Perfume Directory

Ténéré (1988)
by Paco Rabanne


Ténéré information

Year of Launch1988
Average Rating
(based on 128 votes)

People and companies

HousePaco Rabanne
PerfumerPierre Wargnye
PackagingAndré Ricard
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group > Puig Prestige Beauty Brands

About Ténéré

Ténéré was launched in the summer of 1988, and is named after an African desert. This floral-spicy fragrance is meant to conjure up the image of adventure and creativity.

Reviews of Ténéré

Green, milky sappy, flowery, pissy civetey honeyed. Quirky, on a bed of 80's macho fougere bathroom base.
The flowers make for a great approximation of what a wonderful 80's plastic floral arrangement should smell.
Weird is good, I like it.
17th August, 2020 (last edited: 27th July, 2021)
Much like ChrisinBrooklyn's review, I too owned a sample of this back in the late 80, and for the life of me just couldn't appreciate it. We had an exchange student from Mexico living with us at the time and I gladly gifted him the sample. He loved it so much he went over to the Broadway (Remember the Broadway?) and purchased a full sized bottle. Back then it was probably under $30. Perhaps he knew something I didn't, because I recently found 2 vintage bottles of this (spray and splash) and I'm totally diggin it!! Fresh, lively, masculine, playful and very original compared to anything else on the market. One could argue that it's somewhat similar to the original (vintage) Boss for men (85), but Tenere is better for casual wear. Amazing to me that 30 years after I first smelled it, I can finally appreciate this refreshing scent and I truly enjoy wearing this!
13th July, 2019
when i had my 1st collection years ago I bought this when it was on the shelves and it became a staple in my , years later , when I started my latest collection Tenere was one of the 1st fragrances from the old days that I tracked down and me , the opening blast of flowery citrus just blows me away...being a lover of animalics I love the animal effect that the honey brings...the scent is fresh, yet nice and thick...semi - powerhouse...after taking you for a spin through various , mostly flower , changes it settles down into a very tasty wood...will probably always have some of this on all time favorite for me...double thumbs up...
27th February, 2019
A weak, but respectful, thumbs up for Ténéré.

During the 2000's, I was in such a flurry of collecting all kinds of men's colognes, contemporary or not, where just the slightest of interest at local mall kiosks in an uncommon / unusual / rare bottle was enough for me to get it. Ténéré was one of these, which I was drawn to because
of its rarity from a fairly popular mark. How it smelled was only of marginal importance (now THAT's a true collector's mindset, isn't it!!). I ended up getting other rarities from Jacomo, Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Fred Hayman, Giorgio Beverly Hills, Lancetti, Trussardi, Byblos, Max Deville, etc. etc. just because.

Anyhow, I gave this one a real test-drive to see how it actually would work out. Ténéré must have been an interesting phenomena in its time (1988), which I was too young to remember seeing among the giants that stole the spotlight, like Polo, Fahrenheit, Perry Ellis for Men, Kouros, et. al. (even Paco Rabanne's own pour Homme).

Ténéré is a fresh aromatic chypre near-powerhouse, closely related to the other loud and proud scents of that era but toned down several notches. It has the requisite citrus blast in the intro along with some lavender, cassia, and rosemary entered in. Then in typical powerhouse fashion, a handful of spices and flowers make their way onto the stage, though not in an altogether cloying way here (it's in this stage that a lot of the 70's / 80's / 90's beast colognes tend to turn me off today). The foundation is a pleasant leathery-musk-amber, a drydown that I appreciate.

Ténéré by Paco Rabanne is nice, and I can see myself wearing it around the house or on quick errands outside the house. It is a bit more floral than I can overlook at times, though there are plenty of "manly man" fragrance notes swimming in the potion to keep me intersted.

If you happen to come across Ténéré, it's not pretentious and cheap-feeling like some outings were back then. It has a solidly masculine aura to it, but in a time-machine sort of way.
23rd August, 2018
Ténéré by Paco Rabanne (1988) is a rather unspoken-of entry into Paco Rabanne men's fragrance line. Seems most things released for men after Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (1973) and before Paco Rabanne One Million (2008) were more or less unnoticed by all but the faithful after the initial splash of their arrival, since everything made by the house lived in the shadows of the debut masculine and it's decade-defining smell, but Ténéré was particularly forgotten to a further degree outside collectors. For starters, it was part of a brief unsuccessful "masculine floral fougère" phase which was a louder revival of an old Victorian style begun with Zino Davidoff (1986) and ultimately ending with Insensé (1993); these were poised to be the next leap in male fragrance style, away from the dark mossy or animalic powerhouses that littered the first half of the decade. There was just one tiny problem; aquatics and "fresh fougères" happened around the same time, and their clean-slate ideology won out over the lush, flamboyant, colorful, but sometimes excesive releases from this micro-genre. Along with Balenciaga Ho Hang Club (1987), Bogart Furyo (1988), Sybaris by Antonio Puig (1988), Balenciaga Pour Homme (1990), Rochas Globe (1990), and so many others, Ténéré fell by the wayside faster against the aquatics than the older powerhouses it sought to replace. Paco Rabanne has always in general been about fragrances for club-going men, and this one is just a bit too sophisticated and worldly to really fit that bill, which is also probably why it fell flat.

Ténéré shares the extremely dandy opening of many in it's category, married with a dusting of animalics and oriental notes, beginning with cassia, rosemary and what was then an uncommon choice of grapefruit as the citrus opener of choice. Otherwise, the top notes are fairly bog-standard for the 80's with lemon, bergamot, basil, artemisia, and of course lavender. Ténéré has a potpourri drydown as well, veering dangerously close to the smell of the powder you shake on carpets and vacuum to remove the smell of dog; now that I've mentioned it, you won't be able to undo the association. Carnation, jasmine indole, muguet, rose, and powdery iris are teamed with tarragon, cinnamon, anise, and a nice bit of benzoin that also gives this a touch of sweetness. Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840) is recalled in the middle because of the iris, but it's a very brief association. Puig Perfumer Rosendo Mateu also worked on Sybaris the same year as Ténérè, and you can see the musky connection in their Mysore sandalwood drydowns. Sybaris is definitely more in the oriental style, but the common thread especially in the choice of civet as the animalic is there. Peter Wargnye by far did the most work here of the two, shaping Ténéré into a monster mash of animalic strength and floral delicacy to compete with its doomed peers. The base comes in with amber, patchouli, a powdery musk, castoreum leather, alongside that civet. The final verdict is this dynamic of a Victorian floral and 80's sex juice, making Ténéré more of an acquired taste than its siblings, with excellent longevity and typical 80's sillage. Best use is really whenever you want, just not in the dead heat of summer.

Ténéré, like it's contemporaries, was "niche" at a time before the market for it was known to exist. Ténéré can be seen as part of an anachronistic progression away from the powerhouse style parallel to the futuristic, lighter, and more synthetic fare that ultimately won the hearts of everyone in the following decade, becoming a neanderthal among cro-mags so to speak and thus dying out. Future depletion of real mysore sandalwood and IFRA restrictions on many of its materials would make Ténéré too costly to reformulate anyway had it survived. Paco got the swing of things with the mainstream male buyer when XS Pour Homme (1993) quickly came out to replace Ténéré not five years later, but there is a mysterious beauty with Ténéré that if found in a perfume today will run you more than you may care to spend on a bottle due to the price gouging in the niche sector. The niche stuff won't always have the animalics, which is how this stands out as still being clearly 80's, but anyone liking a bit of sweaty skin with their roses and fruit blossoms will find this a doozy of a strip tease wrapped in a cummerbund and tie. Like most things in this vein, Ténérè is hopelessly romantic and will make a statement where it goes, so don't say I didn't warn you. The African desert from which this scent takes it's name is equally harsh and beautiful, but you wouldn't figure that with the crazy bottle that reminds me a of Mega Man's in-game health bar or the speech synthesizer of K.I.T.T. from the show Knight Rider. Paco Rabanne Ténéré is a gorgeous fragrance the likes of which you'd never expect from the brand in a million years, which is sadly why it's so obscure. Thumbs up
29th March, 2018 (last edited: 12th April, 2021)
Teneré is one of the several examples of scents from the '80s which could be easily be bottled, re-packaged, sold by niche brands and become instant cults. A masculine chypre impressively ahead of its time, an irresistible romantic and exotic bouquet of humid flowers with a heart of dark rose (Lyric Man anyone?), a touch of warm honey which persists all along the drydown, perfectly mixed in a beautiful blend, a bit herbal and a bit animalic, with a stout base of woods (sandalwood, mostly) and spices, cumin above all, discreet but detectable. Aldehydes to "reinforce" and give the scent a bold bone-structure, as for many masculine scents of that era. On the drydown it finally shows quite a twist of direction: more woods and tobacco, the personality becomes less romantic, more austerely rooty and earthy, still with a warm pollen note. Overall Teneré conveys a totally unique and captivating mood, a luscious elegance halfway dandy and exotic, with a genius and harmonic effortless blend of spicy-herbaceous notes which bring a desert breeze into the more Westernised, aristocratic floral bouquet. Utterly elegant, modern, sensual, rich in unusual notes. Worth a try.

20th July, 2014

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