Dark Rebel 
John Varvatos (2015)

Average Rating:  27 User Reviews

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Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

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About Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

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John Varvatos
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Dark Rebel is a men's fragrance launched in 2015 by John Varvatos

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Reviews of Dark Rebel by John Varvatos

There are 27 reviews of Dark Rebel by John Varvatos.


Dark Rebel is as dark as the darkest night,it is seductive and mysterious like a middle eastern warior of oriental times. to me this is an old world fragrance,like a classic one,but done in a modern way. you know that rap song,"I'm a classic man". the world is changing, but some things will never change,like fine suit and fragrance.this is also a elegant but very macho scent.

This is deep - dark and full of character. opens up quite sweet. sweet,boozy with a aromatic twist.this evolves into resinious,both fir resin and styrax with sweetness still doing well and the leather and tobacco in the background.the leather starts getting bolder and stronger.it has an old school vibe to it - which is intriguing. dressy and mostly evening wear.


Dark Rebel is definitely a frontloaded experience, but the initial two hours or so are an absolutely lovely blend of smoky tobacco, motorcycle jacket leather, and sticky booziness. That booziness is all that survives into the drydown, alas, but at least it's pleasant.


I agree with others that this is a "bad boy" fragrance in a way. It's dark, intriguing, and gives off a rugged impression but with just enough sweetness in there to make it sexy.

I typically don't like cold weather fragrances, especially not orientals. They're often heavy, cloying, to the point of irritation. Dark Rebel is a bold scent for sure, but unlike say, Fahrenheit, AdG Profumo, or even Dylan Rebel, it doesn't choke you out. The "warmth" of the fragrance itself is comforting but doesn't actually feel warm, or hot when wearing it. It doesn't suffocate me like Obsession or Brut Special Reserve.

It's probably my favorite of the John Varvatos releases, and one of the best modern designers releases to come out in a while. It's very unique with that masculine, coffee bean/coco bean-meets-leather smell.


Picked this up the other day at TJ Maxx for a bargain price. Was looking for a cheap, everyday fragrance with tobacco and/or leather which are two of my favorite notes. For years, my "go to" cologne was Fendi Uomo but I'm down to about 25 ml. of my remaining bottle. This one isn't as complex and a fair bit sweeter, but dries down nicely on me and I catch a whiff for several hours after a 4 spray application.


I'm somewhere between thumbs up and neutral on this one.

Dark Rebel starts off great and is easier to wear than its smokier brother Dark Rebel Rider, but the booziness in the base is a little too forward for my taste, and the scent as a whole feels a bit “flat”. Dark Rebel is likely not a crowd pleaser, and there are better leather fragrances out there. Still, give Rodrigo Flores-Roux credit for making this concept work on a budget.

Overall, Dark Rebel is a decent cold weather scent for someone who already owns other fragrances in the Varvatos line and wants to stay within that aesthetic wheelhouse, but I wouldn't spend more than $30 on this or its flanker. Neither is full bottle worthy for me, but I appreciate their creativity.

Rider still seems to be available on the grey market for a good value, but the prices on Dark Rebel appear to be creeping up. For that reason, Dark Rebel gets a neutral, while Rider is a thumbs up.


Longevity and projection are always connected to this line, but I enjoy the John Varvatos line for the exact opposite reason that it gets heavily criticized - I don't need my fragrance to create a scent bubble a 1/4 mile out while continuing to pound off me for 12 hours.

For $30 bucks if it isn't a synthetic mess and smells good then frag on baby. If I need 6-8 sprays then so be it.

Dark Rebel reminds me of a more tobacco smoke forward Halston Z-14. It has a mild cinnamon sweetness in the heart and leather in the base. Z-14 is more complex, but the vibe is similar overall.

3.5 stars.

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