Perfume Review: Jovan Musk for Women cologne

Jovan Musk for Women, image from Fragrantica

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.


13 thoughts on “Perfume Review: Jovan Musk for Women cologne”

  1. This sounds really nice. I usually find musks comforting whether they’re clean or dirty, though I prefer a touch of the dirty…

    Sorry you’re having a crappy week! I hope things improve soon.

    1. I like musks to smell like clean skin, but not like sweaty skin in desperate need of a shower… and not too much like soap and laundry.

      How do you get on with Smell Bent? I usually find them full of a wildly filthy musk.

      1. I’ve never tried anything by Smell Bent. I should really give them a shot since they’re so affordable and I’ve heard good things. And I like filthy musks. 🙂 I find the musk in Putain de Palaces to be quite animalic. And then of course there’s MKK, which I would never buy but do enjoy smelling.

        1. They do pretty good samples; some of the scents seem more “adventurous” than “harmonious” in terms of notes that go together, but usually very interesting things. I do really like One. And Prairie Nymph is pretty for a long time and then hits this musk note that, while not raunchy, is strong, and I get reeeeeeally tired of it after about eight hours. Commando, which Tom at PST loves, was The Great Unwashed for me.

          I don’t remember PdP being particularly animalic… I thought Citizen Queen was more so. In a good way. (I have yet to smell MKK. Eek.)

  2. “It’s “freshly showered person lying in the summer-sun” warm.” Oh yes please! And a cheap thrill to boot? Sounds like a winner to me.

    Sorry you’re having a crappy week. Hope your weekend ends up being a good one!

  3. When you wrote that “Santa” left you a bottle of this I figured one of the kids put it in your stocking. I like the Jovan Musk but have never bought myself any. It brings back memories of my first job working in a drugstore and using the tester every time I went to work.

    One of my coworkers wears the White Musk and it smells good on her, on me not so much. Smell Bent I got a sample pack of and could not tolerate even one of the six or eight I tried so I’m never going to try any more no matter how good the descriptions sound.

    I’m writing this Sunday at 1:22 am my time so your sucky week should be over!

    1. Nooooo, “Santa” is me. (The kids usually slip the occasional piece of candy into their parents’ and siblings’ stockings, but that’s it.)

      I don’t like that White Musk… it seems screechy to me The Smell Bents? mostly really filthy in terms of musk. I do still like One, but the musk in it is very low key and rather clean. So far it’s the only Smell Bent that doesn’t smell animalistic to me.

  4. I’m sorry about your week, and hoping this one is better.

    I haven’t smelled this, but will give it a whiff next time I see it at Walgreens.

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