I bought a bottle of Enjoy in 2002 or 2003, shortly after this Jean Patou perfume was launched. I remember a little fanfare over it- after all, a new release from Jean Patou is quite major. There were displays and posters in some of the local department stores and scent strips in magazines (the husband says they smell the same to him and mostly like glue). It was an impulse purchase based mostly on a quick sniffing and spraying at the store and a wish to find a Patou that agrees with me (what a difference a decade makes!).
I liked the exuberance of the green fruit over an opulent classic floral heart (that's where the connection to the classic Joy starts and ends). In theory, that is. After wearing Enjoy for a week or so I realized we were not meant to be. The fruit notes (citrus, banana and pear. Sounds like mashed baby food) didn't like my skin and I didn't like them back and couldn't smell past them. A few weeks later I sold my bottle (and a full bottle of Sublime. Yes, I'm kicking myself).
You know how these stories end. After I moved and rearranged all the samples I have in drawers I discovered a couple of Enjoy vials. I decided to give it a try, and boy was that love. Years ago I've heard it described as a chypre and for the life of me couldn't figure out why and how. While Enjoy is definitely not a chypre (no oakmoss, for starts), it is one of those modern concoctions with a green note on a non-gourmand patchouli based. Don't mistake it for an Angel clone, though. The fruit here is sheer and the base free of any chocolate, caramel. There's no vulgarity or any of that cheap smelling yummy vibe.
Instead, this Patou (or rather Jean-Michel Duriez) creation is modern in the best sense of the word. It's approachable and friendly, but you can't mistake the good breeding and proud ancestry. It's no wonder the chosen face of Enjoy was Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. While Enjoy was labeled and targeted at a younger demographic than the classic Patou perfumes, they didn't try to be too young or compete in the 15-minute celebrity game. Ms. Mastroianni was 30 when she got the job, and her look, talent and depth have put her in the same group of second-generation of fame with Charlotte Gainsbourg, not Rumer Willis or Peaches Geldof.
Enjoy's easy manners and understated charm feel quite feminine when I'm wearing it. But men who are not afraid of a fruity opening and heart of rose can probably pull it off easily. It's much lighter than DelRare's Bois de Paradis, for example. One would think that a perfume like this would be the bestseller the house of Patou (now owned by Procter & Gamble) needed to make a commercial comeback. Sadly, it never happened. While the fragrance has not been discontinued (yes, I know everyone says it was and I thought the same thing until yesterday), it was pulled off the counters in the USA and relegated to the online discounters. Patou's official website not only lists Enjoy as one of the current perfumes on the market, there's also a full range of bath and body products. I assume they can all be found on the shelves in Europe for their full retail price. Here it's easy to find the EDP online for under $50. Monsieur Patou might be rolling in his grave, but personally I'm just happy that P&G didn't completely kill the brand (even if they try their best to strip it from every last bit of luxury).
Enjoy 2002 ad: Images de Parfums
Photo of Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve: The Independent, 2009