Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bargin Basement - Fendi's Asja and Balenciaga's Rumba

Asja is discontinued and Rumba (and indeed the whole Balenciaga line) is sadly neglected, so I got bottles at an online discounter for less than $25 each. For such a price, I was prepared to get at least one dud. Instead, I have been rewarded by the gods of frugality with two of the best unsniffed purchases I've managed.

I had heard rave reviews about the "underrated" Asja (1992), just as I had about Fendi's Theorama. (I prefer Mauboussin's Histoire D'eau Topaze, which was also created by nose Christine Nagel, to the latter.) Of course, just after I ordered Asja, a number of people whose opinions I admire came out of the woodwork and announced they thought it was overrated. In Le Guide (1994), Luca Turin described it as (get ready for my poor translation!): "Not bad, but too somber and a bit confused." Perhaps this was the dud? No, indeed! It does sort of veer all over the place, and there are definite similarities to spicy oriental stalwarts like Cinnabar. It smells for some time, however, of the pineapple and apple fritters my mother made on Halloween for a few years during my adolescence, and I found myself getting nostalgic and fond. I lose a little interest once the carmelized fruit note starts to fade, but it works well for a cozy fall scent and you could do *much* worse for the price.

Rumba, created by Ron Winnegrad and the very famous Jean-Claude Ellena in 1988, has recently had a little revival on the fragrance boards and blogs. Check out the divine Angela S.'s recent write-up on Now Smell This. The opening moments are incredibly evocative of the eighties and the power perfumes of that decade. It is a big start, with a dense "perfumey" plum note. Now, I usually like me a plum note, but I like 'em mellow and this is a strident, forward plum with cleavage and linebacker shoulder pads. It sort of scared me. Things settle down eventually, and Rumba takes on the wax and powder scent of high-end cosmetics. There is a pleasant smokiness and an occasional whiff of something sharp (the baseboard heater smell of Angela's detection?). The sillage will kill small flies in your wake, and you don't have to worry about it fading.


At 4:35 p.m., Blogger Thom said...

You're a rare breed, sister o' mine: the bargain-basement discount perfume shopper. But I'm happy you were pleased with your purchases. Who knew Balenciaga made perfume?


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