John Varvatos is an American contemporary menswear designer, equally well known for his fragrance line. Perhaps not in the US, where the Detroit born Varvatos who cut his teeth under Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, enjoys a deservedly strong reputation in the fashion-sphere. In Europe however, his fragrance collection, twelve in total is particularly highly regarded as a range with mass appeal yet appreciated by the niche market too. Something few others have ever achieved. Other than in Germany, and in the inner circle of fashion- the Varvatos line of clothing is under the radar. Yesterday, Ape headed down to the John Varvatos store at 12-13 Conduit Street on Mayfair, London to find out more.



Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux

The main purpose of the visit was for the launch of John Varvatos Artisan Pure- the brands latest fragrance, number fourteen and the fourteenth partnership between Varvatos and perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux of fragrance house Givaudan. Not only has he co-created (with Varvatos) every John Varvatos fragrance but his list of creations is long and magnificent, Tom Ford’s famed Neroli Portofino for example, although I wasn’t supposed to mention that. Mexican born Flores-Roux is one of the best in the industry and he was on hand in London to explain more about the Artisan Pure and the lengths he and Varvatos go to to make their fragrances happen.

It’s important to begin with a few facts- Varvatos debuting his first clothing line at the end of 2000 in New York, he’s rock ‘n’ roll mad and an obsessive with detail. The rock ‘n’ roll influence is huge in his stores, the brand and even in some of the fragrances, just look at the Dark Rebel Rider fragrance for example. Being in his store yesterday- it felt like an underground music venue, with a stage and drum kit present, and a lot of music memorabilia reinforcing his Varvatos’ love for rock ‘n’ roll and the influence it has on his seriously cool clothing lines. The other factor, his obsession with detail- and I mean obsession in a good way. It’s evident from the detailing in his clothes and after Flores-Roux’s talk yesterday- it’s the same in the fragrances they produce.


John Varvatos Artisan Pure benefits from obsessive detail- inspired by the hills surrounding Xalapa, Mexico and its vast coffee and citrus groves, also a nod to Flores-Roux’s homeland. Artisan Pure is the fourth fragrance in the Artisan line, a more luxurious and refined collection, with Pure combining a refreshing blend of citrus and herbs with sun-warmed woody accents for a crisp aroma. It’s a modern, fresh and masculine scent.

  • TOP NOTES: The fragrance opens with a mix of citrus notes such as Spanish Lemon, Valencia Orange and Calabrian Bergamot. A trio of Petitigrain Essences bring a fresh green approach to the opening notes of the scent.
  • HEART NOTES: Herbal accents of Orange Flowers, Coffee Tree Flower, Jasmine and Italian Orris Absolute and Resinoid complement the notes of Coriander Seed and Cardamom.
  • BASE NOTES: A woody base of Orris, Duo of Texan and Virginian Cedarwood, Primavera Wood from Mexico, Angelica Root, Ambrette Seed and Tonka Bean linger, bringing a refined and artisanal touch to the base of the fragrance.

Equally impressive, as with all Varvatos fragrances is the packaging- a clean, bright and almond hue colour scheme, the Artisan Pure bottle is sandblasted for a clean, frosted look, and wrapped in durable hand-woven rattan stem. The cap and foot of the bottle is inspired by natural driftwood adding a touch of rugged luxury to the overall design.

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The Eau de Toilette is available exclusively at Selfridges from November 2017 and available nationwide from January 2018 priced £73/ 125ml and £52/ 75ml. Both seriously affordable for the quality of scent on offer. Fresh and exceptionally cool would be the best way I can describe Pure- a bit like John Varvatos himself.