As I sit here contemplating Aftelier's Tango and all the things it has brought to mind, I keep returning to something Mandy Aftel said to me about Tango recently in an email. Much like parts of the same person, or perhaps a group of people being thrown into a room together, she refers to the components of Tango as "'difficult' essences, and worked for a long time to create that smoothness with so many 'difficult' personalities." So, let's attempt to dissect this Sybil scent, shall we?
Tango is a rich, potent perfume that opens with a brilliantly warm punch of wild sweet orange interlaced with ginger. We meet Wild Sweet Orange and Ginger at the same time, and they can each be called upon at different times separately, and they also play nicely together. Let's call them The Twins. A damp, fresh tobacco absolute makes itself known quickly, and Tobacco is the man who has it all together. Tobacco reads good books in his classic leather armchair and wants to tell you all about them, he is entertaining to children and is the kind of man that women adore and men aspire to be like. He is here to stay (thank goodness). The Twins are helping Champaca (Mom's nickname) in the kitchen, and Coffee's knocking at the front door. This is where everything gets kind of strange. The Twins rush to the door to answer it, but they don't recognize Coffee, so they don't let him in the house. Coffee goes around to the back and tries again. No answer. So he goes to a side window, smashes it in, and climbs through the broken glass and tumbles down the hallway. The Twins are screaming, and where did Champaca go anyway? Never mind, here comes Tobacco! It turns out Coffee is Tobacco's old college friend, and everyone laughs in a slightly uncomfortable way at the mix-up. Coffee wouldn't take no for an answer, and it turns out that's a good thing, because the depth that he offers to the conversation is startlingly good, but he begs off early claiming he has somewhere else to be. Nobody believes him. Grandpa Tonka arrives just in time for dessert, and afterward, he and Tobacco go out into the backyard for a pipe. Ginger sneaks out the back door and is spying on them, trying to imagine what it's like to smoke a pipe. What she doesn't realize is that she exists inside the pipe.
All analogies aside, Tango is indeed an unusual scent, and a beautiful one. From the pleasantly acidic opening to the leathery, woody aspect, and on to the almost incense-like soft drydown, it is a sentimental journey to be remembered fondly. It's just "off" enough, and just comforting enough that I have put it on my short list of favorite perfumes. It's one of the most elegant and warm tobacco scents I've had the chance to experience, and I will treasure my little screw-cap vial until it's empty, and then sell all of my (and my husband's) possessions to fill my bathtub with the amber-toned juice.
Why does Tango resonate so deeply with me? Is it because it's only human to have dissenting voices inside, fears, hopes, small comforts and big dreams? Maybe. What is simple, unassailable truth is that I'd waited too long to try Mandy Aftel's creations, and now I have some catching up to do.
Tango is available at Aftelier.com: 1/4 ounce perfume for $150, 30 ml edp spray for $150, 3.5 ml perfume pendant for $80, 2ml perfume mini bottle for $45 and 1/4 ml samples for $6.
For a nice review of Aftelier's Memento, visit Scent Hive.
[sample provided for review by the perfumer]