Despite the hundreds of new fragrances released each year, I seem to spend a lot of time exploring scents first created years ago. I feel like I have so much catching up to do with perfume that I barely have time to see what's happening at my local department store. Here is a belated review of a relatively new department store perfume, probably old news to many of you: Lanvin Rumeur.
Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian developed Rumeur, and it was released by Lanvin in 2006. Rumeur steals its name but not its olfactory inspiration from the original Lanvin Rumeur first released in 1934. The new Rumeur's notes include magnolia, white roses, jasmine sambac, seringa, orange blossom, lily of the valley, patchouli, musks, and ambroxan. A Women's Wear Daily article quotes a Lanvin representative saying, "It's not a young scent; it's for women from 30 years old to 80" (8/25/2006).
Rumeur opens with a sparkling floral burst that hints at a happy, gardenia-like scent. This fresh beginning quickly flattens into a dull, dry, vaguely rose, jasmine, and lily of the valley heart that feels fuzzy and high-pitched to me. Imagine standing in a stuffy storage room and looking at a dusty, plastic bouquet on a shelf a little too high to reach. You stand on your tiptoes and grab at the bouquet, but after a few minutes of fruitless struggle you give up and decide to open a window for fresh air to ward off a migraine. That's how the middle of Rumeur feels to me. And Rumeur goes on and on — through twelve hours, washing a sink full of dishes by hand, and a bath.
I tried Rumeur three times, and each time I worked to give it a fair shake. Once, to counteract my perfume snobbery, I imagined that I was sampling a rare scent from the Osmothèque. The problem was that I kept getting the image of a bitter lemon and rose chiffon pie in my head, only the chiffon was made of recycled plastic soda bottles. Another time I wore Yves Saint Laurent Y on one hand, so that I could compare them (I had decided, without any proof at all, that Rumeur might be an example of one of the new, oakmoss-free chypres, and I wanted to smell it next to a real chypre), but I found myself huffing the Y hand for relief.
Of Lanvin's perfumes, Arpège feels like a diaphanous afternoon dress, My Sin a black, décolleté evening gown, and Scandal a pair of leather thigh boots laced up the back of the leg. Rumeur joins the lineup as a thin, pink acrylic nightie that unravels in the wash. However, I know lots of people like Rumeur, so don't let my review dissuade you from trying it if its notes sound interesting to you.
Lanvin Rumeur is available in 15 ml Parfum; 30, 50 or 100 ml Eau de Parfum. You can find the (adorable) 100 ml Eau de Parfum bottle for less than $30 at several online discounters.