John Varvatos turns things blue with brand new fragrance

JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN BLUI’m a huge fan of the John Varvatos fragrances and it’s a real shame the designer doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition in the UK as he does over in the States because if he did I’m sure his fragrances would be much more popular than they are. They certainly deserve to be best sellers. The original John Varvatos Artisan fragrance is lovely (see a brief review of it here) and each successive addition to the collection, like Artisan Black and Artisan Acqua, have brought something new to the portfolio.

The latest addition, the limited edition, Artisan Blu, is all about bottling an aquatic, summery vibe so think Mediterranean herbs, summer flowers and the kind of crisp, clean wateriness that evokes summer hols and balmy evenings on the beach  – a very comforting thought as I write this on a cold and grey February afternoon believe me. As ever, the bottle, comes encased in a handcrafted rattan sleeve – in this case deep blue and, appropriately, reminiscent of fishermen’s nets.  One to put on your spring fragrance list for sure.

Top notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Lavender, Chayote, Basil

Heart notes: Palmarosa, Clary Sage, Geranium, Iris, Orange Blossom Absolute

Base notes: Patchouli, cedarwood, parasol pine, tamarisk, pistachio tree resin

John Varvatos Artisan Blu is available from Debenhams from 1st April priced £49 for 75ml eau de toilette.

New Aramis fragrance keeps brand firmly in the black

ARAMIS BLACK FRAGRANCEIt’ll come as no surprise to anyone who loves and understands the Aramis brand that the latest fragrance in the portfolio, Aramis Black shares many of Aramis Classic‘s ‘core values’ as a fragrance. But although it might be a thoroughly grown up, multi-dimensional and autumnal fragrance Black is a little edgier, darker and spicier than its older brother: think Dynasty‘s Ben Carrington to Blake Carrington or – for the younger folk – Prince Harry living it up in Vegas rather than Prince William politely honouring foreign dignitaries at a state dinner.

Initially oudy and smoky, Black’s core is based around a lively and very noticeable peppery facet, softened and rounded out by smooth and vanillary tonka bean. The Aramis DNA is still very much present, though, in the shape of a lovely underlying leatheriness and a touch of boozy gentleman’s club but Black is altogether more in-your-face and contemporary. The inky juice is a nice touch, too, giving the whole thing a touch of mystery and menace.

I must say, I was a wee bit disappointed by the last Aramis fragrance, Aramis Adventurer, which was a hyperactive and rather brash fragrance in comparison, but Aramis Black puts things firmly back into, well, the black.

Available now from Boots and nationwide from August.