Jovan Musk – Was it Actually That Attractive?

For years, most of us born earlier than the arrival of the twenty first Century had been bombarded with tongue-in-cheek commercials for an inexpensive, pleasant-smelling musk that assured success in doing the “horizontal bop”. Whether or not or not Jovan Musk (1972) or its little-different male counterpart Jovan Musk for Males (1973) truly grew to become the catalyst for conception of many infants born within the 1970’s stays unattainable to show, however the cultural influence of the model is nonetheless profound.


The Jovan model started life after Revlon gross sales consultant Barry Shipp stopped at a Greenwich Village “head store” within the late 1960’s, noticing an extended line for an imported musk oil that assured virility and aphrodisiac results; he procured a bottle of this musk for himself after which had it analyzed at IFF by flavorist Murray Moscona to see if it could possibly be duplicated.

After doing so, he tried pitching his concepts to Revlon, however they merely weren’t inquisitive about a easy artificial musk of Bohemian high quality as a result of courting the hippie counterculture of the time as a possible marketplace for fragrance was not one thing main beauty manufacturers had been doing.

Quick-forward to Barry assembly up with Bernard Mitchell, who had already based Jovan Inc. in Chicago round 1968 with the launch of Mink and Pearls (1968) fragrance, and the native model of cheap fragrance and cosmetics set as much as compete in opposition to the likes of conglomerates similar to Revlon appeared the proper place to pitch his musk thought, and abruptly Shipp stated goodbye to his former employers, while saying whats up to his new enterprise associate in Mitchell.

Funnily sufficient, the title “Jovan” was actually only a mimicry of enormous manufacturers that had names just like the aforementioned Revlon or Avon Merchandise, and in response to its founders, sounded extra reputable ending in “von”, because it had been.

The musk Barry Shipp had reverse engineered and emulated synthetically would find yourself being launched in oil type solely in Chicago at first, then would see a wider launch throughout the US as soon as response proved good. Going head-to-head with the already-established unisex Alyssa Ashley Musk (1968), Jovan’s musk oil was deeper and extra ambery, extra unique and thus extra thrilling to younger patrons snapping it up.

Musk Battle​

The extreme curiosity in Jovan would result in an impromptu “musk conflict” between drugstore and company toiletries manufacturers inside the US, all wanting a reduce of the market Jovan was serving to create.


Since gender sadly grew to become a priority amongst some patrons in more-conservative areas, by the point it was determined to software up Jovan’s musk oil for dilution into standardized alcohol-based colognes, Murry Moscona was contacted once more to fragrance a masculine model, which might launch a yr after the unique. Not a ton of distinction could possibly be discovered past some lime, lavender, and minty barbershop-style prime notes, though it was sufficient to mark “Jovan Musk Oil for Males (because it was initially recognized) other than the unique, which might be retroactively seen as “for girls” even when it was initially not gendered.

Jovan with the assistance of flavorist Moscona would proceed to roll out new releases into the 70’s as success with the Jovan Musk grew from $3,000,000 in annual gross sales to nicely over $84,000,000 by decade’s finish, all assisted with these aforementioned cheeky adverts promising sexual conquest, typically printed immediately onto the bins themselves, for would-be patrons to learn earlier than buy. A enjoyable truth about Moscona is he wasn’t technically a skilled perfumer, since his position at IFF was as flavorist, so he created perfumes for Jovan that will at instances appear less complicated than a few of their designer or large beauty model rivals since he was working exterior his space of technical experience.

Intercourse Enchantment​

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Varied completely different “oils” continued, together with Ambergris Oil (1972), Frankincense & Myrrh (1973), and Grass Oil (1974); however the subsequent main break for the model could be Jovan Intercourse Enchantment for Males (1976), and Jovan Intercourse Enchantment for Girls (1976), the ultimate fragrances composed by Moscona (hilariously renamed “Star Enchantment” for conservative markets), as each Shipp and Mitchell would promote to British conglomerate Beecham by 1977.

Beecham used “correct” perfumers and pumped promoting muscle into Jovan past corny field blurbs and journal prints, airing TV commercials and getting sponsors like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones on board, even going as far as to have Jovan Musk the official scent of The Stones’ “Tattoo You” tour. In fact, the overt sexualization of the advertising was very crude for the European market used to the pomp and circumstance of traditional French and English perfumery, so Jovan went over like a lead balloon exterior its residence market of the US, and Barry Shipp would set up an worker buy-back of Jovan by 1984, renaming it Quintessence. Beneath this title, Jovan merchandise had been relegated to a division inside the firm, which as a substitute needed to deal with more-serious “respectable” positive perfume.

In secret, Shipp was truly gearing Quintessence up for the second of two “pump and dump” gross sales operations he’d carry out along with his personal firm earlier than his retirement to deal with his passion of horse racing. Quintessence would solely launch a handful of perfumes emulating numerous designer types, maybe most-famously the masculine scent Aspen by Quintessence (1989), which was a detailed runner-up in type to the wildly-popular Davidoff Cool Water (1988) and Creed Inexperienced Irish Tweed (1985), however a lot cheaper than both. The Jovan portfolio was nonetheless the actual money-maker, though the overt intercourse attraction tropes had been beginning to look dated by the tip of the 1980’s, an issue that might be addressed by releasing the cleaner Jovan White Musk (1990) and Jovan White Musk for Males (1992) earlier than Quintessence finally offered to Coty in 1993. It is a larger deal than it’s possible you’ll understand, as a result of Coty as soon as tried to compete with then-upstart Jovan within the “musk conflict” with their very own slew of merchandise, solely to get trounced in gross sales. Aspen could be re-dubbed a Coty product, and Jovan was cemented in because the “low cost and lewd” model of fragrance for “outdated sleezeballs and streetwalkers”, whereas Shipp lastly rode off into the sundown, passing away at 62 in 1999.

we’ll by no means see a cultural phenomenon fairly like this once more

I suppose the query posed by the title of this text stays unanswered: Was Jovan Musk actually that horny? Sure and no. Working class individuals who did not find out about all of the raunchy civet or castoreum perfumes on supply by designers within the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s positive thought Jovan Musk was lightning in a bottle for once you wanted a wild Friday night time, so I suppose something will be made horny with the correct suggestive advertising. I imply, why else would individuals discover at present’s principally “dryer sheets, cupcakes, and bathe gel” mass-market fragrances designed by an unfeeling AI to be horny if not for all of the advertising telling them that smelling just like the Snuggle bear or a bottle of Tide is the true hotness? For guys, gals, and everybody in-between that roamed the night time scenes in “Small City USA” fifty years in the past, the ambery-spicy cool white musk tones of Jovan Musk, or the spiced patchouli and orange oil combo of Jovan Intercourse Enchantment would possibly as nicely have been Love Potion No. 9 for all it mattered. For these of us fragrance maniacs who drip ourselves in fecal ouds and hyraceum notes, the precise reverse could also be true about Jovan and its dimestore magic tips.


Both manner, we’ll by no means see a cultural phenomenon fairly like this once more, particularly in an age the place everybody already is aware of all the things about all the things else because of the web, successfully rending magic tips like these promised in an outdated bottle of Jovan Musk useless; so we would as nicely take pleasure in the truth that shamelessly cheesy issues like this nonetheless exist for us to peruse, chuckle at, and revel in, even when I doubt anybody is sporting Jovan Musk within the twenty first Century with unironic intent to draw sexual consideration “at will”. Jovan nonetheless appears to exist as a model of Coty, however for a way for much longer is unsure, contemplating they’ve already divested themselves of Stetson and appear to be forsaking the pharmacy perfume area for good. Oh nicely, stay it up when you nonetheless can, and cue my strolling music boys, it is time to observe “pimp limp” earlier than going to city.