A bottle of Versace Dreamer set against a painted red brick wall.

Versace Dreamer fragrance review

With a screaming top and unending mustiness, Versace Dreamer deserves its rock bottom price.

Versace Dreamer is a curious scent. Ubiquitous on the fragrance shelves of discounters like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, it along with Blue Jeans are Versace’s two bargain bin scents. It’s got an interesting and voraciously supportive following, folks who swear by it and who have made it their signature scent. But it’s divisive. And, sadly, after a year of trying to like it off and on, I’ve decided: Versace Dreamer is just not for me.

It’s not that it’s a bad scent, or that it’s not relatively crowd-pleasing! It currently sits at a respectable 3.89/5 rating on Fragrantica, and its notes list seem like something I should love. Tobacco, lavender, tonka bean, rose… these are notes that generally I’m all about. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on some folks’ Top 10 Scents for Fall lists. But something about the composition in Versace Dreamer just doesn’t do it for me.

Dreamer, I wish you’d keep it down

I’ll tell you a bit about what the experience of wearing Dreamer is like. It starts with a musty, powdery explosion that none of the top notes seem to be able to account for. My best guess is that the geranium and carnation from the heart notes are making an unexpected (and, let me tell you, unwelcome) appearance. Versace Dreamer is overwhelming and for the first 15 minutes or so, you’re not going to want to be around folks who have a sense of smell. It’s just too much! Too much powder, too many musty floral notes in your face all at once. It feels like they’re screaming at me.

Things get a little bit better once those powdery notes quiet down. After those first 15 minutes, Versace Dreamer’s creamier, sweeter qualities come out. Tonka and lavender waft through my nostrils, supported by a rather spicy tobacco note that feels synthetic but not entirely displeasing. My experience with Dreamer is looking up at this point!

But at about half an hour into the experience, things go south again. Fir and vetiver notes appear, and they dry things out too much. That dryness is unfortunate not least because the sweetness that appeared in the heart is overtaken! It is replaced by that same musty quality that yelled so loudly at me in the top notes.

One word, and it rhymes with dusty

And that’s the overwhelming sensation that I get from Versace Dreamer: musty. The kind of musty when something’s been damp for too long, and then it dries out but never loses that particular sense of needing to be washed or cleaned. It’s particularly sad because in the heart of the fragrance, for those 20 minutes or so after the powder dies down and before the fir and vetiver do their thing, Versace Dreamer is actually a little bit pleasant.

The technical qualities of Versace Dreamer are just fine! Sillage and projection are both moderate, and longevity is quite good, around 4-6 hours or so of good performance. But it’s all for naught if the scent doesn’t work!

On occasion I’ve tried to imagine what sort of person would enjoy a scent like Versace Dreamer. I’m afraid I can think of no one in my primary or even secondary social groups that fits the bill. It smells old, not in the sense of a fragrance style from another era, but just that’s been out for too long and been weathered to the point of losing what initially made it interesting.

Whether it’s been reformulated or not I’m not sure of, but Versace Dreamer smells like it’s trying desperately to remember what it once was. Its grasps come up empty — something that my bottle of it will never be.

A bottle of Versace Dreamer set against a painted red brick wall.
Versace Dreamer fragrance review
Versace Dreamer just doesn't work. A screaming powdery opening and a mustiness that just doesn't quit, it deserves its bargain bin price.
Reader Rating1 Votes
...it's not weak?
There's a pleasant bit in the heart
Smells musty
Opening screams at you
The mustiness sticks around