This is pretty much just louder, richer Joop, basically just a sweet mix of cinnamon, cloves, and maraschino cherry over ambrox, which gives it more depth than its inspiration. Any other elements (maybe some lavender and some traces of a woody chypre) are so drowned in sweet, sticky red syrup that they're pretty much negligible.
I should hate this for its lack of originality, its crass sweetness, and for lying about being sandalwood, but I love it anyway. It shouts with a sweet dumbness that should be annoying but that I find endearing. It's too loud for everyday wear, but I think it's pretty much the perfect nightclub scent.
Original Santal is a sweet and spicy gourmand take on sandalwood. This is not the dry Eastern sandalwood found in Dam Tao, nor is it the elegant barbershop sandalwood of Arden for Men or even the luscious floral sandalwood of Samsara.... There IS sandalwood in here, but it is sharing the kitchen on a rainy day with baking pastries and spicy holiday pies. Demerara sugar is scattered across a wooden counter top, competing for space with ground cinnamon and vanilla beans. Cooking herbs are piled up, too--rosemary, lavender and juniper berries. The Creed house note of ambergris is conspicuous by its absence. Original Santal is cozy and appealing; not especially masculine, not especially feminine. Boys and girls in equal measure like to lick the spoon once Mom has finished mixing up the cake batter; grown-ups can now wear the same experience.
Anytime I try a sandalwood fragrance I judge it from the perspective that sandalwood as a note, is difficult to clarify. In my experience, sandalwood fragrances are typically spicy wood fragrances that can vary significantly in composition. Original Santal really doesn't fit my perception of what I believe a traditional or even modern sandalwood fragrance should be.
That said, Original Santal is actually a simple, if not slightly sugary wood scent. It's a bit different (original?), and maybe even nice in the right context. But it's not anything close to my perception of a sandalwood fragrance. I prefer MPG's Santal Noble as a traditional sandalwood, Diptyque's Tam Dao or perhaps one of Luten's compositions as a more modern take on the note. Original Santal is just an average sugary wood scent, that carries a Creed name. Not bad, but nothing to recommend.
A first sniff on my skin and I'm like....oh my God...Joop Homme....no....Joop Nightflight....no either, and...yes or not?.. Le Male...?? May be not, may be a tad. Than several further "conjurarions" jumping on mind (Gaultier Le Beau Male, Montblanc Individuel, Prada Luna Rossa, Davidoff Hot Water, a tad of Joop Wild, Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet, Roccobarocco Extraordinary Men and Baldessarini Ambre'), anyway a mixture of familiar feelings captures me soon while inhaling this mediocre (finally sugary disturbing, intrusive, obsessive) scent on skin. The recipe: citrus, something aqueous-metallic, aromatic patterns (mainly lavender-coriander-juniper berries), synthetic woods and ambroxan. You will be invested by a final synthetically sultry amberish cinnamonic acidity somewhat sugary, talky at salty all at once. I'm not a Creed's professional detractor but Original Santal is really too much, an unbalanced and pungent fragrance absolutely unworthy its price.
P.S: I really hope (but I don't think so) that the "word" Original is used ironically since rarely I've tested on skin more un-original stuffs (in terms of creativity and raw materials' quality). This is simply an Unoriginal (Iso E Super/ambroxan-infused) Santal-chemical.
19th October, 2015 (last edited: 23rd November, 2015)
While trying out Creed fragrances a few months back, I didn't find this one memorable; however, I ultimately decided to purchase it. I like cinnamon a lot, and that, juniper, and the vanilla-tonka combination are the notes that stand out the most here. The sandalwood note is discreet, and the fragrance seems to be more of an interpretation of the powdery, milky feel of sandalwood in the same way Royal Oud is an interpretation of the feel of oud without a heavy oud note. Original Santal projects quite well. If you don't like cinnamon, this one probably isn't for you.
It is very similar to Individuel, but it's more linear and smooth. There is a note in Individuel I find offputting, and it smells more synthetic than OS, so I like OS more, but I don't know if it's worth the price difference if you don't have the money to spend.
03rd August, 2015 (last edited: 02nd February, 2016)