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Smell Test: John Varvatos Artisan Acqua


With his stellar track record, nobody is doubting John Varvatos’s fragrance chops these days.

But when a sample of Artisan Acqua, his latest citrus-and-basil-laden scent, made its way into Kempt HQ with the oddly specific claim to “embody the panache and leisure of the Mediterranean man who, without overthinking, achieves high style and an effortless nonchalance,” we couldn’t not be curious.

Fortunately, we have protocols in place to handle such skepticism. And so it was up to our resident bloodhounds/writers to take a good, strong whiff of the stuff and put into words what their noses were telling them.

Their olfactory musings, now:

I’m not 100% sure what a thicket smells like, but I’m pretty sure this is it.

I’m smelling a hammock on a white sandy beach—in the middle of a hurricane.

It’s like going to a Goo Goo Dolls concert with the Pine-Sol lady.

Smells like shul on Passover.

Michael Bolton’s favorite eau de toilette.

A night at the Roxbury.

Like a stately older gentleman that’s been engaging in some after-hours not-so-stately activities.

It smells like I wanted to smell like at prom.