Versace launched The Dreamer in 1996. It features notes of juniper, artemisia, tarragon, mugwort, linen seed flowers, tobacco, amber, lily, and iris. Today Marlen, one of the moderators from the basenotes forum, is joining me again for a dual review.
He says: When I was younger, I had a bottle of The Dreamer and I remember it as smelling a lot like a gin and tonic being sipped by a gentleman smoking a pipe. However, I couldn't quite understand the scent in those days and only wore it a handful of times before swapping away my beautiful bottle. Now however, I can detect the white floral note, and have a greater appreciation for that warm, rich, sweet tobacco base. I only wish there was some buttery leather in there!
The opening of the juniper and lily really help temper and develop the tobacco notes, and it is this lily note that I find most intriguing (lily? in a men's scent?) as it brings a cool freshness to the edges of the fragrance. Looking at the notes, I wonder where the iris is, as it's virtually undetectable to my nose. As the scent relaxes on the skin, the tobacco mellows and merges with the amber and the almost coconut-y tarragon note becomes apparent. The final effect of this combination of notes is almost soapy...and perfect!
Truly unique, and a pleasure in the cooler months, The Dreamer is perhaps the best of Versace and I now think of it as fondly as a favorite sweater or blanket — warm and comforting.
She says: I became interested in The Dreamer after seeing it on Chandler Burr's Top 10 list last year, and went off to Nordstroms for a sample, where of course, I was told by a sales associate that a woman couldn't possibly wear it.
The Dreamer starts with herbal notes under a bitter chemical haze that does bear some relation to a gin & tonic. Shortly thereafter it starts to get soapy, and adds tobacco and some light spices. The floral notes are apparent, but they do not leave much of an impression on me. What I remember instead is the distinct smell of tootsie rolls, some powdered sugar, a touch of auto parts.
It is a strange, rather eccentric fragrance. It is one of very few scents that actually calls to mind an image of a mad scientist in a lab coat, laughing maniacally as he mixes various fragrance components in a test tube. I would not say that I dislike it, exactly, because there is something compelling about it, but it has a toxic-industrial edge that I find disturbing. For all that, it is a soft, subdued scent once it dries down, and could easily qualify as unisex.
The Dreamer can be found at bargain prices if you shop carefully; right now a 1.6 oz bottle is $23.99 at imaginationperfumery or $20.38 at scentiments. Every so often a bottle pops up at TJ Maxx for even less.