I was really eager to put my hands on this mythical vintage “Extract of Mysore Sandalwood” by Crabtree & Evelyn, since it is apparently considered among the most vibrant and truthful representations of authentic Mysore sandalwood in perfumery, as it shall contain some. Now, I am not an expert of sandalwood, so I can’t comment on the degree of authenticity and quality of sandalwood here; all I can say is that this fragrance smells terrific, period. Easily the best scent I’ve ever smelled among the ones containing “sandalwood” in their name. It’s just magic, and it truly makes you consider other sandalwood scents in perspective.
At first, there’s a tremendous blast of balsamic, slightly anisic and creamy sandalwood with a drop of citrus and an impressive “material” woody texture, joined by a really peculiar sort of earthy, almost ashy and even slightly fecal undertone; it’s truly subtle, but it’s there, creating a really vibrant dark and organic shade blending with the luminous, soapy, balmy uplifting creaminess of this wood. It feels like an instant Polaroid of a sandalwood plantation, which I’ve never even saw in pictures, so it’s just my imagination speaking - but that’s the beauty of fragrances. It’s soapy and exotically sweet, but now I see what “synthetic” means in relation to sandalwood – it’s a whole different kind of sweet soapiness the one you smell here. It’s just natural, deep, imperfect. It doesn’t pierce your nose or go right into your stomach, it’s not musk-driven, it doesn’t smell like laundry machines or cheap candies. It’s the kind of sophisticated, weightless woody sweetness you maybe got in the drydown of some vintage masculine scents like Egoiste or Tiffany for Men, just in a free, pure, complete and more “amplified” form here.
The evolution is quite dynamic then, and I guess that’s another key point of difference from any synthetic sandalwood scent. And again, it just feels as the natural course of an “organic” smell – it becomes warmer, dustier, drier, lighter too but it doesn’t entirely fade away. It just gently sits on skin with a peaceful, yet intricated harmony of soapiness, creaminess, dry woodiness, and a whole range of “rural” nuances coming and going – from hay, to indolic nuances. It gets darker and smokier for a while at first (I think a hint of vetiver pops out), then progressively breezier and brighter, and also simpler, more purely soapy and balmy. More and more discreet as well as time passes, but long lasting. Finally, just a note: don’t expect anything complex though, as this is a truly simple fragrance. Lots of nuances, but still gravitating around almost a single accord. Outstandingly, sumptuously, richly simple and quintessential, if you get what I mean, easy to love like a piece of perfect blue sky.
So overall, a true gem in my opinion. I must say though that the subsequent “Sandalwood” which Crabtree and Evelyn made in 2004 (discontinued as well, I think, but easier to get) is a truly remarkable and successful effort of bringing back some of these feelings and nuances of the original Extract, in a synthetic sandalwood fragrance. Some, if not most part of the magic is gone, and indeed you get a flatter, more artificial texture, but the final smell is amazingly close to this. The Extract is still worth its money in my opinion, since besides the smell there’s just a fantastic “experience” flowing out the bottle, but “Sandalwood” comes just right after with its tolerable compromises on quality. I own both and despite they smell similar, they don’t feel redundant.
03rd November, 2015 (last edited: 04th November, 2015)
I agree with all the (much better) reviewers here. I feel privileged to own a 'true' sandalwood made simply with fantastic ingredients.
There is something deceptively simple about this smell, it does seem to sit in the background of your senses. I have been told that the sandalwood signature smell sits on the borders of olfactory perception, meaning that some people smell it consistently well, some people smell it fleetingly and some don't smell it at all. I think I must be somewhere in the middle as, whilst wearing, I seem to only notice it occasionally.
That said what I do smell is a fantastic milky (yoghurty even) woody freshened with a subtle citrus. I have to take everyone elses word for it that it truly smells of Mysore sandalwood as there is no way I am going to contribute to it's destruction.
Australia, you're our only hope!
I managed to get hold of a full bottle of this long discontinued treasure from 1983 and the sandalwood in this is amazing.
The scent is dominated by Ylang Ylang and creamy buttery mysore sandalwood goodness. On first application the fragrance is very fresh and floral with a buttery sandalwood note underneath. As the hours pass the mysore santal accord becomes more dominate though you can still pick up the Ylang Ylang for the duration.
I have to say this is the most beautiful natural smelling sandalwood I have smelled in a fragrance. It is creamy, buttery, rich with depth but also mellow in a meditative way. I have tried loads of Sandalwood scents from Tam Dao to Santal Noble and they all pale in comparison to the glorious sandalwood found in this.
I got several hours longevity with this scent and the projection was about average though I could still smell the lovely santal woodiness on my clothes long after.
A treasure that has been discontinued long ago due to the scarcity and expense of Mysore Sandalwood. If you ever find this on ebay going cheaply then grab it as it is a gem in the world of fragrances!
Although this is,strictly speaking, a male scent,I did used to wear it,occasionally.To be honest,with mixed success,it is quite 'uplifting" and for me,a vaguely comforting scent,I would wear it for nostalgic reasons,perhaps,but it did seem a tiny bit "dry" somehow,I can almost agree with the reviewer who said it was "weak",I can see what he meant by that,but overall,it is a pleasant and not remotely offensive or overpowering scent,which it can be, I would not dislike this on anyone else.
This was the first sandalwood I ever bought (imprint here). Not another like it (including C&E's Sandalwood Eau de Toilette). Light, fresh, like a cool breeze. But the store closed (before the Internet) and couldn't find it locally. Went on to heavier sandalwoods, but couldn't forget this one.
Internet opened ... found something similar (C&E's Sandalwood EDT). It was close, but not the same. If C&E is making the original again, I'll buy it.
I used to buy this to scent my home, especially my bath. I recall many people commenting, upon entering my space, about the lovely smell of my home. I always attributed it to this scent. Funny, I never wore it but in retrospect, I see that I valued it greatly nonetheless. As I write this, I really miss this one. Maybe I will find some.