Jōvan Musk For Men (Coty)

Jōvan: It's What Attracts.

Cheesy slogan, but in such a good way. Yesterday I stopped by a friend's house and reunited with some old college chums, one of which was smitten with my cologne. He immediately remarked on how great I smelled and prodded me to divulge its name. At first he guessed Brut, but a few minutes later switched to Jōvan Musk. Which surprised me because this guy is my age, and guys my age generally ignore anything by a fragrance line as outmoded as Coty's über-retro Jōvan brand.

So what was I actually wearing? Tsar by VC&A. I didn't reveal that, of course, because I hate telling people what I'm wearing unless they absolutely must know, and my old college buddy would be better served to develop his own tastes and not copy mine. It's a polite form of stylistic recrimination to rebut a bad guess with silence, and frankly Brut and Jōvan are really bad guesses for Tsar. It's like supposing that an unwrapped party-tray confection made by Amedei is really a Hershey's Kiss. And it's an intellectual litmus test of one's personal style to stay silent on such matters, despite the glaring need to contradict another's ill-informed suppositions. As the classical French author François de la Rochefoucauld once said, "We well know that it is bad taste to talk of our wives; but we do not so well know that it is the same to speak of ourselves."

This little incident was beneficial to me in one way, however. It prompted me to write about the classic Jōvan Musk for Men. What an odd little scent it is. It opens with a burst of soapy floral notes, a little like Sung Homme, but with more black pepper and musk. The flowers are also better defined, with a definite carnation, sunflower, and geranium accord wafting through the spiciness. Jōvan smells very rich and clean, but dries down differently depending on the weather, and the activity level of its wearer. On warm, dry days, and with very little exercise, it ends up smelling musky in an indolic way, as though the floral notes are informing the animalism of the musk without committing their natural sweetness to the brew. On cooler days, and with moderate exertion, you may find this scent smelling soapier, cleaner, like freshly-washed laundry. It's a strange beast.

Jōvan Musk is very inexpensive and can be found anywhere. It's tempting to give it a five star recommendation, as the scent itself is quite original and solid, and with the right application and skin chemistry, could be the ultimate '70s-style musk for a nostalgic 30 year-old. My qualm is that musk is a tricky thing to pull off, particularly when it's presented in a synthetic and downmarket form, and often comes across smelling very "old hippie." One could easily find these faults in Jōvan's interpretation. I think this scent requires the accompaniment of a very specific style, an unabashedly '70s bohemian artist vibe, replete with corduroys, unfiltered Camels, and a Che Guevara beret. It takes a bit of unrefined swagger to compel postmodern women that sweet 'n sour muskiness is sexy, and for that you need to be the real deal, the whole package. If you actually use your studio apartment as a studio, this musk is for you.

1 comment:

  1. Have you compared the Aftershave/Cologne strength to the Jovan Musk Cologne in the spray bottle? I'm wondering if it is necessary to own both the aftershave/cologne as well as the cologne proper.


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