I am still continuously surprised by how strong the associations between scent and memory can be. Escada Rockin’ Rio is really no different than any of the other fruity Escada fragrances, but I consider it to be my Escada because it was my very first perfume. Rockin’ Rio was a juicy pineapple fragrance, a cheerful ray of sunshine during my gloomy middle school years. Yes, I confess (with only minimal amounts of shame) that in middle school I was a wannabe goth girl. Young Ari was extremely impressionable (this has not actually changed much), and I enthusiastically adopted the hideous chain-pants and the truly terrible heavy metal music that all of my friends were into. Some advice for very impressionable, very short middle schoolers: Do not go to heavy metal concerts. You will be trampled.
Thankfully, there is no remaining photographic evidence of the pants. The purple hair, however, is well-documented.
Rockin’ Rio was an unlikely accompaniment to my purple hair and wardrobe of overpriced Hot Topic shirts. It is now an unlikely member of my perfume collection, where it is probably the least sophisticated scent I own. So how is this recent reissue of Rockin’ Rio different from the original? To my nose, that delightful initial blast of pineapple is still the same. This new version seems to fade out more quickly than I remember, but it is hard to say whether that is because Escada changed the formula or because my skin is much drier than it used to be. Whatever the reason, lasting power is a serious issue for this fragrance. I get only ten minutes of full enjoyment out of Rockin’ Rio before it begins to fade away. The scent is completely gone within an hour. Even at $43 for 1 oz, I still find that unreasonable.