Designer John Varvatos is mostly known for his dark clothing lines that are more rock star than folk music. However, in 2009, Varvatos has surprised his faithful followers by launching on of the lightest, summery fragrances available on the market. John Varvatos Artisan is one of the most popular go-to warm weather fragrances for men and has been since it debuted. While many men claim to not like light scents, Varvatos Artisan breaks this mold.

The third fragrance in Varvatos line of perfumes, Artisan perfectly combines the traditional accords of the past with the modern edginess of the future. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, the same nose that created Hidden Fantasy for Britney Spears, CK Free for Calvin Klein, the Velvet line for Dolce & Gabbana and Black Cashmere for Donna Karan, along with many other famous scents, aspired to bring back the traditional scents of orange and tangerine, but to give them a modern twist by including lavender and jasmine, two of the most popular scents for men.

John Varvatos Artisan is a departure from the other scents in this line. While its predecessors were earthy and masculine with a touch of leather, John Varvatos cologne Artisan is citrusy, bright and fresh. The citrus notes are refreshing, but not usually linked with this designer. The spicy ginger mixed with the citrus notes give it a little kick that harkens back to Varvatos’ normal offerings, but it is subtle enough to keep the scent light and fresh.

John Varvatos Artisan Notes

Just as the name implies, John Varvatos Artisan is a true work of art. It is a masterpiece that feels like hours upon hours when into creating it, just as an artisan would spend hours honing his craft. The top notes are many, with Sicilian clementine, Mandarin orange, tango fruit, Greek lavender, marjoram and wild thyme all making an appearance. They are masterfully blended to create a bright and fresh opening that lures people in, making them want to know more about the rest of the fragrance.

The heart brings even more orange with the scent of North African orange blossom, which is artfully complemented by Indian Murraya and three different types of ginger: purple ginger, Chinese ginger root and Nigerian ginger absolute. Orange is still the star, even as the top notes fade away, but the purposeful addition of ginger cut the citrus of the orange a little, making it warmer as the fragrance moves into the final act.

The dry down phase of John Varvatos Artisan is pure masculinity, with Kephalis wood, Geaorgewood, belleambre and serenolide, which gives it the musky finish that women find irresistible. Although the base is a little warmer than the rest of the fragrance, it is still lighter and fresher than other scents from this designer. The regal ingredients that make up the base make John Varvatos Artisan seem expensive even though its price falls in the midrange of fragrances with similar notes.

The Perfume Bottle

John Varvatos ArtisanJohn Varvatos Artisan comes in a bottle that is entirely unique. It resembles woven wicker such as one might see on a porch looking over the ocean in the summer. There is little doubt that this fragrance is a summer scent by just looking at the amazing flacon. There is simply nothing like it on the market today. The wicker look was specifically chosen by the designer to resemble the wicker baskets used to collect oranges from the grove. With just one look, a potential buyer can tell exactly what is inside the bottle: the wonderful, bright scent of delicious citrus.

The box in which the wicker bottle comes is rectangular in shape, with a tweed-colored base and a black top. The words “john varvatos Artisan” are printed on the front of the box in black, along with the description of what is inside. It is a very masculine look, but without being heavy handed. It brings back memories of deck shoes and light cotton pants. Although this isn’t a nautical scent in any way, it still gives off a boating vibe, as if the wearer is going sailing for the afternoon. The fragrance is available in a 75 ml bottle for $55 or a 125 ml bottle for $75.

What People Are Saying

This John Varvatos Artisan review would not be complete without some opinions from other people who have submitted their own John Varvatos Artisan review. Most people who have already tried this fragrance say that it is definitely a spring or summer scent. It is far from overpowering and in fact, some men do not like it because it does not have very good longevity. The scent stays close to the skin, which is perfect if someone is looking to draw another person closer.

Since its scent is not very powerful, it is an excellent choice for office wear. No one will be offended by its subtle scent, but it might have to be reapplied several times throughout the day to keep it fresh. Most reviewers think the blend of accords is excellent. It is “fresh and crisp” and the “middle notes are very appealing.” Unfortunately, because of the short longevity, most men found they had to keep the bottle with them to refresh their application numerous times a day. Either that, or they had to douse themselves in the fragrance in the morning just to make the citrusy scent last through the afternoon.

Overall, though, most reviewers praised John Varvatos Artisan, calling it an “excellent warm weather scent through and through.” It mellows quickly, but that is desirable when looking for a cologne that can be worn in the office or on a date without offending anyone in the vicinity. The complexity of the numerous ingredients is well disguised, as many people who gave a John Varvatos Artisan cologne review said the scent was simple, a “pleasant, safe orange with fresh spices.” It takes a master to make something so complicated look simple, so if that was the goal it has definitely been achieved with this fragrance.