Jovoy Paris: Aladdin’s Cave of Luxury Perfumes

Source: Tribaspace.com

Source: Tribaspace.com

If you had one day to shop for perfumes in Paris, and wanted to experience the absolute widest possible range of niche perfumes, there is really only one place to go: Jovoy Paris. It’s a surfeit of riches and treasures that is located in the Rue de Castiglione, about a block away from the Place Vendome (as well as some of the chic-est parts of Rue St. Honoré).

Jovoy6In fact, the vastness of their range makes it a one-stop shopping destination that a true perfume lover absolutely has to visit. Sure, you could always go to the beauty sections of the large departments stores like Printemps and Les Galleries Lafayettes, but you wouldn’t be exposed to the very highest end of the niche perfume world, nor to some of the smaller, rarer, more unusual or high-quality perfume treasures. Instead of focusing on brands like By Kilian, Jovoy has things like Roja DovePuredistance, LM Parfums, Neela Vermeire, and many other fantastic brands that it — and it alone — carries in Paris.

Jovoy5I dragged my exhausted self to Jovoy almost at the tail end of my trip, and with the warning of one Paris perfumista ringing in my head that Jovoy has almost too much stuff. It’s true. It absolutely does. But what a sensory delight from start to finish! Even on the most initial, concrete levels of visuals, Jovoy is lovely. The walls are decorated in a chic Chinese red and the furniture is black. I’m quite biased, I must admit, as that is the pairing for my library/office, and black is my favorite colour (non-colour?) in general. Still, Jovoy is a study in chic sleekness and elegance from a mere decor perspective.

My photos cannot do it justice, and, once again, I have to repeat what I’ve said elsewhere: my camera chose Paris to start dying, though I now wonder if it’s perhaps just my batteries that may be the problem, despite nightly charging. Either way, my little, conveniently pocket-sized Canon seemed to be having a tantrum in photographing a lot of perfume bottles in a large number of stores (but, oddly, not a single problem at all in photographing French cheeses somehow……). From blurriness, to strange lighting, to actual zig-zag lightning strikes in neon colours, the perfume images were often wholly unusable. The ones that weren’t still aren’t fantastic. The situation seemed worst of all in Jovoy, so I can only apologise to you and to Jovoy for the quality of some of these. I include them only to give you a sense of the sheer enormity of the brands they carry, as well as a feel of that day.

Parfums de Marly

Parfums de Marly

So, you’ve entered the chic, sleek, minimalistic Asian-influenced environs of Jovoy, and then you see the range of the brands they carry — and your mind is effectively blown. Where do you start? How do you cover everything? None of the pictures I had seen of Jovoy had adequately conveyed the extent of all the unusual brands here. There is SO MUCH stuff! Even the tiniest of shelves has one full range crammed in; every bottle of Parfums de Marly in a tight row, one after another. And that’s only one of the tiny shelves! Jovoy is a wonderful problem for a perfumista to have, but it does also require a few practical considerations before you go.

First, if I may suggest, you should put aside at least a solid two hours — at a bare minimum — for a visit to Jovoy; and if you’re a hard-core perfume addict who hasn’t had much concrete access to testing many, less-accessible lines in person, then perhaps more like four hours. At a minimum. That was approximately the amount of time that I spent in the store, and I tell you without any hyperbole at all that I may have sniffed or tested only a mere fraction of their stock. Maybe 10%. I could have spent six hours in Jovoy, and probably still wouldn’t have had the chance to get through everything. Plus, even if you could get through it all, you would have such olfactory fatigue by the end that I’m not sure you could really process it all. I certainly couldn’t. Again, all of this is a wonderful problem to have. I’m merely warning you that you will have a sensory overload from the sheer range of perfume brands that they have, and that you should plan accordingly.

Jovoy4Second, I think you really need to dress carefully for Jovoy — and I’m not talking about the quality or expensiveness of your attire. I highly doubt that they give a damn. But, you need to wear clothing that will give you the easiest amount of access to as much of your skin as is socially acceptable to be shown in public without getting arrested. And wear layers, because you will run of skin real estate — extraordinarily quickly given the amounts of perfume brands they carry — so you may need fabric upon which to test some of the perfumes that really catch your attention. Even after all that, you’re still likely to be screwed for all the reasons listed up above. There still will be stuff that you don’t get to test or try, that you loved on paper, or that the perfume strips simply didn’t adequately convey.

Perhaps some of my personal difficulty stems from the fact that I have never been able to get a really good sense of a perfume from a mere strip of paper. It’s easy to know which ones you can immediately discount and ignore, but that’s the absolute lowest threshold and bar. What about the ones you think you may like, but are unsure? Or the ones that you really like, but are not sure you absolutely love as much as some of the others? What happens when, towards the end and almost on your way out the door, you stumble across something that takes your breath away on paper, but you have no idea how it will be on your skin (or how long it will last) because you can’t strip to your underwear to find more space on which to test it? As I said, Jovoy has too much stuff — and most of it is amazing.

Roja Dove, exclusively at Jovoy Paris.

Roja Dove, exclusively at Jovoy Paris.

So, now, onto my actual experiences at Jovoy. I walked in without much of a plan except, first and foremost, to try Roja Dove‘s famous perfumes, then perhaps Von Eusersdorff‘s Patchouli. One thing that I liked about shopping at Jovoy is that they left you in peace and quiet to explore, without pestering you, though there were always assistants close-by to help you immediately if you asked. That is really my ideal way of shopping; to perambulate and see what intrigues me, pick up a bottle here or there to spray on a paper strip, and then go from there.

Another wonderful thing about Jovoy is that paper strips are conveniently and discretely placed next to each and every single brand display. No hunting around for mouiellettes, and, even better, no hunting around for a pen with which to write down the name of the sprayed perfume. No, Jovoy thoughtfully places pencils immediately on hand and throughout the store for you to use in remembering which strip contained which perfume. It a practice that that I wish more perfume stores would follow because, for most of my trip, I had started sticking pens in the back pocket of my jeans, in my leather jacket, and even behind my ear at one point. (I would often come home with over 15-20 paper strips a day, winnowed down from about 50+ things that I’d sniffed or sprayed on paper, and I tell you, you need an easily accessible pen or you’ll be lost!)

Jovoy Roja Dove 3 - B

The minute I walked in, I was greeted by a smile from one assistant, but I knew exactly where I was heading. My eye went straight to the lit, highlighted Roja Dove display at the far end. Even before I’d left for Paris, a blog friend had told me about the supposed gloriousness of Roja Dove’s Diaghilev chypre, and its old-style luxuriousness, opulence, and elegance. I also knew, however, that it was €990 for a small bottle, which translates to more than $1330. Some luxury perfume brands have stratospheric prices, but the Roja Dove ones are in another galactic solar system entirely. I know he’s considered one of the most famous, legendary noses in the world, but bloody hell!

Still, it’s free to sniff, right? So I did, and I liked Diaghilev. But I wasn’t blown away, and certainly not enough to try it on my skin. (Besides, what was the point at €990?!) So, what should I try? There were so many bottles, all gleaming in the light with a vast number having lids heavy with crystals. To my relief, there was a wonderful, thin, hard-bound book to the side that described each scent and its notes, and I used it to get an idea of where I should start. Honestly though, even after reading the book, I was still at sea — what with his pure absolute Extraits of florals like gardenia and lilac, his regular line of eau de parfums, and their pure parfum versions. Making matters even more complicated is that the exact same perfume comes in a Men’s and Women’s version.

Jovoy Roja Dove 1 - CI liked description and notes listed for Dove’s leather chypre, Fetish, so I tried both gender versions in Parfum concentration. (It comes in an Eau de Parfum as well, but I couldn’t deal with trying three variations of the same perfume!) According to Fragrantica, the notes for Fetish for Men are: bergamot, lemon, lime, fig, jasmine, neroli, violet, cardamom, cinnamon, elemi, oakmoss, patchouli, pepper, vetiver, ambergris, benzoin, castoreum, labdanum, leather, musk and vanilla. Phew, that’s quite something, especially by today’s standards where all too many fragrances have between 3-6 notes. (Hello, Jean-Claude Ellena! Hello, Montale!) The Fetish for Women is more floral and is perhaps even lovelier, though I have to give both a good test to make up my mind as to which one I prefer. The women’s Fetish includes: rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, galbanum, cinnamon, cloves, cedar, oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver, castoreum and musk. They’re both pretty — and pretty costly, too, at €395 for 50 ml, but at least they are pure parfums.

Another one I liked was Roja Dove’s Innuendo, which I believe I smelled in pure Parfum version as well. The notes, according to Fragrantica, include: bergamot, lemon, orange, lemon verbena, jasmine, may rose, violet, ylang-ylang, patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum, musk, orris root and tonka bean. Lordie, was that pretty! I was significantly less moved, however, by the Roja Dove’s Extrait fragrances which are soliflores in nature, like Vetiver, Gardenia, Neroli and the like. One of them was okay, though I can’t recall now if it was the Gardenia or Lilac, and, to be frank, some of that whole Roja Dove experience is a bit of a blur now. I didn’t try every single one of the absolutes, primarily due to being completely overwhelmed, but generally, I wasn’t hugely moved by those I did sniff. I most certainly was NOT moved enough for the price of the bottle, which is around €325!

The soliflore Extraits in their pure white bottle in the back.

The soliflore Extraits in their pure white bottle in the back.

I also wasn’t passionate about the two Roja Dove ouds I tried, Aoud and Amber Oud. They were fine, though I didn’t think either one was extraordinarily special, and one had far too much saffron for me. As a perfume blogger, I’ve reached critical saffron-oud overload, which is a shame as the spice used to be one of my favorite notes. Clearly, it’s not the perfume’s fault, and is a matter of personal tastes. One thing was unquestionable, however, and that was the gorgeousness of the cranberry-red juice for the Amber Oud. Really lovely.

After Roja Dove, I went next to one of the bookcases in the center with its wide variety of different brands. I was thrilled to see Parfums de Marly, a line about which I’d heard much talk. It is now available in the US at OsswaldNYC, but I don’t live in New York and have no immediate access, so to get to try it leisurely here was exciting. I intentionally eschewed the perfumes that seems to get the most fuss, Herod, because when a company actually and officially lists ISO E Supercrappy (™ Sultan Pasha) amongst its notes, I know it’s best for me to steer very clear indeed. (Seriously, can you imagine how high the percentage of that olfactory carrion vulture must be for Parfums de Marly to have to list it officially?!) All the other bottles appealed to me, but I didn’t know where to start. There were also no notes listed anywhere, and I didn’t want to ask someone because I preferred to be left alone.

Parfums de Marly on the top shelf. Isabey on the bottom. Far right is Von Eusersdorff

Parfums de Marly on the top shelf with Safanad as the second glass bottle from the right side of the frame. Isabey perfumes are on the bottom shelf. Far right is Von Eusersdorff on both top and bottom.

So, at random, I just picked up one of the smaller, clear, non-opaque or coloured bottles that was to the far right, and sprayed a little. WOW! Glorious, simply glorious. I couldn’t find a name on the bottle (which I thought was quite odd), so I asked one of the sales ladies who was equally perplexed. Finally, on the bottom and in tiny font, we saw the name. The perfume turned out to be Safanad which according to Fragrantica is a 2013 Floral Woody Musk whose include: orange, pear, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, iris, amber, sandalwood and vanilla. Really gorgeous. It’s an eau de parfum that comes in an 75 ml bottle and costs €159.

Amouage

Amouage

I ambled around further after that, smiling at the chic Puredistance display in one corner, admiring the wall of Amouage elsewhere, and trying to figure out who on earth made the perfumes that were in some very fancy, glittering orbs and locked behind glass. It turns out, it was a line called House of Sillage.

Jovoy House of Sillage 2

House of Sillage

House of Sillage in the cabinest, and more Amouage lined up on top.

Then, I stood gulping in abject awe at the Baccarat-and-gold bottles of Grossmith‘s original, historical line under glass. I had previously tested and reviewed Grossmith’s Phul-Nana, which is a simply gorgeous, opulently Victorian, lusty and spicy orange blossom, neroli, tuberose, ylang-ylang and woody fragrance. At the time of its release, back in the 1880s, it had been the Chanel No. 5 of its day, and I loved its faithfully translated modern version. In that review, I’d written about the famous Baccarat bottles which were created with the help of various Middle Eastern royal families and whose price tag is astronomically high, so to now see them in person…. I was thrilled! It is just as well that they were locked behind glass, because I would probably have stroked them with lust like a crazy person.

Grossmith's baccarat flacons of the original trio in the line. I'm so sorry about the poor photo quality!

Grossmith’s baccarat flacons of the original trio in the line. I’m so sorry about the poor photo quality!

Later on, I had the chance to smell a Grossmith scent which I had previously eschewed testing because I had heard that it was very powdery — and I don’t do powder! It was Shem-el-Nessim, which Fragrantica classifies as a Floral Woody Musk with notes that include: bergamot, neroli, geranium, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, iris, musk, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, heliotrope and vanilla. Good heavens, is that a beautiful perfume! And what sillage it had, too! I was fortunate to obtain a sample, and I’m definitely going to do a full review down the road, but I have to say now, it was truly an opulently luxurious scent in the very best of the old-time tradition from the golden age of perfumery. I’m really glad that Roja Dove helped Grossmith to recreate its ancient classics, because I think the perfume world is far better for it. Now, if only they were more easily accessible….

Eventually, I made my way to the far right wall where I came across Jovoy‘s own line of perfumes. As always, my problem was knowing where to start, and I already had about 13 paper strips in my hand at this point. (And those are the ones that I had not discarded!) I tried Gardez-Moi which was a lovely white flower bomb, but then what? I went by colour, knowing that the darker the juice, the more likely it would be a woody, spicy or oriental fragrance which is my personal, preferred category. I started with Psychedelique because of the name, and it turned out to be an intriguing patchouli.

Von Eusersdorff.

Von Eusersdorff.

Previously, however, I’d tried another patchouli — Classic Patchouli from Von Eusersdorff — which had come highly recommended by another blogger, Susie of Scent Epiphany. I was unsure about both of them, not because they weren’t excellent (they were), but because I’m on the hunt for a very particular patchouli scent. Perhaps more to the point, I simply didn’t dare put two different ones on my skin, lest patchouli’s generally forceful characteristics overwhelm everything else that I may want to try down the road.

Then, my eye was caught by Jovoy‘s Private Label fragrance with its dark, cognac-coloured liquid. It was a woody oriental which smelled of vetiver, amber, leather and, oddly enough, a sort of chilly peppermint that was exactly like that in the American candy, York Peppermint Pattie. I was intrigued by how it conjured up warm winter comfort from its initial whiff, and thought it definitely required further testing. I didn’t try any more from the line and, now, in hindsight, I wish now that I had been clear-headed enough to sniff Jovoy’s Rouge Assassin. Alas, Jovoy had scrambled my brain, so I completely blanked out, and sadly missed my chance.

There were so many bottles within each line, and so many paper strips in my hand, that I decided it was time to seek help. I made my way to a very tall, youngish chap with dark hair who seemed to be the manager. It turned out that he was one of them, but also, the brother-in-law of François Hénin, Jovoy’s owner. Mr. Hénin wasn’t there that day, but Léon took good care of me, even before he found out I was a perfume blogger. Prior to that point, he seemed initially a bit mystified by my rather endless series of questions about the specific notes in different perfumes (and he blinked at my intense, forceful hostility to the ISO E Super that I detected in one fragrance), but he caught onto my tastes quite quickly and steered me to a few things I liked.

Generally, though, he politely and courteously followed my lead in pursuing the specific fragrances I was curious about. By now, I had about 18 paper strips in my hand that I had narrowed down to about 7 that I wanted to try on my actual skin. We went through those 7, but he also pointed me to a few other things. It was actually thanks to Léon that I tried the fantastically diva-ish, seductive Grossmith Shem-el-Nessim, when I would have otherwise discounted it from talk that I had heard about its ostensibly powdery nature. (It wasn’t on my skin, though I haven’t yet had the chance to do a full, thorough test of it.) Léon also pointed me to specific Amouage scents that he thought would appeal to my tastes, and to Puredistance M which, unbeknownst to him, is actually one of my favorite perfumes. (It was around this time that I had to explain that I was familiar with many fragrances in question because I was a perfume blogger, had reviewed them, and/or owned them.)

I hesitated to ask for samples because of the number of things that I was really intrigued by, but Léon was more than generous. I’m extremely grateful to him and to Jovoy, because the simple reality of my skin’s wonkiness is that I need samples to get a sense of a perfume. I can’t really get proper idea of a perfume from paper strips, there is only so much space for spraying perfumes, and, most importantly of all, I have absolutely voracious perfume-eating skin.

In short, it is completely impossible for me to buy a perfume without a sample to test its layers, its sillage and how long it may last. I was disappointed, for example, that the gorgeous Parfums de Marly Safanad had already faded substantially in projection before I had even left the store! The Roja Dove Fetish leather perfume also seemed much more intimate on the skin, though I think some of that may have been olfactory fatigue. While the Grossmith Shem-el-Nessim went strong for hours, there were a number of scents that I had really liked but had no space to try on my skin at all. So, samples were essential.

And samples, I got — without a murmur or raised eyebrow. From Roja Dove, to Safanad, two fragrances from Jovoy’s own line, and a few others. I had heard from one blogger that Jovoy was “stingy” in giving samples, even upon the purchase of a fragrance, but that was not my experience at all. As Léon was calmly spritzing things into vials, I espied the new Histoires de Parfum fragrance, 1899, devoted to Ernest Hemingway, at one end of the counter. I like Histoires de Parfum quite a bit as a brand, but rather loathe Ernest Hemingway for his personal life and character, and I have never been particularly impressed by his writing with the (perhaps understandable) exception of A Moveable Feast which focuses, in part, on Paris. Still, Histoires de Parfums was going to take on Hemingway, and put his essence in a bottle?! This I had to try! I wasn’t impressed by my initial sniff, but as we’ve already discussed, paper strips can go fly a kite in terms of usefulness and true accuracy! So, we shall see how it actually turns out. 

Nasomatto and Boadicea the Victorious.

Nasomatto and Boadicea the Victorious.

Léon kindly gave me permission to take photographs for the blog. I was on my way out of Jovoy when I began taking pictures, but I came across so many cool things that I had to start sniffing all over again! There were things that I had initially missed, like Xerjoff‘s new collection, Join The Club. The few I tried from it were merely average, in my opinion, though I didn’t give the full range a thorough sniffing. (There were so many of them!) Then, I admired the endless, pretty, and sometimes bejewelled, bottles of M. Micallef, and seemingly all or most of the Boadicea the Victorious line. My God, so many of the latter! I didn’t pick up a single one because I didn’t know where to start! I was also a bit at sea when it came to the large Fueguia 1833 line from South America. I’d heard much about it, but I was starting to experience olfactory fatigue to match my physical one. So I gave two bottles some half-hearted sniffs, then gave up and returned to my photographs.

All around, there were bottles from perfume houses that I knew and/or had previously reviewed. To name a few: FrapinLubin, Juliette Has A Gun, Aedes de Venustas, Nobile 1942, David JourquinHeeley, M. MicallefTauer Perfumes, Vero Profumo, Ys.Uzac, and a blast from the past in the form of Jacques Fath and Revillion

M. Micallef

M. Micallef

M. Micallef.

Bottles from Rancé, I think.

I was in the midst of full olfactory (and visual) overload when I saw lines that I’d heard other perfumistas talk about, but had never had the chance to try: Isabey, Andrea Maack, Humiecki & Graef, Czech & Speake, Majda BekkaliJuls et Mad, SoOudE. Coudray, Miller Harris, Evody, Sospiro, Ann Gérard, Brécourt, Undergreen, and… good lord, there were so MANY

Finally, there were perfume brands that I’d never heard of at all, leaving me blinking at their bottles like a deranged owl. To name just a few: Steve McQueen (?!), House of Sillage, Philly & Phil, Eight & BobAmorvero Profumo, Arty Fragrance by Elisabeth de Feydeau (a French historian whose line is inspired by the palace and life at Versailles), Arte ProfumiLostmarc’h (yes, it’s apparently spelled that way, and no, that is not a typo), Testa Maura, Hors La MondeMendittorosa, and Alexandre J. Can you see why Jovoy requires at least a whole day’s exploration to really have a chance to cover even a small portion of their stock? Below are some thumbnails that you can expand to see a bit more of the Jovoy selection, but even these photos are hardly the complete story. 

Speaking of Alexandre J., the latter’s bottles actually stopped me dead in my tracks. In the middle of my photographing, I suddenly saw gleaming mother of pearl! A solid, massively heavy, hefty bottle of white mother of pearl, and then a truly spectacular grey-black one. I took some photos of the accompanying book that explained a little of the supposedly unusual technique, process, and quite original look of the perfumes, but I really couldn’t get a good sense of the exact notes. The white one was for women, that much was clear from the book, and the grey-black one was the men’s version with somewhat different notes, but what were they exactly? The book didn’t say, at least not from what I saw.

I had to go get Léon, who merely grinned at me at this point and asked if I’d like to have an expresso. I laugh at the memory of it, because it was so clear (to both of us) that I was going to be there for the long haul, and that there was no way I was going to be able to drag myself out of Jovoy for a few more hours. While he left to kindly make me an expresso, I noticed a some more brands that caught my eye including a bottle in a steam trunk called Lys Epona. I picked up the stopper, dabbed it on a paper strip, and blinked. Good God, that was fantastic!

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Léon had returned at this point with my much-needed dose of concentrated caffeine, and I asked him about both brands. Alexandre J. seems to be a French designer who apparently seems to be interested in history, art, and luxury craftsmanship. The perfumes that had caught my eye were called Legacy, White and Black. Each of those 100 ml mother of pearl bottles took over 200 hours to make, polish, enamel and inlay, and it was all done by hand. That explains the €495 price tag which translates at the current exchange rate to around $677. I wasn’t impressed by the white one which seemed to be an incredibly light, bland, unoriginal fruity-floral, but the darker woody-musk aroma of the grey-black one was okay. However, I didn’t think either one was original, different or luxurious enough in smell for me to really bother.

Lys Epona via the Jovoy website.

Lys Epona via the Jovoy website.

More to the point, I was still haunted by the beauty of Lys Epona. I had found one tiny, miniscule square of untainted, virgin skin on which to dab a little, and I was transfixed by the aroma wafting over me. So, upon his return, I dragged poor Léon to the large, rather old, classic steamer trunk in whose top shelf the old-fashioned (in a fantastic way!) bottle of Lys Epona with its almost Lalique-looking top lay nestled. “What is that??!” I demanded.

Léon explained that it had been created by Amelie Bourgeois (who had also created Jovoy’s much praised Rouge Assassin) in conjunction with François Hénin of Jovoy. The scent is considered to be part of Jovoy’s own perfume line, and is exclusive to the store. I have the impression that there are only a hundred bottles made, due to a comment made by Surrender to Chance on their website, but I’m not certain on that point and I don’t recall Léon saying that it was limited in nature. 

Jovoy’s website categorizes Lys Epona as a “leather” eau de parfum whose notes include lily. There is nothing else really mentioned other than the fact that it is an eau de parfum that comes in a 65 ml size, and that it costs €225. Fragrantica says its notes are: bergamot, lily, ravensara, narcissus, jasmine, ylang-ylang, wheat, hay, lily, musk, labdanum, tobacco and cedar. I thought it was spectacular with a floral richness and headiness that really evoked the classic style of the golden age of perfumery, and I am incredibly grateful to Léon for giving me a sample. I will review it as soon as possible, probably next week, because its potentially limited nature has got me rather going. If Lys Epona works on my skin, and lasts, it’s going to be something to consider sooner rather than later.

After Lys Epona, Léon and I walked around the rest of the store and discussed the various brands. I asked him about Amouage‘s new Fate, and was surprised to hear that it was far from being a big seller at Jovoy. I would have thought that the blogosphere and perfumista mass frenzy over Fate Man and Woman (especially Woman which I loved), along with those gorgeous iridescent bottles, would have made people rush to buy it. Apparently not. I can’t recall which Amouage is Jovoy’s biggest seller, but I vaguely remember that Beloved does very well, and I think Interlude as well. Still, I might be mistaken on the details, given both the hecticness of that visit and my exhausted state of sleep-deprivation on that trip as a whole. 

While walking around with Léon, I came across a number of perfumes that I had previously reviewed. There was the new Ashoka from Neela Vermeire, and we both agreed on how great the line is as whole. I told Léon my thoughts on Nasomatto‘s sexy Black Afgano, and how it seemed to me to be a super-concentrated version of YSL‘s famous M7 in vintage form. We came across Agonist; I grimaced a little at the sight of The Infidels which, I told him, smelled exactly like Tutti Frutti or Juicy Fruit chewing gum to me. There were many more fragrances I knew well, but I had to smile at all the bottles of LM Parfums lined up, including the new-limited edition Chemise Blanche. I had met with Laurent Mazzone, the brand’s founder, just five days before for tea at the Hotel Costes, and I had gotten to try Chemise Blanche as well as LM Parfums’ upcoming releases

Then, I came to a rather sharp, skidding halt at the sight of Comptoir Sud Pacifique‘s silver aluminum bottles near the front of the store with its wall of expensive candles. I might be a slight snob, but I don’t think the brand really fits in Jovoy, even if it’s CSP’s ostensibly “haute” niche collection with an average price of around €115. It certainly seems a slightly odd stable mate to go with the Amouage, Puredistance, Xerjoff, Neela Vermeire, Vero Profumo, Clive Christian and other lines represented in the store. (My suggestion: carry Profumum Roma‘s fabulous perfumes instead!)

Despite that last list of very respected, expensive perfumes, I would like to stress that there is something for every budget at Jovoy. There are some affordable, high-quality lines available in the store that I really like, from Parfum d’Empire to Histoires de Parfums. (The small bottles of Parfum d’Empire generally start around €66, or about $75-$80.) Jovoy also carries a perfume house that was a new discovery for me on the trip, and which I fell for very hard: Jardin d’Ecrivains. I had first come across the perfume line at Marie-Antoinette, the only other store in Paris to carry the line, and had bought one of the fragrances. It had been an enormous struggle to decide which one I had liked best because they’re all really special, unique, or just simply gorgeous! They’re also extremely reasonably priced at €85 for the large 100 size, high quality and concentration (eau de parfum). So, yes, Jovoy carries Clive Christian which prides itself on being the most expensive perfume in the world and which explicitly uses that phrase as their official (and, hence, very obnoxious and nouveau riche) company motto. But, at the same time, Jovoy also offers brands with bottles in the €66 to €87 price range. Still, I would be lying to you if I said that there are a ton of things at that lower end of the price scale, but there are some.

It was getting late at this point, and I had to meet some friends, so I reluctantly dragged myself out of Jovoy. I was scheduled to leave Paris in two days, and Jovoy was closed the next day, on Sunday, so I was even more grateful to be armed with some samples to help me make up my mind. It’s going to take me a while to go through them all for the purposes of a full, detailed review, but I know I can always turn to Jovoy. Unfortunately, I don’t think they ship to the U.S., but they do to most of Europe. (I’ve already got a mental list of Paris friends who can stop by to pick up what I may need and send it on to me themselves, or whose European addresses I can use for shipping.) If you’re in Europe, I’ve generally heard very positive things about Jovoy’s customer service, so if there is a brand that I’ve mentioned that you’ve been tempted by in the past, or if there is something I review that isn’t easily accessible in your city, you should absolutely check out the Jovoy website

They say that the Louvre can’t be seen in any real or substantive way in just one day, and I’m going to have to add Jovoy to that list. Those who live in Paris are lucky. Those who visit are going to need to give themselves ample time to sniff. Chances are, you’ll find far more things to love than any (regular) person could ever afford. In fact, if you can easily walk out of Jovoy with only one bottle or only one thing on your wish-list, then you’re a far stronger person than I am. Short of having an unlimited budget, there will always be some treasure that beckons to you with a siren song of seduction.

One has to really applaud François Hénin for curating such an astonishing, tempting collection of such high-quality. When I think that he started Jovoy a mere three years ago in 2010, and then see all that he has done, including getting the exclusive rights to carry Roja Dove’s perfumes, I have to give a very huge, very sincere Bravo to him! He’s created such an incredibly large range of tempting, luxury perfumes that Jovoy really is more like Aladdin’s Cave. Now, I just need to find a genie to grant me all my perfume wishes.

Note: All photos are my own, unless otherwise stated.
PRACTICAL DETAILS:
Address: 4 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris, France. Be careful if you see the address of 29 rue Danielle Casanova listed on some sites, because that is the old address. They moved and the only location now is in the Rue Castiglione, about a block away from the Rue St. Honoré and two blocks away from the Place Vendome. Metro Stop: Tuilleries, Metro Line 1. Jovoy is also accessible, though a longer walk in my opinion, from the Opera, Madeleine and Pyramides metro stops. Phone: +33 1 40 20 06 19 or, if in Paris, 01-40-20-06-19. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Website: Jovoy Paris.

90 thoughts on “Jovoy Paris: Aladdin’s Cave of Luxury Perfumes

    • Hurrah, go put on some perfume!! As for Jovoy, it’s really something else. The only pity is that they don’t ship to the U.S. I’d forgotten that bit and had to amend my post. If only they did, because Jovoy really has perfumes that are on another level altogether in terms of range, unusualness, variety and quality.

  1. Wowee! A sniffa of a lifetime! I wish I was there with you. We’d have so much fun there together.
    You mentioned few perfume lines I’ve never heard about.
    Btw. Which Jardins d’Ecrivains did you buy

    • We would have a wonderful time, I’m sure. And, yes, Jovoy is like a Sniffapalooza all of its own.

      As for Jardins d’Ecrivains, I had a devil of a time choosing which one to buy and waffled a LOT even after having narrowed it down. I ended up with George (or George Sand), as you probably guessed given just HOW different our tastes are. lol. 😉 😛 But Orlando was so, so close, and I almost wish I’d gotten that instead at times. Then, I put on George, and am happy. I was also given — very sweetly and generously — the remainder of a tester bottle of Wilde, which I’d liked a lot too. And samples of the rest. I though Gigi was wonderful too. The only one that didn’t leave me weak or frenzied was the new Dame aux Camelias.

        • I really, really like George — which means you probably won’t. lol. 😉 And I was taken by George from the start, whereas Orlando took a try or two. Still, we both like Orlando, so who knows. Maybe George will work for you. There is a slightly medicinal start to the opening though that I think won’t be your cup of tea. As for my tester of Wilde, there is very, very little left in it, but certainly enough to give it a good try or two. 🙂

    • Heh, you’ve seen photos of my Chinese red library walls, so yes, you’re right, I felt most at home. 😉 As for the Boadicea the V. bottles, aren’t they cool? But there are just so damn many of them! Honestly, when a line has THAT many perfumes, they all look alike, and you don’t know what’s what, it’s bloody intimidating. To the point that I didn’t even bother trying one. Not one. I probably should have, but I was overwhelmed far before I came to their display.

  2. Oh, to be able to spend endless time sniffing and endless cash buying! It sounds amazing. I’m dying for the M. Micallef scents. I think those samples are some of my favorites.

      • I’ve been loving Aoud Gourmet and Royal Vintage, and I will own the Denis Durand Couture. Such a beautiful scent.
        I’ve also been enjoying with some aouds from Montale. I love Aoud Safran, Aoud Queen Roses, and White Aoud. I think I’ve become an addict. 🙂

        • Haha, you’ve become an Oud Head. I wouldn’t have imagined! How wonderful that you’ve found something that works for you so well and that draws you in. I’m very happy for you, my dear Kellilee. And the Micallef Denis Durand couture is a very pretty scent indeed! So, gourmands and Ouds… I’ll have to remember that in my mental rollodex of your tastes. 🙂

    • I hope you get to go one day, Tora. I think a trip to Paris would have such an effect on you — from start to finish, and not just in terms of perfume — that we may not ever get you back! 😉

  3. Breathtaking – an Aladdin’s cave of wonders. (I’m not surprised you loved Lys Epona – after all, Epona is one of the names of the ancient goddess and protector of horses.) I got sensory overload reading about your Jovoy adventure and the photographs are pure pornography. Blissfully so. What a shame Jovoy doesn’t ship to the U.S.A. I would have immediately given flight to my impulse buys! Very grateful indeed for your sharing your holiday! What a joy to read and what a sense of anticipation waiting on your next installment!

    • PERFECT, I was hoping to create a sensory overload to parallel, reflect and symbolise exactly how *I* felt in Jovoy! Mission accomplished. LOL. 😉 As for Lys Epona, I don’t know how it lasts on the skin (as I had SO much stuff on there by then, it was hard to later sort out which perfume was what in terms of smells), but its opening really made my head spin. I’m a sucker for lilies, though, and I know a lot of people aren’t. There is so, SOOOOOO much more to Lys Epona than just the lilies, but I should ask, how do you feel about their aroma?

      If you like it, let me point out that you could always order Lys Epona for shipment to the site of your upcoming holidays….. I’m just saying….. (And, yes, I like to tempt and enable people. *grin*) Worse comes to worse, if Lys Epona doesn’t have duration or longevity on your skin, you could sell your bottle in an instant. But since you ARE going to be in Europe….. *ahem* 😉

      • Based on my reaction to Oriza’s Relique d’Amour, I’d say I love lilies…lilies supported by yellow pollen notes. Sigh. I’m beginning to feel almost too turn of the century – two centuries ago. So very tempting. I love it. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration!

        • Ha, honey, if you find a time machine to go back two centuries, please take me with you!! We’ll start at Versailles, and end up in Prinny’s Regency England! 😀

          If you love lilies that much, I really hate to tell you this, but you may want to strongly consider Lys Epona. Especially if there are only 100 bottles available, as Surrender to Chance claims. Another male reader whose tastes are EXTREMELY similar to both of ours bought it blindly (think Amouage, Amouage attars, Arabian Oud, but also Oriza, Roja Dove opulence, florals, etc.), and he loves it.

        • Actually, I’ve thought about it and given the €225 cost, not to mention my usual paranoia about people buying blindly, why don’t you give me 3 days and I’ll do a review? I’ll change around the schedule, and move it up. That way, you can still have time to decide and, if you like what you read and if the full test supports my memory and brief test of it in Jovoy, then you still have enough time to order for it to arrive at your European holiday location in time. I’m currently wearing perfume (which is going to last quite a while on my skin), or else I’d start testing it today. But it will have to be tomorrow, so I’ll need a few days.

          • Thank you, Kafka…that would be excellent. I had in fact just tried to create an account on Jovoy and found I couldn’t do that with a U.S. address – Antarctica was available, though! 🙂

          • Hahaha, I don’t know if Antartica is a joke or serious, but I had to laugh. European addresses and suddenly adopted European “cousins”, my dear, are clearly a necessity. 🙂 BTW, I looked at the French version of the Lys Epona listing on the Jovoy website, instead of just the English one I was using, and it has much more information. Included is the depressing thing that there are, indeed, only 100 bottles made of Lys Epona. 😦

  4. Wonderful description of your Jovoy experience, dear Kafka! You know, they probably should hook up with the likes of Aedes de Venustas for commercial shipping to the U.S. Anyway, I took notes (yes, pen to paper) for my next olfactory experience (Sniffa next week!). It sounds like I need to spend more than 1 day in Paris the next time I am there.

    • They should definitely do something to give American buyers the chance to try their fragrances, especially given how so many of them are hard to find in the U.S.! Lys Epona….. *sigh* I’m going to have to do a proper test soon, as I’m starting not to trust my memory of how gorgeous it was.

      I can’t wait to hear about the New York Sniffapalooza next week! I’m almost tempted to ask you to do a guest post on the subject! Take photos, if you can amidst all your sniffing. And, yes, a pen is always critical, not to mention clothes you can strip off/remove easily to increase skin access… 😀

      • Oh, no skin for me…all on paper strips because I won’t be able to unsmell with my scent glue skin. I’m also not a fan of spraying on my clothes and in fact could get cranky (especially if done, even accidentally, by someone other than me) if perfumes get on my clothes. My plan is to eliminate what is definitely a NO and then ask for samples of some of the ones that are promising. I reckon that due to the special event, the SAs will be a little bit more generous…we’ll see. I will fire up my little Canon Powershot and take some pics if allowed!

  5. I can just picture your true happiness at being in this store! You are making me crave a trip to Paris now!
    I am so happy Fetish caught your attention, the femme version (in either EDP or Extrait) is my absolute favorite of this line (I put it on whenever I am at the mall since I can’t afford the bottle yet :-)). And also glad you gave Shem el Nessim a try because this is also one of my all time favorites.
    I do love those J. Alexandre mother of pearl bottles but, completely agree that the scent is nothing special (money saved, at least). And I am so jealous you got to try Lys Epona, I keep waiting for that to arrive over here. It better not be a limited edition. Eagerly awaiting your review of that one!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Scent Twins, once again! I can’t get over how many things we have in common, each and every time.

      As for Lys Epona, do you really think it will come to Dubai? Léon was very clear that it was exclusive to Jovoy Paris — the store itself, not just to their overall Jovoy perfume line. I really hope, though, that you do get to try it and that it is more widely accessible than my impression appears to be, for everyone’s sake. And it bloody well not be only a mere 100 bottles in production!

      Isn’t the grey-black Alexandre bottle stunning? Wowzer! Thank goodness for the money saved aspect, though, because they’re certainly not cheap. Pity the perfume is not one-tenth as nice as its packaging….

  6. Kafka, I’m so glad to hear that you too have fallen for Jardins D’Ecrivains. I own George and am seriously considering a bottle of the bewitching Orlando. Thank you for the wonderful write up. If I ever get back to Paris I fear that I may try and book Jovoy as my hotel for the stay!

    • Oh, Hunter, I’m wearing George right now! You cannot IMAGINE the difficult that I had choosing between George and Orlando! First, it was those two and Gigi, as I’m a sucker for a big, white flower bomb. But, as the chap at Marie-Antoinette told me, Gigi is not quite as unique as the other two. Lovely, but not as different. He’s right. Both are totally unique and very unusual — in the best way possible.

      Given the very frequent similarity and overlap in our tastes, may I be so rude as to practically DEMAND that you get samples of Oriza L. Legrand? Seriously, I have to push you on this. (You can read about Oriza in one of my other posts, though I can’t recall now which one. Perhaps the comments of the overall Vacation post, but http://www.orizaparfums.com/boutique_en.html is the link for their samples which are incredibly reasonable.) That is another brand that almost knocked me to my knees and where I had an absolute devil of a time in trying to decide which one to get. It was between Horizon (which was my original choice and a boozy, plush amber whose notes you can find on the Oriza site), Chypre Mousse, and Reve d’Ossian. Initially, that was the order of preference, but I tried the first two on my skin, walked 3 blocks, then turned straight back and bought Chypre Mousse on the spot. Oriza’s perfumes distracted me from my mission of going to Serge Lutens — and that says a LOT!!! So, you have to try them, I beg of you. If you like the style of Jardins d’Ecrivains, you will DIE for some of the Oriza ones!

      P-S-, I loved the comment about trying to book Jovoy as your hotel for the stay. Absolutely hilarious!! 😀

      • I’ve been looking in to the Oriza brand. I’ve heard good things about the brand and must say that Horizon sounds quite amazing. I think I’ll have to order some samples if they ship internationally.

        I also must share that I ordered a bottle of Profumum’s Ambra Aurea last night. That Siren’s call could not be silenced. I also ran through three separate samples so I know that I love it. I’m glad I read your review as I probably never would have thought to try it on my own. It will become a replacement to Mitzah, as I’m afraid to wear that one too often, as my supply is limited due to it’s discontinuation.

        I may have to put off buying anymore perfume for a while due to the pricy nature of Profumum’s fragrances, so my purchasing of Orlando will have to wait. That’s no issue as George has more than enough depths to keep me distracted for the next few months. Such a beautiful, but odd perfume.

        • You got Ambra Aurea? HURRAH!!! I’m utterly thrilled for you, Hunter! (And, I must say, it means the world to me that my review persuaded you to try it.). I’m overjoyed.

          As for Oriza and its fragrances, yes, they definitely ship to the states. And the shipping is apparently only €7, not the €9 listed on the site. I really hope you’ll order it, though I understand all about needing to save up after a big perfume splurge. (Profumum’s Ambra Aurea… YES!)

  7. Jovoy seems like the land of perfumes, so I hope I can go there soon, and maybe pick up a Histoires de Parfum or Jardin d´Ecrivais bottle, which at 100 hundred euros or less seem in budget with me, since I will have to buy other things in Paris apart from perfume, (clothes, souvenirs, food, museum and other historic places and other attractions tickets, and I have no one there so I pay hotel too 😦 ) But I still think that I can spare a little money for one or two nice perfumes, hopefully they give me samples too 🙂 . And Kafka you really are with perfume the way I am about history, a true fanatic. Also it´s lovely that they let you take pictures, I had the impression that they don´t allow that there in most stores, I know they don´t allow it at the Guerlain boutiques from example, you can only take pictures from the outside of the store.

    • Paris is expensive, so I more than understand, dear Vicky. It will be frustrating, I’m know it will, and that’s even APART from the issue of perfume. *hugs* But, on a positive note, I know the beauty stuff is going to take your breath away, as will the museums and food. As for the perfumes, I think that Jardins d’Ecrivains floral scent, Gigi, will really appeal to your feminine side. Histoires de Parfums has some gorgeous perfumes to tempt other parts of your perfume tastes, as does Parfums d’Empire which may be the most affordable at about €66 for a 50 ml bottle. Their Ambre Russe is considered one of the booziest ambers around, and is a huge, huge hit. (You can read my review of it, and I think you’ll be amused at my tale of our group being kicked out of the Soviet Union a few days before Chernobyl. lol)

      As for history, you know, the funny thing is that I love history even more than perfume — but perfume is significantly less exhausting and easier to write about on a daily basis, given the sort of research I do in my articles. Speaking of history, I cannot WAIT to hear what you think of Versailles. My GOD, talk about sensory overload on both a visual and intellectual level. Pure heaven on earth!

    • It’s definitely a LOT. One doesn’t even realise at first, because the store is so big in terms of space and quite airy. But I believe it’s the largest perfume store in the world in terms of brands & stock. I recall reading somewhere that it carries over 60 different perfume brands. If you think that each one has at least 3-5 perfumes in their line, and that a few brands have up to 25 or 30 fragrances, then you can see the sheer numbers involved.

      Even if we go on the low scale and average things out to 10 fragrances per house, that comes to over 600 bottles of perfume! It certainly doesn’t show when you first walk in, but if you look — and then look even more carefully — the sheer number of bottles discretely and sleekly placed all around…. well, it’s utterly overwhelming.

  8. Wow! What a place! I’d need a few days to explore there. Your writing is wonderful and it was easy to imagine being there. Jovoy looks like a perfume freaks dream come true. I hope Sniffa next week is a similar experience for me.

    • I hope the New York Sniffapalooze event next week is a blast, and I hope you have the best time imaginable, my dear! As for Jovoy, it’s definitely a perfume mecca. I only wish they shipped to the U.S., because having access to some of their stock would be a dream.

  9. Swoon! Holy cow, that sounds and looks amazing! The closest I’ve ever been to that kind of experience is having a sniffing through some higher-end stores in Vegas. I had the whole day and only managed to cover a block and a half, but oh what a time. Guerlain/Chanel/Barney’s/Nordstrom, it was enough to make this small-town Alberta girl squee with geeky delight. I remember expressing to The Engineer that I wish I was Kali, because I needed more arms. (And I felt bad for the person sitting beside me that evening at Cirque de Soleil, because I was wafting something fierce. 😉 )

    • Kali!!!! Kali would be perfect, Dionne! What an inspired reference and comment. I remember thinking at Jovoy at one point that I wish I were in shorts and could spray on my legs because I had run out of skin space, but it would have been far better to be Kali! lol. As for Las Vegas, hahaha, one and a half blocks in a whole day. *grin* To a normal person, that sounds ridiculous, but any perfumista would understand completely. 🙂 The Jovoy experience is more akin to not leaving the store to even go DOWN the block. lol

      Kali…. really, really clever. I’m going to have to remember that, Dionne. 😀

  10. My favorite is Wilde in the Jardins D’Écrivains line- sexy for a woman or man!
    I didn’t realize Jovoy was so young. It sounds heavenly to me…

    • First, welcome to the blog, Ann! 🙂 Second, how great to see that there is another Jardins d’Ecrivains fan. I think the whole line is wonderful, and I hope more people get the chance to explore it. I’m sure Wilde is absolutely lovely on your skin. 🙂

  11. Looks like Jovoy is a perfumsista’s dream place to visit with so many enticing brand’s. What is very admiriable is that they don’t seem to go for the obvious big sellers. Did you see any Creed on sale there ?
    I am a big fan of the Jardins D’ Ecrivains line as well. Very high quality and great price point. I believe their next release is going to be a William Burrough’s inspired scent. That should be interesting.

    • Creed…. no. And I give them huge props for that! No Creed, no L’Artisan, no Kilians, no MFK…. They leave those to other stores and focus instead on the more unusual, rare stuff. It’s definitely impressive.

      William Burrough is going to be the focus of the next Jardins d’Ecrivains? How very interesting. I’m sure it will be more unusual than the Ernest Hemingway scent I tried, though I realise it’s unfair to judge on the basis of a paper strip. Let’s hope Ernest blooms when actually on the skin.

  12. The kid-in-a-candy-shop joy of your experience really shines through, Kafka. You brought back some great memories for me of my own time at Jovoy. I’ll look forward to reading your review of Lys Epona!!

  13. ack… sensory overload! you have no idea how jealous i am of you..! the interior decor is just beautiful, i love the color scheme. and i don’t consider myself that much of a “bottle” person, but some of those bottles are too beautiful. sigh.

    how funny, i bought jardins d’ecrivains george as well 😀 i love it! it’s unlike any fragrance i’ve smelt before. the shop where i bought it at also gave me samples of gigi and orlando; orlando i like very much as well, very charming, but gigi overwhelms me a bit…

    • I’m not generally driven by bottles either, Julia, but Jovoy certainly has some to make one change one’s mind. lol. That grey-black mother of pearl one is so spectacular in person, as are some others. I’m glad that my post could give you a little bit of the sensory overload feel that I had from being there.

      Hurrah for more Jardins d’Ecrivains love. And George! 🙂 As for Gigi, I think it will be problematic for anyone who has issues with super white flower bombs. I know a lot of people struggle with indolic tuberose, for example, and Gigi has jasmine and orange blossom as well. So, definitely something that won’t work for everyone. Me, I love Fracas-like white bombs, so it was definitely calling to me.

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  15. What a wonderful trip! From your write-up, I feel like I was right there with you trying on and smelling all those beautiful perfumes! Talk about being in a literal candy store as far as the eyes can see and nose to smell. If I evervtravel to Paris, this will be a definite stopping point for sure! Which perfume did you purchase from Jardin d’Ecrivains?

    • I got George. Honestly, though, I might easily have landed with another one from the line because I liked so almost ALL of them (minus La Dame au Camellias). Another day, another time, I might have gone with Orlando, or even perhaps Wilde or Gigi. I couldn’t buy all FOUR bottles, and my big/main concern with all perfume purchases was if I’d have room in my suitcase or if the weight would go over. So I really just did a sort of Eeny Meeny Minny Moe between George and Orlando, and went with the chap at Marie-Antoinette’s comment that George was the most unique of the line.

  16. My dear – I just experience sensory overload from reading your Jovoy adventure. There are some times which I wish there were not so many choices out there so that we wouldn’t have to torture ourselves with limitations. Oh to have unlimited wealth so that we could purchase those Roja Dove’s without blinking an eye. But then again, maybe it would make the less special!

    • If I effectively created sensory overload, then I consider that a job very well done indeed! 😀 😀 You know, on a practical level, they really have too much stuff to make perfume purchases easy or straight forward. On a visual, theoretical and fun level, it’s absolutely glorious. And, on a financial level, it’s simply painfully frustrating how many incredible options there are; short of having a completely unlimited budget, there is always something (or ten) that one wants. I think one could spend thousands at Jovoy, and there would STILL be something left over to tempt one.

  17. What a post! I loved every moment of reading it. And call me crazy, but Jovoy is something I think I like more in the abstract than I would if actually confronted with it. Don’t get me wrong – if I found myself in Paris, I’d go. But I found MiN in NYC to be quite overwhelming, and it’s a fraction of the size of Jovoy! But I’m also not good at in person perfume testing generally. 🙂 But I absolutely loved reading this review and your experienced there – it sounds absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to read the full reviews of some of these treasures. I need to lust after more perfume like I need a hole in the head, but I won’t let that stop me!

    • I think Jovoy is just like the Louvre — with all that that entails. I’ve never quite compared a store to the Louvre before, so that says something, but I think the analogy definitely applies.

      Perhaps the best answer is that we should just move to Paris in order to be able to visit daily? 😉 lol. Jokes aside, I understand completely what you mean. If my visit proves anything, it’s that even the most determined perfume-addict can’t take it in and just loses it after a while. It’s simply overwhelming! Thankfully, they’ve got very helpful, knowledgeable people to help guide you, much like tour guides in the Louvre.

  18. Aw I’m quite bummed you didn’t like Roja’s Aoud and Amber Aoud! As an Arab Aoud is a daily part of my life, so you would think I’m dead bored of the scent (and I sort of am) But those two are of the few perfumes which truly smell like how Aoud based perfumes are expected to smell like in my culture, so I love them immensely!
    but wow that place like heaven. Here is to hoping I get to visit it some day. Surprisingly enough quite a few of those brands never made it to Dubai!

    • Hi Aisha, welcome to the blog. It’s lovely to hear from someone who is completely inundated in the Oud world and perfume culture, but who still finds some she adores. I think it’s a wonderful, very fascinating perspective, and I’m so glad you wrote to share it. 🙂

      With regard to the two Roja Dove Ouds, they’re definitely well done. Ultimately though, for a particular scent to move one, a whole host of subjective, very personal factors come into play. For me, the saffron and oud exhaustion is one of them. At one point, and up to just a few months ago, I was testing a fragrance with oud at least 3 times a week, every week, month after month. (And a good number of those were oud-rose or oud-saffron.) It became too much, especially as Oud isn’t my absolute favorite note to begin with.

      For you, even though you live in a culture where oud is everywhere, perhaps you don’t smell them intensely and constantly on your skin quite so often? If you do, then I can only take off my hat to you! 🙂 I suspect you may also have a greater love for oud than I do at this point. Either way, my personal feelings or opinions shouldn’t detract from your own enjoyment of the scents. You’ve found something you adore, despite general fatigue with oud. That’s wonderful! And I’m truly very happy for you. We should all have a perfume or two (or ten 😉 ) that we feel that way about!

      • Haha wow, I see now why you grew tired of the scent. That is too much! And not all oud perfumes out there do them well to begin with so I understand your pain.

        I don’t always use oud based perfumes because most of the time they are rather heavy. Right now I’m using Sentifique’s Dangereuse (Apparently just available in Germany, and thats where I got it from, Switzerland and the UK). And after spraying the perfume on my body & clothes I burn pieces of oud wood. The effect is just enchanting and makes the perfume smell so much better. My brothers combine Terre d’Hermes or Black Afgano with oud wood and the effect is just fantastic. The smell of oud wood is just different, I often wake up the next morning with the smell lingering on my skin and in my hair.

        Oh and Philly & Phil’s Emotional Oud (Yes, oud, again lol) is one of my all time favorite perfumes. If you go to Paris again, or Munich check it out.
        You made me miss Munich and the fun I had trying out perfumes from houses and brands I never heard of before.

        • Sentifique? Yet another perfume brand unknown to me (or to the States, I think)? You’re killing me, Aisha! 😉 🙂 Joking aside, I love the name, and I also love your perfume ritual when it comes to oud. It sounds so sensory on so many different levels. Do you like a particular kind of oud wood? Indian, Laotian, Cambodian…? And is a great variety easy to obtain where you are? For all that I may be tired of the excess of oud fragrances myself, I’m fascinated by non-Western perfume cultures and their ancient traditions.

          Philly & Phil is a brand that I only heard of thanks to Jovoy. With your recommendation, I will be sure to see if I can hunt up a sample or two in the U.S., and give them a try. 🙂

          • From research it seemed like it only exist in Germany, Switzerland and the UK. When my first bottle finished I had a friend who has visiting Germany bring me an extra two. I only buy the same perfume again if I was truly in love with it.

            The ritual is sensory, and the result is well.. sensual. I always go for Indian! the specific types I use have a certain sexy and warm scent I really love. And yes! You can find oud wood pretty much everywhere although there are very few perfume houses which have the highest quality ones, and they run super expensive. A fistful could cost you at least $200.

            Your fascination made me realize that those little traditions are still not known outside of the country itself. Perfumes, incense and oud wood are a part of the daily lives of people here. You would normally wake up to the scent of incense or oud wood early in the morning when people are getting ready for work, and its used again during the evening around the house just because. And those who plan on going out typically use them too. Men going to pray would refresh their perfume, and thats five times a day. And there is always a beautiful tray filled with perfume sitting in a corner in the majlis (the room in which the guests are received). After the guests have their dinner and dessert the perfumes are passed around them. The perfumes are a mix from things bought outside, and blends made at home. Some families use blends that only they know of, and they are sometimes so good that people are willing to pay to have them used at their wedding parties. Perfume is a crucial part of even burials, as the deceased’s body gets embalmed (not sure if this is the correct word) with several herbs and also perfumes, usually the best the family or friends could bring..

            Philly & Phil.. Haha the sales person in Munich (specifically in Ludwig Bech) insisted we will never find it anywhere outside of Germany! So its good to know it actually does exist outside of it, and I hope you manage to find it in the US easily 🙂

            Sorry for the long post and for the not very awesome English!

          • Your English is perfect!!! I can’t even imagine how you’d think it’s terrible. Seriously, I loved your post and its length, so I can only thank you for taking the time to write it in a language that you don’t feel fully at ease in. But, again, it was all perfect and without flaw, right down to the embalming issue. 🙂

            I read your description of the role that scent and perfumes play in your world with something that was almost like sadness at times. Why can’t we have such a rich, sensuous, sensory tradition over here? Here, everyone just plugs in “clean and fresh” artificial smells that range from Non-Smells to artificial Potpourri and the like. It’s a sanitized world, terrified of any odor, let alone of identifiable, discernible, lush, exotic and sensuous ones. The way that scent — TRUE and ACTUAL scent — is embedded in your culture, right down to the post-dinner passing around of perfumes (!!!!) like the way that European aristocrats did for port or brandy in the 19th century… well, it’s another world from the one I live in. To have scent (via incense) surround you from the morning you wake up…. you’re very lucky, Aisha. And I truly envy you. My world would be a lot better for being more like YOUR world.

      • For some reason I’m unable to directly reply to your most recent post so I will reply to this.

        To me you are a rare specimen. Many Westerners I encounter here seem to absolutely hate perfumes and find them heavy, old lady like or plain disgusting. I remember back in college I refrained from wearing perfume because I didn’t want to bother my instructors lol. People here generally have this stereotype about Westerners and hope they hate perfumes, and there is some truth to that stereotype. I honestly very rarely see any who wear perfumes and its kind of sad.

        Have you ever personally tried oud wood? This might come off too weird, but if shipping laws allows it I wouldn’t mind sending you some of my favorites 🙂 If you are comfortable with this just tell me and I would be happy to share them with you.

        • I’m so touched by your gesture, and I would absolutely LOVE to try them, but I would never want to impose, especially as oud wood is expensive! I also can’t take your compliment about being a rare specimen, because I think I’m just an ordinary perfumista. 🙂 One of many, many, many like me who feel the exact same way about the role of fragrance in our world. Okay, perhaps not all of them are such extreme, die-hard, hard-core Orientalist in their tastes as I am, but all of us make perfume a part of our daily lives to the greatest extent possible. I don’t know how you stumbled across my blog (though I’m enormously glad that you did!), but I think you need to find some Western perfume addicts over there! 😀 lol. (I know there are a LOT in Dubai, though I don’t know where you’re located.) And you should come hang out with us over here on the blog in general. 🙂

          The people you’re describing exist here too, seemingly most of all in America with its love for “clean” non-scents amongst the masses. But there is also a huge perfume community, both online and in groups on Facebook, and in person (groups meet up in big cities for Sniffapalooza, like the big one that will be this weekend in New York and which hundreds attend).

          As for me, I’m not wholly Western, so that may explain some things, but the other thing is that I was brought into the world of perfume very early on. I started at the age of 6, and I fell in love with (now vintage version) Opium and Fracas when I was 7. I come from a family of serious perfume lovers, so I started very early on. And when you are practically weaned on Opium like mother’s milk, the heavier, more opulently oriental, spicy and rich a perfume is, the better! 😀

          • Its quite alright! The quantity I have would last me at least two years lol. So really, if you are ok with it I’d like you to try it and see what you think.

            I called you a rare specimen due to the stereotype I told you about haha. Really its quite awkward seeing people look visibly disgusted due to the way your perfume smells. I did encounter a European in a business meeting once and I was pleasantly surprised to notice he was wearing Creed’s Silver Mountain Water (one of my favorites!). A man can make me swoon just by wearing this lol!

            I wouldn’t call myself a perfumista since don’t fully understand how perfumes work. I just know I love a good perfume especially if chemistry made elevated the smell on my skin.This is one of those things I enjoy doing, trying to know how different a perfume would smell on me and on someone else. And I stopped counting how many hours I spent in perfume shops just trying things out and praying to find a new perfect perfume.

            I’ve been lurking here for a couple of months, but always felt awkward about posting because you guys are on a whole different league than me 🙂 I think the first time I found your blog was when I was researching why a certain perfume made me want to throw up while others seemed to like it. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but it was similar to Tom Ford’s Santal Blush.

            Haha that is sweet, being raised on perfume. And reminds me of how my late mother always made sure we had dhn oud (oil extracted out of oud wood) and mkhamreya (this one you would probably not like since it has tons of saffron in it lol) behind our ears and sometimes in our hair before went on visits or received guests.

          • First, please let me apologise for not replying immediately to your kind and very generous post. Last night was a bit of a whirlwind for me in terms of getting out a very important interview, and then I was just exhausted. I really *would* love to try oud wood, especially the Indian kind (which appeals to me more than, say, the very fecal aroma of some aged Laotian kinds). If you want to send me an email, I can give you my address. My email is: AKafkaesqueLife @ Gmail . com (one word).

            Second, I’m so happy you came out of lurkerdom!! It’s about time! 😉 And I don’t think you should feel that we’re in “a whole different league” than you. There are people with all ranges of experiences here but, ultimately, we’re all just driven by our interest and NONE of us are trained noses, so how much can we ultimately know anyway? 🙂 For me, the joy of perfume is actually really like the joy of food: it tastes SOOOO much better when shared! My plate can be delicious, in and of itself, but it won’t give me half as much pleasure as when a friend tastes it and loves it. Or even hates it. Just so long as they try it and we can talk about it.

            To me, it seems you know a LOT about different kinds of eclectic brands, as well as about a whole culture of perfumery that none of us know much about, let alone have experienced in person. YOU know more than us, in some ways, and would bring valuable insights into that, but also into the brands that you’ve tried. As for the ones that you haven’t, your opinion on whether a particular perfume may sound appealing/unappealing based on a review is just as valid as everyone else’s opinion or impressions. But, again, it’s not so much about opinions or knowledge (and it’s definitely NOT about validity of any kind); it’s about the fun of sharing! 😀 So, please, I hope you will always feel free to speak up, not just to me, but to others as well, because we all love interacting with those who share our perfume passion. *big hug*

  19. I totally admire you for such a coherent sniffing trip in Jovoy!I was completely overwhelmed and left the place with no purchase in tow.This store is a must for any perfumista but as you said you need to allocate it plenty of time(2-3 full days) and dress accordingly(shorts and vest top weather permitting).Wonderful place and I’m glad you found some new loves there!

    • LOL, I’m not sure I was all that coherent, Ana, but thank you. 🙂 I loved how you made the necessary minimum timespan not my conservative 4 hours, but a much more realistic, logical 2-3 FULL DAYS! Rofl. Hilarious, but very appropriate and true.

      And if *only* the weather had been such to permit shorts and a t-shirt; many of my skin problems would have been fully resolved!

  20. Willkommen Kafka,
    Wonderful your experiences in Paris. On my next trip to Europe I will schedule a visit to Jovoy Paris. Thanks Kafka.

    • You’re very welcome. I would love to see what damage you, your wife and your daughter could do all together in a place like Jovoy. Better hold onto your wallet, Walter! 😉 😀

  21. Wow, there is even more in there than I had heard. Sounds like you need at least a few days to get through it all. Reminds me of my trips to Beverly Hills where my friend and I would wear tank tops, spray until we had no test skin spots left, go to the bathroom and wash up to our armpits, then start over again!

    • Shorts, t-shirts, and being able to wash things off would have been a wonderful solution, though the best one may be to transform into Kali with 8 arms, as another commentator suggested! I simply got overwhelmed instead. lol. But there is no denying that it may be the largest purveyor of niche perfumes in the world. 60+ different houses, and counting!

  22. I second an earlier commenter: reading about your trip was for me probably better than being there myself. My limit is about seven perfumes in a four-hour period; after that, a nasty headache sets in. Six months ago my limit was three, so if my tolerance increases geometrically, I’ll be ready to sniff my way through every scent at Jovoy in a mere 2-3 years.

    And may I say it is refreshing to find someone else who will admit to not finding Hemingway entrancing. To have the whole of the English language at your disposal and deny yourself its bounty seems perverse to me, and a stylistic dead end.

    • Wow, someone else not enamoured with Hemingway…. you’re right, it’s rare. We can form a club of two. (Or, at least, two who will admit to it.) LOL. 😉

      As for your sniffing tolerance, given that Jovoy carried more than 60 different perfume brands, the fact that each one has a minimum of about 5 perfumes, with some houses having up to 25 or more fragrances, I fear we may need to expand the prospective date of your target visit to 4-5 years time. *grin* I’ll meet you there in 2018. 😀

  23. Sigh, after living vicariously through your travels now I’m living vicariously through your blog posts about your trip. Again, I read a blog post, I close my eyes and am in the middle of it. As God is my witness I will take my Paris obsessed older daughter to the top of the Eiffel tower one day (and for ice cream at Berthillion (sp?) and shopping) but right now it’s impossible. So it is truly a gift since I can’t travel much right now and miss it deeply. Thank you so much Kafka.

  24. So, your camera decided “to see Paris and die”? 😉

    Great article! It perfectly describes both my experience (minus samples 😉 ) and thoughts. It’s an amazing store and I hope they are doing OK in the city with many other great perfume spots.

    I want to go there again…

    • It’s more a case of my camera decided “to see Paris, love the food, but have a tantrum over everything else.” LOL. Honestly, I don’t think a single food (or cheese) photo is blurry! 😀 The Paris photos, however, can be iffy on occasion, and the perfume ones are lost causes in 7 out of 10 instances! But I do think it’s dying, or at least, my rechargeable Canon batteries may need to be replaced.

      I thought of you quite a bit while in Jovoy, especially because I know you’ve talked in the past about some perfume houses having an overwhelming number of fragrances in their line-up. My God, the size of the Boadicea the Victorious collection almost freaked me out with its endless array of seemingly identical bottles. At some point, one doesn’t even want to try, because where does one start?

  25. Pingback: Lys Epona: Celtic Warriors of Spring | Kafkaesque

  26. Hi Kafka!
    Very nice review indeed!
    Sorry to answer to your Email so late, I only got it this week!
    I’m glad that i made your stop in Jovoy comfortable, and, as I can read, unforgettable, eventhough I don’t think I deserve so many compliments 🙂
    I hope if you come back to Paris, you’ll stop in the shop again so we can have another fun time!

    • Léon! Quel plaisir de te voir! I’m glad you liked the article on my time at Jovoy. I’m still amazed at all the brands that you carry, and really wish I had more skin so that I could have tested more from the store. I completely forgot to try Rouge Assassin from your own line, too! So many wonderful things. I look forward to my next trip to Paris. I will definitely be back!

  27. I was there 😀 😀 😀 , a few weeks ago when I went to Paris I passed in front of the Jovoy shop whilst on my way to the Place Vendome, Jovoy another gorgeous shop housed in one of the most expensive and luxurious places in Paris appeared right in front of me and of course I couldn´t resist entering, although my companion in this trip thought this was a very extravagant idea (entering a perfume shop in such an expensive place, that is) .

    My first impression whilst entering was that it was a bit intimidating since I was the only customer there, but I went forward. A Young girl around my age or slightly older offered any help I wanted but I prefered to explore the place by myself so I just gave her my signature answer “I´m just looking, thank you” , the one that without fail let´s me sample things at my own pace. My first impression was that all scents were very heavy and if I had been told that almost every single one of them was exclusively Pour Homme, I would have believed it. It was a world apart from my concept of what perfume is and how it is supposed to smell, particularly the fragrances for women, this had nothing to do with Nina by Nina Ricci, Kenzo Amour, Chanel Chance or Mademoiselle, Hugo Boss Women or even the heaviest scent I own, the Oriental Dolce&Gabbana The One.

    Really nothing to do with each other, to the point were light, fruity florals seemed heavy, too masculine and too rich. Also the first Price tag I learned was the Xerjoff one which almost made me run away. But I persevered and started to sample fragrances without any idea of what I wanted or what I was doing, so I asked where Parfum d´Empire was just to start with a brand I remembered from your blog, Kafka. I think I sampled the whole collection, but the ones I remember more clearly are Three Fleurs, since it smelled like a real plant or flower, something that I had never seen before, at least not on the commercial market. Next I tried Ambre Russe, since it was your recomendation, and well let´s say it didn´t turn as expected on me.

    The first second I smelled Ambre Russe I thought it had way too much alcohol in it, it was extremely heavy, powerful and I just couldn´t get past how much Vodka, Whisky, Cognac or whatever alcoholic drink it had on it, since I don´t drink alcohol at all, and when I say that I truly mean it since I went to Paris and didn´t drink any wine at all 😛 . But back to Ambre Russe, I was startled when it morphed into something truly rancid and I have no idea why it did that, none of the other perfumes I tried on turned weird 😦 . Next I sampled Wazamba and Musc something (don´t remember the whole name but it started with “M”) . I´m not sure which one it was from the line that smelt strongly of incense but that one I liked the best.

    Still I didn´t want to rush to buy it even though I loved the low Price tag, so I asked instead where Histoires de Parfum was (I must have been pronouncing the names of the perfume brands very badly because the ladies strugled to understand what I was asking for, lol ). So I sampled every single one of the scents from Histoires de Parfum that were available including both the Homme, and Femme ones, and even though I prefered the Femme, none was able to truly capture me disfortunately, so I moved on and found the infamous Les Infidels lol the perfume you hated so much, from the Swedish brand, I even recognized the bottle. Well I sampled that and was instantly amused at how different it was from the rest of the perfumes, even from the same brand,

    Les Infidels smelled similar to the commercial scents I have always known, from the first instant it was familiar. I didn´t think of it as horrible, it smelled strongly powdery, like a flower and maybe also of vanilla? Anyway it was not bad, but to me just very common, commercial, a scent that I could easily get at many Malls. If this had been a commercial perfume it wouldn´t be one of the bad ones, but in Jovoy it really smelled out of place.

    Next, I sampled two or three of the Roja Dove perfumes, which I thought were nice but a tad expensive, so I sampled another brand which name escapes me at the moment, but had nice looking bottles that had pointed diamond like tops and were named Aqua…something (will check my photos to see which brand this was) . I also sampled Jovoy´s own line.

    And then, going further inside of the store I saw Nobile 1942, a brand that I had remembered reading about at your blog, so I sampled away and finally smelled a fragance that made me fall in love, that was Anonimo Veneziano, a rich, feminine fragrance that I showed to my companion, who ascerted that it smelled nice. It traveled me to Venice, the first city I loved when I was just 8 years old on a trip with my parents. The Price was just right at 105€ for the Fraganza Suprema, so I decided to buy it 😀 😀 😀 . I was kindly given samples from Jovoy´s perfume line, and a Notes on Notes copy, their new magazine 🙂 . I also loved that they let me take pictures of the store, I didn´t take as many as you did Kafka, but I did take around 2500 photos of Paris as a whole, so I went a little crazy with the picture taking lol.

    Sorry for the long Essay, it was just because this was a truly unique experience for me, I have many stories from Paris but this post is already long enough as it is, lol 😛

    • How wonderful! I could read even more of your adventures there, especially with all the different brands and with your first foray into niche perfumery. I’m fascinated most of all at your reaction to the scents from the very first: finding even the lightest and fruitiest of florals to be akin to a man’s perfume, by the standards of what you’ve been accustomed to prior to now. Fascinating.

      With regard to Ambre Russe, I don’t believe I recommended it to you once you said you didn’t drink. You were interested in the history aspect, but I think I was unsure how you would deal with the vodka note. I wonder what was the note that seemed “rancid” to you. I suspect that is labdanum which is a sort of amber you’re probably not used to. It is true amber, and nothing like the “amber” used in commercial perfumery which is most vanilla, benzoin, synthetics and perhaps just a mere drop of labdanum (once in a while). I suspect you have to train yourself to get used to the note, as it is the real source of amber in a lot of orientals.

      • I don’t know what bothered me so much in Ambre Russe, but I don’t think it’s labdanum, since I bought Anonimo Veneziano from Nobile 1942, and I saw in some sites that it’s a fragrance with labdanum on it’s base. Also it’s sometimes listed as a floral in a few sites and as an Oriental on some others, either way I really love it. Maybe my problem with Ambre Russe, was the combination of alcohol with other ingredients or simply a weird chemistry reaction with my skin.

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