This is one of the only fragrances I've ever bought without having first tried. I did this because I'm always on a search for the holy grail of sandalwood, and Tam Dao has received a lot of positive reviews.
I do like this fragrance a lot, and the sandalwood note is certainly there, so it works for me. I have a couple of issues with it, though. First, it has incredibly low sillage after about five minutes. I only wear one to two sprays of perfume usually, and I can use around five of Tam Dao and still not detect the scent sometimes. I have the EDT, so I would recommend the EDP if you are worried about this. Second, while the sandalwood-cedar-cypress combination is pleasant and works well, both the cypress and cedar give the overall texture of the smell a certain edge that a person who loves the creamy, buttery quality of good sandalwood might not love. There is also a feel here that reminds me of the smell of a lit cigar and lingering smoke, but I mainly notice this when I get some on my clothes (where it has incredible longevity compared to skin). I don't detect the ambergris here at all.
That said, I definitely like Tam Dao and wear it regularly. It's one of the few I could fall asleep with and it not bother my nose at night. However, I can't call it the holy grail of sandalwood because the cypress and cedar notes have equal presence and modify the overall effect of the sandalwood due to the rough contrast they provide. If you like subtle, natural-smelling woody fragrances with a good dose of sandalwood, cedar, and cypress, you'll probably like this one.
Tam Dao by Diptyque is one of those perfumes that always get cited in top ten lists of sandalwood perfumes, and so, when the opportunity presented itself, I bought it. Semi-blindly, I should add, because I was in a great rush. I did smell it briefly. But after having read about it for a full year before I got the chance to test it, I was at that stage so convinced that this was the calming woody perfume I was searching for, that it almost didn’t matter if I liked the brief sniff I had of it or not. I was determined to have it.
Of course, by the time I got it home and had time to think, I realized the truth. And the truth is that Tam Dao (the EDT version at least) is a perfectly nice cedar woods perfume, but it is not the grand Mysore sandalwood I’d read myself into believing. It’s more the plank section at the hardware store than anything else, and while this is indeed a very nice smell, it is also rather ordinary. I was looking for a spiritual revelation – a sandalwood dream – and I got builder’s crack. Oh well.
The centerpiece here is pretty much a direct pencil-shavings accord. If you want to believe that it is sandalwood, I've got a bridge for sale that you might be interest in purchasing....
16th May, 2015 (last edited: 27th May, 2015)
Not what I was hoping for. Tam Dao IMO is a nice fragrance, but not entirely a great take on Sandalwood for me. This is just a little to stripped down for my taste. Other reviews state is much like sawdust and I think that's kind of accurate. Smells raw and I detect cedar as much as sandalwood, and cedar is just too overdone, flat and boring to me.
A beautiful cedar and sandalwood gem that seems to turn to a coconut and cedar paradise. I really like this one. A darker turn of Terre d'Hermes. The pencil shaving accord is not as prominent though (not a bad thing at all).