There are days that feel so perfect that I wish I could capture them somehow—in a sentence, in a drawing or in a drop of perfume. It may just be a mild spring morning when I wake up by myself before the alarm clock and find that my husband has already made some tea for me and the whole room smells of jasmine petals and wet leaves. Or perhaps, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee at a sidewalk café, soaking in the sunshine and the perfume of dusty geraniums. None of these moments are great epiphanies, but they comprise the small pleasures that color my days the most. When I read that a niche house A Lab on Fire launched a fragrance called Sweet Dreams 2003, I became tempted as much by its story as by the scent itself.
According to A Lab On Fire’s press release, Sweet Dreams 2003 is meant as a glimpse into the past, an “ode to a better life captured in the essence of stolen moments on a perfect beach, basking in the sunlight, listening to the Mediterranean lull.” It was created by Thierry Wasser years before he became the in-house perfumer at Guerlain. The perfume formula was jotted down in 2003 to capture the perfect summer day and left behind with the perfumer’s friend (the founder of A Lab on Fire, I presume) as Wasser pursued his other adventures.
Whatever the origin of Sweet Dreams 2003, I’m happy to say that I like the fragrance. It’s easy to be taken in by its warm, voluptuous character. The perfume has a fizzy top accord that weaves the peppery citrus notes with the green sweetness of orange blossom, and the intro to Sweet Dreams is so effervescent and bright that it sets a lighthearted mood from the first inhale.
As the fragrance settles on skin, it becomes sweeter, with the orange blossom warming up and revealing its opulent side. The green, fruity notes give way to the creamy, powdery layers, and this part is what appeals to me the most. Sweet Dreams smells like powdered skin and sugar dusted fougasse, a Provençal pastry flavored with orange blossom water. It has a bit of boudoir and a bit of pastry shop, both equally tempting. Despite the name, however, the sweetness is tempered by the green notes, which makes for an interesting contrast.
The closest fragrance in spirit to Sweet Dreams is L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore, one of my “summer fantasy” favorites. They both convey a warm and cozy feeling, and a similar interplay between creamy and powdery notes in the drydown. Sweet Dreams is more of an orange blossom story, whereas Traversée du Bosphore is about the rose and violet. But both perfumes have a languid, lighthearted character that makes them instantly appealing to me. Sweet Dreams isn’t a terribly complicated perfume, but there are days when simple pleasures suit the mood best.
A Lab On Fire Sweet Dreams 2003 includes notes of bergamot, neroli, petitgrain, orange flower, jasmine, musk, amber and castoreum. A Lab on Fire fragrances are available online at Min New York, Luckyscent, Colette in Paris and directly from A Lab On Fire. 60 ml Eau de Parfum/$110.
Image: Pink and Gold with a Touch of Green by Steve-h via flickr.com, some rights reserved.