Originally Posted by JonB
Does it really matter if it's real if it smells real?
An interesting philosophical question.
The answer as I see it: It depends. Does it really matter if it's a diamond, a cubic zirconia, or a rhinestone? A real Picasso painting, an excellent forgery, or a print? A real rose, a handmade silk one or a mass-produced plastic one? It would matter if you paid real diamond prices for a cubic zirconia or real Picasso prices for a forgery, no matter how good. It would matter if you want the appearance of a diamond or a Picasso, but you don't want to pay outrageous prices. Really, how many people could tell the difference? It would matter if you want the ongoing appearance of roses without having to replace real ones every few days.
I think the issue here is not how the sandalwood in question smells. That was never mentioned except by me, as one clue as to its authenticity; the issue is whether it's the real article. I would be the last person to say that there's anything wrong with synthetics. In fact, I imagine many people prefer synthetic sandalwood to real because it smells "cleaner", and it's certainly far more cost-effective to use in perfumery. The real issue is that the vendor's implicit claims may not have been accurate.