digging (into) vintage: Paco Rabanne Ténéré, 1988

Perfumer Pierre Wargnye

I guess it’s virtually a truism that a masculine floral will bomb. Sad. Ténéré had so many things going for it, too. A bright opening that gets darker as time passes; a raspy lavender that gives it a barbershop quality; a honey/urinous note that makes if feel lived in.

Ténéré is a floral fougère in the YSL Kouros mold, and to read the notes, you’d think it was a rewrite of Kouros, but there’s definitely a lot of breathing room between this and Kouros. When I read other people’s thoughts on Ténéré I realized nobody else saw it as a fougère. More as a spicy floral. A dank honey note serves not so much to smell like coumarin, but to takes its place in the fougère accord. Shouldn’t this have made it somewhat appealing to the male nose? I can only guess that the fougère market  became defined as fresh and aromatic when Cool Water (same year, 1988) cornered the market and spawned years of imitators. (In 2006, perfumer Pierre Wargnye would make a flanker of Cool Water called Cool Water Game.)

If overapplied, the honey notes makes Ténéré a little too dense in enclosed spaces. But in moderation, the buoyancy of the florals wins the day.


(image source unknown)

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