Perfume Directory

Santal 33 (2011)
by Le Labo

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Santal 33 information

Year of Launch2011
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 217 votes)

People and companies

HouseLe Labo
PerfumerFrank Voelkl
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Santal 33

Santal 33 is a shared / unisex perfume by Le Labo. The scent was launched in 2011 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Frank Voelkl

Reviews of Santal 33

This was always a 100% thumbs up for me (yes, I'm from NYC and was part of that initial Santal 33 craze) that I am now moving to neutral. It feels like the formulation has changed and the performance is weaker than previous.

Some of the great sandalwood is still there and it still gets praise from myself and others but I can't justify it based on the price.
04th December, 2019
Santal 33 was not at all what I expected, and unfortunately, it wasn't in a good way.

Santal 33 opens up with a fiercely dry, woody howl. I assumed, as is the case with many "sandalwood" fragrances, that this would lean sweet and creamy. Nope, not the case here. This smells very much like real sandalwood, which has a very dry fragrance, and I think that Le Labo did a pretty good job of approximating it. Most people haven't smelled real sandalwood, and what they have smelled is the treated kind thet you get in crappily-made mala beads that are made for hippies and "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual" types. I was pretty stoked that Le Labo had actually gotten the scent right, except for one big caveat.

So what's the only way that they could screw this up, what with a sandalwood note this good? Well, that would be by adding enough additional notes to interfere with the really good sandalwood that this fragrance contains. The leather and papyrus are as prominent as the sandalwood, if not more so, and if the point of this scent was to feature sandalwood, then they basically took something great and then drove it right into the ground. This is like going to the Met to listen to the NY Symphony's tribute to Color Me Badd. The ingredients in this are good, for sure, but this formulation isn't.

This is supposedly the hip scent for people in NYC to wear, and as someone who has and still does spend a good bit of time in NYC, I can assure you that it doesn't surprise me one bit. This could have been good. I think that the folks at Le Labo had the skill to make this good, but like so many fragrances out there, they took a great idea and did to it what Meg Ryan did to her face.

Pass.
17th August, 2019 (last edited: 04th September, 2019)
Rubbery leather with an industrial feel and dry woods make for a pungent opening. The more time passes, the fragrance relaxes and grows as a smell into a creamy sandalwood with cardamom and papyrus, it sweetens a bit but still maintains the leathery aspect which is now paired with soft buttery iris. By the end, the fierce animal has been tamed; it's a smooth, warm, aromatic and woody fragrance. If I could make a reference, it starts like TF Oud Wood Intense and dries down to Oud Wood.
21st June, 2019
Insipid powdery violet /iris. Poor projection, a skin scent almost from the outset even if you give it a couple of good squirts. Inoffensive until you also factor in the price. A joke.

Fragrance: 5.5/10
Projection: 4/10
Longevity: 6/10
18th April, 2019
Stardate 20190318:

This is shite.
Not sure why it became NYC's favourite. Violet/Iris with musk and powder. Very generic TJMaxx fragrance at astronomical price. Nothing redeeming about it.
18th March, 2019
The name "Santal" gave me the impression that this one would be a nice, creamy sandalwood. And I can't help but think about Creed's wonderful Original Santal, a favorite in my collection.

Santal 33 by Le Labo is an experimental concoction that is leathery, with some bright woodiness (the papyrus) mixed with musk. Very confusing, but it is what it is. Not a bad smell overall though, but not what I'd call a classic sandalwood scent per se. A so-so piece that avant garde types might take to more than I could!
17th August, 2018

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