John Varvatos Cologne Guide

John Varvatos Cologne Guide: Which One is Best for You?

Perfumes have been in existence since the ancient Egyptian era. However, it wasn’t until medieval times that perfumes were introduced to Europe with the word “cologne” coming into existence in 1709 in Cologne, Germany, when an Italian named Giovanni Maria Farina developed a citrus perfume and coined the term “Eau de Cologne.” 

It is the oldest term for perfume used primarily for masculine scents. For centuries, cologne has been the mark of wealth, royalty, and class – it’s a status symbol. 

John Varvatos initially wowed the world by stepping into the world of fashion in 2000, leaving his mark on the fashion industry with numerous awards to credit his name. John Varvatos ventured into the world of fragrances in 2004, debuting with his first fragrance called “John Varvatos,” which was followed by a line of best-selling scents.

The distinctive John Varvatos style that combines vintage with a modern aesthetic, which is well renowned in the fashion industry, can also be found in their fragrances and the attention to detail in every John Varvatos creation.

With a wide variety of scents available, this guide aims to help you find your personal favorite John Varvatos Cologne that best compliments your style. John Varvatos perfumes usually come in 75ml or 125ml bottles, beautifully designed in a minimalistic way.

However, there are two things common to almost all John Varvatos colognes – the scent is incredible no matter which one you choose, but they lack strength in terms of longevity and sillage. But fear not! We also recommend alternative brands with similar scents if John Varvatos is not your thing.

The most popular John Varvatos cologne out there?

John Varvatos: Artisan Pure

artisan pure

It’s a scent that goes well with almost any attire you choose. Whether you’re wearing casual jeans or business attire, you can’t go wrong with a spritz of Artisan Pure! It has a heady scent that is alluring, no matter if it’s a warm sunny day or the dead of winter.

Its composition is balanced in such a way that it gives off a dreamy scent without being overwhelming. Artisan Pure masterfully combines both masculine and feminine notes to give a very masculine fragrance ideal for the guy who is the traditional persona of a “man’s man.”

Top notes: Mandarin, Lemon, Thyme, Clementine, Bergamot, and Orange.

Middle notes: Ginger, Lavender, and Petitgrain.

Base notes:  Amber, Earthy Musk, Oakmoss, and Orris Root.


  • Provides value for money
  • Attractive scent


  • Poor sillage and longevity – although Oakmoss is added to perfumes to add just that: longevity.

Men's Cologne by John Varvatos, Artisan Pure | Amazon
$82.00 ($32.80 / Fl Oz)

Artisan Pure is a fresh masculine scent that comes from the design house of John Varvatos. The top is refreshing and citrusy with notes from Mandarin Orange, Bergamot, Lemon, Clementine, Thyme and Marjoram. 

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02/18/2024 08:36 pm GMT

Scents Similar to Artisan Pure:

ck one

Ck One Unisex Perfume by Calvin Klein: It’s one of my personal favorites, though; I must say it lacks masculinity (perhaps that’s why I like it?) and durability.

Top notes: Orange, Cardamom, Green notes, Bergamot, Pineapple, Lemon, Mandarin, and Papaya.

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Freesia, Violet, Nutmeg, Rose, Orris Root, and Lily-of-the-Valley.

Base notes: Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Green Tea, Green Accord, Musk, Cedar, and Amber.

Versace Man Eau Fraiche by Versace: It’s fresher and more aquatic than Artisan Pure and a better option if you’re looking for an alternative to Artisan Pure that’s just as masculine.

Top notes: Lemon, Carambola, Cardamom, Bergamot, and Brazilian Rosewood.

Middle notes: Tarragon, Pepper, Sage, and Cedar.

Base notes: Saffron, Amber, Musk, Woodsy Notes, and Sycamore.

Calvin Klein Ck One | Amazon
$65.00 ($19.70 / Fl Oz)

Calvin Klein CK One Unisex Eau de Toilette: a unisex fragrance for those who embrace diversity. Instantly memorable, this citrus green scent pairs green tea with rose and amber for a genderless natural perfume.

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02/18/2024 10:55 pm GMT

John Varvatos: Dark Rebel

Dark Rebel John Varvatos

This cologne is intended for a true rebel: the unconventional, unique man who follows his own rules and makes his way instead of following the crowd. It is an exceptional designer fragrance mix of sweet and sensual woody notes with a slight leather scent to make it seductive, specifically concocted for the long winter months.

Top notes: Cardamom, Clary Sage, Artemisia, Rum, and Sugar Cane.

Middle notes: Leather, Styrax, Fir Resin, and Pepper.

Base notes: Woody Notes, Castoreum, Tobacco Leaf, Akigalawood, Juniper Berry, and Mexican Vanilla.


  • A very captivating scent.
  • Ideal for the winter season.


  • Evaporates too quickly.
  • The fragrance slowly becomes softer and loses its distinctive smell.

John Varvatos Dark Rebel Men's Cologne Spray | Amazon

Tough. Intoxicating. Rebellious. Inspired by black leather, sleek metal and a fearless bad boy attitude.

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Scents Similar to Dark Rebel:

Polo Supreme Oud by Ralph Lauren

Polo Supreme Oud by Ralph Lauren: It is a quality fragrance with a woody composition similar to John Varvatos’s Dark Rebel but with the added advantage of longevity.

Top notes: Pink Pepper and Cinnamon.

Middle note: Agarwood (Oud).

Base notes: Vetiver and Guaiac Wood.

Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley is a perfect blend of pepper, cinnamon, and woody notes with excellent longevity.

Top notes: Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, and Bergamot.

Middle notes: Clary Sage, Rum, Woody Notes, Cinnamon, and African Geranium.

Base notes: Incense, Patchouli, Leather, Benzoin, and Cedar.

John Varvatos: Vintage Eau de Toilette

John Varvatos Vintage Men's Cologne

In both its aroma and aesthetics, a rugged sensual aroma that is – as its name suggests – vintage. It’s best complemented with evening wear and cooler weather. This cologne is aimed at the sentimental, nostalgic man, giving a whiff of the times gone by yet still giving off a sense of assertive masculine energy.

Top notes: Fennel Rhubarb, Quince, Wormwood, Basil, and Pepper.

Middle notes: Lavender, Green Leaves, Cinnamon, Juniper Berries, Orris Root, and Jasmine.

Base Notes: Balsam Fir, Tonka Bean, Oakmoss, Tobacco, Suede, Woody Notes, and Patchouli.


  • Well packaged with a swatch of Leather, ideal for gift giving.
  • Very rare and unique smell.


  • Though distinctive at first, the scent morphs after a while into an essential generic smell.

John Varvatos Vintage Men's Cologne Spray | Amazon

A sensuous, aromatic scent with a warm, spicy appeal, john varvatos vintage is distinctly unique with a rugged authenticity and enduring appeal.

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02/18/2024 09:37 pm GMT

Scents Similar to Vintage Eau de Toilette:


Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent: It’s a superior quality, long-lasting fragrance that gives off a scent of marine notes and woody accords similar to Vintage Eau de Toilette.

Top notes: Clary Sage, Artemisia, Aldehydes, Coriander, and Bergamot.

Middle notes: Patchouli, Cinnamon, Geranium, Carnation, Vetiver, Jasmine, and Orris Root.

Base notes: Musk, Oakmoss, Civet, Honey, Leather, Amber, Tonka Bean, and Vanilla.

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent for Men | Amazon
$66.69 ($20.21 / Fl Oz)

The top note is perceived as the first and is the smell immediately after spraying. Often fresh, minty, aquatic and airy fragrances are used.

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02/18/2024 11:10 pm GMT

John Varvatos Oud Eau de Parfum

John Varvatos Oud Eau de Toilette Spray

This oriental blend weaves together a luxurious aroma of ancient roots and the much sought-after Oud Oil. Oud Eau de Parfum is for the leader in you that exudes confidence and sophistication. This cologne is great with evening wear and perfect for festive occasions. This cologne is designed for the sensual, mysterious man with a modern taste.

Top notes: Juniper Berries, Cypress, Tobacco, Nutmeg, and Sage.

Middle notes: Cinnamon, Turkish Rose, Osmanthus, Pepper, Cloves, Cardamom, Saffron, and Egyptian Jasmine.

Base notes: Myrhh, Leather, Opoponax, Labdanum, Cedar, Incense, Agarwood (Oud), and Amber.


  • One of the best western ouds in terms of scent.
  • Value for money.


  • It might be too heavy during wintertime.
  • It loses its freshness after some time.

John Varvatos Oud Eau de Toilette Spray | Amazon

John Varvatos OUD goes back in time to weave together oriental references of perfumery with the deeply mysterious presence of oud oil.

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Perfumes Similar to Oud Eau de Parfum:

stetson rich suede

Stetson Rich Suede by Coty: This fragrance gives you a fantastic alternative to Oud Eau de Cologne, giving a feel of the same heady notes.

Top notes: Blue Saga, Orange, and Cypress.

Middle notes: Orris Root, Osmanthus, Saffron, Resins, and Myrrh.

Base notes: Virginia Cedar, Suede, Leather, Balsam Fir, and Labdanum.

Jack Black Signature Cologne for Men by Jack Black: Another fantastic (and better or perhaps best?) option, concocted by Yann Vasnier, this is my personal favorite of the three.

Top notes: Bay Leaf, Tangerine, Geranium, Cypress, Bergamot, and Sage.

Middle notes: Lavender, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Orchid, and Elemi.

Base notes: Cedar, Papyrus, Amber, and Patchouli.

And finally, last but not the least:

John Varvatos Artisan

john varvatos artisan

This is an unbelievably incredible scent that, when breathed in, reminds one – somehow at the same time – of the unusual combination of times lost and a bouquet that any botanist would covet – this scent is the ultimate pick for a confident man of great style. As the saying goes, “Dress to impress” – this is for men who mean to inspire. The success of this perfume kicked off a line of the same name.

Top notes: Tangerine, Marjoram, Clementine, and Thyme.

Middle notes: Ginger, Lavender, Orange Blossom, and Jasmine.

Base notes: Amber, Musk, and Woodsy Notes.


  • Very fresh smell ideal after a post-gym bath.
  • Perfect for a casual summer day.
  • Low price.


  • Weaker than average sillage.
  • Smell morphs after a while to a somewhat generic musky.

Perfumes Like Artisan:

The whole Artisan line by John Varvatos, including Artisan Black and Artisan Pure, are similar roundabout variations of the same scent. Although a great pick, it still has the same problem as all other John Varvatos perfumes – poor longevity (even more so in this particular cologne)

Perfumes Similar to Artisan:

cool water frozen by davidoff

Cool Water Frozen by Davidoff: This is an excellent option if you’re looking for the same kind of icy scent – with better performance longevity-wise.

Top notes: Mint, Rosemary, and Lavender.

Middle Notes: Orange Blossom, Coriander, Jasmine, and Geranium.

Base notes: Musk, Amber, Oakmoss, and Sandalwood.

Other Honorable Mentions

Not part of my top list here, but some John Varvatos cologne options if you like something fairly specific:

Perfume 101

Tips for finding your signature cologne?

  1. Study the notes!
  • The top notes are the strongest at first but fade away and make way for the other notes.
  • The middle notes balance and blend the scent.
  • The base notes last longest and are usually the most distinctive.

A good tip is to leave the heavier woody, oriental notes for the winter season and favor citrus floral scents in the summer months, or you could pick a scent family and go with it all year round!

  1. Get to know the classic scents that have stood the test of time – a great example, Chanel No. 5 -. And let them be your basic guidelines for choosing your own personal best.
  2. Lastly, consider your personality it can be a great indicator of the scent that best compliments you; are you a rebel? A traditionalist? A modern guy.

John Varvatos Cologne Guide: FAQs

Question: How long can John Varvatos cologne smell last?

Answer: The base notes are the ones that slowly evaporate and last the longest. The life of a John Varvatos cologne is usually 6 – 7 hours; however, top-selling cologne lines – like that of Paco Rabanne, Gucci, and Hugo Boss – although expensive, but still affordable, can last up to 24 hours.

Question: Which is the best, John Varvatos cologne?

Answer: This depends on your personal preferences, the occasion for which you’re using the cologne, and can also vary with the season, with the colognes with heavier notes being more suitable for winter. However, Artisan Pure by John Varvatos is the best-selling John Varvatos cologne and the most versatile.

Question: Is cologne essential?

Answer: Cologne can significantly represent your distinctive personal style, and it can play a significant role in how people view and think of you. Wearing cologne can make you more attractive (hence the numerous ads like those of AXE Body Spray, showing many women running after a man wearing a specific cologne). It can have a positive psychological effect – making you feel less stressed and more confident in yourself.

Question: Are John Varvatos colognes only for men?

Answer: To date, the John Varvatos line offers 21 different fragrances, and only one of them is for women. The primary difference between colognes and perfumes is their formulation and concentration of oils added to concoct the scent.
A man can wear perfume, and a woman can wear cologne without crossing the stereotypical boundaries of gender. A cologne (often used as an aftershave for razor bumps) usually has a higher percentage of alcohol and water, and perfume is more concentrated in essential oils. It’s just that colognes are primarily marketed to men while perfumes are targeted at women.

Question: How to best apply your cologne?

Answer: To make your cologne more prominent and last longer:
• Apply it to clean dry skin after taking a shower.
• Spritz the perfume a few inches away from your body, target pulse points as they exude heat, and carry the scent more effectively.
• Don’t apply too much otherwise, and it can become too overwhelming.

Final Note on John Varvatos

I have described some top options from the John Varvatos line and the kind of men they best suit.

Ultimately, the cologne you choose depends heavily on your style and how you would like people to perceive you, so buy yourself your signature, John Varvatos cologne today!

Men's Cologne by John Varvatos, Artisan Pure | Amazon
$82.00 ($32.80 / Fl Oz)

Artisan Pure is a fresh masculine scent that comes from the design house of John Varvatos. The top is refreshing and citrusy with notes from Mandarin Orange, Bergamot, Lemon, Clementine, Thyme and Marjoram. 

Buy at Amazon Buy at FragranceNet
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 08:36 pm GMT

Other Colognes Guide

Here are some related cologne lines worth considering:

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