This is a very "woodsy" sandalwood, with a far-away, exotic splendor that brings to mind lost monasteries and palaces. It opens with slightly dissonant citrus and spice (cinnamon, clove) notes but quickly gives way to a rich, potent sandalwood, though more resinous than "creamy" to my nose. I also get a major blast of patchouli, especially in the dry down, and possibly some vetiver of the dark, earthy kind. In fact, it has some resemblance to L'Occitane's Vetyver. Beautiful intensity and endurance. Can't believe it's so affordable.
When people talk about high quality sandalwood smelling "creamy", they must be talking about scents like this one. Caswell-Massey has produced a superb, almost definitive, sandalwood scent here. The sandalwood is treated in very warm, rich, multifaceted, and yes, creamy, way. It starts off sharp and dry, mellows into the heart and starts to develop its smoothness, which is sustained until the fragrance completely fades from your skin. In the drydown, the ultra-smoothness continues, but the sandalwood also shows its earthy side too.
Though this doesn't technically qualify as a fougere, it smells like one. It is very masculine (and feminine too, if worn by a woman) and extremely old school, capturing an appealing old world barbershop feel throughout its duration. In fact, I think this fragrance smells a lot like shaving cream, and I like that. This smells like a fragrance that I would expect to have been popular with well groomed gentlemen in the 1800's.
CM's Sandalwood represents outstanding value too, as I think this outshines even the expensive niche Santal Noble, in its pure sandalwoodiness. It is also nice and strong, with all-day longevity and good sillage.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
One of my favorites. Well worth the money
I don't know what pure sandalwood smells like (or Tam Dao, etc.) but this smelled so totally unlike the "classic" men's colognes that I've come to expect from Caswell-Massey that I wasn't even sure if the decant I got was the right stuff. It was more perfumey and perhaps white-musky than I expected, with seemingly little spice and too much sweetness within the creamy wood (really too bad, because otherwise I love creamy wood smells). It seemed entirely feminine, smelling like a middle-aged woman's well-appointed bathroom, which is a nice smell, but not on me. I incidentally gave it to my mom to spray in her bathroom, so hopefully it will fulfill the niche to which I have so harshly relegated it.
Not bad for its reasonable price, but a little too dry and bitter to hold its own against sandalwood fragrances such as Lutens Santal de Mysore, LV Sandalo, Etro Sandalo, or even AOS Sandalwood. Worth a try and good for an everyday summer sandalwood fragrance (at 100mls for about $30, you can wear it anytime).