While many South African men will not be aware of John Varvatos’ major fashion credentials, they are about to get a good dose of the American designer’s rock ’n roll aesthetic through the recent launch of his fragrances in the country.
Before launching his own menswear label in 2000 that now includes clothing, accessories and shoes, Detroit-born Varvatos worked for the likes of Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren. The John Varvatos range of fragrances was launched in 2004, with the same meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship that characterises his menswear.
As a keen fragrance Instagrammer (@richgoller), I have been seeing lots of posts on John Varvatos fragrances, so I was super-thrilled to get a package of the five fragrances that are exclusive to Edgars stores: John Varvatos EDT, John Varvatos Artisan EDT, John Varvatos Artisan Acqua EDT, John Varvatos Dark Rebel EDT and John Varvatos Oud EDP.
I spent a week sampling and getting to know these fragrances, all created by highly regarded nose Rodrigo Flores-Roux, the man behind scents such as Tom Ford Private Blend Neroli Portofino and Clinique Happy.
These are my quick impressions of them below:
John Varvatos EDT: Love the rich, sexy and sophisticated vibe of this oriental woody scent, featuring standout notes of plum, leather, fig, cinnamon and cedar. A fine fragrance debut that, like a good leather jacket, will always be in style.
John Varvatos Artisan EDT: A very different feel, this one, with a fresh, clean and crisp citrus blast that’s tempered by ginger and woody notes. A good choice for casual-chic moods and if you like your scent to remind you of just-washed shirts.
John Varvatos Artisan Acqua EDT: The hand-knitted rope packaging perfectly captures the Mediterranean inspiration behind this one. With lots of citrus and herbal appeal, it does a great job of conjuring up coastal life, without resorting to marine scent clichés.
John Varvatos Dark Rebel EDT: Wow! The boozy Jamaican rum opening of this one is incredible. And then there’s all that addictive sugarcane, tobacco leaf, leather, vanilla and cardamom. My favourite of the five, I keep on coming back to this very special one.
John Varvatos Oud EDP: Mr Varvatos’ take on oud is surprisingly reserved and subtle, but that’s not a bad thing in a genre that can be overpowering and intimidating. While the packaging is opulent, the juice says expensive without trying too hard.
Although the above fragrances are just a snap-shot of the John Varvatos fragrance line (there are nine other fragrances, including the recently released Dark Rebel Rider), they all offer something different to what’s currently available on the South African market. And for men browsing increasingly crowded fragrance counters that can only be a good thing.
PS: If you’re into layering your fragrances, John Varvatos Dark Rebel EDT + John Varvatos Oud EDP = Super Intoxicating Hit.
John Varvatos EDT (R1 195 for 75ml and R1 395 for 125ml), John Varvatos Artisan EDT (R1 195 for 75ml and R1 395 for 125ml), John Varvatos Artisan Acqua EDT (R1 195 for 75ml and R1 395 for 125ml), John Varvatos Dark Rebel EDT (R1 195 for 75ml and R1 395 for 125ml and John Varvatos Oud EDP (R1 995 for 125ml) are exclusive to Edgars stores.