Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1

    Default Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Today I got two new blind buys-- a bottle of Creed's relatively rarely mentioned Santal Imperial and a bottle of John Varvatos Vintage.

    First the Creed. I'm absolutely nuts over Santal Imperial. Being that Tam Dao is one of my favorite scents ever and is a staple of my cold weather rotation, I was looking to add another sandalwood scent to my drobe-- and I was curious to see if Creed's creation from 1850 was what I was looking for.

    The reviews of Santal Imperial are quite mixed, but I have several Creed scents, and their "house style" is something that I enjoy. First, when I sprayed it on my skin I barely smelled anything. A slight fruity/citrus note that was unlike the citrus notes from the other Creed EDT's was the first thing I noticed. Then something vaguely rubbery-- like a certain kind of pencil eraser. Then finally, the sandalwood note came to life. I had read another review which mentions how this fragrance is a slow starter, since the sandalwood molecules are heavier and less volatile and take a long time to take flight. Once they do, however this fragrance comes together nicely. I wore this to work tonight and found that this scent generated quite a bit of sillage from a modest application, and it also lasted a long time-- but the beauty was that the sillage was not a heavy tenacious overbearing fog-- rather it seemed to go right to the edge of my personal space (about 3 feet) and then stop.

    How does it compare to Tam Dao? Well, Tam Dao is more of a pure wood fragrance. Santal Imperial's fruity topnotes give it an additional flavor-- It's more subtle and more rounded than Tam Dao-- as Tam Dao seems to have a bit of a roasted/burnt around the edges feel, which is nice in winter. I expect a person who finds most Creeds to his disliking will also dislike Santal Imperial, as it has those Creed idiosyncrasies through and through. This one suits my tastes well though. To me it does for Sandalwood what Creed's Vetiver (1948) does for vetiver. Also, to my nose I think I detect a lot of ambergris in this. Very rubbery and a bit dirty. Maybe a more formal scent, but pretty versatile as well. Thinking that this was a scent that was originally created in 1850 gets me daydreaming a little. It even predates Bois de Cedrat (1875). Santal Imperial is a lot like the base of Neroli Sauvage-- if they took almost all of the topnotes out of it. While I've found that it has good longevity, it does have a fleeting nature-- here one minute, gone the next, then back in five-- it buzzes around the wearer like a slow wooden bumblebee.

    I'm not going to retire my Tam Dao, but now I've got another sandalwood scent to split time with it.

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


    John Varvatos Vintage. This may be the weirdest freaking scent I've ever encountered ( in that it's intended for the mainstream). While the original John Varvatos is a nice straighforward semi-exotic scent in the vein of Egoiste-- this one has me baffled. I have no idea what the intent behind this stuff was. I cannot imagine what the perfumer was going for. It's like they cooked up a vat of some kind of chypre scent and then threw in a bunch of Michael Jordan cologne. No lie. My brother bought me some Michael Jordan cologne as a gag gift and the topnotes of this stuff smell a bit like it. Kind of like an ultra- blue antibacterial sport scented bar of deodorant soap-- mixed with some exotic smelling weeds and plants. I used to brew my own beer and I had this stuff called irish moss-- a little jar of dried lichens-- it was used to make beer less cloudy-- this stuff smells a bit like irish moss. Also there's a pretty heavy tobacco note.

    I can see what they were going for with the original-- but this stuff is just bizarre in my opinion. I don't know if I even like it or not. There's such an ongoing clash in this scent. I do like the drydown somewhat and I can't stop sniffing myself. But the overall effect smells like you've just used two different grooming products that completely clashed with each other. It might be the strangeness of it that's going to end up compelling me to wear it. It gets some points for originality. I'm definitely intrigued with this...
    Last edited by Indie_Guy; 13th December 2007 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    For months I used to base my impressions on a stale sample of Santal Imperial that I got from Aedes. All I could smell was a demure base of tonka with a light woody scent. It was only earlier this year that I tried Santal Imperial from a fresh bottle at Neimans and immediately bought it. The sparkling citrus gives way to one of the finest and truest sandalwood accords before landing into a tonka bean/ambergris drydown. It lasts fairly well for an EDT as well. Its one of the best sandalwood fragrances I have smelled from the 30 or so sandalwood fragrance that I have tried. Simple yet exceptional.

    I used to use Michael Jordan cologne as a gym deo. I never got better at basketball.
    -

  3. #3
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    6,863

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Great reviews Indie_Guy. It took me awhile to figure Santal Imperial. It seems volatile but gives more the longer it's on the skin (or clothes). I wear it sometimes when I'm drivin down the coast late at night listnin to some chill music. The stuff always generates feelings of opulence and warmth. The Creed house note/accord is strong and the fragrance (esp. top notes) often reminds me of Silver Mountain Water. It's not as tangible as I usually like em, but it's one of the most ethereal fragrances I own.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    I own the original John Varvatos and was comtemplating the purchase of the Vintage version as well... hmm.. well I might go ahead and buy it.


    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather




  5. #5

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Tried John Varvatos Vintage a while back. Did not agree with my body chemistry, it smelled cheap and overly sweet.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Excellent insight Indie Guy. Thanks for sharing your impressions of these two scents. Santal Imperial is on my buy list for the warmer months. I wore it a few times this past summer on some 90-degree plus days and it was incredible. The tonka and ambergris never seemed too cloying even in the intense heat and humidity. For me, it makes a great spring/summer sandalwood providing an outstanding alternative to the heavier scents I prefer.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    I wore the John Varvatos Vintage today and I did sort of enjoy it. Funny, my brother smelled it and had the same exact reaction to it that I did-- and he likes the Original John Varvatos. When he smelled this, he too got a weird look on his face. His comments were something like "this stuff smells like they took some old fashioned cologne and tried to combine it with...eh, blue Dial soap?" My initial thoughts exactly.

    The list of notes is a bit batsh*t as well... quince paste? marine fennel? santolina? silver absinthe? OK, whatever. After it dries down I get a bit of that medjool date note from the original, though I didn't see it listed as a note. This scent is similar to something and I figured it out-- Nautica Latitude/Longitude. They both have the same mossy old school Polo type base, but with the nu skool aqua note feeling on top. I do find John Varvatos Vintage to have a more interesting drydown with its laundry list of crazy notes contributing at least something out of the ordinary.

    And I can't help adding that this scent smells like a Christmas scent-- but in a strange way. Not that the notes remind me of anything superficially of Christmas/festivities/blah,blah,blah. But it smells like an amalgam of every cologne that anybody has ever gotten for Christmas from the time they were fifteen until now. Part of me thinks there's a big tank somewhere where all the colognes that have been re-gifted a certain number of times have washed up. Kind of like a dead letter office for unwanted toiletries-- and there are people standing over it emptying all these bottles into the vat. Then this stuff is mixed up and put into John Varvatos bottles and given a snazzy fake snakeskin label.

    The fact that a scent seems "not all there" only encourages me to wear the hell out of it. I guess this will end up going into my rotation for those "uh, I just don't give a sh*t" days.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    the thing with vintage is that its way to synthetic for me...i find the smell intruiging, however. If it was less synthetic in the top and middle i might like it. When i tested it though its one of those that you cant stop smelling your wrist because of how different it is. When i tested it, i had Kors men on one wrist and Vintage on the other....there is actually something very similar in the drydown with these, but Kors is so much more enjoyable and wearable throughout the evolution,imo! Good Reviews you guys.

    Oh yeag and i agree about the bottle...its cool as hell....its like you have sylvester stalone's movie hero Cobra(Frank Cobretti) sitting on your dresser...ha ha...if you have not seen the movie go rent it tonight for the fun of it and see what i am talking about! Its the greatest 80's action movie on the planet.
    Last edited by jdnba; 14th December 2007 at 03:48 PM.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,711

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Love the reviews IndieGuy. SI and VV are two scents that I do not like - now, atleast I feel like I know why I don't like them.

    One question: When I first smelled Tam Dao a couple months ago I remember calling it minimal sandalwood. It seems like a whitewashed sandalwood note: refreshing, stripped down even. Are you getting that vibe from SI's sandalwood note? Because honestly I was immediately turned off by the Creed ambergris/house note to investigate and study the sandalwood 'aura' when I smelled SI.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 17th December 2007 at 10:28 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Love the reviews IndieGuy. SI and VV are two scents that I do not like - now, atleast I feel like I know why I don't like them.

    One question: When I first smelled Tam Dao a couple months ago I remember calling it minimal sandalwood. It seems like a whitewashed sandalwood note: refreshing, stripped down even. Are you getting that vibe from SI's sandalwood note? Because honestly I was immediately turned off by the Creed ambergris/house note to investigate and study the sandalwood 'aura' when I smelled SI.
    I had to choose my SOTD as I was getting ready for work today-- it was between Tam Dao and Santal Imperial. I went with Tam Dao, because I've worn it so much that it's a real comfort scent-- I know how it behaves on me and I'm confident with it. I also admire Tam Dao for it's minimalist take on sandalwood. It is quite stripped down, but the overall effect is magnificent. I've received a ton of compliments on it-- last week a girl at work told me I smelled good and that I should wear a stronger dose next time.

    Santal Imperial has a similar sandalwood note to what I get from Tam Dao, but there's SO MUCH other stuff going on in this scent as well. The citrus notes almost scare me a little. I can't describe it-- I've never smelled topnotes like these before. They're intense and almost cloying and maybe they aren't even citrus at all. I don't know. It's a tough one to test because it smells so different every time you put your nose to it. The only way to properly smell this one is to just put some on and smell it in the form of normal sillage-- because when you try to put your nose to the skin, it's hard to get a bearing on. After it's dried down for about 20 minutes, the topnotes seem to come back to sing in "ghost form"-- like they died and returned as a choir of glorified versions of themselves. Really a bit eerie-- at least in my experience. It's like taking Silver Mountain Water, removing all the tea notes, and then flipping it upside down.

    In contrast. Tam Dao is very linear and it always smells the same to me.

    Of course, the ambergris/house note in this one may actually be more in evidence here than in any other Creed I can think of. It can even be a bit much at times. I think the thing to do is just spritz it on and forget about it-- let it do the work.

    To answer your question-- Santal Imperial's sandalwood aura is different from Tam Dao's for the basic reason that there's always something else accompanying the wood. There's always something else in the picture as well. I can totally see where Santal Imperial might not be a good choice for a lot of people. It could easily rub people the wrong way. Tam Dao is more easy-going and universally like-able; Santal Imperial is more complex and daring. I love em both.

  11. #11
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,711

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    The only way to properly smell this one is to just put some on and smell it in the form of normal sillage-- because when you try to put your nose to the skin, it's hard to get a bearing on..

    ...I think the thing to do is just spritz it on and forget about it-- let it do the work.
    Thanks Indie.

    Your comment about not 'getting' the scents of SI when you put your nose to your skin I can totally relate to. I experienced this with a few complex scents (Heritage EdP by Guerlain, Bois de Armenie by Guerlain) - and I finally realized I smelled much much nicer when I stopped raising my hands to my nose to smell them and just enjoyed the overall scent swirling around me.

    I love it when a scent does that.

  12. #12
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,711

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    I have John Varvatos Vintage on my arm as I type this - got a sample from Comdiva.

    It is, as I remember, shockingly apple/fruit/synthetic sweetness at the top. Does anyone else smell the Calone in the top - I swear I smelled New West by Aramis for just a second? I also must agree with jdnba - I can't stop smelling my wrist. Maybe it's got addictive properties to it?

    This reminds me of Aoud Lime by Montale - three different fragrances happening at once on your skin. Simultaneously. Perhaps this would work well in the blinding heat of Summer? Indie report back on this.

    For now this sample is going to someone else, I can't imagine wearing this again.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 27th December 2007 at 02:46 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Creed Santal Imperial/ John Varvatos Vintage reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Does anyone else smell the Calone in the top
    I smell plenty of Calone in this. And it's a bit jarring. Like I said Michael Jordan Cologne melded onto a classic 80's type scent. It's almost terrible in concept, but then again it doesn't really offend the senses either. I don't necessarily know what to make of it, but I kind of enjoy wearing it.

    But yeah, Mike, the calone is very oddly employed in this one.

Similar Threads

  1. Creed and its fancy clientele - So what ?
    By zztopp in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: 1st March 2008, 06:37 AM
  2. Trumpers Sandalwood vs Creed Santal Imperial
    By sentient in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 23rd June 2005, 09:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •