Edited by butterblades - 6/4/13 at 4:32pm
I liked the Dries van Noten but it still was a bit of a disappointment at the end of the day.
While I didn't consider it quite purchase worthy, I liked and prefer the Agarwoud of the two.
Personally, I would also check out Padparadscha by Satellite for your sandalwood fix instead of the Dries van Noten. It is a very fiery/spicy fragrance, but has a nice sandalwood base.
On the Rose/Oud side of the spectrum, while certainly not anywhere near as Oud focused as Agarwoud, I would look instead at Portrait of a Lady by EdP Frederic Malle that costs about the same and is far superior, IMO. It is rose and incense focused over a patchouli driven base with just a tad of Oud for support.
I've tried DVN but not the Heeley. I really liked DVN, it was somewhat boozy and smelled nice. I also got really good longevity. One spray on my forearm from an official sample lasted me literally almost an entire day. It also reminds me of Naomi Goodsir Cuir Velours (a fragrance I really like).
I've tried three Heeleys so far (Sel Marin, Menthe Fraiche, Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St. Clements), and I don't find them on the same class as Malle. Just my opinion. The only one of the three that I found somewhat bottle worthy is Menthe Fraiche. I also wish they'd offer 50ml bottles.
Interesting that it's compared to PoaL. I am not a big fan of PoaL and see very few parallels. I have a 10ml pocket spray of the No. 9 NY Oud and quite like it.