Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Jovan Musk for Men by Jovan

Total Reviews: 54
Overall I get straight up strong spicy musk from this cologne/aftershave with hints of lavender, mint, and citruses (but mostly musk); provides a nice burn too after shaving; very manly smelling, I really like it. It's both clean smelling and spicy at the same time. Also, it's extremely masculine; one of the most masculine fragrances I've ever tried. Cheap and good.

03rd May, 2018
J˘van Musk has one of the most interesting and unlikely of stories one will find in the perfume world. Love it or hate it, the stuff came to define what "musky" was for many people throughout the 70's and 80's. First and foremost, Barry Shipp was not a perfumer or even a colognoisseur himself. He wasn't from France or the UK, didn't study under anyone, and was just a simple entrepreneur when he literally stumbled upon the idea to make J˘van Musk. According to Shipp himself, the idea came about during a business trip to New York. He observed some hippies in a head shop buying musk oil along with their paraphernalia, and when asked why musk, answered with praise for musk's aphrodisiac qualities and ability to mask odors (like pot smoke). Shipp then got the idea to make a mainstream musk with the chemical "white musk" substitute for the pricey natural oils and similarly market it for it's supposed virility-granting properties. Even the blurb on the "talking" box (as Shipp called it) would speak of the wonderous J˘van Musk could deliver for it's wearer, plus with it being given away free at rock concerts and other places youth would gather, this almost guaranteed it's success.
The best part here is J˘van Musk, like all future fragrances made under the brand up until the 80's were created by Shipp's friend Murray Moscona, who was a chemist and inventor who worked mostly with commercial flavorings and not even perfume. He goes uncredited for later things like J˘van Grass Oil (1974) and J˘van Sex Appeal (1976), but all of J˘van's early snake oils were made by a guy more likely to make the flavor of your favorite candy than your signature scent.

The original J˘van Musk Oil released in 1972, but due to American mainstream perceptions of there needing to be a gender divide in fragrance, his and hers eau de colognes and eau de toilettes launched the following year, and were just lighter and darker shades of the original oil to be honest. J˘van Musk for Men is a rather simple affair, combining a laundry-like soapy opening with a few barbershop nods before digging deep into a synthetic white musk base that simulates the sweaty raunch (poorly) of real animal musk with a few flanking base notes. Lime, lemon, peppercorn and carnation create the opening salvo, with an almost amateur straitforwardness that reminds you this was composed by a flavor chemist. The middle of lavender and mint feels almost like an "arbitrary" barbershop vibe tossed into the men's version (absent in the women's take), because that's what would get John Q. Public in 73' to wear it. The synthetic white musk molecule is rather quite heavy as to be expected in a fragrance labeled as a musk, but unlike the competing Alyssa Ashley Musk (1969) or Monsieur Houbigant (1973), J˘van doesn't keep it safe and tosses in some faux ambergris, a peck of cumin, and sandalwood to keep it in that "head shop musk" vein that was the intial inspiration for Shipp. It's not going to compare to anything like Kiehl's Original Musk (1963) or anything a modern niche house would make, so don't expect the fat of the animal you slaughtered to be in this, but it is a nice entry point regardless of gender for a person wanting a musk that is a tiny bit provocative but still relatively safe. This men's version of J˘van Musk does have that clumsy barbershop intro, but it's certainly no worse for the price than anything found in a drugstore also from this era, just with an enhanced bottom end.

The big problem with J˘van Musk for Men in the 21st century is it's former ubiquity in the 20th. This stuff was so cheap, so readily available, it became a dating lure for every sleezeball and alcoholic from coast to coast, since it was actually advertised as such with blurbs like "Made in Chicago so you can get made anywhere". None of this helps it's image for potential new customers since everyone is just going to automatically think of horny, desperate guys in flower print shirts driving 70's land boats down the boulevard looking for action, which was the money maker then, but worthy only of cringe nowadays. J˘van themselves have tried multiple times to address this issue and shake that reputation with new musk flankers every decade or so, with varying degrees of success, but the original is still the best for most folks (but not me). Coty, Revlon, Avon, Shulton, MEM, and everyone in this segment made a standalone musk or musk flanker to their popular lines in response to this, so it must have been a real game-changer. I personally find J˘van Musk for Men hard to wear due to it's barbershop-meets-bordello vibe, even if I put up a mental block to all it's accumulated stigma over the years, and much prefer J˘van White Musk for Men (1992), which is far more balanced and versatile. This old war dog is still made so there must be plenty of brave folks out there sauntering into the night doused in this stuff, ready to practice their one-liners on a fellow barfly that's had one Long Island Iced Tea too many, I'm just not one of them.
14th April, 2018
In all the years I've enjoyed this linear fragrance I can't help but slap my forehead in shock and say 'man I'm reading some serious exaggeration on Jovan Musk for Men (scent wise).I don't get spearmint,spices,woods,lemon,lime,pepper,carnation..none of that.Here's what I smell...

I get through the splash a similar sensation to the lemon/bergamot/lavender foundation of Tabac Original and Vetiver by Guerlain.Switch out the lemon with clean and juicy orange though.Turn down the bergamot a bit to let the lavender cut through which brings out the soapy quality more and gives a brighter/cleaner structure.There is musk in this scent but I feel it slithers it's way through the bergamot note,so it's light.No this stuff isn't anywhere near as deliciously musky as an old Halston Z-14/1-12 scent...but it's there.It doesn't evolve or morph,notes don't blossom out on drydown...smells the same start to finish.

If you try Jovan Musk for Men and like it?I wouldn't be surprised.In that regard it's a pit stop on the road to something more interesting for your nose.To others it just smells good and is wearable year round.Not loud or overpowering,not hard to find...just nice smelling for it's price.

11th January, 2017 (last edited: 22nd February, 2017)
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rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Reviewing the vintage formulation:

A fresh, lemon-cum-mint dyad combines with white musk in the opening blast. Very agreeable.

In the drydown floral elements come to the fore, including lavender and a restrainedly sweet carnation, with the latter being stronger on my skin and with a green whiff present at times.

In the base the floral and citrus elements evaporate and make place for a woodsy impression, with the misk gradually fading into the backgound, but with a gery discrete light and bright soapiness in the background towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and seven hours of longevity.

This musk creation is purely based on white musk and throughly void of any dark or animalistic characteristics. Whilst the latest version might be a bit blander, in its original beauty, whilst nothing special, it is a pleasantly summery white musk, and one of those as nice as white musks can be in this league. 3.25/5.

03rd January, 2017
Beware imitations, there are a lot of fakes out there and they are not good.
This is the classic mens musk and its also worn by a lot of women including me. Great for layering.
27th August, 2016
The Perfect White Musk...

This fragrance is the cleanest musk fragrance I have ever smelled. Simply put, it can be worn at any place, any time, anywhere.

It reminds me of clean, floral musks which are often my favourite category of fragrance. Simply superb. For the price this is one which is hard to beat in terms of smell and experience. I think as long as you do not expect something of amazing niche quality here, you can be on to a guaranteed winner.

I find this can be worn dressed up, dressed down, and in pretty much any situation. I also detect lavender, some carnation and maybe something along the line of white pepper, with a clean, fresh, citrus musky vibe.

This is a great one which I would personally reach for in any occasion. For the price, I would recommend it for men of any age. A great one which I like very much.
03rd August, 2016
I'm with sjg3839 on this one. This was one of the best 70's Drugstore scents. It never was going to compete with the big boys, nor was it meant to. I remember YSL behind the OTC, but you could always grab this solo. It was chic enough for us early teenagers, a little
sweet for my overall taste at the time.
The current is a little cheapened, however is an enjoyable nostalgia piece.
07th April, 2016
This has to be the most disgusting fragrance I hav eever tried, I had great expections after reading online reviews. Very big anti-climax. Absolute vile stuff. What person thought this stuff actually smelt nice is truly bizarre,bleach or a sweaty stench would be better than this. Headache inducing, nauseating crap. Unless you have been born without a sense of smell I would stear clear of this stuff.
12th December, 2015
This must have been better back in the day.

The current version hit me with an intense High School flashback. Not the good kind with clean-yet-lusty teenage boys, but the sickening kind with dingy post-PE changing rooms, baby-powdered hot crotch, peeling off sweaty sports bras and a cloying toxic fog of Impulse 'Merely Musk' body spray. Horrible.
31st October, 2015
Jovan Musk is a dignified fresh aromatic musk with a bunch of diverse floral vegetal nuances and a general widespread musky-balmy soapiness. Lemon, lavender and carnation provide by soon a really classic fougere aromatic vibe, spices and probably ylang-ylang imprint a really pleasant exotic twist while woods flank the main note (musk) in order to provide more structure and a typically woody undertone. Unfortunately the aroma smells a bit too much synthetic on my skin along the dry down. Jovan Musk smells anyway fresh, musky and spicy and could be a classic alternative for all the musk addicted which prefer lighter airy white musks over the dark animalic ones and are on a little budget.
23rd September, 2014 (last edited: 27th February, 2015)
similar to Diesel zero plus at top note
No overpower but with good sillage
good long-lasting
a little bit soapy (typical in 70s fragrances talcy or soapy)
Good fragrance masculine and sexy
09th February, 2014
jovan musk cologne for men is a very subtle fragrance. there is a nice fragrance to it but not very strong and does not last long when wearing it. still a classic of the drugstore brands but not as strong or good as english leather or british sterling.
06th January, 2014
Great old scent that is rather linear.

Sure it does not mature, have a varied nuance or "evolve" but it reminds you of what "old school" scent is all about.

I pair it with Agua Lavanda body wash and I smell like I just stepped out of a great old barbershop.

Smells the same as it did back in the 70's when I was a child.
01st April, 2013
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There is no doubt that this was king back in it's day but for now I just could not pull this off. When I tested this It felt like I was rolling around in a pit of mothballs and flowers. I dare not speak anything againstit though because 1. It's still on the shelves 2. Longevity is Amazing 3. It projects like a beast 4. It's a classic. What's more to say?
10th March, 2013
Quartz Show all reviews
United States
Sure, it's a bit dated but it still smells OK. It has no staying power on my skin unless I really load it on. A classic kind of scent in the Brut category. A good choice for very casual wear.
27th November, 2012
C'mon folks. Out of all the basenoters on this website, everyone is acting like they never wore or liked Jovan Musk. This is one of those that started it all for a lot of us (Unless you are 65 years or older). Old school scent that was strong and kind of cloying at first.

You have to realize that a lot of the scents that are out today were inspired by brilliant perfumers who probably wore this stuff. I'm giving this a thumbs up for being a pioneer.
05th November, 2012
Went to Walmart and came by this thing, most horrific fragrance I ever came across. Smells cheap and at best outdated. There's no way a guy can wear this and liking it. Not worth going into detail, when you see this, run and don't even think of punishing the world of wearing this. Wear it on a date, if you don't want to see the person ever again.
26th September, 2012
Some inexpensive fragrances can be very pleasant. Not Jovan Musk for Men. This drugstore fragrance is cheap and it smells cheap. Back in the mid 70's, synthetic white musk was all the rage. It was everywhere (in deodorants, soaps, shampoos, room fresheners, etc.). I hated it and I still do. As a matter of fact, it think white musk and anything smelling like Johnson's baby powder should be outlawed. JMFM may have other notes but white musk overpowers everything else. Truly repulsive skunk juice. I haven't smelled it lately. Thank God!
30th August, 2012
I would describe the smell as dirty soap. It doesn't smell bad, but it doesn't project very well and it's doesn't smell good enough to be worth wearing.
26th August, 2012
studer Show all reviews
United States
Mans splash. Strong at first and then dries down to a nice smell. Not the cheapest drugstore scents. For me out of the cheaper scents this one is the best. I love to splash this on right before bed. It just gives me a peacefull easy sleep feeling. I can assure you this wont be a hit for the younger ladies at least not for most, but its a good refreshing feeling to the face after a shave or before bed.
12th August, 2012
Not at all complicated. The top is a bit sharp, as it should be with a cologne. After the first seconds is mellows down to a fresh, slightly adstringent fruity smell without any sweetness. The heart lingers for hours between that fruit and a very dry musk, eventually dries down to wood and musk. Ever it is soft and humble, no offenses. Even in the heat of strong bodyly engagement it remains a shy dry compagnion.

If it wasn't that cheap and some parts of it were a tad more complex - it would be totally different. I'm indifferent whether or not this simplicity is some kind of art. I like it more the more often I use it! One of the best casuals I know, ideal for tennis, Chandler Burr!
25th March, 2011
Abs Show all reviews
United States
I remember liking this, but can't remember what it smells like. One of the first "grown up" scents that anyone ever bought for me as a kid. I may have to go find some and spray it on just to see if it still works for me :)
28th January, 2011
man114 Show all reviews
United States
It smells like soap.

I put it on this afternoon for the heck of it havning never tried to wear it but having picked up a gift set for a few bucks.

It smells exactly like bar soap. I noticed very little progression throughout wearing it. Only it was much more astringent when you first put it on. The progression would be akin to putting the bar of soap up to your nose than slowly moving it away.

At the end of the road (I must note I've had other cheapy cologne last much longer), it smells somewhat softer.

I wouldn't call it good but its not bad. Having worn their more modern (and discontinued) Hot Bod Musk a few times lately, I think the softer Hot Bod Musk is more enjoyable, complex and smoother.
27th January, 2011
I use this cologne very often. It has a pretty nice smell. When first applied, it is strong and spicy, but after a while it becomes a nice sweet musk. It has good lasting power too. The sillage and projection don't seem to be great, but the longevity makes up for it. I wear it a few times a week and it never stops amazing me. Also, the price is wonderful. I will keep buying this.
16th November, 2010
Classic musk fragrance for men; initially a bit synthetic and chemical but after an hour or so turns into a pleasant long lasting companion for the rest of your day...thumbs up
24th September, 2010
none of the drugstore musks work for me including this one. i expect musk to kinda stink and this one doesn't. well at least not in the way i want it too. none stinky musk + toothpastey note = room spray for me.
19th August, 2010 (last edited: 03rd February, 2011)
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
It takes about a half hour for Jovan Musk for Men to be tolerable. The top notes are pretty bad, smelling like nail varnish, very ascerbic and synthetic. After those fade away, this fragrance mellows into a nice warm musk, with some floral notes to jazz it up.

Musks can have different smells - some clean, some dirty, some sweet, some bitter, etc. - but Jovan's musk is what comes to mind when I first think about what musk smells like. Jovan's Musk For Men leans towards the clean, soapy side, but there is also that slightly bitter, sweaty edge that reminds you that musk is an animalic ingredient, even though I'm sure this is a synthetic musk, considering the low price. I don't agree with the reviewers who say this isn't very musky. This smells to me like an almost pure musk scent with floral and citrus notes playing a supporting role

Jovan's Musk For Men has been around for years, and you can find it in all the el-cheapo stores, but it still is a very good clean scent with a slightly dirty edge, which will make you stand out (in a good way) from everyone else in the office wearing Acqua di Gio.
10th February, 2010
lex Show all reviews
United States
my first musk frag and i wasnt sure about it. after awhile i really was into jovan musk. not harsh to me but just straight musk and woods and very affordable.
26th January, 2010
A "nothing but" musk that I refer people to when they ask "what does musk smell like?" since it's so readily available at drugstores everywhere. It's also got a nice amber sweetness in conjunction with the musk. For something so simple, cheap and synthetic, it's good and classic.
14th November, 2009
MOONB Show all reviews
United States
This is a drugstore cheapie that I find to be respectably pleasant, not offensive at all, and ultimately a bit forgettable, but that's more than I can say for other fragrances in Jovan's price range. This and Coty Musk are good deals, and Jovan Musk is the better of the two.
05th November, 2009 (last edited: 10th February, 2011)