I thought I would love Santal M as I like most everything with sandalwood and have loved almost everything I've tried from Lutens. Unfortunately, SM is a just too subtle for my taste and after several wearings, I don't detect any of the rich sandalwood described in other reviews. I pick up mostly rose and then fruit and spices. It's a nice scent that I think is more feminine than masculine, but enjoyable to the nose. Just doesn't work for me and not what I was expecting.
A weak Neutral.
12th December, 2015 (last edited: 24th January, 2016)
Not my style but pleasant. Soft, gentle, romantic.
Hints of rose/floral, wood, and cocoa. A rather subdued scent. Thankfully not cloyingly sweet or rich, as are some SL scents.
The more I wear this one, the more I fall in love. I find it more interesting than beautiful, though. For a perfume that lists so many comforting notes - cocoa, rose petals, sandalwood, and so on - Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens avoids falling into the trap of being overly comfortable or plush. What I mean is that it is full of accords that pull and push against each other, creating an interesting tension that keeps you on your toes for much of the ride.
The opening is dense to the point of sensory overload. It takes some getting used to, but once it clicks, it becomes as addictive as a drug. There is a strong boozy cocoa note interacting so violently with a jammy red rose that it almost conjures up a phantom note of coffee – aromatic, dark, rich. The first few times I tried it, the opening always seemed too intense for my tastes - too syrupy, too aromatic, too something.....but then I found myself going back for more, like a moth to a flame.
After the opening, the push and pull begins. The sour, lactic tang of the sandalwood clashes with the syrupy sweetness of the rose; the bitter dustiness of the dark cocoa stands off against the oiliness of the wood; these contrasting notes and textures rub up against each and then pull apart again in the most interesting ways possible. It is full of these little tensions, some of which are still unresolved by the time we get to the creamy, woodsy base.
I think that Santal Majuscule, like Chanel’s gorgeous Bois des Iles, is an artistic reconstruction of the Mysore sandalwood smell without using the real thing itself. It uses the different textures and angles of the rose, cocoa, and woody notes to stand in for the varied range of tones you get in real Mysore sandalwood – rosy, woody, syrupy, dusty, milky, sour, sweet, and oily. At the base, there is a wonderful creamy woodiness, relieved only by a touch of fruity rose, reminding me nothing so much as one of those delicate, creamy Indian puddings that taste oddly floral with rosewater and saffron.
It works on almost every level. My one complaint is that most of the exciting intensity is packed into the first two or three hours of the scent, with the long drydown a more pedestrian affair of creamy, rosy woods. I find the beginning of Santal Majuscule so addictive that I have to stop myself from spraying it over and over again every few hours to replay it. Gorgeous, compelling stuff nonetheless, and one I will be wearing a lot of this autumn.
Wow was my first impression of this gorgeous fragrance from Serge Lutens. It opens with a totally captivating beautiful rose note blended in with soft sandalwood. Throughout you can pickup hints of powdery cocoa though the rose dominants.
What I love about the rose here is that it's very bright and a little sweet and almost fruity smelling. Very addictive I must say.
The longevity and projection are very good with this one. This is a very beautiful romantic fragrance that smells absolutely great.
Nice resinous opening, sticky and velvety on a somptuous, dense sandalwood note, with cocoa notes and an overall hint of "oiliness" – one of Lutens' signature features (and the one I enjoy the least, to be honest). It has a deeply nostalgic and romantic note which I can not figure out clearly, a floral, really classic accord, perhaps violet. Must say this is probably my personal favorite among Lutens' "Santal" range. Majuscule shows an ethereal, graceful, powdery floral note which I really enjoy a lot, and which enlightens and makes the whole blend irresistibly gentle and pleasant – so finally, the "syrupy" personality which I could not come to like in Mysore, is a bit more restrained here. The sandalwood is treated in a really bright and pleasant way, it has not a fixed shape but it's rather wrapped in a "web" made of several notes and accords that enhance and enlighten all its facets. So the sandalwood is kind of anywhere, and nowhere at the same time, it's a really nice structure, the flowers, the resins, the spices interplay with the nuances and the facets of sandalwood, emphasizing or contrasting them. Speaking of "smell" itself it's basically a less sweet, less syrupy Santal de Mysore, with on the contrary, some more earthy and darker echoes. After a while it progressively dries, and the sandalwood emerges in a more compact shape, still dense and resinous and of course beautifully aromatic. The floral notes vanish and it all turns into a woody, warm, still a bit sticky scent, with a dusty hint of tobacco. I bet Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse quite liked this one. Personally my ideal cup of tea when it comes to sandalwood is still more on the Santal Noble side, more masculine, simple, dry, still soft and plushy but a bit more "classic" and traditional and as less syrupy as possible, but Santal Majuscule is surely one of the nicest and most fascinating interpretations of this theme on the market.