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)
Trying not to be judgemental here, but Original Santal by Creed is really a depressing fragrance given the price and the pretenses it has. I can accept the fact there is no (I mean: no!) sandalwood here, and obviously no “original” sandalwood therefore, but even putting that aside, it smells really, clearly and desperately mediocre. Don’t expect any luxury out of this, it is basically a really generic herbal juniper-lavender blend with a lot of spices on the smooth-sweet side, mostly cinnamon and tonka, and that’s it. Pleasantly outdated if you want, but that’s a really miserable cold comfort to pay that money to feel like a wealthy distinguished connoisseur while actually smelling like a lower-class accountant from the early 1990s. Not saying Original Santal stinks; it is decent, in the least enthusiastic meaning ever, something which I would consider acceptable for a 15/20 EUR fragrance. “Drugstore/chainstore-decent” as any Montblanc and similar fragrances would be. Sadly I am given to understand Creed fans are most of the time so devotedly stubborn that my review will just appear as some snobbish grumpy opposer bashing the brand for the sake of it... well I am not. I admit this would be fine with a way lower price, so I do see some margin of acceptability with this fragrance, but as-is (over 2 EUR/ml?) it’s objectively preposterous - this being in the same broad price range of, say, Hermès Cuir d’Ange? Insulting.
Original Santal mixes a heavy dose of sandalwood with fresh and spicy elements. I get more of the lavender and ginger than cinnamon, more of a floral/spicy mix than strictly a spicy mix, as the whole fragrance still feels somewhat light and fresh as opposed to dense and spicy.
The fresh sandalwood aspect of Creed Original Santal makes it strikingly similar to Himalaya, which certainly isn't a negative since Himalaya is one of the more agreeably better Creed offer.
With good longevity and projection, this might be a bottle-worthy despite its similarities to Himalaya. I've noticed no comments mentioning Himalaya before this but found it worth mentioning since it was the first thought that came to mind after trying this on for the first time. Excellent composition that brings together fresh, woody, and spicy elements.
8 out of 10