healthy and super bright. That’s my Joy story.

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