Tamango by Leonard was my signature scent somewhere around junior and senior year of high school in the late 80s. At that time Tamango has already been on the market for a few years (since 1982) but wasn't particularly popular, just as the fashion house of Leonard wasn't exactly Calvin Klein. I was perfectly fine with that.
Tamango was a nice progression for me from Le Jardin and Anaïs Anaïs . The floral aldehydic chypre smelled a lot more grown up to me and I liked the sophistication of the oakmoss kick, even if at 16 I couldn't name or identify it. I don't remember how I felt about the aldehydes in the opening- since my mom used to be quite averse to such scents I never associated this style with older generations. I probably just enjoyed the perfuminess of the composition.
Wearing Tamango today is an odd experience. It certainly brings back some memories and as I've been spraying it quite often preparing to write this review I've had frequent high school dreams, including people I haven't seen or thought about since graduation day. So, yes, in a way Tamango is getting to me. Still, I'm smelling this Leonard perfume with my 40 year old nose and I like it a lot. The aldehydes from the top notes might date it a little, but there's a lovely Frenchness to the way it wears- flowers, especially cool iris, that make Tamango very lady-like, in a similar fashion to Chanel No. 19, just with a sweeter and smoother base and not as pulled-together. The poor woman's Chanel? Maybe, but still better than most.
There's a lot of oakmoss the vintage Tamango EDT but the full dry-down feels almost like an oriental. It's a little sweet, a little woody and very flirty. While Balahe by Leonard is much more my style today, I'm glad to have Tamango back in my collection its in original form (I'm still kicking myself for losing an auction five years ago for a vintage extrait de parfum, but the EDT is nice and familiar). It might not be something a high-school senior would choose to wear, but modern Tamango is no longer the same as it used to be, so I guess we all lose.
Notes (via Fragrantica): bergamot, green notes, spices, rose, lily-of-the-valley, orchid, iris, carnation, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss and tonka bean.
Tamango 1982 ad from vintageadbrowser.com
Leonard and Bergdorf Goodman fashion ad featuring model Tatjana Patitz from hprints.com