Artisan Blu 
John Varvatos (2016)

Average Rating:  13 User Reviews

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Artisan Blu by John Varvatos

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About Artisan Blu by John Varvatos

People & Companies

John Varvatos
Fragrance House

The company says:

Plunging deep into an azure sea, John Varvatos Artisan Blu is the ultimate embodiment of crystal blue waters under the warmth of the sun. This aromatic citrus fragrance exhales an elegant and refreshing personality, evoking visions of a saturated, vibrant seaside lost in the Mediterranean summer.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Artisan Blu by John Varvatos

There are 13 reviews of Artisan Blu by John Varvatos.

I want to preface this review by saying that I am not a fragrance expert; I am not great at picking out notes, but I know what kind of scents I like and how they feel to me.

Artisan Blu has a sharp and distinctive opening with a quick dry down to its base notes. I really enjoy the base notes of this fragrance but I love the complexity of the opening. When I wear it I normally Spray two sprays on about 45 minutes before I go out to let it dry down to the base notes, and then right before I leave I spray three more times to have the opening present. My only gripe with this fragrance is how short it lasts. I feel that I only really get three hours of good performance. After that, you need to be right next to me to smell anything at all.

As other reviewers have stated, this scent is definitely a blue one, but not an overpowering ocean wave crashing into your face. To me, this scent is the embodiment of going to a fancy beach resort with your friends wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It feels playful and youthful while also having a hint of class at the same time. It is a distinct and unique scent.

Wear this scent if you want to stand out among the waves of similar smelling blue fragrances. This is a great fragrance for the beach (of course), school, and work, even if you may have to reapply once during the day.

I went from a cranky neutral to a solid thumbs up on Artisan Blue over three wears. The first night I tried it, the initial chayote burst came off as piercing and unpleasantly sharp, almost rotten.

In the intervening few weeks, it's possible my nose has improved, or my body chemistry is for some reason more germane to this juice, or that pumping a few sprays to get a bit of air in the bottle has done it some good.

Now it's just simple and enjoyable. The citrus is more pronounced and the chayote makes a nice accompaniment. I never minded the aquatic aromachemicals... the dihydromyrcenol in particular is oddly comforting to me.

I have more hot days than not, so this is a fun, if uninspiring, juice du jour during a long summer. Still, when you're paying bottom dollar for a solid fragrance, the price/value proposition is quite evident.

I expected this one to be a little more "blue" and aquatic but what I'm mostly getting is a sparkling citrus fragrance. It's not bad--it smells very much like Sprite to me, as if you opened a fresh can and put the spout toward your nose. It's a bright, sort of fizzy lemon lime scent definitely intended for summer, but without much of an aqueous texture or oceanic smell. It smells nice, and I wouldn't mind using this if I wasn't really into fragrances. Let's say I was just a guy who had been gifted a bottle of Artisan Blu for Christmas or something; I'd certainly like it and it could function as my warm weather option. But it's nothing amazing. And being really into fragrances I just find it kind of generic and a little boring in the end. There's nothing that makes it stand out, but on the same hand, there's nothing particularly wrong with it either. It's another decent summer citrus with the added good fortune of being housed in a cool bottle. A mild thumbs up. 6.5/10.

I would be remiss not to echo what previous reviewers have stated before me -- especially when they are correct -- that Artisan Blu is an aquatic eau de cologne.

This is essentially Cool Water (1988) and a big dose of neroli. It's not without its charm, for sure, but Artisan Blu excels at being neither an aquatic or an eau de cologne. It's essentially a novelty idea brought to life, and like any fragrance, it will have its fans, but I just don't see anything well-done enough that I would want to pick this up for myself.

It's a well-made fragrance -- I'm certainly a fan of some of Flores-Roux's other works with John Varvatos -- but it's not something that really stands out and makes me take notice, the way that another Varvatos flanker, Artisan Pure (2017), did.

I give this a thumbs up, as it's a well-executed take on an interesting concept at a good price, but it's not something I'll be adding to my collection.

The opening is a very nice shower gel and barbershop scent. The drydown becomes more minty and powdery, resembling LeMale Eau Fraiche. It's really not that complicated or mind-blowing but it's easy to wear and enjoyable for me.

Feels best for warm weather casual wears. Projection is average and projection is decent during the first 4 hours.

I wonder how the Varvatos think tank came up with this flanker? It's simple elegance borderlines almost on numbskull levels of "why didn't somebody already think of this?" in terms of what it does. I imagine John Varvatos and unofficial perfumer for the house Rodrigo Flores-Roux both sat on a couch, shared a bong, and in the midst of a Pink Floyd back drop said: "Hey dude, like what if we took a generic 90's/2000's aquatic and made it kinda niche by mashing an eau de cologne into it? Wouldn't that be cool?" The answer is yes, that would be pretty cool. It's not super original, not very powerful or long-lasting, nor has the best versatility due to it's hot weather lean, but John Varvatos Artisan Blu (2017) is the perfect modern mainstream aquatic for neroli lovers that maybe need something even better for a sweltering day than a traditional eau de cologne. The stuff is a limited Nordstrom flanker like a lot of Artisan entries, but that doesn't mean it can't be hunted down in the gray market for a better price. I like it but I admit that a cool spin on an oversaturated genre is like yet another parodic self-aware teen slasher film in the wake of the original "Scream" from 1996. You might get a few jollies out of it but you already know how it's going to end. If the original Artisan (2009) is "Scream", this is like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" by comparison.

A neat twist to a formulaic plot is much how Artisan Blu plays out when worn. The opening of neroli is unmistakable, and eau de cologne fans or just fans of neroli in general will all go "oooooh interesting" at first glance. Bergamot, bitter orange, and lavender are all prerequisite cast members destined to die first in the opening movements of the film, and chayote adds an interesting "vegetal" quality that seems to fit well with the neroli and basil. The middle of geranium, iris, and clary sage continue the eau de cologne theme when they encounter the neroli, but the tendrils of the generic aquatic all this is grafted to really start ramping up the gratuitous murdering of notes until the base reminiscent of Davidoff Cool Water (1988) emerges to reveal it's the killer. Dihydromyrcenol, linalool, and calone are all here with a slight patchouli, cedar and pine, showing that the last survivors of this predictably horrific night are clinging to the vestiges of green from the cologne-like intro. It's all in good fun really, and anyone that always wondered what Cool Water and 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser (1799) smelled like in a blender now have their answer, but that's the only thing artisinal about the whole affair. Otherwise, this is like any other example of the genre, and unless you're a dedicted fan, you're more likely to catch this on "Netflix" with a sample than toss up any ammount of cash committing to Artisan Blu-ray by buying a full bottle (pun intended). Office safe and casual day-wear appropriate, Artisan Blu is best in summer, but will only stall it's engines fully in winter.

I'm giving this a thumbs-up but conditionally in accordance with your climate and it's availability. Most limited Nordstrom exclusives from the house stay available and affordable for a good amount of time, outside of the insane $2500 John Varvatos Rock Volume One (2009) or the much-less-ridiculous John Varvatos 10th Anniversary (2010), which was extremely devalued when it saw wider re-release as John Varvatos Platinum Edition (2013) sometime later, and can be bought for near-retail. If this one eventually goes in that direction after some time, all bets are off. However, if you live near the equator, or just love aquatics overall, and maybe find a neroli head note in such a scent interesting, you should definitely pounce on this. As for me? It rarely gets super hot for any length of time where I live, so what aquatics I have barely see annual use, so while I approve, this wouldn't see enough use to justify a purchase, and it's of no collector's interest to me. I wouldn't have a place for this in my collection, much like most of the "ironic" slasher films that littered the 2000's in the wake of the "Scream" franchise, but much like them, I'd occasionally like to catch a recollection of Artisan Blu now and then to remind myself of the simple "pothead genius" on display with it's design and execution, for whatever that's worth. John Varvatos has done much better, but there's nothing objectively unlikeable about this, but like with slasher films, folks not fond of the subject are better off not wasting their time outside a spray from a tester. When wearing Artisan Blu, never run up stairs or say you'll be right back, because you won't.

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