Tobacco, Neroli and Amber as described by Fragonard blends together perfectly to create one of my favourite scents of all times.
When I first experienced Santal, I was delighted by its very rich woody composition. The citrus notes were not appreciated then, but on hindsight, I believe it did well to cut through what might have turned out to be a linear wood scent i.e. a teak wood furniture shop that would have fallen flat.
Santal is not for the faint hearted, with its powerful sillage. Longevity is fairly ok with the eventual drydown to be a soft mellow sandalwood scent, with the occasional neroli and amber popping up, adding richness and dimension to the sandalwood.
While the name invokes thoughts of sandalwood, don't be surprised that you wouldn't detect it until it is settled into the drydown. Of course, throughout that wait, the tobacco, amber and wood is perfectly enjoyable. For some, it might seem that the first few hours is a challenge to bear. I have received questions about the fragrance well into hours after applying it. Thankfully, the lemon (not a big fan of citrus) remains well in the background.
This is a musky, warm wood scent. Rather than regarding the muskiness as animalic, I would say it's quite a sexy scent. It does help that the shower gel too does not deviate, and adds so much if you ever decide to layer the scent on it. Perfect to be noticed in.
Lemon takes cousin, Bergamot to his first dance where he's hoping to meet Lily of the Valley. Sandalwood is expected to arrive with Amber but probably much later meanwhile Tobacco is burning up the dance floor and Lemon is smitten. It's all Lemon and Tobacco with only a few glimpses of Bergamot chatting awkwardly with Lily of the Valley. Everyone is surprised by how energetic Lemon turns out to be but Tobacco is starting to notice Lily of the Valley and Amber. Soon, all three are dancing together with Bergamot standing by holding the drinks when Sandalwood arrives in short pants with his hair neatly combed by his Nana. Neroli siddles up to Bergamot who's given up on Lily. Lemon is at the punch bowl. Amber slaps Tobacco for flirting with Lily but it's actually Lemon's scent that still lingers on Tobacco's collar. Tobacco reminds Sandalwood that he has to be home early or he's grounded but Sandalwood cannot find his scarf. Everyone searches for it and, sure enough, someone has used it to tie up Bergamot and Lily of the Valley. Amber looks guilty but blames Tobacco because she's still annoyed about Lemon. As the night fades, everyone starts whispering and saying unkind things about Sandalwood despite which they all walk home together carrying Tobacco and Lemon who are under the weather.
Animalic sandalwood. The top notes of tobacco smell like tea and civet but dries down into an abrasive floral sandalwood.
Top notes lemon and tobacco which are nice disappear in five minutes leaving its place to a very cloying, overpowered spicy neroli. Santal comes after an hour and a half. What a miserable waiting it has been. This kind of neroli is a serial killerwhich have ruined many fragrances same way.
18th July, 2008 (last edited: 19th July, 2008)
When I wrote about Aramis Tuscany, I said it was sunny. Santal reminds me of Amamis, but on a cloudy day. Similar notes but softer and more muted. Very appealing and good. I don't get much lemon, but a trace of sandalwood over quite a bit of warm amber. I think Fragonard may be my favorite house for fragrances. Each is unique and extremely fine. Santal may be a fine winter fragrance, but it is summer now and I like it just fine today.