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Rumba – Total uninhibited fun! (July 1, 2011 Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Tropicana Havana dancers by Petrovsky18

Gay Pride Week in Toronto winds up with a massive Mardi Gras-type parade on the weekend. People come from all over North America, the world even, to be part of it. It’s awesome – a big, loud, long, blast of sound and swirling colour- everyone dances, sings, laughs for a few crazy hours of larger-than-life, over the-top, pure and totally uninhibited fun.

Which makes me think of Rumba by Balenciaga. What’s the connection? Well, Rumba is one of those perfumes that’s uninhibited and larger-than-life. Rumba grabs you by the nose, swings you up in the air, whirls you around a couple of times, shouts “Hola!” then makes you dance till you drop. It’s loud, luscious, tempting, demanding, tenacious, and you better be ready to keep up, swivel those hips and have a great time. The name says it all.

Rumba was launched in 1988 and was created by Ron Winnegrad and Jean Claude Ellena, which is almost impossible to believe if you’re familiar with Ellena’s work over the past decade. He’s gone from hot, luscious and full-bodied to cool, thin and minimalist, like the recent launch for Hermes, Osmanthe Yunnan - but he does both extremely well. The notes in Rumba are: mirabelle plum, peach, orange blossom, raspberry; magnolia, tuberose, orchid, gardenia, jasmine, carnation, heliotrope, honey, lily of the valley; amber, oakmoss, vanilla, sandalwood, cedarwood, tonka bean, musk, styrax.

 At the opening, I get peachy fruit with orange blossom, which has enough citrus to keep it from over-sweetness. Then golden plum mixes in with tuberose and spicy carnation – it’s really an abstract feeling of fruit rather than individual sensations. As it moves into the heart, the indolic white flowers swirl up -  the “femme  fatale” notes with the long red fingernails - jasmine, gardenia, lily of the valley. The accord of fruit and florals can only be described as luscious when the amber kicks in to amp it up and round it out, and give it a hint of  boozy dark rum.

Slowly Rumba winds down, deepening through florals into musty animalic leather and musk, caramelizing the sweetness, giving it an edge of darkness in a velvet glove. After four or five hours, Rumba relaxes into a scent of quiet meditation, the wood notes giving it a meditative incense-like finish which is soft on the skin, and easy on the nose.

From start to finish, Rumba is quite a dance – a sexy one. Whenever I wear it, I channel old movie goddesses like Ava Gardner or Sophia Loren, or Carmen Miranda dancing with the fruit salad on her head if I’m feeling slightly goofy and playful. Rumba is big and demands attention, so I never wear it to events which require decorum and convention – good gracious, no - it might offend or distract some waspy soul! Rumba is much more at home at a big boisterous party, with red lipstick, strappy sky-high sandals, and a spectacularly sexy dress. One spritz will work its magic all night.

Rumba would be perfect at the Parade, though. I recommend wearing THREE spritzs - for total uninhibited fun.

Rumba is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.