Lithe; draped in white fur (clean body underneath), Tamango is an insidious, feminine, disco smell; very much of its era (the YSL Rive Gauche 70s), but despite (because of?) its obscurity, lovely.  At the tiny Leonard boutique in Paris a few years ago, which I went into because I adore their orchid-patterned ties, the perfumes seemed relegated to the bargain bins, almost an embarrassment, hopelessly dated there in their crummy old bottles, but I was amazed at how appealing some of them were. With one sniff of Tamango, I  saw Elvira, Michelle Pfeiffer’s beautiful, gazelle-like, coked-out moll in Scarface, dressed up in this as she descends in the lift; back turned to us, for her first appearance in De Palma’s film – the moment when a dazzled Al Pacino knows he must have her (and we can’t keep our eyes off her in that blue satin dress…)


Tamango doesn’t smell expensive (and isn’t), and you’ve experienced these notes many times before: that meringue-fresh, sparkling chypre (rose/hyacinth/bergamot/muguet vs vetiver/oakmoss/tonka, with sud-like aldehydes and musk for tenacity), but the ratio here is spot on. This scent emotes, and I can still see it really working its magic on the dancefloor.





One of the best bargains you will ever find online.


Filed under Flowers

10 responses to “ANGEL DUST: TAMANGO / LEONARD (1977)

  1. Katherine

    I’m drawn to all of the perfumes you attribute to blondes. Ivoire balmain and Oscar de la renta too… But I am dark-haired. Though I’ve been blonde many times and am somewhat split, blondes have this mystery, some sort of divine quality, I wonder if this can translate in perfume? The only brunettes that come to mind when thinking of fun seductive scents are the witchy chypres and lady in red! Or perhaps this is my mind. Sigh. As both reference and daydreaming, I return to your posts, I’m awaiting Michelle by balenciaga, which sounds like it will be dreamy and mysterious and fun!

  2. Katherine

    But if I’m honest as much as I enjoy this vain daydreaming of mine I am clearly distracting myself from work that I should be doing! Feel like watching scarface now, great set designs too..

    • ginzaintherain

      It might sometimes seem far-fetched, my linkages between films and perfume, but whenever I do make them they are sincere and heartfelt. I am a De Palma maniac, and there really is something about Tamango (a gorgeous, simple perfume) that is just like the sylph-like Elvira. It is so cheap on-line that even if you don’t like it you could just use it as a disco-toilet spray. You can’t lose!

      > Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 14:59:58 +0000 > To: >

      • Katherine

        Oh no, inspired but make perfect sense, it’s clearly a gift you have. I like to think I make new connections all the time, (though not with perfume as such as I hadn’t experienced it so much) and it’s part of what makes my mind agile and alive. I haven’t travelled much at all (in fact I got my first passport last year at the age of 29) though I want to, I always felt that films were a way of travelling and interpreting the world through history and art.

        But yes this film just LOOKS AMAZING… I think I thought it must have been luck or context or been put off by something as I never sought out his other films but I will now. I have been watching Woody Allen films over the past cold months and watched Interiors last night, which I recall you mentioning somewhere but can’t remember where… And I thought it was good, and then Pearl came on the screen and she was the loveliest person in the world?! Been trying to download Opening Night but it’s not happening.

        Do you recommend vintage or new Tamango? Not that I have any money til next week as I just bought Caleche, Oscar and am also restraining myself from some fairly cheap original Chloe.

        But at last my Arpege arrived and though at first it seemed to remain soapy and cloying, the next day I tried again and it was beautiful, and the next day it lifted and comforted me and made my soul grow. Hence the other perfume buys, I had been waiting. I also did a lot of artwork, and listened to beautiful music, and also felt newly inspired to seek out some deeply beautiful and complex perfumes. Perhaps vintage Je Reviens… Who knows? There is a world out there… (Though limited funds) x

  3. ginzaintherain

    Only just seen this comment, Katherine. It is wonderful to read.

  4. jtd0000

    Hi, G. To start, damn you for pointing out this new rabbit hole for me to scurry to and then empty my pockets into. I think you and I are generally from the same generation, although I think I have a few years on you. To find something new from the mid-to-late 70s makes me want to drop everything and pursue it. Do you know anything about the various vintages/concentrations of this perfume? Amazon has at least 2 bottle/box combinations with “new packaging”.

    Have you tried/do you like Leonard de Leonard? Your description of cheap and good fits there as well. I found too many other green floral chypres that i wore and gave my bottle away, but many seemed to thing it was quite similar to Guerlain Parure. best, jtd

    ps. 1977. Watch for it.

    • I only know this one in the format I found in Paris, and a sample they gave me. I don’t know if it had been reformulated (quite possibly, though the packaging obviously hadn’t been): it is not something to lust after, except for the fact that is, because a good cheap perfume with evocations is hard to find. To me it smelled familiar, but perfect somehow, as I said the ratio is spot on. It had that feeling of reaching a state of being itself, like all the best perfumes, despite the cheapness, which was also an intrinsic part of its appeal. Maybe it just reminded me of school discos or something but I would certainly like to smell it again. If it’s cheap, get it, and if you hate it, I’ll gladly buy it off you!

  5. Oh, this is one of my all time favorites!! This along with Balahe by Leonard are two of my favorites. When these fragrances were in their youth they were definitely not cheap at all; not in composition, nor in price. Sadly, they are victims of a fickle and greedy industry that will cut corners at the cost of quality.
    Tamango originally came packaged in a fabulous black lacquer looking box with a beautiful orchid in the middle of the front panel (like this…) and was so glorious, and still is (I still have my vintage bottle). If you would like a sample of the vintage Tamango to compare, I would be thrilled to share some with you.

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