Tag Archives: Jean Patou

Rule Britannia…. Elizabeth I by Jean Patou and Historic Royal Palaces for Dame Judi Dench The Perfumed Dandy’s Four Thespian Roses for St Valentine’s Day 

The power of a queen is not determined by her physical stature.

Nor the impact of an actress by her tenure on the screen.

Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar for her fleeting performance of Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare In Love”.

Outshining, to some minds, many of the juvenile leads.

Whether on set she wore the perfume that bears the name of ‘good Queen bess’ I must confess I do not know.

However it would have been most appropriate, for this work of olfactory archaeology must by one of the most ancient scents on the market today.

Lost for many years, the recipe for what fancies itself to be the fragrance worn by England’s Great Virgin, was rediscovered in the library of the Royal Horticultural Society in a volume enticingly named ‘The Mystery and Lure of Perfume’ by C J S Thompson.

It reads thus:

”Take 8 grains of musk and put in rose-water 8 spoonfuls, 3 spoonfuls of Damask-water, and a quarter of an ounce of sugar. Boil for five hours and strain it”

How closely these instructions have been followed by Patou, who worked with Historic Royal Palaces, to restore the perfume is unknown.

The result, however, is distinctly pleasing.

Old fashioned in an imperially-laundered way, it is an aroma by which to set sail and conquer continents.

Subtle, yet persuasive, it is not provocative or alluring, this is a pretty, clean, restrained rose to be admired, but not defiled.

One imagines it was once used in great quantities and in so doing to similar effect…

A side note on Dame Judi, though her appearance in this instance might have been short, her presence on the British stage and screen is long.

She first appeared professionally in 1957 at the Old Vic, forerunner to the National Theatre. She has gone on to play practically every major female part in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, Chekhov, Ibsen and the modern canon.

She won her first BAFTA film award (of six) in 1966, her first for television in 1968, the same year that she opened in the West End premiere of Cabaret as Sally Bowles to huge acclaim.

And whilst she has amassed more than 25 major film awards over her 55 year plus career it is to the theatre that she belongs.

Perhaps best known to the rest of the world as ‘M’ in the Bond films, at the age of 79 she has been voted ‘Greatest Theatre Actor of All Time’ by her peers and fellow professionals in industry bible “The Stage”.

Rose Queen of the Theatre.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy



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Aristocratic expressions of… Joy by Jean Patou The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

How can a woman so cleanly, clearly beautiful be so irredeemably and irresistibly impure?

For make no mistake, resistance, in this case, is utterly useless.

She is the latter day Lavinia Fenton.

Intent, with guile, a winning smile and her favours to climb every greasy pole, ascend every golden stair.

To gain preferment, forge friendships, collect hearts and break them.

Look at her.

At first she appears an art deco styled Duchess of Cleveland.

Arms and neck architectural in their elongation, movements languid yet elegant: expressive in their extension.

Her costume, no mere clothes for her, is remarkable.

She is dressed in a contemporary parody of a 1970s pastiche of jazz age ‘bright young things’ got up as Stuart and Georgian anti-heroines.

She is the culmination of all things courtesan.

An apotheosis of polite near prostitution.

A perfect specimen of a kept woman set free by her own cleverness and incredible good looks.

The shrew too shrewd to be tamed.

She may enter a room alone, but she is never unaccompanied.

Invisible courtiers go everywhere with her to carry an unseen train of ermine and shower her procession in white flower petals on the cusp of putrefaction.

The peerless peeress of the plausible arts of the flesh, her function and her triumph is to beget pleasure.

Sullied, superior, imperious, delirious.

She is the bringer of Joy.

Joy by Jean Patou is all fur coat and indolic white flowers.

The perfume that claimed once to be the world’s most expensive remains, at least in versions more than a couple of decades old, one of fragrance’s most expansive contradictions.

A collision of sharp edges at the opening with a Rubenesque surfeit of fragrant flesh lying within.

We start with a slightly mentholated tuberose, not quite camphorous, bleached ylang ylang and razor aldehydes. There may even be a hint of high pitched musk here too, though I would not declare with certainty on this point.

Then the fat ladies arrive and dominate the tableau fragrant.

Yes, there is the legendary civet note, not nearly so dirty as some unaccustomed to it would have one believe, merely sexily unwashed. But also the turning, part faecal, part fecund jasmine that permeates all parts of the perfume and is at least the equal signature.

Another force to be reckoned with is a slightly rotten rose. A bloom late in the season, when the ripeness of the scent and the decaying greenness of the leaves come together to create a decadent accord that is appealing but deathly.


Appropriate really, for this is unmistakably a femme fatale fragrance.

Indeed it has the endless staying power of a legendary lover whose amorous advances have the capacity to kill.

Joy is no common trollop to be cast aside once momentary passion is spent.

This is a scent with grand designs on a lasting tryst: remaining powerfully on the skin for a dozen hours, veering from floral to animal, but never straying from excess.

Yes, excess, paired with restraint.

There we have it, that contradiction again, the paradox perfume:

Joy is a smell for the badly behaved that is ever so, ever so good.

An uncrowned Queen of an aroma.

What of the latest formulation I hear you ask?

I’m afraid it seems to have been washed detergently bland.

It offers a laundry fresh opening that is too literal and harsh, and frankly done better elsewhere for much less money.

In the heart it opens up into a well-meaning and broadly drawn floral with considerable aldehyde heft…. But where is the animal?

All the fur, fun and life is gone.

Stick with the vintage, if you possibly can.

It’s good to be back.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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The Perfumed Dandy’s Scent Today…… JOY by Jean Patou

There is only one Joy…

… the costliest perfume in the world?

So read the copy of a scent so good they had to render its name in capitals.

Today it may be pure soap opera, but in the old version The Dandy has will it prove to ever so grand?

Oh please let it be so and then JOY will truly be without end!

Following its selection by your good selves in yesterday’s snap vote, The Perfumed Dandy will now take a few days to deliberate and cogitate the merits and mischiefs of this fragrance fair or foul and will, in due course, provide his report on relations with the new discovery by means of a scented letter.

Another opportunity to place a new perfume on The Dandy‘s skin will arise with the next instalment of The Perfumed Dandy’s Hit Parade.

In the meantime if you would like to thrust forward a fragrance for future fame on The Hit Parade simply visit ‘Suggest and old scent or recommend a new one’ and leave your suggestion there.

Have an especially fragrant day.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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Which ‘ladies’ scent’ will this gent wear come Christmas? The Perfumed Dandy’s Yuletide Hit Parade

Dearest Festive Fairies and Fellows

The Dandy adores Christmas.

I’m sorry, but I do, and over the next week or two I shall be devoting these pages to my own particular form of celebration… details of which to follow anon.

Apologies to the ‘bah humbugs’ among you, but The Dandy says ‘bah humbug’ to your ‘bah humbug’ and that’s enough humbugs to fill a sweet shop with. Now, to kick things off… A Very Special and Seasonal Hit Parade.

I have selected twelve perfumes, one for each day of Christmas, that have never made it to the top of our little chart (though they may appear on it currently).

You, my Santa’s elves, have between now and The Big Day to decide which scent will next my skin come 25th December 2013. So, all you have to do is pick from the sumptuous list below and cast your…

… wait for it…

… 12 Special Time of Year Votes for your favourite or favourites. Here goes, the big list…

French Can Can by Caron

Yresse (formerly known as Champagne) by Yves Saint Laurent

Phul-Nana by Grossmith

Visa by Robert Piguet

Joy by Jean Patou

Rouge (formerly known as Parfum d’Hermes) by Hermes

Diorling by Dior

Tom Ford Black Orchid by Estee Lauder

Chantilly by Houbigant

Louve by Serge Lutens

Parure by Guerlain

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Well, twelve festive belles there if I may say so. Now The Dandy’s Noel aroma is in your hands… … do spread a little cheer in this direction!

Yours ever festively

The Perfumed Dandy. The Perfumed Dandy

Post Script

Don’t forget that’s 12 votes each, to be dispensed and dispersed as you see fit… use them wisely.

Voting closes at a moment before midnight GMT on Christmas Eve, the winner will be announced when The Dandy’s done opening presents!


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