I wasn't expecting much, but with a full, unopened vintage bottle in my possession thanks to the local Goodwill, I knew eventually I'd have to give it a try. Enjoli was everywhere in the late 70's, but I couldn't quite remember what it smelled like beyond a lot of oakmoss and amber. How bad could it be?
I sprayed the tiniest bit on my wrist and couldn't get much, but what was there seemed OK so I went full-on 1970's woman and sprayed like I meant it (sort of the equivalent of, "Drive it like you stole it"). Well, I won't be doing that again. Despite having that damned commercial in my head for more than 40 years, I;d apparently forgotten that Enjoli is a concentrated cologne. The eight hour cologne for the twenty-four hour woman. I'm more of a four hour woman these days, at best. If I'm going to be reminding anyone he's a man, it will be because I'm yelling at him to put the bloody toilet seat down.
Strangely, Enjoli wasn't immediately familiar the way that other long gone scents have been when I tried them. Last week, I finally got around to wearing some of the gigantic bottle of vintage Diorissimo I bought (also full at the Goodwill) and before it even hit the drydown I knew which friend's mother used to wear it. Some things you don't forget, but Enjoli is so much like other fragrances of its era, it is quite forgettable. Given the choice between Enjoli and Halston, I'd go for the Halston as it is a better balanced version of the same notes.
I've always winced a bit at big aldehydes, but after they settle down, I can typically tolerate what they have to offer an overall composition. I like oakmoss and peach (Mitsouko) and most of your classic chypres, but this one goes off into a terrible green note that reminds me of my sister's favourite in that era, Aliage. It was a huge relief when she discovered Chanel no. 19! Unlike Aliage, Enjoli doesn't smell youthful or modern-it smells like something a cranky, soon-to-be-retired state worker would splash on for her job at the DMV. It grabs the form from your hands, stamps it, hands it back to you and yells, "Next!"
Enjoli does indeed last a good eight hours (a bit longer in my experience). If I liked it, that would be great, but I don't and it seems to be scrub-proof. Enjoli is swinging that frying pan at your head, daring you to try leaving. It is a bit better a few hours in, but who wants to wait that long for something to be tolerable?
I'm aware of how attached people are to Enjoli because it reminds them of youthful days, their mothers, etc. I get that. I'm sure there are people who really do love Enjoli and I wouldn't discount their credibility. Enjoli isn't a terrible fragrance, and I can understand what people see in it, but alas it is not for me. This is one blast from the past that will likely need to remain there for me. It is possible that I'm not smelling all the big florals others do (my specific jasmine anosmia might be contributing) and outside of a bit of peach and bergamot, I really don't get any fruit notes. I've seen Enjoli described as, "juicy and fruity" and I just cannot smell that at all. If anything, the peach smells a bit more like rotting meat (not always a bad thing with peach notes, but not what I'm reading described in reviews). Near the end, there's something spicy in Enjoli beyond the sandalwood, and I can't quite pin it down. Like a spicy wax, but not a spice scented candle. Maybe like a Catholic church, a few hours after mass with the scent of wax and incense still in the air. Perhaps that's it-it smells a bit like St. Cecilia's during the flower festival. Just add a pipe organ.
Notes according to Fragrantica:
Aldehydes, carnation, oakmoss, jasmine, sandalwood, orris root, amber, orchid, vanilla, peach, musk, cedar, rose, hyacinth, bergamot, green notes, tuberose.