Among the many divergent reviews of Rêverie au Jardin one of the few common strands is: those who don’t particularly care for lavender seem to find that this is a lavender that suits them. Lavender lovers, meanwhile, complain: ‘Where is the lavender?’
Perhaps both views can be addressed by observing that the lavender spike in Rêverie occurs early on, in the opening minute or so where we have a lovely clean lavender paired with some airy coniferous green. Almost immediately the transition begins, with the lavender dying back considerably, and the emergence of a smoky frankincense which imparts resinous warmth and plays up the balsamic aspects of the conifers – but the overall composition stays light. And finally, a vanillic base with some soapy orris and ambergris creaminess grows more prominent marking another successful transition, but now the lavender is set pretty deep in the mix.
Whereas I find that each stage is well-executed, there is no denying that this is a much softer creation than we are used to from Tauer. He once remarked that he felt maybe his sense of smell wasn’t particularly keen which is why he created such powerful perfumes. Clearly his hooter was coming over all sensitive when he composed this one.
What an odd fragrance is it! An undeterminable blend of spicy lavender, misty galbanum, floral sophistication, balmy creams and woodsy notes. The spicy initial grassy approach is as soon as possible affected by a smooth floral insertion that is sweetish, a touch indolent and a bit caramellous. The note of lavender has no time enough to express its grassy-spicy volatility. The pungent sweetness becomes misty because of incense and galbanum and may be too resinous and dense because of the influence of ambrette and vanilla. In this phase the smell is too gummy and dense (may be galbanum and ambrette). The dry down brings redemption to the all whole concoction balancing the excess of sweet density with a stream of dry woods, earthiness and boise'. The outcome is an odd changing cocktail of grassy spiciness, sweetish and floral density and a final touch of woodsy and powdery stableness. In this stage the powdery mildness takes the place of the antecedent excess of dense resinous. sweetness. Lavender, citrusy-orangy galbanum, balsams and woods the protagonists of the odd mélange. The odd, almost sinister aura of decadence exuding from the juice reminds me some Etro's creation as Via Verri and others.
Caltha’s review describes quite clearly what I experienced with this fragrance: I get a thickness of some sweet bubblegumish synthetic held in some kind of chaotically opaque matrix. “Lavender” is dominant, and I often find lavender annoying but in this case it is neither annoying not attractive… it is alien, suspicious… almost mutant. That lavender note is close to being “right” but it just isn’t… and it gives the feeling that it will never be right because it is so determinedly just barely on the wrong side of bazaar and synthetic. I was expecting green, but what I get is this unclear, sweetish density whose dominant effect is rather odd. The sweetness of the fragrance is also indeterminate and amorphous: to my nose there are several things in the Rêverie au Jardin is just a bit off – but not the drydown. The drydown is a soft, elegant sandalwood / cedar wood / vetiver sweetened a little by a discreet amber; it stays close to the skin and has excellent lasting ability. (Edit of 16 March 2009 review.)
16th March, 2009 (last edited: 16th June, 2009)
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Clean (florals) and sweet (tonka bean/vanilla) lavender. Like a sugar coated garden. Nose wrinkling harsh at first but does settle down a bit. I'll pass on it.
I really admire Andy Tauer, I do, but I just can't stand this fragrance. It sounds so green from the notes - possibly too herbal for my taste (not a fan of lavender) but worth a try. Alas, it is not green, not refreshing, not sparkling, not juicy, not like a garden at all! Instead, it's an odd, dense, muddy scent with a musty, stale, candylike sweetness that makes me wrinkle my nose in disgust. It reminds me of nothing more than Michale Storer's absolutely horrid Il Giardino, but at least that one had some berry notes as excuse for the sickly sweetness. What's Reverie's excuse? The tonka? The ambrette? The rose? The fir, which sometimes turns Wunderbaum-sweet? Where are all the green and woody notes hiding in this composition? The one note I can pick out is an aromatic lavender. Perhaps the drydown is better - I could bring myself to put this on my skin for the sake of research but not to keep it there for very long...
My main problem with Reverie is the ultra-sweet top note .... very fruity/floral ... the lavender gets lost in there. The frag becomes much more interesting in the midnotes and basenotes, where the green/herbal notes come into play more with lavender peeping out every once in a while. But I can't get beyond the candylike notes. If you like sweet, you may very well like this one, but it's just not my cup of tea. Longevity is decent, sillage not so great.