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The Dreamer – The best of Versace, elegant aromatic, unusual and affordable.

Starry Night at La Silla

You may be in low-level panic mode as you search for gifts at this date, just like I am.  It’s daunting, to say the least, as we navigate this brand-new pandemic experience of shopping exclusively from home on our laptops, phones, etc.  With sensory input restricted to two-dimensional images - no touch, no sound, no smell, no taste, no opportunity to measure or inspect – clicking the BUY button can be a high-tension event. 

So the main gifts my family are getting this year are things that I already own and have tested and deemed impossible to live without – everyone is getting an Instant Pot! And an Instant Pot cookbook! Just kidding! What they’re actually getting is a bottle of fragrance, or a scented soap or candle or room scent…something to soothe senses and spirits.  

A fragrance for my men is a treasure I discovered when closet-cleaning this fall, a blast from my husband’s past, which I immediately spritzed on my arm and realized in a split second was one of those “hidden gem” fragrances we've written about in several posts. It’s one of the late-90’s designer fragrances that was way ahead of its time when it launched in 1996, strange and very different, but now more than twenty years later, is regarded by die-hard perfume lovers as highly original. a post-modern classic. I’m talking about The Dreamer by Versace.

As soon as I sniff that spritz on my arm it all comes back to me. It is The Dreamer’s strange opening, so pungent with a strong “synthetic” vibe that made it so difficult and so controversial twenty years ago. The fragrance inspired a “Love It or Hate It” response, but now to my much more experienced nose, this opening is tantalizing instead of repellant, much like the brash top accords in many contemporary niche fragrances. 

The Dreamer was designed as a classic man’s scent in the style of an aromatic fougère, and the opening accord is an Italian barbershop, writ large. Gianni Versace was the Italian fashion king in the 80’s and 90’s up to his tragic shooting death in 1997, and the brand continues under the direction of his sister, Donatella. The mandarin citrus opening, with the edgy clary sage/tarragon combo, reflect his huge creative persona as well as the rough bravado of the stereotypical Italian male. I recognize these key notes, the “synthetic” quality in the initial accord I now perceive as the herbs and juniper resins, dramatic, and untamed. In any case, this opening assault soon subsides, softening as the floral notes in the heart develop, and The Dreamer begins to reveal its more elegant and romantic Oriental foundations.

The heart is airy white florals, the gray earthiness of iris, the sweet indolic of white lily which is soon scented with tobacco blossom, and the wafting aroma of green tobacco leaves slowly drying in the warmth of the sun. The fresh tobacco has an earthy sweetness that is deepened with the warmth of ambery tonka and more. Not at all conjuring smoke, the tobacco accord becomes rich and smooth as polished wood, faceted with resinous wafts of juniper and herbs. This dry-down of airy almost powdery white florals and tobacco and amber is to die for, soothing and peaceful, almost otherworldly. 

Elegant and sophisticated and modern, The Dreamer has proven to be timeless. The opening is overpowering for a minute or so but soon relaxes, and the waft as The Dreamer dries down is surprisingly gentle. The scent has longevity, one-to two spritzs (no more) lasts all day, and despite being a men’s fragrance, I can confirm that it’s also works for women. I love wearing The Dreamer, especially in this colder weather. 

And the best thing? The Dreamer has not changed perceptibly over the years, it is still in production, and the EdT is sold online for very reasonable prices by the major online perfume sites, making it an affordable gift at any time of the year. 

Elegant, aromatic, unusual and affordable – The Dreamer. I love discovering, and re-discovering, hidden gems. 

The Dreamer is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1ml.

Image - wikipedia.com - eso.org, eso/h.dahle, Aug 19, 2013