Reviews of John Varvatos by John Varvatos

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    MikeAnthony's avatar

    United States United States

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    My go-to cologne! While everyone loves the smell of it, I would still wear it even if they didn't! The great blend of fruit, leather, and vanilla is just amazing, and the dry down is mouthwatering. Lasts a good 6 hours on me usually, although it will stay close to the skin for much longer than that.

    I have had a few experiences where it smelt completely different, almost like a pure wood fragrance. I started pre-stirring it after the second time it happened and I haven't had the issue since.

    Projection is weak but I think that's okay. This is a very friendly cologne so if someone only gets a good whiff of it during an embrace, well hey, that kinda adds to the sincerity.

    This will always be one on my shelf!

    A FEW QUICK TIPS! Don't apply this fragrance relatively quickly after a shower; I've found that is changes the scent quite a bit if it mixes with water. Just dry off, shave, apply cold water, or do whatever until your skin has settled down and isn't so steamy, then apply (usually two sprays per zone for me).

    25th November, 2014 (Last Edited: 26th November, 2014)

    Liambambiggy's avatar



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    What to say about this one. I LOVE the smell but I HATE the sillage and longevity. I get 4 hours on this tops. It screams elegance and very mature scent. If you're in you mid twenties go for it. You can go trigger happy on this one..you'll need to. I purchased this from Ross for $13.99 so really a steal though it is the small portable one. I will get the bigger bottle, you should wear this in cooler weather and more so at night. It can be an office scent to but carry around an atomizer.

    06th October, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Oriental

    Look out! Here comes the John Varvatos party pooper!

    John Varvatos opens with a standard-issue modern men's fragrance fruit accord that's made somewhat intriguing by a hint of something dusky and animalic deep in the background. Unfortunately, the animalic note is quickly overwhelmed by what I've come to think of as the "Jolly Rancher" accord: cheap, artificially fruit-flavored hard candy. Like the candy, the fragrances that use this sort of concoction all wind up tasting the same to me, no matter what color they are. So for all its exotic medjool date, tamarind, and ajowan notes, John Varvatos winds up smelling crassly sweet and commonplace to me.

    Part of the problem may be that even true, fresh tamarind can have a steely, artificial edge to it. On top of that, the date, which is a very flat note under any circumstances, comes across as particularly synthetic and two-dimensional here. The very sweet, powdery synthetic amber in the base does nothing to improve matters.

    The fruit accord rests on a bed of very smooth woods and sweet vanilla, softened by the powdery amber, and I have to say that the result is oddly redolent of high-end tanning lotion. For something that's so fruity, John Varvatos is potent stuff. The projection and sillage are both exceptional. More in line with the bulk of fruity fragrances, John Varvatos enters its drydown very quickly, perhaps even within an hour. The listed leather note only appears way deep into the drydown, and even then it's almost too anemic to matter. The sendoff is the vanilla, soft woods, and sweet powdery amber accord that supports the scent's heart. The John Varvatos fragrance pyramid lists eaglewood (a.k.a. agarwood, oudh), but the folks at Quest International must have just waved the closed vial of oudh over the mixing vat, because its presence is entirely undetectable. A few hours into the drydown, and the interesting animalic note from the opening finally reappears, but it's too late and too little to get me excited.

    Though my evaluation may seem harsh, John Varvatos is by no means a "bad" scent. It's just disappointingly ordinary for something that's been so highly praised.

    19th June, 2014

    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.

    02nd June, 2014

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    Despite it many exotic ingredients, this smells like the generic "water" scent with the cloyingly nose-splitting dry reedy aoud note that pervades so many of these non-scents.

    I washed it off half an hour after sampling it and poured the remainder down the drain. The sink was not happy.

    05th May, 2014

    RichNTacoma's avatar

    United States United States

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    A shock

    I love the smell of this one. It has a sensual fruity quality, almost as if the fruits are on the edge of being overly ripe. There is richness in the basenotes, something musky and a bit dark. The only problem I have is the projection is not great, and the longevity is lacking.

    ---------------

    So, here is a problem; this makes me nauseous half the time I wear it. I have now worn it about 6 more times, and three of them I have felt sick. There is something in the initial sweetness that does not agree with me. A few more wears, and my bottle might go to someone who can enjoy it more consistently than I can.

    04th July, 2013

    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.

    02nd 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.

    05th 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.

    04th 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.

    22nd 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.

    05th 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.

    09th August, 2012

    schwrtz5's avatar

    United States United States

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    In the heartnotes there is a sickly sweet note reminiscent of Joop. The drydown gets slightly better...

    22nd July, 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!

    29th June, 2012

    Doc.T 1977's avatar

    United States United States

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    I'm not going to say this is a bad fragrance, However, I do believe it could use some assistance. I would classify this as a dark fragrance, in many ways similar to Hugo Dark Blue. Or on other words like a dark woodsy oriental.

    I am giving this a neutral
    First, the bad. While it is a darker scent, to me it seems to have no real direction. There is a slight Dr. Peppery note in there that I do enjoy however. It also seems to last fairly well without being overpowering and the scent dries to a darker sandalwood / amber type of accord. You could get a good 8 hours out of this without dousing yourself in it. A little goes a long way here.

    23rd March, 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

    17th March, 2012

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Quite an interesting modern masculine fruity fragrance with a dark temperament, a slightly boozy-herbal vibe and a soft background. The scent combines a huge quantity of synthetic fruits (red fruits, citrus, exotic fruits, watery fruits), with hints of herbs (rosemary, myrtle, thyme, lavender), floral notes and leather over a base of balsams, musk, gourmand notes (dark chocolate?) and resinous woods. The smell reminds me a bit the one from Canali Black Diamond and ends very smooth and leathery with hints of fruitiness. The scent is not unpleasant, on the contrary the smell exudes a captivating aura but unfortunately i smell a sheer detergent feel in the synthetic background that reports instead to me the idea of bath-shower foam. I write "not bad" because of the nice dark smell but i say "what a pity" because of its too much artificial and "candy kind" texture and its too shy final temperament.

    22nd February, 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.

    27th January, 2012

    orangefiction's avatar

    United States United States

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

    24th September, 2011

    commodity12's avatar



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

    05th September, 2011

    barclaydetolly's avatar

    United States United States

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    To me, it smells like someone spilled cherry cough syrup on a leather jacket, and allowed the cough syrup to dry. It's not a bad smell, necessarily, but I don't think I want to smell anything like this. It is unique, and I can see why some may like it, especially in colder weather.

    05th August, 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.

    26th 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

    24th March, 2011

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Meh. Nothin' special, just a spicy-sweet cinnamon fragrance like Carlos Santana for Men or (a less annoying) 1 Million.

    03rd March, 2011

    PradaG's avatar

    United States United States

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    This scent reminds me of leathery trees in a mossy forest. I went sampling at a local perfume shop and of all the fragrances I tried on paper that day, I told myself I would leave spraying this one (JV) on my neck. Great smell but WEAK longevity. After going trigger happy with the bottle in the store, I only got a couple hours with this one. This makes a great: poker night with the buddies while drinking whiskey scent.

    09th February, 2011

    obscura's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is the fragrance that first caused me to pay attention to--and then love--perfume. JV came out while I was working at a department store, but it didn't attract as much attention as many of the other fragrances. I was looking for something distinctive, and the spicy, leathery notes of JV won my heart.

    However, as I've grown as a perfumisto, JV has grown to feel thin to my nose, without the depth I want to pretend is there. That said, I still think it is a pleasant, distinctive fragrance that is at the very least more interesting than many of the masculines on the market. Although it's longevity isn't great, I have gotten many compliments on it over the years, and I still wear it when I'm feeling nostalgic for my department store years....

    01st February, 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.

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

    kpsunil's avatar



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    Great fragrance. Longevity is, well non existent. Projection is weak as well. This gets a thumbs up for the fragrance part.

    11th December, 2010

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