Perfume Directory

Sex Appeal for Men (1976)
by Jovan


Sex Appeal for Men information

Year of Launch1976
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 130 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Beauty
Parent Company at launchJovan

About Sex Appeal for Men

Basenotes loves the blurb on the box for this long gone scent:

Sex Appeal - Now you don't have to be born with it. This provocative stimulating blend of rare spices and herbs was created by man for the sole purpose of attracting women. At will.

More than the usual promise in a bottle. It's more like a guarantee.

Sex Appeal for Men fragrance notes

Reviews of Sex Appeal for Men

Meh, not bad, not great. If I'd have received it as a father's day gift 20 years ago or whatever, I certainly wouldn't have binned it. But that's the problem with delving deeper into fragrance as a hobby, no? You quickly learn there are levels of superior choices beyond what was once considered fine and good.

This is a Pierre Cardin doppleganger and not too far removed from the likes of Old Spice. Aldehydes & spice with a bit of amber. I much prefer those with a rougher personality from the category, like Equipage, Havana, and Montana pd'h.
18th February, 2019
Jovan was on top of the world when they released Sex Appeal in 1976. The company having formed in 1968 under Bernard Mitchell and Barry Shipp, deliberately taking it's name from the phonetics of American entry-level competitors like Revlon and Avon. These transparently gimmicky hucksters nonetheless used oozing sex appeal ever since they started peddling five and dime scents to hippies that compensated for lacking sophistication with extreme volume. Some of these Jovans became downright classics, but most of them were abominable, and since they made their ways into so many homes to be used up, the large array of rightly discontinued ones which survive command insane prices that belie their actual value as fragrance. This gem, which hails from the company's prime years, was a diamond in the rough for the budget disco-goer back in the day, and has somehow passed the test of time. A lot of people unfairly compare this to Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur (1972), and I can see where they are coming from completely. Both fragrances have a huge lean towards sweet and spicy, but I think where the major difference lies in the way each scent balances them out. This doesn't feel out of place in a collection that contains the eponymous Cardin masculine, as I find them wearable in different moods, albeit the much-cheaper Sex Appeal sees more use because it's ironically more versatile and easier to replace. Jovan Sex Appeal was for the Saturday Night Fever fan that could barely afford the cover charge to the club, but wanted to fit in with all the guys wearing designers. Flavor chemist and unofficial house perfumer Murray Moscona was starting to get decent at making scents by the time this came about, and is honestly the best of the original 70's bunch on which he worked.

Jovan Sex Appeal opens simply enough with bergamot and lemon oil, but then quickly mellows down to a stew of lavender, carnation, vetiver, patchouli, and that obvious sandalwood note in the middle. Here in the heart of the fragrance it causes the most confusion, for it actually compares more favorably to a hybrid of Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971) and the yet-to-exist Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984) than to Pierre Cardin. The latter is more ubiquitous than the former two, so it's fair that this gets accused of copying it, especially in light of how Jovan followed the Avon and Revlon trend of acclimatizing the artistic breakthroughs of the high-end designs to the budgets of the mass-market; it simply is less like Pierre Cardin's fragrance than most think it is. Ultimately, it boils down to experience with perfumes to see that it actually sits between an aromatic citrus chypre and a full-tilt spicy oriental, even if it's base makes it lean more heavily toward the oriental side of things in the dry down. This stuff is good in the spring and fall, but not so great in the winter as a full spicy oriental, but definitely holds up to freezing temperatures better than any fougère. The most important thing of all is to consider how resonant and long-lasting this is despite it's price, which is the hallmark of any Jovan vintage, discontinued or current: you simply won't find a more potent juice at prices actually -below- stuff like Avon and Revlon. You're effectively getting the 70's near-equivalent to a powerhouse for the price of a Walmart body spray, which is how so much of this ended up in bathroom cabinets and car glove boxes back in the day as everyone's "secret weapon".

The 1970's mass-market opinion of sexy probably wasn't gathered in focus groups or beta testing like modern R&D procedures, and the folks at Jovan probably just thought "lets make it zesty and inviting in the opening, then bring in the sweet stuff the ladies like (or liked at the time) before making it all warm and cozy for snuggling later", like a three-step hook-line-and-sinker process. I mean that's what I imagine must have gone on in the heads of the marketing guys when they were instructing the perfumer, who then just phoned in the accords and blended it until it was the approximation of what they were wanting, which worked better than anyone could reasonably expect considering he was a flavor chemist. Is it amazing? No. Is it complex? Certainly not on this budget. Is it strong? Definitely. The key here is this one comes across like a bedroom lit by candlelight, but not just one gentle candle, about 2 dozen, so the combined glow of all that melting wax is very strong but still soft on the eyes. I feel this only survives today because despite it's amazingly dated feel, it still somehow casts it's spell on new people who discover it, the same way young people still reach for bottles of Brut. Jovan Sex Appeal is also something of a presage to other lemony oriental hybrids that started appearing in the 80's and 90's, when stuff like Creed Bois du Portugal (1987), and Guerlain Héritage (1992) would come to pass. Sex Appeal is rude and crude by comparison, but the DNA is there, and it's a window through time that's still likeable and sells for a song. However, if you're looking for something that does more than just scream "do the hustle" then this is not for you.
11th August, 2017 (last edited: 11th October, 2019)
Deliberately animalic and magnetic, to be sure! Sex Appeal is designed to catch attention, and it delivers. I don't think I'd necessarily wear it nowadays, as I have plenty of "regular" scents to project with a musky vibe that SAM does. But I give kudos to Jovan for such a unique, daring fragrance that still has some "appeal" to wearers and smellers alike.
20th December, 2016
Turin (Sanchez actually) gives it four stars and calls it an "herbal oriental."

This unassuming men's scent from 1976 mixes lavender and amber with a slight dash of cinnamon. Dries down to a light aromatic wood. Not heavy at all, in fact quite light, it is unassuming and subtle. Perfectly acceptable as an all purpose scent, from office to date night to sports event. Tremendously affordable (I got my attractive 3 oz. bottle for $10), and a perfect gift choice for guys who want to smell good, but who are really not "into" scent.

Not bad, not great, just okay.
27th September, 2015
Gents, do you tire of the endless line of unisex flankers that riddle the fragrance landscape today? Are you really looking to smell like a honey donut, a cup of cinnamon coffee or a basket of dried fruits!?

I will admit, many of the higher end unisex frags are very well blended (Tom Ford, Serge Lutens, CDG) and include upgraded ingredients. I love tobacco so Tobacco Vanille is on my shelf.

Although, these days I am feeling more and more the desire to strip away the fluff and get back to basics.

Jovan Sex Appeal for Men is all about the basics: spices, herbs, musk and patchouli. Unbelievably well blended and at <$15 for 3oz a tremendous value.

Sex Appeal wears close to the skin and will last a minimum of 6 hours. Projection is average which is a good thing. People will notice you, smile, and wonder what that great smell is as the notes are not so individually distinct. Just a basic, masculine accord that "smells good".

3 stars.

03rd October, 2014 (last edited: 17th November, 2020)
Cheap but good

This is my first review as a Basenoter so I decided to start with a familiar fragrance that I continue to wear today at least twice a month. I'm writing on the current splash aftershave/cologne and not the spray bottle. Despite other reviewers mentioning that this Jovan classic has lost some of it's punch, on my skin, even one spray above the navel can be cloying. As I believe Ericrico astutely mentioned, Sex Appeal comes into it's realm when carefully splashed like an aftershave (For me this means a modest splash applied by hands to both cheeks, a modest splash to the neck then rubbing my hands briefly on my chest.) Right away I get the hit of rich spices and, I guess, the amber as my nose picks up little boozy whiffs from time to time. It then begins the journey into the patchouli and woods with the spices rising to the surface from time to time. At this point it takes a powdery spicy oriental vibe that actually brings aspects of Vintage Aramis to mind (Probably the green herbs.). Sillage on me is moderate (Good Thing!) and longevity is spectacular at 6-10 hours depending on the weather. The nicest thing with Sex Appeal for me is that it is so well behaved in the right hands that I wear it in a fairly crowded nurses' station and I consistently receive compliments from female and male peers when I wear it. At it's current price point it is an amazing value and I'll always have some around when I want an old school vibe. Is it as good as were Andron, Grass Oil or The Original Ginseng for Men? Not a chance. Sex Appeal is a very good fragrance when used correctly. The other three were much better efforts by the House of Jovan. Bring them back Jovan/Coty! Please don't make me beg!

Pros: All the great aspects of a 70"s Power House without going overboard. Just plain smells good. PRICE!!
Cons: Can be a patchouli stinkbomb if overused. Not as good as Grass Oil or Andron"

08th August, 2013

Add your review of Sex Appeal for Men

You need to be logged in to add a review

Shop for Sex Appeal for Men products online

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Shop for Sex Appeal for Men at online perfumeries

Search on ebay

NIB JOVAN Sex Appeal cologne for Men 3 oz

US • Buy it now: USD 17.99.

Member images of Sex Appeal for Men

You need to log in or register to upload images

Private Notes

You need to be logged in (or register here) to use Private Notes.