First impression: Not actually a sandalwood-prominent fragrance, at least not in the same family as, say, Tam Dao. Actually far more complex and interesting. The sandalwood isn't really front-and-center for the first hour or so, but does eventually unfold in a very pleasant way. Quite similar in overall vibe to Caron's Third Man, albeit less prim/dandified. Add chest hair and topnotes of musky spice and waxiness. A fragrance for a mature man, not so much for the young buck. Like Third Man, it hints at old-fashionedness, without being old-guy-ish.
I definitely get the amber, musk, and spices, and even the incense note, but I do NOT get the coffee reference (at least not in the way I relate to coffee).
As Alfarom said, this is a challenging scent, deep and warm, yet complex and intriguing. Mercifully, not too loud, but also not a 'skin scent'. This is not the kind of scent you want to be a radiance bomb. Part of its charm lies in its restraint.
If you liked Third Man, but find it a bit stuffy, Santal Noble is a more comfortably wearable alternative, albeit at three times the price.
IB is more or less an aromatic fougere with a big sweet herbal accord, but distinctive enough that it's worth smelling/having, even if you already have a bunch of other aromatic fougeres. It's not quite like any other, and I don't think I've ever smelled a fougere that was more beautiful than this one.
Mature, gentlemanly, and easy to wear without being too dandified, loud or 'old fashioned'. Works well for both everyday and special occasion use. I find the longevity to be very good, and the drydown, while not amazing, is better than one might expect, and never becomes flat, offensive, or sour. This is very high-quality stuff! (and you see that in the price!)
The only drawbacks: it's ridiculously expensive AND not widely available.
After wearing it for a few days, I found myself thinking "this is the fragrance that Guerlain Homme should have been" (not that they are all that similar, mind you)
One odd aspect that another reviwer alluded to: There's something in this that will make you want to sneeze when you first spray it, but it dissipates quickly and is not a problem.
Overall, an exceptional, beautiful masculine. Now that I have it, I never want to be without it.
Basic character profile: lavender tobacco
Potency: atomic bomb (compare to Knize Ten)
Uniqueness: not quite like anything else. Weird in a good way. As reviewed earlier, the lavender never takes on a soapy or geriatric aspect.
Purchase-worthiness: if you are a collector, this is one of those 'buy, even if you don't wear' fragrances.
Personal info: I like it, I bought it...but I don't anticipate wearing it terribly often...probably because of the (nuclear) strength alone.
I found this one quietly citrusy, with a faintly creamy quality (coumarin?), and a pale, not-too-sweet fruity-floral heart note that is oddly suggestive of gumballs. That's right; the big, brightly colored, jaw-breaking shiny gumballs of indeterminate flavor, from the vending machine at the supermarket. That's not to say that it's candy-like or 'girly'--it isn't. It gets progressively floral-spicy in the drydown, but even then, it's pretty subtle...demure, even. Relatively dark colored juice that could stain white fabric. Really cheap looking ugly bottle. A nice feminine that talks in a whisper. Misses a 'neutral' rating by a hair's width.
I just received a new sample of this, so I assume that it's a reissue.
I have no idea how it compares to the original formulation, but I can sum this one up in two words: ROSE SOAP. That's about 90% of what I smell in this. What's worse, the rose note fades in the drydown, leaving just soap. Intensely soapy and very old-ladyish.
I hate this one and so does my wife.
Reminded me of L'Artisan's Jour de Fete...in a bad way. This is another one of those gourmands that has an unfortunate sticky/unwashed character. Makes me think of dried chocolate ice cream smeared on the face of a small child at a birthday party. In my home, this one is called "Eau de Give That Kid a Bath". Dire.