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Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2016

Mikhail Vrubel, The Snow Maiden, detail

I am on record, here and elsewhere, as hating winter. The forecast for this weekend — snow, snow, and then more snow — just adds insult to injury. I’ve mostly managed to avoid the winter rotation in our seasonal Top 10 lists, but I did get stuck with it back in 2011, and reviewing that list, yes, I could easily go through the winter with just those 10 (and I am convinced I could make it through any winter with just Fendi Theorema, if I had to).

To avoid repetition with my 2011 list and the winter lists we’ve done since, I decided to come up with a cold-weather wardrobe based solely on newer fragrances…and then once I’d decided on my 10, I realized, too late, that this post is essentially an abridged and annotated version of the Best of 2015. So much for good intentions. If you have some new ideas for winter, do comment! And do check out the lists at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc and The Non-Blonde

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John Varvatos Dark Rebel ~ fragrance review

John Varvatos Dark Rebel, still from commercial

John Varvatos produces a respectable range of fragrances; they smell high quality, the packaging is fun and the collection is cohesive and “adult” (nothing Axe-like) — I don’t feel most Varvatos fragrances are made to feed (or succumb to) a market trend. From the moment I smelled Dark Rebel,* I liked it. A lot. It didn’t take long to realize WHY I liked it so much…more on that later.

Dark Rebel begins with a sweet (but assertive) leather aroma, mildly boozy and spiced with peppery notes and cardamom…

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