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  1. #1

    Default Is Sandalwood skanky?

    I know that's a strange question, but bear with me.
    I mentioned a few weeks back having a rather strange 'ew! skanky?' reaction to Samsara edp. After consulting my perfume gurus (i.e. you lot!) I decided it must be the jasmine (indoles doncha know).

    But then I got the same reaction to my beloved Chanel Cuir de Russie, which horrified me. I can live without wearing Samsara again, but giving up CdR? However, I'm pretty sure I have figured out what the note is that I'm having difficulty with, thanks to Ava Luxe's Vamp: it's Sandalwood.

    I think I have somehow managed to start smelling Sandalwood as skanky.
    Does anyone else have this perception of it?

    And as a secondary question, are there any notes that have suddenly 'turned' on you, as this has with me?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    I have to say: it never USED to be...
    When it was mainly Mysore.

    I resemble a broken record- between my Calone crazy and my Mysore mania-

    But when Mysore was used, there was only creamy, delectable woody.
    Now that it is a 'controlled substance', many more sustainable and aromachemical approximations are used- and I think that may be what's pissing your sweet pug nose off, darlin'.

    Givaudan has a very good sandalwood- which smells terrific- andI marvel why more folks don't use it.

    I'll have to check out the other notes in Vamp, to let you know what might be the culprit [ if I'd been thinking clearly, I'd have done it BEFORE I responded, LOL !]...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    I used to be a sandalwood fan, even wearing Mysore Sandalwood oil neat (I had stocked up years ago before it became prohibitively priced and almost impossible to acquire), until one day, out of the blue, sandalwood oil, even the pure Mysore Sandalwood essential oil, turned--as you described it Wordbird--"skanky" on me. I tried Sandalwood in all its forms, and it made no difference; every one smelled "skanky". I don't know what it was, but I suspect I developed some kind of sensitivity to some component of the oil. It lasted about three years, and went away as mysteriously as it appeared. Sandalwood, in all its forms, natural and synthetic, smells fine to me now.

    I wish I had a better explanation of exactly
    what happened, but at least I can confirm that I share your experience.

    scentemental

    P.S. I used to be a Vetiver fan, owning and wearing pretty much every vetiver fragrance that was ever released, until one day, again, out of the blue, I couldn't stand the smell of vetiver anymore. It wasn't a matter of its smelling "skanky." Simply, overnight, I went from a vetiver lover to a vetiver loather. I just stopped liking the smell of vetiver. I now have only two vetiver fragrances in my wardrobe that I can abide. My antipathy to vetiver happened around the same time sandalwood turned skanky on me, but unlike sandalwood, I have never found the love
    for vetiver again. I used to wear both vetiver and sandalwood essential oils neat, along with many sandalwood and vetiver type fragrances. I can only speculate that like foods one over indulges in, over indulgence in these specific oils my have lead to some kind of olfactory based "allergic" reaction.

    Last edited by scentemental; 28th March 2009 at 12:33 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Real sandalwood, especially excellent Mysore is a creamy, woody, transendental scent. It was used for many years for its meditation, relaxation and healing properties.

    Today because a shortage of supply and high costs a variety or sandalwood species are used which have different properies, and almost all "sandalwood" is adulterated, synthetic, or of such poor quality that it is barely a mere shadow of true, authentic, wild, mature Mysore.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Wordbird, Cuir de Russie contains civet and castoreum which I propose is the source of the skank

    Scentemental, interesting about "going off" on fragrances. It happens to me too--usually the culprit is an artificial ingredient, though. Vetiver is a tricky one--if I get certain ones, they have a celery-like note which makes me absolutely ill due to a bad scent association with celery that I have. Incidentally, psycho-somatic scent associations can happen quite rapidly, and this was the case with my celery incident.
    Last edited by Asha; 28th March 2009 at 12:58 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Asha, in my case, I know for sure it wasn't an "artificial ingredient" because I tried all types of high quality sandalwood essential oils from reputable distributors. I even had an Indian friend of mine bring me back some bona fide Mysore Sandalwood Oil from India but to no avail. They all smelled "skanky."

    Incidentally, it's a bit of misconception to think that Mysore Sandalwood or any Sandalwood essential oil for that matter was used exclusively in fragrances before it recently became prohibitively expensive and scarce. Sandalwood aromachemicals of high quality have been around since the sixties and have been used consistently since then in both men's and women's fragrances. It would be more correct to say that Sandalwood notes of the last 40 years--especially in top end designer fragrances--were constructed with a combination of Sandalwood essential oil and Sandalwood and other woody aromachemicals, and, in many cases, with simply the sandalwood and or woody aromachemicals.

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 28th March 2009 at 01:11 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Oh, I don't doubt you scentemental--if you say you smelled the single note ingredients, that is enough for me! I was simply saying that in my case, my sensitivities tend to occur most frequently with artificial ingredients. That is not to say that I don't also react to natural ones, it just seems to happen less often.

    I do think that sometimes the extraction process can add something too--for example, I have two bottles of nutmeg essential oil, both of different origin (as far as I know). Both smell oily and gasoline-like to my nose, but most people do not perceive this oily quality.

    I can imagine that newer sandalwood from Australia can smell a bit sweaty due to the cedar-like quality. Cedar EO often smells sweaty to me, as do some other evergreens.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Perhaps it's your body chemistry? I've never known true sandalwood fragrance to be skanky. At least, that's not how I'd interpret it. 41 years ago I was given a vial of true Mysore sandalwood (of which, sadly, only a bit of residue is left in the bottom of said vial). That aroma is the standard by which I have judged sandalwood all my life. Unfortunately, these days I have yet to find anything like it. I've recently gotten back into searching for a true sandalwood fragrance and have had little luck. I've tried a few and my reaction has pretty much, across the board, been, "I know what real sandalwood smells like, and that's not sandalwood. Tam Dao has come closest, but still is lacking something. I just received in the mail a decant of Profumum Santalum (the dark one) but have not yet tried it out.

    Sandalwood and frankincense are two scents that I'm rather picky about. Both of them are, to me, like what the fragrance of the trees of Paradise must be. They are transcendent scents. Both of them, when actually present and of good quality, evoke a certain head-and-heart (no pun intended) response in me. Sandalwood, skanky? It shouldn't be.
    Last edited by xhepera; 28th March 2009 at 04:02 PM. Reason: added note re Profumum Santalum

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    I find sandalwood relaxing, sensual and slightly euphoric... never skanky.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Never skanky to my nose.

    I just read the wiki on sandalwood, and was pleased to read that there are new plantations of mysore sandalwood (santalum album) growing in Australia. The more common Australian stuff (santalum spicatum), while nice, just ain't the same at all. So I'm inferring that in the next several years, we can expect a resurgence of the creamy, rich 'real' stuff! Yay!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Sandalwood isn't skanky to me, but it can go very, very sharp (as in Samsara). I wore Mille et Une Roses a few weeks ago; the rose seems to be absorbed into my skin, leaving only a very sharp and nearly unpleasant sandalwood note.

    I've gone off vetiver also. I can't stand it for the most part, unless it is bashed nonsensical as in Fracas or Mahora. Oddly, though, I can wear Vetiver Extraordinaire and would consider purchasing a bottle.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Fascinating responses, as always.
    I think Scentemental has best explained what has happened to me: my nose has turned against this one note and is reading it wrongly. I already have this problem with the peach note in Attrape Coeur and Mitsouko: when it's present in a perfume, it's all I can smell.

    I checked again that it's Sandalwood I'm smelling by sniffing my precious little decant of Bois des Iles and yup, there's that weird thing going on there as well.

    Oh, but of course I'm not going to let this stop me wearing sandalwood. But I will be wearing it only when I can cope with smelling myself as 'skanky' (feel free to insert a joke about trying this mysterious stuff called 'soap'!!)

    And now I think I had better go and try my hubby's Guerlain Vetiver to see if that's gone bongo too.

    Do you think this is the Perfume Gods laughing at me because I finally get patchouli now?
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Last night I shared an application of SMN Sandalo with my partner in "sniffology". We both were hit between the eyes with childhood memories.
    His: 1950s "bug bomb" insect fumigators and sawdust
    Mine: Bactine, Absorbine Junior and a grade-school pencil sharpener

    Where is the sweet creamy sandalwood of my past? Surely, even if they cannot obtain the beautiful Mysore sandalwood any longer, the wizards of the scent molecule could come up with am approximation instead of the sharp medicinal stuff that is appearing these days. And yes, there are a few juices with a hefty dose of skank as well.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    I'm with others - it can smell skanky, but it shouldn't. I'm more inclined to think the "skankiness" is not the synthetic, but the poor quality natural . To my nose, the more synthetic sandalwood notes are just kind of dry and woody (like the aforementioned pencil shavings note) ,but some cheap natural oils have that indolic/funk quality.

    Confession: I go out of my way to a belly dancer shop that has all of the garb as well as a variety of incense, just to buy Indian Mysore Sandalwood soap. We use it as hand soap in the bathroom. With each use, on the first burst of scent, you get a "gasoline-like" sweaty note, but it disappears quickly, and afterward one's hands just smell like creamy-woods soft goodness.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Confession: I go out of my way to a belly dancer shop that has all of the garb as well as a variety of incense, just to buy Indian Mysore Sandalwood soap. We use it as hand soap in the bathroom. With each use, on the first burst of scent, you get a "gasoline-like" sweaty note, but it disappears quickly, and afterward one's hands just smell like creamy-woods soft goodness. [/QUOTE]

    Ah, good old Mysore Sandal soap. That was a mainstay with us when we were in college in the early 1970s because it was so comfortably fragrant and incredibly cheap. Is it still creamy-good? I keep passing it up at the store because I've been so turned off by modern sandalwood.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    It *is* still creamy good - very conditioning - hands are always soft and clean. Other than that sharp bit at the beginning, the rest is as sandalwood should be. And the box is pretty, too.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Hmmmmm. I never find it sandalwood skanky.Different body chemistry maybe. But I don't find it skanky on other people when I encounter it.

    Asha--I have a similar vetiver thing. Not the celery part--but I love vetiver in general but occasionally encounter one that almost makes me sick. I can't place what it is is....
    Last edited by Nostalgie; 1st April 2009 at 10:55 AM.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Is Sandalwood skanky?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    I used to be a sandalwood fan, even wearing Mysore Sandalwood oil neat ....until one day, out of the blue, sandalwood oil, even the pure Mysore Sandalwood essential oil, turned--as you described it Wordbird--"skanky" on me....

    P.S. I used to be a Vetiver fan, owning and wearing pretty much every vetiver fragrance that was ever released, until one day, again, out of the blue, I couldn't stand the smell of vetiver anymore. It wasn't a matter of its smelling "skanky."
    Same thing happened to me and amber!
    I can now only tolerate it in small
    very small doses and infrequently!
    I used to LOVE AMBER!
    Maybe I overdosed!
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