Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream: fragrance review

To Dream, indie perfumer Laurie Erikson's (of Sonoma Scent Studio) latest release clearly poses as a violet fragrance and yet it is so much more that it can stand for many things: a woody floral for those who don't want too much of either declination; a balanced composition that explores minimal powdery elements alongside a soft, fuzzy smoothness and sweetened woods over the familiar ambience of viola odorata; a non makeup scent for men who want to venture into the realm. To Dream is quite enchanting, inducing daydreaming indeed, and at the same time supremely easy to pull of for both sexes, projecting on a pleasant hum at all times, no sharp points, but rather colourful accents, like an oil painting by a late 19th century artist.

To Dream features soft violet and rose with a base of heliotrope, tonka, amber, vanilla, frankincense essential oil (very lightly done), oakwood absolute, orris, cedar, sandalwood, and hints of cocoa, suede and moss. Even though Laurie had been working on violets before for her Lieu de Rêves (Place of Dreams), reviewed on these pages, the two compositions, sharing the violet-rose-heliotrope heart, soon depart. Lieu de Rêves has a childlike innocence and the hazy contours of flou stills of Louis Malle's Pretty Baby; a nascent sensuality which beckons you closer Bambi-eyed. To Dream is a bit more sophisticated and more unisex, with woodier aspects from French oakwood absolute which comes from wine barrels made of Quercus robur wood; Quercus is the Latin name for oak, i.e. these are oaky barrels, the kind that hold aging-simpatico dry, red wine).

Smelling the raw essence of oakwood absolute, mossy and fruity at the same time, brought to my mind all the early memories I had when as a kid we went to grape distilleries & wineries (a Greek pastime during family holidays driving through the lush countryside) and I buried my nose inside the by -then empty- oaky barrels before being shown the fungus that is added to begin the fermentation process. The tannic facets of the wine were mingling with the slightly musty, pungent aroma of the wood itself. In To Dream this is a definite note and oenophiles will be delighted to discover it within a fragrance fit to wear. This woody note naturally lends itself to pairings with moss and the soft notes like the rose and strawberry bouquet of a young red wine. But that is not all: The powderiness and slight almondy character of To Dream enrobes this wood note and the florals with plush, a fine muskiness surfacing to blend all into a comforting, snuggly haze you won't want to get away from.

Notes for Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream:
Violet, rose, heliotrope, cedar, amber, frankincense, oakwood absolute, vetiver, tonka, orris, vanilla, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, subtle suede, cocoa, and aldehydes.

To Dream is available as parfum extrait spray 34ml for 80$ on the Sonoma Scent Studio site and IndieScents.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances, Violets in perfumery

Painting Daydreaming by Eugene de Blaas (1843-1931)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample vial directly from the perfumer


  1. Laurie makes some beautiful scents!

  2. Anonymous16:00

    I've been trying to be good and wait for Laurie's other new scents to come out (the classic-inspired one and the white floral) - but everything I have been reading about To Dream tells me I need a sample NOW. Like, yesterday.

    Off to order one.

  3. Goodness--it sounds utterly perfect. I can almost smell it from your description!

  4. Rappleyea16:55

    I'm so happy to read your excellent review of To Dream. I was lucky enough to be one of Laurie's "testers" for this scent, and I agree, it is simply beautiful. Laurie's creations for Sonoma Scent Studio keep getting better and better - she is so very talented!

  5. dleep17:31

    I love Laurie's scents and would love to try this.

  6. My first ever rose/violet perfume that I feel compelled to own.
    I think Laurie did a wonderful job and I love her creations, she deserves such praise.


  7. To dream sounds heavenly a must try it ASAP

  8. K,

    indeed she does! I'm sorely tempted with this one.

  9. m,

    you need to try this, it's really good. I think you will end up liking it. She's very skillful with woody (and musky) notes.

  10. Sounds wonderful! Thank you for the review.

  11. A,

    aww, thanks, what a nice compliment!
    Do try it if you can.

  12. Donna,

    good, I'm being corroborated (always nice). I think it's a winner and it will sell quite well indeed. Everyone likes a soft, smooth, snuggly scent with an interesting note in there, don't they?

  13. Dleep,

    Laurie is getting better all the time. It pleases me to see that several indies have been boosted by the online feedback into bettering and shining. :-)

  14. Tamara,

    she did a great job in this one, very true. Not only a violet-rose but so much more. Easy too!

  15. Taffy,

    I'd grab a sample if I were you! :-)

  16. Thanks Dixie, you're most welcome. Thanks for stopping by!


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