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Jovan Musk For Men: Has It Stood The Test Of Time?

Finding the right cologne is a daunting task, and lots of people believe that buying cologne sucks.

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Thankfully, I’m here to make that task suck a little less—especially if you already have your eye on Jovan Musk. In today’s Jovan Musk review, I will take an in-depth look at this enduring and longstanding best-selling scent from Jovan

Is it outdated? Is it too strong? Is it worth buying?

Jovan Musk 1

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Snapshot of Jovan Musk for Men

A clean take on the musk scent noteIt lacks the animalistic notes often associated with musk fragrances
A great introduction to musk colognes and it can be layered beneath other fragrancesDoes not evolve or change much during drydown
Very comforting and nostalgicIt may seem old-fashioned to younger noses and floral and soapy notes may put off some guys
A realistic musk scent at a fantastic value More complex (albeit expensive) musk fragrances are available
  • Fragrance Type: Woody Floral Musk
  • Scent Potency / Appropriate For: Best in cooler months – Signature Scent, Date, Night on the Town, Evening-wear. Layering with other fragrances makes it an all-purpose scent
  • Sillage: Goodprojects from 1-3 feet 
  • Longevity: Good – lasts 3 to 6 hours
  • Price:

Scent Notes

Now let’s talk about the Musk cologne’s scent notes, which can be described as the quintessential “manly” aroma. It has that woody floral musk fragrance that comes to mind when we think about men’s scents. The fragrance vocabulary in this cologne includes the following top notes:

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  • Pepper
  • Lime
  • Carnation
  • Amalfi lemon

Jovan also introduced some heavier-hitting middle notes: 

  • Lavender
  • Amber
  • Mint
  • Spices

Finally, the base notes are white musk and woodsy notes that deliver a pleasant, fresh-smelling scent.

Jovan Musk Scent Notes Infographic


If musk is your thing, for cologne on the more affordable end, Jovan Musk performs well. You get moderate sillage, excellent projection, and between three to six hours of longevity. Just don’t expect maturation, nuances, or any evolution as you wear it.

Because this old-school scent is a strong one, many men recommend being careful about how much you apply. It’s easy to put on too much and have it be overpowering—so much so that no one wants to be close to you. 

While everyone’s body chemistry is different (and you may have to experiment to find what works for you), applying somewhere between two to four sprays is an excellent place to start, but the story changes when layering Jovan Musk for men with other fragrances. 

Colognes with musk utilize that note to enhance their sensual nature. Musks also allow the bright, more aggressive scent notes to appear more radiant and diffusive, giving them an alluring sexy appeal.

Musks are known as a “fixative” in the perfume world, which is a fancy way of saying – it helps your cologne last longer, so you can see why a light spray of Jovan Musk for men before applying your signature scent could be a welcomed enhancement.

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Who Makes it?

Jovan Musk for men comes from Jovan, which is now marketed under Coty. This company got its start in 1968, and the founders chose its name because it “sounded French.” 

The cologne has been around almost as long as Jovan has—since 1973, to be exact. Murray Moscona created the first iteration, the Jovan Musk oil, an aftershave/oil that gained traction and became one of the best-selling drugstore picks.

Jovan Musk became ubiquitous in the seventies likely because musk was thought to be an aphrodisiac. In fact, the Jovan Musk lineup became so successful that it basically defined the brand as “the go-to” for seductive and sensual fragrances. 

With releases like 1975’s Jovan Ginseng (another purported aphrodisiac) and Jovan Sex Appeal, which looked like Jovan Musk packaging but in blue, then 1977’s provocative interlocking companion bottles for Jovan Man and Jovan Woman, the message was clear. 

Jovan was the fragrance brand that could help you appeal to the opposite sex. Jovan did something right because its fragrance has stood the test of time.

Who Would Like It?

So you’re probably asking yourself, “Is Jovan Musk for men really for me? Is it too old-fashioned, or does it have a place in my cologne collection?” 

For one, Jovan Musk is ideal for men who aren’t fussy about cologne. If you like musk and you like smelling “manly,” but you don’t want to spend a fortune on cologne, you may want to try this one. 

Jovan Musk 6

Additionally, if you’re someone who likes a classic and distinct smell, Jovan Musk could work for you. It has floral notes without being flowery. The lavender heart, blended with the spicy amber notes give this cologne a clean soapy undertone, allowing the warm resinous notes to flourish. 

Not sure about what this cologne might say about you? Jovan has other options you can try. For example, Jovan Black Musk is another popular fragrance with a similar musky scent, but it has more powdery, fruity notes. 

Or you might want to try Jovan White Musk, an aromatic green fragrance that’s more reminiscent of a beach vacation.

When and Where Should You Wear it?

The excellent thing about Jovan Musk is its versatility; you can wear it pretty much anywhere. Lots of men use it as their daily scent, and it’s well-suited to casual wear. You could also wear it on a date with no problem.  

Just as important as knowing where to wear cologne is knowing when to wear it, as seasonality is a concern. It’s vital to see if you have seasonal scents in your collection and consider this factor when purchasing new fragrances. 

In the case of Jovan Musk, its heavier notes are better suited to cooler weather and climates. In the summer, you’ll probably want something lighter and fresher, especially if you’re going on vacation.

Jovan Musk 2

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Packaging and Presentation

When it comes to packaging and presentation, you get what you expect from a drugstore perfume: simplicity. This signature cologne comes in an understated orange spray bottle. It’s nothing fancy or over-the-top, so if you’re looking for a perfume that works as a functional art piece, you should look elsewhere.

The orange color and simple design of the bottle is attractive, though rather underwhelming. However, given its price, you would hardly expect a lavish bottle.

Personal Impressions

On the first spray, I immediately thought I detected geraniums but looking at the scent notes, it was carnation that was opening Jovan Musk. I was perplexed, but after digging deeper, this made complete sense. Both flowers have a somewhat rough and assertive aroma. These are not white flower aromas like jasmine or tuberose. 

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Carnation and geranium are powerful, with a bit more grip. Geranium leans toward a rosy mint, while carnation gives off a note of cloves with its bouquet. That’s because both carnation and clove contain a chemical called eugenol, which also appears in other spices like nutmeg, basil and bay leaf. 

Jovan Musk 7

The mint in the mid notes of Jovan Musk for men helps create a more complex floral note from the carnation. That clove-like eugenol note in the carnation lifts the slight peppery bite in the opening, introducing the spices. 

This is clearly a spicy take on what is a really authentic-smelling white musk fragrance. What I found most appealing about Jovan Musk for men is the soapy lavender in the heart. Folks who knock on musk fragrances usually do so because they can come off a bit skanky. Here – the lavender keeps this cologne clean and inoffensive. 

Still – if you’re used to wearing mostly fresh, aquatic, or “blue” fragrances, Jovan Musk for Men may take some getting used to, but give it a try. Many of the above-mentioned styles use musk as an ingredient. 

A great way to understand its effect on construction is by layering. It may just be a perfect match for your skin chemistry, or use it to extend your favorite summer colognes in the cooler weather.

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Similar Perfumes / Alternatives

Finding alternatives to Jovan Musk for men is pretty easy to do and can be a lot of fun. There is no shortage of musk-based colognes on the market. The one that immediately comes to mind is Kiehl’s Original Musk. It’s a slightly fruity, floral musk with notes of citrus, white flowers, and sweet tonka bean. 

Another option is The Body Shop’s White Musk for Men. It’s not as strong as the others but sports a clean powdery scent that stays fresh and smooth. 

If ozonic, fresh musks are your thing, then definitely try Narciso Rodriguez for Him. It uses violet leaves in the opening, giving the musk a buoyant airy lift. They also make a Blue version called Narciso Rodriguez for Him Bleu Noir Eau de Parfum which adds some of those blue marine notes to this soft woody musky cologne.

Where Can You Buy It?

Jovan Musk is sold in brick-and-mortar stores, most notably in drug stores and superstore chains. It’s also widely available online.

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The use of musk in fragrances likely goes back to ancient times when it was harvested from the male musk deer and was considered an aphrodisiac.

Since then, ethics concerns and the potential extension of the animal forced modern perfumers to get more creative with synthetic and plant-based musks. They replicate those deer musk aromas without sacrificing the animal, so you can feel confident in knowing that today’s musk notes are cruelty-free. 

Although purely musk-focused fragrances seem to reflect a bygone era, a huge percentage of popular fragrances have musk notes included in their construction.

The ingredient is a mainstay in many perfumes and colognes because it evens out the harsher notes, can give any fragrance a warm, cozy note, and also extends the life of a fragrance, allowing it to develop on your skin. 

My recommendation – don’t be afraid to try Jovan Musk for men. It may open the door for you to truly understand why this note has captivated men and women for centuries.  

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Jovan Musk
Ron Pitt Author

Ron Pitt is a winemaker who developed a passion for fragrance while studying the olfactory relationship between smell and taste. After producing and marketing wines that focus on complex aromatics along with flavor, Ron altered his attention from the tasting room to the perfume lab. In addition to his passion for both wine and fragrance, Ron and his wife have been rescuing beagles for over 20 years.

Jovan Musk For Men: Has It Stood The Test Of Time?