Tag Archives: Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day

keepmumcrop

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…

brambleberry

THE CLASSICS

These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.

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Ysatis

Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com

cinnabar

Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

Opium_by_YSL

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

miss dior originale

Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.

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TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS

Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

4160 taster

4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.

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The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.

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THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS

Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

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Tweed

Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.

Avon.com

Avon

Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.

 

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Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.

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That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

Wearing Your Mum’s Perfume- Drugstore Classics From the 1970s

tweed ad

Are you one of those people who recoils at the idea of smelling like their Mum? I am.  I confess that I very rarely wear the same perfume as my Mum, no matter how much I like it.  In fact I try not to introduce her to perfumes I love for that very reason. No offence Mum, if you’re reading this! ( I bet she’s not) and happy birthday for tomorrow.

However, as a child of the seventies I am having a big  fit of nostalgia lately. So many new releases from the last two years have been berry-heavy, vanilla heavy and have more in common with an ice cream sundae than a cosmetics counter.  It used to be aldehydes and oakmoss and now its all candy floss and Kate Moss (which rhymes if you say it right). When did it become cool to smell like cupcakes instead of eating them? Is it any wonder that I long for the seventies?

alibaba.com
alibaba.com

Seventies fragrances are generally looked down on by the youth of today and no wonder: modern tastes have moved on.  However, as an ardent fan of Coty L’Aimant and Panache and Avon Timeless I fully embrace those aldehydic affordable scents from my formative years and I reckon retro scents are due for a comeback.

I’ve picked ten of my favourites out below just in case you, like me, fancy a shot of retro fragrant frugality.  I have only selected perfumes you can still buy today and perfumes that are still comparably affordable (not counting eBay where even the discontinued can be had for the right price)).  In fact, the added bonus is that all the fragrances I have listed come in at well under a tenner and some are nearer five pounds.   Is it too early to use the C word?  Of course not.  Here I go then- these would make great affordable Christmas presents. Check these out:

Avon.com
Avon.com

Avon Timeless:An ambery, powdery scent created in 1974.  Avon discontinued it in favour of more modern releases but customer demand brought it back in 2012. My Avon Lady tells me it’s her bestseller.

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alamy.com

Tweed:Tweed is underrated if you ask me.  Its chock full of citruses and flowers,  goes a bit Mr Sheen  for a bit with lavender and beeswax, then ends up with a woody, patchouli afterglow that lasts a whole day. Cheap as chips and a pleasant change among the sweety/cakey miasma of the Twenteens.

alibaba.com
alibaba.com

Panache: I wear this often.  Its jasmine, aldehydes and roses last around twelve hours on me, making my little 3.95 bottle fantastic value for money. You can still get it for well under a tenner.

hprints.com
hprints.com

Coty L’Aimant: Many Chanel No 5 fans eschew this  gem, when actually, they were launched a few years apart in the late 1920s and smell very similar.  Longevity is excellent and despite its tiny price, it never smells cheap.

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Yardley Lavender: I’ve got the lot: Yardley Rose, Yardley April Violets and Yardley English Lavender. You can’t beat a classic floral. I also love to layer April Violets over existing scent that isn’t, in my open ion, “violetty enough”

zando.co.za
zando.co.za

Lace: Formerly Yardley Lace, this is now made by Taylor of London. Lace opens with aldehydes and citrus notes, goes through a  blousy, rather loud  floral phase and beds down into moss, amber and  patchouli.  It’s similar to Chique, but soapier.

amazon.co.uk
amazon.co.uk

Chique: With hand on heart I can genuinely tell you that this mossy chypre reminds me of Estee Lauder Knowing and gets better the longer you wear it.  Chique is under ten quid and I proudly own a wear a bottle myself.  Wouldn’t be without it.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass: another spicy aldehyde, full of peppery geranium and classic roses.  Perfect from the fridge in summer. Still very good value and widely available.

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Charlie Blue: Okay I admit, I didn’t used to like this at all, but once I entered the chypre portal, it made more sense to me. It’s very cheap, very long lasting and has a mossy, spicy base that is harder to find over the High Street counter today. Its remarkably cheap, usually under £4.

jovan

Jovan Musk For Women: Launched in 1972 and still going strong today: Every Fragrance Wardrobe needs a musk and this is a good one. This has not dated since its launch and is not just a good quality musk on its own but is excellent for layering too. I bagged my bottle locally but you can find it on Fragrance Direct or Amazon UK.

 

Stockists

Jovan Musk is available from FragranceX, Coty L’Aimant is available from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct, Tweed, Chique, Lace and Panache are all available from Amazon UK and allbeauty.com, Yardley fragrances are available from Boots or allbeauty.com, Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass is available from Escentual or allbeauty.com, Charlie Blue is available from Boots or Amazon UK, Avon Timeless is available from AvonShop UK.

Acknowledgments

With thanks to Milton Lloyd who kindly provided me with Tweed, Panache, Chique and Lace. Opinions are my own.

 

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Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue: My Lofty Classic

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Elizabeth Arden fragrances,although  very reasonably priced, can be hit and miss:

Hits: Fifth Avenue, Untold, Green Tea and all its flankers, Sunflowers Summer Bloom, Blue Grass

Misses: Sunflowers, Red Door, Mediterranean, Splendor, True Love.

My lists are of course purely subjective, but I would add a great big thumbs up to Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue, which I am reviewing today. It deserves a place right at the helm of the Hit list. Fifth Avenue was created in 1996 by legendary nose Ann Gottlieb  and to me, it has stood the test of time where others have fallen.  With it’s light feminine florals and its warm amber base, I would go as far as to say it has a lot in common with Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.

lazada.com.ph
lazada.com.ph

I mistakenly thought that Fifth Avenue was all about freesia, but in fact I find there is no freesia in it.  Instead, it is chock full of the most classic florals, namely rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, violet, iris, tuberose, lilac and carnation. If flowers had their own version of Who’s Who , all these would be in it. Rather than being cloying though, this floribunda of an accord is lightened with citruses in the opening gambit, bedding down to a floral base with hints of white musk and amber.  Unlike several other Elizabeth Arden scents, lasting power is pretty good.  I thought I’d lost it after an hour or two, but it wafted back to me in the evening when I let my hair down (in the literal sense, I didn’t go and party when the kids were in bed).

I like Fifth Avenue so much that I have a 125ml bottle on my dressing table and its sky scraper style bottle dwarfs my collection with its lofty glass column and its gold lid. I call this a classic, and I call it great value too.  It’s a pretty safe bet as a gift too- it’s sure to please anyone who likes floral scents without killing bystanders ( Hey, Angel, I’m talking to you!)

Stockists

Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue is currently available for a bargain price  at allbeauty.com and is widely available on your High Street or on Amazon UK.

Panache : A Welcome Reminder of Perfumed Days Past.

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I have an unerring soft spot for 70s perfumes. It was my first ever decade. I was born in 1970, although I only look 27 (*cough*). Women in the 70s and early 80s gave me my blueprint for the future. How they smelled, what they wore, what they did. I looked at them and thought “I too will wear jumpsuits and big sunglasses and smell of that perfume one day, whilst smoking Menthol cigarettes and drinking Babycham”. The scents that I can remember are Avon Sweet Honesty, and Timeless, Tweed by Lentheric, even Tramp by Lentheric (imagine giving that to someone today!) Charlie, Aqua Manda, Coty L’Aimant and of course, Panache.

The Seventies to me is a faded memory of being so short that I lived among a forest of legs, where every street had an Avon Lady, and where my Christmas present every year contained my first ever perfume: Avon’s Pretty Peach.

Having reviewed Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, I thought I’d go back into the past again and review Yardley’s/Taylor of London’s/Lentheric’s Panache (The recipe has changed hands a bit). It used to be made by Lentheric, as did so many of its fellow drugstore classics. I even remember the TV advert where a glamorous woman went to a party and charmed everyone there with her smiley face and nice smell.

Having bagged my bottle for the princely sum of 5.99GBP for 30ml, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I wasn’t disappointed. This a classic aldehyde right down to the tip of its 70s peeptoe sandals. It’s certainly a relation of Blue Grass: the common notes are Rose, Geranium and Aldehydes. However, it’s not quite as sharp as Blue Grass, with a powderiness that calms it down and makes it more wearable. The base notes come through right from the start: Myrrh, 70s style Sandalwood (in spades), and Oakmoss (or a good impression of it). However, despite the wood and spice in the base, this remains a light daytime scent, with all the flowers popping up to keep it pretty and not too in-your-face as Blue Grass can sometimes be. There’s citrus too: Oranges and Lemons, although I can only smell the Lemon, not the Orange.

The overall impression is a floral day time perfume with a powdery background, bedding down into woody notes with a hint of Palmolive.

Image Longevity is a surprise. For 5.99GBP this lasts around eight hours. It is excellent value for money and I would put it in the same category as Avon’s Timeless as a very cheap and massively underrated beauty.

I would love to see a revival of 70s drugstore classics to wipe out the sea of cheap vanilla and berries that seems to be everywhere.  Whatever you do this week, do it with Panache.

Happy Father’s Day! It’s Our Old Friend Old Spice.

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 Old Spice has been a fixture in shops and bathroom shelves ever since I can remember. So ubiquitous was it that I have never really bothered to sit down and sniff it properly. It was my husband’s idea for me to review this on Father’s Day, and I thought it was a great idea. I had to Imageagree, especially since he had caught me raiding his fragrance collection because I was in a “manly” mood.

Cheap as Chips, and as common as grass, Old Spice is far more complex than I ever realised. My first visceral associations were naturally talc and toothpaste, but I realised that these were associations, rather than the notes that build it.

So complex is Old Spice that I feel that listing its range of notes explains it best: Nutmeg, Lemon, Orange, Star Anise, Aldehydes, Carnation, Jasmine, Geranium, Cinnamon, Heliotrope, Pimento, Ambergris, Benzoin, Cedar, Vanilla, Tonka Bean and Musk.

Prior to wearing it all day long today in the name of research I would have described it as “white and soapy”. After a day of wear (and top ups) I can honestly say that if they put this in a pretty bottle and sold it as a feminine fragrance, I reckon it would do very well indeed. I would certainly buy it, and you can rest assured that this is not the last time I will be wearing it. (with apologies to my husband, who’s bottle I am using).

The opening is indeed powdery like talc, but also has Carnation and Geranium notes i.e floral but spicy. The Aldehydes do indeed give it the soapy feel that you would associate with bathrooms and shower rooms, but this is more than clean talc. These three notes are also found in Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, and sometimes, Old Spice smells a tiny bit similar, as if I’m smelling Blue Grass from  ten yards away four hours after its been applied. There’s the same faint floral heat against a background of Aldehydes.

In a similar fashion to Dana’s Tabu, this has a light spice that doesn’t go too deep or resonant. It’s almost a surface Oriental, with its Star Anise and  Pimiento, but with less of the “joss stick smoke” than Tabu.

The drydown is a Musky, spiced powder, with the powder  having remained constant throughout. It’s like Spice through a white fluffy towel. The Spice is indeed there, but always cushioned by something softer.

All in all, this is a great cologne with its clean, soapy feel and its added prickle of spice to keep it interesting.  It’s been around so long I almost didn’t see it anymore, but now I feel sure that I will be thinking outside the box when choosing my day’s fragrance, and reaching for the beautiful white glass bottle with its little stopper.

The last word on longevity goes to my husband who said: “it lasts long enough to kiss your wife in the morning but is gone by the time you reach the office.”

Having said that, Old Spice is inexpensive enough to top up regularly, usually to be found well under 10GBP.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, and to all who may be missing one.

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Andy Tauer No 14 Noontide Petals: From Noon to Sundown

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It’s taken me a few days to think about what I’m going to say about Andy Tauer’s latest release Noontide Petals. Not because I’m trying to be tactful, no need for that: It’s because it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before.

It’s floral but not a floral. It’s spicy but not an Oriental, it is very Bergamot but is not a Hesperide. It has powder but it’s not a Chypre. You can see my problem.

It is very beautiful and lives up to its whimsical name. At first spray, whilst still wet, it’s strong Bergamot with Geraniums catching up. Then a blast of aldehydes. Now this bit confused me. Its clearly aldehydic but the last aldehyde I sniffed was Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass i.e the opposite side of the subtlety spectrum to Noontide Petals.

Tauer’s aldehydes emerge gradually, like Royalty getting out of a car, whilst Blue Grass jumps out of the bottle and bops you in the face. So I guess this taught me that aldehydes come in many forms, many of which I don’t yet know.

 Noontide Petals has a long top note, with the Bergamot staying true with a hint of clean soapy notes. However, what I love about this, and I may be alone in even thinking this, is that there is a lovely chalkiness to Noontide Petals. That same chalkiness made me fall in love with Balmain Jolie Madame, which to my nose smells of damp moss and chalky cliffs (I adore it and bought a full 100ml bottle) Noontide Petals has that same faint chalkiness, which makes the Bergamot, so often used in more astringent style fragrances, into a powdery soft citrus.

It’s around this point that the flowers turn up: the Jasmine, the Ylang Ylang and the Roses. Petals indeed: they bring prettiness and a background aroma rather than taking over.

And finally, the closing act! The clever evening stage of Frankincense (often known as Olibanum), Styrax and Patchouli. It’s worth waiting for, and has an incense style spice, rather than gourmand, with a hint of High Church and a dash of something spiky.

As usual with a Tauer fragrance, it lasts and lasts. Twelve hours so far. It’s a perfume that can take you from night to day, like a good black dress. It starts all delicate and pretty, then gets deeper and more mysterious by the time the sun goes down.

A bit like me. (*cough*)

Noontide Petals can be purchased from the Tauer website or Les Senteurs. My sample is so strong that it has lasted me three days and is still half full. Top marks for longevity.

Jean Patou Joy: Here Comes The Heavyweight

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So big and mighty and famous is Joy that I feel almost unqualified to review it. However, as you may know  by now, IScentYouADay is all about my response to a scent, and therefore, like the Gallery Visitor swooning at their first Titian, I am merely reporting as a member of ImageJosephine Public.  Although slightly more scent obsessive, it must be said.

Joy was created in the middle of the Great Depression and was the most expensive perfume in the world. Jean Patou was quite unapologetic about this fact.  You can imagine how it must have gone down in PR terms during post war austerity. That being said, he had the talent to back up his chutzpah.

Joy was indeed costly, not just financially, but environmentally.  One bottle of Joy would use up 336 Roses and 10,600 jasmine flowers. As you can imagine, IFRA have since changed all that.  Lucky old moi, I have in my hands a vintage EDP sample (thank you LW yet again). On smelling Joy, it’s easy to remember that it was created for a woman in the 1930s since this is not a modern smell, and yet, at the same time, it is a timeless classic.

from The Black Narcissus
from The Black Narcissus

First impressions count. I had a burst of Aldehyde, the blatancy of which I hadn’t smelled since Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass. It’s Aldehydes loudly before Peaches and Jasmine barge in. A little Tuberose makes things creamy, and I could have sworn some Lemon was in there, but it seems I am wrong. As the sharpness dies down, the Roses begin to dominate, but with subtlety. They are so perfectly blended with the other ingredients that you couldn’t quite call this a Rose perfume. Or a straight forward floral. Civet is listed, though I found no trace, and the base notes settle down into something that I prefer far and away above the opening notes.

VintageAdBrowser
VintageAdBrowser

Jasmine is loud, Roses are strong to the point of  medicinal,  and sandalwood makes it cosy. A little musk softens all edges into a baby soft floral with the now milder Aldehydes in the background to give it a prickle. It’s easy to see why this has stood the test of time whilst others have fallen. I found Joy  hard to break down into pieces and notes. What Henri Almeras has created is a mood, or a tone. Unabashedly feminine, perfume makers could learn a lot at the knee of Madame Joy. It’s complicated and changeable, but the end result and the final basenotes are simple.

I like Joy, and so do millions of others, making this the second best selling perfume of all time after the ubiquitous Chanel no 5. (which I suppose I’ll have to get round to reviewing at some point. Reluctantly). Incidentally, I have discovered that I love to say “Jean Patou” aloud. It almost sounds like an exclamation: “Jean Patou! That was delicious” or “Jean Patou, look at the rain!” Jean Patou! That’s some good perfume.

You can buy Jean Patou Joy from allbeauty.com or Escentual.

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