I had high hopes with this one, but whether it's me or the formulation, I'm underwhelmed. Where as good-quality sandalwood oil lasts and lasts, the creamy sandalwood top here fades rather abruptly, morphing into a labdanum-meets-patchouli oriental that smells of its era ( think Jovan Sex Appeal For Men ) but is rather underpowered compared to its peers. Niche is overflowing with quality takes on those two notes, so I won't be running out to get Santal Noble any time soon...
Santal Noble by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, 1988
Rated #207 in Fragrances
Well, I'm on board, I think this is pretty fantastic. I finished my little sample vial today and I am pretty sure I'm going to need more. I like a lot of woods and spices, especially in cooler weather, so this was kind of a no-brainer for me, although they don't always work as I want them to. I don't really get the 'challenging' aspect that others are writing about. For me this is very easy and comfortable, a little on the formal side, and probably will be worn more often in cooler weather as I mentioned. Although it is warm and rich, I also think it has an light/airy quality that I really enjoy. The wood part is a little dry but there's a little sweetness too.....I don't know. I just know it smells good and I want a big bottle for the fall/winter.
Of course I like it - it's Santal Noble! I think this is one of those rare perfumes that smells perfectly nice, if a little simple, to people who are new to non-mainstream scents. As another reviewer said here, it basically smells like fancy expensive sawdust (and that's a compliment, not a complaint). But, Santal Noble is especially rewarding to the noses with a little more practice. It's got that bitter galbanum/bergamot chypre top, the hints of smoke, that dusty oak, the amber undertones, the hints of rich butter, that toasted hazelnut smell, and that impeccable dark green vetiver/patch/moss chypre base, and lots more. Every sniff rewards you with a little bit of interest playing alongside the sawdust if you work to pick it out. One of the rare perfumes that just gets better and more interesting the more you know.
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. Very good.
It opens with a deep wood smell mixed with coffee, then you get some soft spices mixing in with the sandalwood. It smells nice and gives off that creamy sandalwood vibe. The problem I have with it is that I seem to be anosmic to the fragrance and can hardly smell it. I can detect if I bury my nose where I sprayed it but even with five sprays I get no projection. So its a neutral for me.
I'm very impressed by the quality of this perfume. You really can smell the difference for the extra $$$ your paying. On me it stays very close to the skin but it last almost 10 hours. I find it to be very elegant and refined compared to Bel Ami of Hermes wich is more ''sporty'' I guess it is because of the citrus notes. One word to describe Santal Noble: Opulant! Not for everyday use but perfect if your going out with a refined lady.
Gravitas in a bottle. This may be Jean Laportes masterpiece. Sweet and dry at the same time. Coffee, patchouli, incense and dry woods all on a thick belly of amber. This is a heavier scent that I prefer for cooler months. The silage and projection are only moderate, which is probably a blessing since this is such a rich scent. But it cohabits nicely with other scents in the environment, and you need not fear inviting it to dinner. If you like light, trendy or androgynous scents (Though my wife thinks she wants to steal it!), Santal Noble very well may not be for you. But if you like the scent notes named in a perfectly balanced and evolving accord, and youre rich, you might wish to pick up a bottle. If youre poor, you should probably get one sooner, because when you wear it youll THINK youre rich! This smells as if it could have been brewed a couple hundred years ago. It smells like old money. And if all this sounds like a starched collar, or perhaps even a hair shirt, its not. Santal Noble is very sexy. Its warm and rich, but in a serious and unblinking way. It doesnt flirt. During intimate moments the amber base notes rise and project more making this a marvelous scent for romantic evenings. I had to learn how use it. Two sprays to the chest work best for me. Application to the extremities or clothing yields little. Longevity is marvelous. Though the top notes burn off quickly, the middle notes of woods last for many hours with echoes of the patchouli and incense occasionally still heard. The amber is still there the next day. And pleasingly, while used almost daily for the last six months, only about a third of the bottle has been consumed. I'll add that four years after my initial review I am still enjoying this scent during cooler months, and that little has changed of my feeling for it. An interesting note is that I sometimes wear a silk scarf that comse into contact with the skin to which I've applied the Santal Noble. This scent can leave an echo of patchouli, wood and spice on the silk that literally lasts YEARS!
I am enamored with this fragrance. The first image that comes to my mind is gold: sparkly, rich and decadent gold. But I do not mean to associate with those images the secondary images of greed, stuffiness or "old money". This scent has a cool elegance is unlike anything ive ever smelled. I actually get so much sexiness from this scent that im a bit taken a back in order to double check my intuition. All the notes are uncompromising but again, always in an elegant way. Cool Water is an example of a compromising cologne and I am also enamored by Cool Water, but Santal Noble has an uncompromising power which Cool Water does not. It is the base note I think I am most moved by. It is utterly empowering and sensual. The top notes simply project that spicy fury. I have to end this review with a final impression. This scent is exotic. If anyone has studied 19th century opera one knows the stage in which opera goers went to experience different worlds completely alien to their own. Exoticism. Carmen - Latin love and sexuality. Madame Butterfly - The oriental customs of love and sacrifice La Fanculla del west - The American west... My exotic impression may sound uncharacteristic of the previous reviews. Neon lights and beautiful olive skinned woman, tequila on the breath and sweat in the air.
If you're looking for a pretty fragrance, carefully avoid Santal Noble. Instead if you're into challenging, deep and compelling scents you could be amazed and satisfied by this one. It opens with a sweet coffee note immediately joined by sandalwood an incense. Then the sandalwood takes over showing its creamy/dry aspect. Bold and almost overwhelming for a couple of hours. If you're into sandalwood you won't be disappointed as you'll have plenty of it in this phase...Then it settles down and blends together with vetiver, incense (again) and a musky-amber for a truly fantastic drydown that's creamy, warm, quiet and very deep. Personally I think this is one of the best sandalwood available on the market yet it's surely not a fragrance for everybody. A masterpiece.
genvy5 said this "Buttery sandalwood cologne which reminds me of a very humid and stuffy library with archaic tomes and old frail men rummaging through them." This is SPOT ON. Though he gave it a thumbs down, I kind of liked it. Go figure EDIT BEGINS HERE It's funny how you can "neutral" a fragrance after a few samplings and a wearing, but you keep going back to smell it. Then you order another little decant, and you keep smelling it and wearing it. Suddenly you need to own the motherf... uhh, you need to own the nice fragrance. Oh, but that isn't really enough, is it. You need to own a vintage bottle and can't sleep until you do. See, Santal Noble is something that's kind of nice at first, but really grows on you and becomes an acquired taste that you'll swear by. It's like unsweetened cappuccino, or Guinness. Anyhow, let's examine that quote. "Buttery sandalwood cologne which reminds me of a very humid and stuffy library with archaic tomes and old frail men rummaging through them." Not quite. Buttery sandalwood cologne which reminds me of a very old, beautiful library with archaic tomes and well groomed, 3 piece suit wearing librarians rummaging through them. It's the kind of place that Indiana Jones would go when trying to dig up information on a relic. Now, once you own that vintage bottle, every spray will invoke the terror that this scent is finite, and will one day cease to exist.
Santal Noble by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, 1988
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