Perfume Directory

JV x NJ Crimson (2018)
by John Varvatos


JV x NJ Crimson information

Year of Launch2018
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
Not enough ratings.

People and companies

HouseJohn Varvatos
Parent CompanyRevlon Inc > Elizabeth Arden Inc

About JV x NJ Crimson

JV x NJ Crimson is a masculine fragrance by John Varvatos. The scent was launched in 2018

JV x NJ Crimson fragrance notes

Reviews of JV x NJ Crimson

I tested a 1.5mL sample of this. It was actually difficult to find online because there was apparently no name given for the specific release? Most of the reviews I found were for the original or "Blue" version. So you pretty much have to know that this version exists and is called "Crimson" or "Red" online.

So I tried it on my wrists first, which is usually a projection hotspot for me. I was surprised at how light the scent is. It doesn't seem to project much at all, which I actually like, since I wear scents for me and don't like to broadcast loudly.

However, the scent itself is not particularly interesting to me. I have trouble identifying individual notes, but if I had to describe the smell, it's a nose-itching cedar combined with the smell of a woman's leather makeup bag/purse. I think the "makeup bag" smell comes from the combination of too many different scents that are all perfumy or flowery, combined with an underlying soft leather smell. I know my description sounds bad, but it's actually not an unpleasant smell.

After an hour, I could barely smell it on my wrists. But I wanted to give this fragrance a fair shake, because I've been initially underwhelmed by fragrances in the past and grew to love them (Dior Sauvage). So I sprayed it all over my shirt, about 7 sprays (about 0.5mL). I let it settle down and after about an hour it was a fairly pleasant but generic scent. I feel like I've smelled this before, many times in fact. And even with 7 sprays, it barely projects, so you can feel free to go nuts with this. Longevity-wise, it already seems to be fading after an hour, because I can barely smell it on my shirt.

So my overall impression of this fragrance is that it's a very familiar and safe scent. It's pleasant but not anything new or head-turning. I would suggest wearing this in the hotter months to get more performance from it, and it's probably pretty safe for the office. It didn't give me a headache, but it did make my nose itch (probably the cedar). If someone gifted me a bottle of this, I would wear it, but it's not something I would seek out myself.

As far as age category, I see this working best for a guy in his teens to late 30s. I imagine a guy in his 40s or beyond would gravitate to a more committed, refined scent. In my opinion, this one walks the line too much for an established man.
06th June, 2019
A nice spicy, coffee that is not as sweet as I thought it would be by reading the notes. I could see myself purchasing this one. A nice crowd pleaser that will last all day. More suited for fall and winter. 7.5/10
04th June, 2019
The joint venture between John Varvatos and Nick Jonas was expectedly commerical and uninteresting outside the demographic that scent targets, since not many guys even in the mainstream realms are going to admit any affinity for a former member of the Jonas Brothers, a Disney rock outfit aimed mostly at pre-teens girls. Yet that scent wasn't entirely a disaster, just very dialed-in to the fresh and psuedo-warm trend of the day a la Bleu de Chanel (2010) or Dior Sauvage (2015), both of which do it better. What isn't so expected was this follow-up, which was apparently released as a limited edition in the same year but now sees a wider release as another Nordstrom exclusive in 2019 (something John Varvatos does often). Rodrigo Flores-Roux was also shockingly not present in the design of JV x NJ [Crimson] (2018), and since he is all but in name house perfumer for the brand, seeing this signed by the little-known Carlos Vinals makes this "red pill" version of JV x NJ all the more odd. True to that analogy, JV x NJ [Crimson] is everything the original JV x NJ isn't: odd, risky, a little challenging, and satisfying. I won't overstate how good this stuff is, as it is still clearly very commercial in design, but it is closer to something I'd actually wear over the original entry. All things considered, both of these should have been released at the same time, since people love the idea of equal opposites and collecting two "halves" of a "whole", but I understand the risk parting up with a former Disney starlet and releasing two new scents simultaneously under said starlet's name.

For starters, there isn't an abundance of citrus and cascalone here to mimick 90's and 2000's openings, nor is there a ton of ambroxan or barbershop notes like sage and geranium to keep this safe like the original. Instead, we get a rather interesting and a little bit confusing opening of apple and rum accompanying the soft vacuum-distilled bergamot opening of the original. A tiny peck of dry "carbonated" coffee is here which adds a bit of a callback to Thierry Mugler A*Men (1996), and the piquant nature of that note when mixed with the sweet apple and rum makes for a mulled spice feeling. I don't like the appearance of fantasy notes in the structure, but they don't mar the experience much. The opening is heads fairly quickly into a slight suede leather note and a bit of amber, also fairly dry in execution, flanked by a semi-medicinal lavender that is likely lavandin. The base has norlimbanol, labdanum, vetiver, and a fairly verdant patchouli, not at all like the usual denatured "white patchouli" making the rounds these days as a sorta-thickener. The scratchiness of the fake woods accord is balanced by this vetiver with a puff of musk to give JV x NJ [Crimson] a semi-oriental feeling. Final drydown is pleasant if not a bit vexing in development from dry fruit coffee to aromatic leather and finally woody amber tones, but performance is not huge so most of this trip will be experienced solo. JV x NJ [Crimson] is best used in an office or casual setting much like the blue bottle, but has a tiny bit more potential in colder weather, which makes sense when you think about it.

I feel like Nick Jonas probably had a singular idea of what he wanted, and two different ideas were presented to him; one by the typical perfumer of John Varvatos that played it by-the-book and ultimately won out, and one that came from an alternate perfumer which took a left-hand path to the same destination, making much more-creative but less mass-appealing choices. Similar to the dilemma faced by Roy Halston Frowick over his two masculine launch fragrance choices, Nick Jonas probably didn't want to leave whichever one he didn't choose to be wasted, so the original limited release occurred. There is really little else to explain a new limited flanker appearing only mere months behind the original, then getting magically released on a wider scale as a store exclusive, if not for the fact that both formulas existed from the start. In any case, I'd still be on the fence about owning this and recommend testing as it doesn't stand out much more from the crowd than its slightly-older "Jonas Brother", but the development is much more interesting and JV x NJ [Crimson] dries down to something other than the usual ambroxan bombs or aquatics competing against it in the affluent young men's segment. Solid like the first JV x NJ, more enjoyable than the first, and unique enough to eke out a passing grade from me, JV x NJ [Crimson] is still far from John Varvatos' finest hour but at least walks to the beat of its own drum. Thumbs Up
08th April, 2019

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