Perfumes are usually pretty intuitive for me—I either like it or I don’t, with a vast majority falling in between as pleasant enough but neutral.
Les Jeux sont Faits by Jovoy Paris broke this mold by growing on me. I got a sample vial of it with a purchase at the wonderful Jovoy boutique in London several months ago, and nursed it over many low-key weekends because it’s quite strong and the cumin note tended to make me smell dirtier than I was. I smelled like a romanticized version of having spent the night drinking heavy liquor, smoking, and neglected to shower.
Yet it was intriguing enough to keep me trying it again, probably thanks to the amber and woody aspects and the clean-cut tobacco. The initial top notes are quite uplifting, although I couldn’t distinguish them as the listed petitgrain, angelica, and dried fruits.
For me, the scent very quickly delves into the listed heart notes of rum, gin, tobacco leaf, and cumin, where it stays for most of the long wear. The base notes of sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, and labdanum don’t wait their turn before chiming in, either—in fact, one of the first things I smell is the amber accord. Knowing that this is classically formed by labdanum and vanilla, I consider Les Jeux sont Faits an education in true amber for me (even more so than Ambre Premier, also by Jovoy Paris, which was too sweet and powdery for my liking).
Today, I wore a mock turtleneck sweater (which I also normally don’t, but it was a nice Christmas gift that actually works quite well for me) and to my delighted surprise, it was an extremely effective funnel concentrating the fragrance wafting from my neck up to my nose. With controlled stretching and releasing of the fabric, I could savor the amber, rum, and tobacco leaf notes in the full glory of their warm clarity. (The olfactory equivalent of gazing through a glass of steaming black tea, perhaps.)
The vanilla hints that although “the chips are down” (translation of “les jeux sont faits”) this time, there will still be a next time. The doors are open.
This perfume at the same time complements and provides an apt antidote to the dreary weather at this time of year, where unseasonable warmth yields an excess of clouds and drizzle day after day. It transitions smoothly into the darkness of the night (which currently starts around 5 PM on the East Coast of the United States), when indoor lighting at least is consistent.
You don’t have to play games to enjoy this one.