Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Vintage by John Varvatos

Total Reviews: 79
This is the first cologne I bought in many years after having fallen out of the habit. I wanted something masculine that reminded me of the strong frags I grew up smelling and wearing in the 70s and 80s. It's not a "green" scent like vintage Polo or Tsar but if you liked those you might like this.

I did some research to see what would be an affordable "starter cologne" and Varvatos Vintage doesn't disappoint, especially considering I only paid $25 for it on eBay.

It's got spicy-woody-leathery scent to my (uneducated) nose.
It smells masculine and pleasant and comforting and I believe one of the spicy scents in the mix might be rhubarb. It seems better suited to evenings and cooler weather than warm days.

It's no longer sold in stores but then I wouldn't be thrilled at paying the full price of $90 for this. However at only $25 or so online a 4.2 ounce bottle is a very good value for something wearable.

It doesn't appear to project much or last long, but it's inexpensive, so you can always use more or touch it up without worrying about the cost.

I like it quite well and enjoy wearing it in the evening.

Overall: 4/5
Scent: 5/5
Performance: 3/5
Value: 5/5

EDIT: I discovered it actually lasts a long time on my clothes -- if I spray it on my shirt I can still smell it there the next day!

So, considering I bought it in the LA Winter when my skin was drier than usual, perhaps that's why it didn't appear to last long on my skin. It might perform better on me in normally-humid weather or with a moisturizer.

I really enjoy the fragrance, it's one of my favorites, though I find I never use it in the daytime.
07th February, 2018 (last edited: 03rd April, 2018)
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
You had me at juniper berries. Add in fir balsam, tonka, tobacco and suede? Right up my alley. The Santolina adds to the herbal opening of the juniper, and the patchouli and jasmine in the heart notes round everything off nicely. The jasmine--not a traditionally masculine note--works the same way that the gardenia does in Halston's Z-14, adding a nice floral counterpoint to the battery of masculine staples. And this is a very masculine scent, indeed, especially in the dry down. The next morning, you are not showering off the dregs of the base notes; it is pure testosterone coming off in the steamy water. I generally think that John Varvatos' fragrances are very good designer offerings--as good as any out there and Vintage is the proof of that. An old school masculine powerhouse, revamped for the modern day. Wife approved.
06th December, 2017
This cologne is for men, not boys. The tobacco, suede, and rum really come through, and it's got a little bit of sexiness to it.
I see this fragrance working for older men, at least 40+.
What type of guy wears this? Rugged types.
It's definitely for cold weather.
I myself don't like wearing it because it's too spicy for my nose, but when I do wear it, I'm smelling my wrist every so often to get a "hit", so there's something good to it. However, I feel that it's a little over bearing at times. I'm tempted to give it a neutral rating, but objectively speaking, I think it's a great fragrance, just not one that works for me.
It's similar to John Varvatos' original but that one can be worn by younger guys in a club. This is the spicier version of that one, for the older guy who travels the world, flies his own planes, does stuff like that.

Pasha by Cartier.

10th August, 2017 (last edited: 04th January, 2018)
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I ordered this on a whim based on the reviews. It's not that it's a "bad" fragrance in any's just that I honestly couldn't get past the fact that it reminded me of Polo. The original Polo that I wore in high school. I tried...I tried. Couldn't do it.
07th November, 2016
I'm not a regular fragrance wearer. In the past, I may have splashed on some after shave for a special occasion, but lately I've been trying to find a fragrance which is: 1. Affordable. 2. Unique enough to be noticeable but appropriate for regular office wear, and 3. Something a man in his 30's might wear (I'm 28 and most mainstream (aquatic) fragrances just don't do it for me). I have two young children and a wife with a sensitive nose, so nothing with too much sillage.

Vintage may just be what I'm looking for. This is my second day testing it, and I still like it. Day one I applied to my chest. Today my wrists. It's winter, and the top and heart notes stick around fairly well on me up close (chest), but at a distance (wrist) I can definitely pick up the tobacco and jasmine after only a few minutes. Projects fairly well at this point.

My wife liked the top notes when we were looking at samples, but the tobacco makes me wonder if she'll still go for this. The heart notes almost feel slightly feminine to me (in a good way). I like it. Very mature.

Sillage and longevity, as others have noted, isn't great, but I think that makes this a very worthwhile fragrance for the office. When I got home from work yesterday my wife had to get close to pick up the scent (not a bad thing), so this will warrant a third test wear on the weekend to see how those heart notes play out with her.

*Update: I've tried this off and on for the past week. Overall, a solid fragrance. Something I might pick up if I found it on sale somewhere for a nice change of pace, but not a regular. Lately I've been noticing more of the tobacco is coming through. These notes don't work great on me and my wife isn't the biggest fan. Still, this gets a thumbs up.
03rd February, 2016 (last edited: 07th February, 2016)
As a person who thoroughly enjoys heavy spicy/oriental I like this fragrance very much. Although cloves is not listed as an ingredient, the main note that I smell is cloves. I opened a container of cloves and performed a side by side comparison by smelling the container cloves with a back of my hand spray of Varvatos Vintage. Very, very close!
I believe JV Vintage is to cloves as Aramis JHL is to cinnamon.

This is, in my opinion, the very best of the John Varvatos line and definitely a keeper. I also have the John Varvatos and while nice, it appears to have a lighter projection and less longevity.

26th January, 2016
Good scent on the verge of being a great scent. It's just missing something... not sure if its a little more of this (juniper or fir balsam) or that (tonka bean or suede). The Tobacco in the base of the scent is just right for me. The best from Varvatos IMHO. I like this and it is for sure a fall / winter scent to me. Enjoy.
21st December, 2015
Peppery Open and then it dries down to a VERY masculine scent. It dries down to a tobacco, tonka, jasmine scents waft in an out.

The Sillage on this scent is not very strong. You have to be within 6 inches to smell it. As far as longevity I can not smell it after an hour, but I have picked up a shirt from the laundry to wash it and smelled it up to a week later.

I found that more is less on this one. ;)
01st December, 2015
Very nice frag, inoffensive and mature. I like the comparisons to Polo, but after a few more wearings, it mostly reminds me of Ferrari Uomo without the leathery-petrol scents that gets that frag compared with Fahrenheit. Again, not saying this is like Fahrenheit. You're just left with a sweet, clean, understated masculine scent. Safe for office and should be good for date nights or when someone wants to get close. Kinda seductive.

Longevity is good on me, lasts all work day. Projection is quiet, they'll only smell you up close.

25th November, 2015 (last edited: 13th September, 2017)
I was looking for a good scent for my Dad last week. Stumbled on Varvatos at Nordstrom last year and liked Vintage, Artisan and Aqua was a Wow. When I started shopping around last week for a scent for my Dad, I tried Vintage again and wore it for a day. For me at least, I associate smells with people and for some reason, the leather and tobacco mixed with a clean cut juniper struck me as a good pick for him. ( 66 years old, 6'4, Veteran Seal, big burley biker dude meets white collar businessman type....) Not too robust, not weak...Found this fragrance to be a good scent for him ( we all have oily skin too so maybe that might play a role). I might snag a bottle of Artisan Aqua for myself. Great price for the quality and great longevity and silage change through the course of the day is nice. I am happy with my choice on this fragrance!!
19th June, 2015
John Varvatos Vintage ranks as one of the better mainstream designer fragrances that you can buy right now. It's a juniper, tobacco and leather fragrance, but well-blended to the point where this could theoretically be sold as a niche fragrance at five times the price. Yet you can buy a bottle at Macy's or Sephora at a normal designer fragrance price - in today's designer market, this might be a miracle. Sillage and longevity of Vintage is the best out of all the John Varvatos line.

Highly recommended - especially if you live in a place where most months are cool and cold.
06th May, 2015
The best of the John Varvatos line that I've tried. Very mature masculine fragrance that probably would work better on 30+ males. My wife and daughters always seem to compliment me when I wear this one. Reminds me slightly of Burberry London, with the juniper berries and wintery wood notes. Safe for the office or a dinner out. Excellent cold weather or Christmas holiday fragrance choice.
27th March, 2015
So I pulled my High School letterman jacket out of storage recently, and I used to wear a lot of Polo back in the day...that's what this is.
11th March, 2015
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Superb masculine scent. Love when I wear it and get random people coming up to me asking what it is. Seems to seduce people..ha ha. Lasts a long time on me and seems to somewhat be ever changing throughout the hours. Great for a night out on the town. Unique in it's own right...A must have.

Note: The warmth of the summer esp in the light breezy eve really brings this scents notes out like mad. (Not just for cold weather)....Does project rather well.

I do find the suede, tobacco and jasmine with a slight tonka sweetness really pop when the weather is warm or your skin is heated up. On just a regular cool eve the rhubarb, absinth, lavender, cinammon, fir and tobacco are more prominate.
26th January, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Whilst this is no Baie de Genièvre, I get a nice juniper berry note in the opening, together with a pleasant jasmine. The drydown revel as a fairly soft patchouli, which mergers into a base of vanilla and a hint of a fairly generic tobacco coda.

Developing nicely on my skin; I get adequate sillage and projection with four hours of longevity. Pleasant. 3/5.
12th January, 2015
Hey, it's old Christmas pudding in his new leather jacket! Wait a minute...wonder if that's real leather though.
12th December, 2014
I absolutely love this fragrance. At first spray I get tobacco and suede. The dry down is sweet and I smell the juniper berries. Perfect for cold weather, it is very masculine. A compliment getter every time I wear it. It lasts a very long time on me.
11th December, 2014
bFlay Show all reviews
United States
VINTAGE is...predictable. Very much what all mens fragrances were in the 80s and 90s. Pine, iris and sharply astringent green/aquatic mish-mash. This isn't bad, just unremarkable and overly well-tread scent. Probably not worth the price as this profile can be found in any discount store...
24th October, 2014
My first purchase from the line. This fragrance contains all the essences of what I want out a fragrance. The only downfall or shortcoming is the longevity. I usually get about 3 or 4 hours before this becomes a skin scent. Then around the 5 hour its gone. My skin tends to drink it up. I wish they had a lotion that would compliment the fragrance to get better longevity out of this. But this is a masterpiece in my opinion.
25th July, 2014
This is a Houdini of a fragrance. In my opinion, one of the best men's scents in at least the last decade, but absolutely zero sillage. I put this on, savor the wafts of rich vanilla and warm tobacco--and poof! it's gone. And I'm one who doesn't mind colognes that lie down quickly and stay close to the body. But this one disappears nearly instantaneously--faster than many aftershaves I own. Not a deal killer if you don't mind re-applying often, or for an evening out. But a shame because it could have been legendary.
11th May, 2014
Like Polo for the 21st Century

Great scent if you want to leave echoes of Polo without being know as "the guy that still wears Polo." Wish it lasted longer; need to carry a spritzer to make it through the day.

Pros: Tobacco, tonka, patchouli
Cons: Minimal sliage"

15th October, 2013
JV with leather and tobacco

Flankers, it seems are too often less about variation and more about marketing. No so here. Vintage clearly has the bones of the original, with some nice tobacco and leather that give it an old school feel to it. Its a mature scent, and an evening sent. It is also very good. Better longevity than the original. I think I prefer the the other, but this one is very nice, and projects better as well.

10th August, 2013
Vintage Splash sample vial review

great sample splash. will def. buy a full bottle.

long lasting, good projection.

I hope my real bottle is as good a the sample vial

Pros: floral, not super strong, classic barbershop
Cons: a bit boring for the young'uns"

11th July, 2013
True to its name

This stuff is true to its name.

It is a delicious, comfortable, creamy dressed-up man from the mid-1970s.

This could be a signature scent for the confident man who makes no apologies for his decisions.

This has a real barber-shop smell and is perfect for the over 30 crowd.

Pros: Smells great and retro
Cons: Smells retro

29th May, 2013
Absolutely superb. I am SUPER picky with my fragrances, and this is the epitome of a great Fall scent. It's wearable unlike niche. It's like - pumpkin/vanilla/tobacco, or SOMETHING of that. Maybe fig. It's just superb.
20th April, 2013
I get soooo many compliments with this one. Great winter scent, women love it. This is my favorite one I own so far.
14th January, 2013
BriGuy Show all reviews
United States
One of my signatures. I love this one! It's a complex fragrance which gets GREAT compliments. The projection is short lived, so a mini or atomizer to refresh is a good idea.

UPDATE: The projection is fantastic for about an hour. After that it stays VERY close to the skin. As for longevity, I have gotten well over 10 hours on this cologne; although, most of that is not projected at all.

This fragrance is GREAT for me at work, since the projection is subtle and unobtrusive. I just got home from a long day and can still smell traces of it on my wrist after applying it 14 hours ago.
06th October, 2012 (last edited: 10th October, 2012)
Nice smelling fragrance. The only flaw with this one is the longevity. Only last about three hours on my skin. If it wasn't for that, I would have gave this one a thumbs up.You will receive compliments with this one.
13th September, 2012 (last edited: 24th July, 2014)
I began reading up and trying fragrances a couple months ago. Vintage was one of the first scents I tried. It was, and still is, my favorite scent that I have worn to date. A nice, fruity smell to start. Turns into what I see as a classy man as it dries. Was the first scent that had me bringing my wrist up to my nose time and again for more. Lasted a good eight hours on me. When my wife smelled it, she liked it as well, but her first thought was of the once the weather cools down a bit, this will be my next purchase.
13th August, 2012
Yes as everyone has noted the scent life on this is between the 3-6 hour mark but my gosh in those hours this is AMAZING!!!!!Masculine all the way and I love it. I wore this two days in a row and in those two days I received two compliments from two different people.The scent alone makes up for its poor longevity. Try it out and if you come in contact with someone between the life of the scent I bet you will get a compliment. I know I did.

15th July, 2012