Positive Reviews of John Varvatos by John Varvatos

    Find out more about John Varvatos by John Varvatos in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Kain's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    A really pleasant and sensual fragrance for Armani Code and Moschino forever lovers! great fragrance for casual use in spring and fall and also really great choice for a date!!
    The opening is fresh and almost boozy fruity scent mixed with some leather and some sweetness in the background. this opening remind me of Armani Code in many ways but not exactly like it.
    The fruity scent is like lemon at the opening. fresh and tart but then in the dry down change to sweeter plum scent.
    The leather note is not strong or smoky at all. it's just there to give the scent a manly and dark aroma.
    In the dry down as I said, the fresh lemony scent changes to sweet plum scent. still it does have that fresh smell but in different way.
    The leather note is there but it's in the background plus some woodsy notes.
    I didn't smell figs in this fragrance.
    The base is almost the same as the dry down. no big change. the base remind me of Moschino Forever plus some leather and more sweetness.
    Projection and longevity is above average.
    Really good and sensual smell and definitely for casual use.

    02 June, 2014

    fan.of.devin's avatar



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    Underrated

    Smells uncannily like a more mature version of Paco Rabanne's 1 Million.
    Interesting stuff, though I only sampled it and cannot attest to the longevity or sillage.

    02 June, 2013

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    I feel this is a step above the long lines of generic citrus dept. store fragrances...barely. It isn't linear like most, the dates and vanilla give it some depth. I did not get excited by it, I would wear it if I had it but wouldn't buy it.

    05 May, 2013

    pdxtony's avatar



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    People have said great things about this fragrance and they are all true.
    I have had compliments from women of all ages.
    Probably my fall/winter signature fragrance now.

    04 May, 2013

    Buysblind's avatar

    United States United States

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    A very original smelling and interesting perfume to say the least. It seems like no one's experience with John Varvatos is quite the same. I get a sort of dark cherry note in the top , brought about by the tamarind and date fruit which sticks around for a while as the fragrance moves into a spicy mid (cinnamon, coriander) and finally a vanilla/leather base. I've always felt like the bottle represents this fragrance pretty well. It's dark, but smooth and approachable. John Varvatos is well-suited for the winter and could also be considered something of a romantic fragrance.

    One thing I think everyone can agree on is that this fragrance is MOODY. As others have stated, on some days the projection is through the roof and on others it's minimal. The same goes for the longevity. And there are times when Varvatos maintains a tight, solid structure throughout its duration, and others when it seems to fall apart before your eyes, each note separating from the whole and bouncing around in a discordant frenzy. Its inconsistency is the only thing, in my opinion, keeping John Varvatos from being a truly great perfume, or designer classic. It has so many great things going on--yet it's marked by this one tragic flaw. That said, I still think it's a very good fragrance and one that I thoroughly enjoy wearing...most of the time.

    22 December, 2012

    knightowl's avatar

    United States United States

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    Could benefit from better-quality ingredients, but its good enough for a thumbs up.

    11th November, 2012

    PerfumeCollector's avatar

    United States United States

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    Generally I like 70's and 80's powerhouses and despise "modern" perfumes that smell wimpy and afeminate. Powerhouses are strong, dominant and with an attitude. Don't get me wrong, I like ladies perfumes that have character like Black Orchid, Norell and Arpege (and I have worn them in occasions), what I dislike is the lack of personality of modern perfumes like Chrome, L'eau d'Issey and A. di Gio.
    John Varvatos by John Varatos may be a modern perfume, but has character, personality and also some attitude. Is not a powerhouse, but is clearly a ubermasculine, a perfume that stands tall in the middle of today's mediocrity.
    It is also highly unusual with notes I have never smelled in any perfume before so you will not be smelling like the thousands of clones out in the market.
    An outstanding perfume that is innovative, bold and with cojones in a sea of wimpy scents that dominate the industry today.

    05 November, 2012

    kassana's avatar



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    Long time site enthusiast and I generally lurk the fragrance directory getting tips and buying loads of fragrances recommended by people on this site.

    I've never been compelled to write a review. Until now. I bought this via a friend for very cheap. Read a few things on it and thought I can't go wrong with what i paid for it.

    Anyway, it's one of the most unique powerhouse of smells in the history of commercial mass produced fragrances. Openings of sweet dates and spices is overpowering. The dry down is the best, it's smells like leather and roses infused with a real raw masculinity.

    Honestly,this is the stuff.

    09 August, 2012

    nfn1983's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    After reading many positive reviews of it I was really curious to test it.
    As it's a relatively rare fragrance in my country it took several months to find a sample!
    At first I got average top notes which regarding aforementioned positive reviews nearly disappointed me, coz I expected a differently lovely scent from it. but after a while turned to lovely partially sweet warm notes that made me partially satisfied with the fragrance.
    But wait, how familiar this scent is to me!
    Yes, I get 90% base notes of CARLOS SANTANA for men! believe me, if you don't give a try!
    Not a unique & must buy one, but good to have. I'll buy because I love Carlos Santana, but rare to find another one!
    Finally pointing to its reasonable price I'll give it a WEAK thumbs up!

    29 June, 2012

    Capone's avatar



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    JV is really a rich sophisticated and sexy masterpiece with vanilla, precious woods and a leather with some sweetness from the figs giving this an almost fignewton gormorand feel and a powdery vanilla finish


    i dont care about the lasting power the scent is amazing and i love this stuff

    17 March, 2012

    yoshimittsu's avatar

    United States United States

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    OUT OF ALL JV THIS ONE IS THE BEST ... LET it just settle and then it is so pleasant.

    27 January, 2012

    orangefiction's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sweet fruity smells good. Safe versatile scent good for many occasions.

    24 September, 2011

    commodity12's avatar



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    this is my evening scent ...nice musk and woody smell

    05 September, 2011

    thatguy73's avatar

    United States United States

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    The first cologne I ever bought. A good fall fragrance for me.
    Initially I get a sort of red cherry or maybe plum kind of smell with some spices. Some think this smells medicinal, and I can see why, but it doesn't smell bad to me. This is definately a darker, syrupy sort of juice. Eventually dries down into an accord of vanilla and leather on my skin that I quite enjoy.
    I think the projection is a little under average. Not too weak to be smelled, but people only tend to notice it if they're fairly close. People who have hugged me, for example compliment me on it, and ocassionally people about an arm's length away will take notice. I don't count this as bad necesarilly, because, depending on the circumstance, you're not necesarilly trying to fill up the room with your scent.
    Longevity for me is ok. It will last me an entire school day, but I don't think it's ever carried too much weight after seven or eight hours on my skin.
    I've worn it casually, formally, and even out on a date night. I think it's fairly versatile.
    Overall, a nice, cool weather scent. Everyone who's smelled it on me has complimented me on it.

    26 April, 2011

    cja75's avatar

    United States United States

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    Very good winter fragrance to me. Its a "dark" sort of a scent very masculine sort of a mix of fresh and green mixed with a gormand (coffee or chocolate or something) I like it as one of my winter favorites along with rochas

    24 March, 2011

    SirScent's avatar

    United States United States

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    John Varvatos has a deep, mysterious quality that I like.
    The initial burst of berries and dates dry down nicely to a rich, warm leather.
    Definitely a masculine fragrance that appears formal to me but I am certain would work in casual settings also.
    My problem is the longevity.
    The initial spray, powerful as it is, soon fades and the scent only lasts a few (wonderful) hours.
    It still remains one of my favorite EDTs .
    Just wish the perfumers would work on a bit more longevity for this one.
    Thumbs Up!

    31st January, 2011

    RUDOLFO512's avatar

    United States United States

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    This fragrance is one of my all time favorites. I bought it two years ago, and I have been wearing it since. It lasts a very long time on me and people are always asking me what I am wearing.

    14 January, 2011 (Last Edited: 20th January, 2011)

    Dkmode83's avatar

    United States United States

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    I really like this fragrance. Great smell for all occasions. Some longevity issues on my skin longest I have every gotten is 8 hours which is decent. Definitely wear this a lot and get tons of compliments. Well done JV.

    28 November, 2010

    EseveN's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Very very interesting fragrance. Smells sooo great!!

    Actually, my favorite fragrance. Manly, sensual, a little sweet.

    I recommend it to everyone who wants something different.
    Good for warm nights.

    It would be a perfect fragrance, if not for it's longevity.
    Longevity is only average.
    Not a problem if you use an atomizer to re-apply.

    Rating:
    9.5

    06 October, 2010

    AdamOhio's avatar



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    Although I have not been wearing this much over the summer, it is very near the top of my list. The mix of fruit (mostly fig?) and leather works for me. I describe it as a "happy and contented" concoction. Sillage and longevity are not serious issues for me.

    16 August, 2010

    Percy1's avatar



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    I really like JV. It's very versatile while still remaining classy. I feel equally at home putting it on when going to the office, to a nice restaurant, or even just out to the supermarket. It's got a fairly heavy floral top note which is underlaid with the manliest of leather and spices. Decent sillage and longevity. In short, if I could only wear one fragrance ever again, JV would be it.

    10th July, 2010

    The_Cologneist's avatar

    United States United States

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    The names on the pyramid really cracked me up on this one. John Varvatos is a good choice if you want something considerably mainstream and hip that isn't going to smell like everything else.

    It opens up with a fruity (mostly cherry) and somewhat bubble gum smelling, slightly leathery and sweet aroma. As it calms down it really focuses on that dark leather, like an old leather couch.

    Sillage/projection are all over the place with JV, some days it's insane some days it's literally nothing, regardless of weather conditions. It's actually neat but at the same time annoying because you don't know what you're gonna get on the day you decide to wear it. Longevity is the same, but more times than none it's on the short end -- about 4-5 hours most of the time on my skin.

    If you want leather but don't want too much and don't want everyone around you to know about your leather fetish, then go with John Varvatos. B+

    23 March, 2010 (Last Edited: 26 December, 2010)

    jbr's avatar

    United States United States

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    I became enamored of John Varvatos over this past holiday season, where this fragrance's aggressively sweet fruity-spicy kick provided a welcome pick-me-up on those cold winter days (and nights). This is a smoothly-blended and easy to like fragrance which manages to retain some unique character despite its crowd-pleasing sensibilities. I sense some unidentifiable note or accord lurking in the background that has this tart-juicy character which I find very compelling - who knows, maybe that "West Indian tamarind tree leaf"? This works to balance out the sweetness a bit and provide depth to the scent. Still, I think one's perception of John Varvatos will hinge heavily on how responsive they are to this fragrance's unabashed sweetness. Rich, warm and sexy in the right context, I am unsurprised that John Varvatos has found so many admirers, and am happy to count myself among them.

    21st March, 2010

    redludesh's avatar



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    I'm in love with this cologne, not only can a big bottle be had for cheap but it smells incrediable. One of those scents where you keep smelling your own wrists because you can't get enough of it. Smells dark, masculine and sophisticated. A must have in any collection.

    19 February, 2010

    fragranceluvr's avatar

    United States United States

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    I like this fragrance. It's what I would consider a casual-elegant scent. You can wear John Varvatos Original for any occasion, to work, an evening out, a date, a board meeting, the weekends. It wears close to the skin, sillage is moderate and longevity is good...it lasts for the regular amount of time, but you would probably have to refresh if you are going out to happy hour after work.

    The fragrance itself is very nice. It opens with a soft herbaceous facet; but this herbaceous note is a woodsy type, not the sharp, leafy kind. The opening is also spicy, but a smooth spice not harsh. The heart and dry down both are more of a powdery, woodsy, vanilla aroma; the vanilla is not the candy-sweet cloying kind, but just enough to add docility. I highly recommend this fragrance. You won't be disappointed.

    05 February, 2010

    Kabamaru ninja's avatar

    Greece Greece

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    As a greek its hard to be objective!
    But JV is really an amazing versalite subtle classy scent!
    I categorize it close to Code which I like but both have the same problem...
    they dont project nothing in a distance more than 10-15cm!
    So sillage is poor and longevity is average,but this dry down is amazing even its just for you....

    14 December, 2009 (Last Edited: 26 March, 2010)

    Jonattan's avatar

    United States United States

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    Smells almost exactly like Le Male without the toothpaste, and sells for half as much.
    The ladies love Le Male so they love this, and I'm happy about the toothpaste's absence.
    Thumbs up.

    07 December, 2009

    AnimaSola's avatar

    United States United States

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    In spite of a musty and strong plum scent, or maybe too many tamarind leaves, I really like this fragrance. It has a unusual, yet sophisticated hue. It is a very complex spice and fruit melange. This is a cool weather fragrance that would go well with wool clothing. I see it heavily discounted on the internet and in stores, so I assume it didn't sell well at full price. Perhaps it is too distinct for mass-market taste.

    30th November, 2009 (Last Edited: 03 February, 2010)

    trebizond's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Very rich and plummy fragrance, but with a definite woody hard centre holding it all together well. I tend to wear Varvatos when the weather gets cooler (although here in the UK it's never blazingly hot) because it's a very rounded and deep scent. For some reason I keep getting the image of a fig in my mind, not particularly for it's scent, more for the construction. Defined edges, definite squishiness, but with some hard seeds inside.

    The only slight let-down with Varvatos is that it does't particularly progress, at least on my skin. The immediate orotund opening isn't overwhelming, but isn't weak either. Then it just slowly, slowly, gets weaker and weaker. There isn't any development of complexity, so it just fades away. Slowly, though - longevity is pretty good, and sillage is pretty good too.

    08 October, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    John Varvatos

    It must be difficult as a perfumer to be given the assignment to create a designer scent. Probably similar to being an artist working in advertising. You want to be able to show off your artistry but the client has a vision they want to see realized. I think this is why so many times when I approach a designer scent I'm already pre-disposed to yawn because I'm not really expecting anything very different. It is nice when those expectations get dashed, every once in a while. Rodrigo Flores-Roux manages to tread a nice line between commercial and creative in his 2004 creation John Varvatos. In some of the press materials about John Varvatos they trumpet that some of the notes used in this scent were used for the first time. Sometimes there is a reason for that. Happily, in this case M. Flores-Roux uses that novelty to create originality over a base of familiarity and creates one of the better designer scents to be found. According to the note list the top notes are; medjool dates, Mediterranean herbs and tamarind leaves. This combination has a quality of feeling like a dark fruit married to a mix of dry herbs of which rosemary is the most prominent, and it is all tied together with an interesting green note I haven't smelled before; tamarind I presume. The top overall is sweet but the rosemary and tamarind offset it enough to keep it from being too sweet. Sage and coriander are used to transition the scent into a heart of Indian Ajowan, which is a variety of caraway. I have really come to enjoy the use of caraway in colognes, Parfumerie Generale Querelle uses it to stunning effect. The ajowan here carries the same dark spiciness that I get from Querelle but in conjunction with the sage and coriander, in John Varvatos, it feels more herbal overall. The heart transitions to the base on a note of vanilla which carries the scent into safe masculine woody teritory. In the base the unique note is called Eaglewood but it smells like a less-complex version of oud and a more complex version of gaiac. There is also a synthetic added called Auramber and based on the name I'm guessing this is the source of the warm amber feel underneath the intense woods. There is also a hint of resin which also might be coming from the auramber, as well. I find John Varvatos to be very long-lasting with above average sillage, on me. It can be depressing sometime to look out at the sea of designer scents out there and sigh. That's why its nice to wear John Varvatos and be able to turn that frown upside down.

    19 September, 2009

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