The Dreamer by Versace (1996)




Nose: Jean-Pierre Béthouart

First, the good news: if you want my opinion, I see almost no difference between the “vintage” and the more recent version of Dreamer. I said “almost” so I’m not saying they’re identical – the vintage smells a bit more natural, slightly darker and smoother, withouth the synthetic harshness of the recent (current?) version you can smell loud and clear at its very opening; but since in a matter of minutes it goes away and the scents perfectly “tunes in”, I think the two versions are 99% equivalent overall – just use a little patience with the more recent one. The drydown is pretty much identical, I surely don’t get any “ruined” juice as I read online about the current version. This said, the scent itself is just an excellent piece of modern perfumery. Almost nondescript for me, and it took me a while to “understand” it: it smells just really beautiful, uplifting and terribly pleasant. I don’t get how did they make it precisely, but all works perfectly. I smell tobacco (cigarette type), lavender, spices (Jaipur Homme’s kind of Oriental, talc-infused sweet spices), a clever touch of something balsamic-green, but most of all I smell overall a fantastic feel of cleanliness, peace, fulfillment with a really peculiar “ambiance” halfway naturally and earthy, and so clean and slightly musky it almost smells futuristic.

I usually can’t stand reviews romanticizing scents and I try to avoid mentioning feelings and suggesting “images”, but this time I can’t help it, as Dreamer has a really strong evocative quality for me – evoking this sense of neat, clean, “natural versus artificial” brightness with a fantastic shade of “barbershop” notes and a touch of Oriental mystery. The way they’re blended makes the difference here, Dreamer is incredibly harmonic and compact, there’s just a perfectly consistent unique smell that smells of, well, “Versace Dreamer” and that’s it. This fragrance has them almost all – it’s elegant, versatile, but at the same time informal and fun, and has a really nice set of shades and a subtle “enigmatic” vein, I guess due to its Oriental notes. An easy-going but fascinating “chiaroscuro”. Plus I think it brilliantly takes inspiration from several families of perfumes – from classic tobacco-floral fragrances like Zino Davidoff, to dandy Oriental gems like Jaipur Homme, both under a decidedly “younger”, more modern light. An outstanding work of synthesis of many diverse inspirations, brilliantly projected into the future. Excellent creativity, excellent skills to give it shape. But above all, it smells just fantastic – the vintage version does it since the very first spray, with the recent one you’ve to wait some 15-20 minutes, but then it works as good as the previous one. Easily the nicest Versace ever for men, together with L’homme from 1984 (which is as good as conventional and a bit outdated for me though, while Dreamer is way more timeless – or more precisely, completely “out of time”).

8-8,5/10

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