It’s been a sucky week, a sucky sucky week. Due to that, I haven’t been spending time with samples the way I had planned and can’t post a review of something everyone is still dying to try. But I hate to waste a Friday post time, and so I offer here a review of an easily-available, Cheap Thrill fragrance that’s actually worth wearing. A little half-ounce bottle of this wound up in my Christmas stocking, and I happen to know that, er, “Santa” paid $3 for it. It’s a bargain, meaning “something affordable that you will actually use.”
This is another of those fragrances I associate with my mother, since for years she has worn it as her Everyday Scent, with her Dressing-up Scent being Chanel No. 5 or Anais Anais, or Coty L’Effleur, or (these days) Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue. I’ve gotten past the idea that I can’t ever wear my mother’s fragrance, though I know that’s an issue for many women; I get along quite well with my mom and smelling a scent that reminds me of her tends to be comforting rather than inimical.
Some time ago, a friend sent me a sample of Serge Lutens Clair de Musc, and my immediate thought upon opening the vial was Mom! Jovan Musk for Women reminds me a great deal of that fragrance, though the Lutens is lighter, cooler, and more irisy. It’s also a bit more complex, yet I don’t love the Lutens. Probably price point has a ridiculous amount to do with my preference, but the truth is that while I like cleaner, soapier musks in my fragrances, it’s rare for me to choose to wear scents based on musk.
There are so many musks that it’s sometimes difficult to use the word “musk” to describe a scent. Elena at Perfume Shrine does a lovely job of explaining different types of musks in this post and this one, and of discussing cultural perceptions of it in this post. The short version is that real musk from musk deer, used not only for its warm animalic smell but for its fixative ability in solution, isn’t available now and just about any musk available to perfumers is synthetic, unless produced from vegetable sources such as ambrette seed. Several of the lovely nitro musks, which gave a beautiful patina or glow especially to floral and woody elements (they are quite noticeable in that Stunning Vintage Bottle of Chanel No. 5 parfum that I own), used by perfumers in the early-to-middle 20th century, have been determined to be neurotoxins and were phased out in the 1970s. Then, too, musk molecules are quite large and frequently at the boundary of the human smell threshhold, so that many people are anosmic to certain musks.
So, then, on to Jovan Musk for Women. I have never tried Jovan’s Musk Oil (either for men or women), and I don’t like White Musk at all because it smells like an industrial laundry to me. But Musk for Women is – as I usually prefer – quite floral, with the snowy sparkle of light aldehydes on top and a light veil of mixed florals underneath: jasmine, definitely, and I think I smell rose and a tiny hint of muguet. Perhaps there is some orange blossom as well, as this scent does carry that connotation of “floral soap.” The rest of the story is light woody notes – and musk, of course. The official notes list includes bergamot, jasmine, neroli, and musk, but it is slightly more complex than the list would indicate.
The musk here is more clean than not, but does not have the industrial-strength chlorine vapidity that many white musks seem to me to have. Instead, this musk is body-conscious, with the idea of fresh sweat on clean skin, i.e., kinda sexy in a warm and relaxed sort of way. This isn’t the raunchfest that some musks can present on my skin (nearly all the Smell Bent fragrances go really, really raunchy for me!), but just… warm. It’s “freshly showered person lying in the summer-sun” warm.
The cologne-strength spray lasts for 5-6 hours on me, though it is rather quiet throughout, only smellable at close range. It’s cozy, pleasant, and friendly, and entirely worth the $3 I paid for it.