John Varvatos Vintage Fragrance Review

Although we’ve tried a few John Varvatos fragrances in the past, we’ve never formally reviewed one. Since they’re affordable and have a cult following, we thought we’d take a look for our guide to the best fragrances for under $50.

In this review, you will discover John Varvatos Vintage with a focus on the following topics:

Use the links to jump ahead or scroll on to read more.

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  • Brand: John Varvatos
  • Fragrance: Vintage
  • Concentration: Eau de Toilette
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Batch Reviewed: 771
  • Olfactive Fragrance Family: Woody Aromatic
  • Related Fragrances: Montblanc Individuel, Creed Aventus, CDNIM
  • Price On Amazon: From $60 [Buy Now]
  • Price On FragranceX: From $40 [Buy Now]

Released back in 2006, Vintage was developed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, a senior perfumer for Givaudan but who had previously worked for other brands like Dolce & Gabbana among many others.

John Varvatos Vintage Floral Background

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John Varvatos Vintage Composition

In the following section, we’ll break down John Varvatos Vintage’s individual notes and accords, which you will discover is an overall woody aromatic fragrance. However, it’s often marketed as a chypre, which doesn’t quite fit its character.

Head Notes

  • Chamomile
  • Rhubarb
  • Fennel
  • Basil

The opening of Vintage is quite pungent and very busy. Indeed, there are a lot of things happening. It’s a very aromatic blend that consists primarily of chamomile, rhubarb, fennel, and basil. In fact, it’s reminiscent of heavily spiced Danish Aquavit like Dr. Nielsen’s Bitter.

Therefore, if you’re fond of Aquavit, especially about those being absolutely loaded with various aromatics and spices, John Varvatos Vintage is definitely going to be a fragrance for you.

Nevertheless, this aromatic composition is quite pleasant. It’s bracing and refreshing. The hints of fennel play off quite nicely against the rhubarb, which has a slightly fruity acidity to it.

Meanwhile, the basil and the chamomile is more alluring. As chamomile is known to do so, it calms the bouquet down. Otherwise, the basil accords nicely alongside the fennel.

Heart Notes

John Varvatos Vintage & Pipe Tobacco

  • Juniper
  • Patchouli
  • Jasmine

The heart then reveals another alcoholic beverage. On this occasion, notes of juniper are reminiscent of gin. This aroma delivers a kind of fruity acidity, which is contrasted quite nicely by some earthy patchouli and a little hint of floral jasmine.

Base Notes

  • Tonka Bean
  • Orris Root
  • Oak Moss

As you transition towards the base, things are going to get a little bit more gourmand, warm, and alluring. It primarily consists of tonka bean, which unveils a caramelised chocolate note.

It also features orris root and oakmoss, which creates a certain herbaceous resinous character that the merges quite nicely with the tonka bean.

John Varvatos Vintage’s Life-Cycle, Wake & Strength

John Varvatos Vintage Bottle

As I said, Vintage is quite a busy fragrance. There are a lot of things going on in here, which at times can be a little bit overwhelming. Yet, when applied strategically, it can be quite effective.

The lifecycle is quite conventional in its structure. The notes don’t seem to interact with one another quite as much as I expected given the sheer variety of them.

As for its wake and strength, it seems to be quite decent overall. The longevity will give you a couple of hours. If you would put it to put it on before leaving for work, you probably want to apply again around the lunchtime period.

Meanwhile, the sillage and projection stay relatively close to the skin, but the sillage leaves a good trail. The scent bubble is going to be quite close.

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What People Think Of John Varvatos Vintage

John Varvatos Fragrance Close-Up

First of all, people liken John Varvatos Vintage to being soapy and boozy. Some members of the fragrance community interpret this as a good thing. Otherwise, some other people wouldn’t wear it or are a little bit put off by the aspect. There was a sentiment that it becomes classy once it dries down.

Indeed, this is going to be quite brash when it first opens up. However, once it starts to settle, it’s a little bit more subdued, a little bit more elegant.

When it comes to the age ranges that find this most appealing, is definitely going to be a younger crowd. Older people would prefer something probably more mature than Vintage.

In any case, the feedback I got was it smelled a little bit cheap to them, and indeed it does have the kind of budget vibe to it. But then again, given its price point, that is not overly surprising.

When To Wear John Varvatos Vintage

John Varvatos Vintage is perhaps the best worn during the colder months of the winter and autumn periods. However, you could certainly consider wearing it during the early spring when the flowers and the birds and the bees start to come back.

However, when the temperatures really start to rise, this is going to be a little bit too heavy or spicy for those periods. It’s definitely not a scent that I would wear during the summer period.

I’d say this is a fragrance for the more mature teen or somebody in their twenties as it’s a great casual fragrance that they can wear to go out. Its best time of day to wear it would probably be around the evening.

Therefore, it’s a good fragrance if you’re going out for a couple of drinks on a casual night out, but you’re not going to paint the town red. Otherwise, its masculinity is quite strong. It’s not particularly subtle in that regard.

Presentation & Value For Money

John Varvatos Vintage Bottle & Packaging

I’m quite fond of the bottle and tits faux vintage leather, which lives up to the fragrance’s name. The shape of the bottle is quite unusual. It does look a little bit like grandpa’s medicine bottle if you know what I mean! Yet, I quite like this hip flask style actually, it’s pretty cool.

The atomizer is okay. It does seem to lay it on a little bit thick. Rather than a mist, it feels more like small droplets.

The packaging seeks to evoke the flacon’s vintage leather style. However, I feel like the way they’ve done the pebble or snakeskin leather here doesn’t seem to work quite well. And it looks a little bit cheap to be perfectly honest.

As for the value though, this is fragrance offers great bang for your buck. You’re looking at about $50 RRP for a 100 ml. It’s quite steep on Amazon and at least $60. However, it costs just $40 through FragranceX.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, this is quite a busy fragrance with an unusual composition of herbaceous notes. That being said it’s incredibly affordable and it presents itself as a tasteful casual fragrance for the understated and modest young man.

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"Affordable with a busy bouquet, John Varvatos Vintage would be a suitable choice for the younger man looking for an intriguing signature scent."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★

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