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  1. #1
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    Default The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    I have been quietly exploring many different sandalwood fragrances for the past year - prompted by my acquisition of some 'real' Mysore sandalwood oil (Montale) and I'm having a lot of fun figuring out which ones appeal to me and which ones don't.

    One thing that has surprised me is that I am recently drawn toward the sweeter ones - which normally are harder to wear here in South Florida but perhaps because it's sandalwood it seems to balance out the sweetness nicely.


    Ones that I have sampled and like are:

    Egoiste and Egoiste Concentree by Chanel - the Concentree is just the bomb, isn't it? This one comes right up to the line of comfortableness for me, if I over apply just one too many sprays it gets gross, but if I restrain myself and go light I am rewarded with that wonderful candied, rosewood, fruity sandalwood. Oh and one more thing: I smell very little rose in Egoiste - I keep waiting for my nose to 'get' the rose note but it's lost in amongst all of the other accords.

    Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens - I hated this when I first tried it (fenugreek!?...ugh!) but more recently I wore it on a very hot afternoon (from a tester) in Georgetown DC and then went off to get a massage and I swear the smell of this fragrance wafting all around me during the massage was magical. I quickly bought a large decant of this and every time I wear it now I experience something new. There is a creaminess to the sandalwood that is intensified in this one, that sort of reminds me of eating a spoonful of plain yogurt, mixed with a modulated syrupy sweetness as if you've drizzled agave nectar into your yogurt before you swallow it. Meditative and foody. Of course if this description grosses you out then most likely the scent will also - which judged by the BN reviews, you won't be alone.

    Santalum by Profumum - one drop is all you really need of this one. It's VERY sweet and VERY cinnamon prominent and then the sandalwood comes whooshing in. Not for the faint of heart or for those looking for something easy on the wallet either. And yes, as has been mentioned here on BN before, the vintage (brown juice) is much stronger, deeper and sweeter than the current (light brown juice) stuff on the shelves now. Still, both are bomb-diggity good. Oh and if you over apply this one it smells slightly synthetic. So don't.

    Sandalwood by Geo F. Trumper - I used to own a large decant of this many years ago (it was a gift from old BN member supermarky - remember him?) and I remember at the time thinking, 'this is sandalwood!?' because it is so darn sweet. Many people equate this with Egoiste, but in fact the Trumpers has it's own vibe: a virtual pinwheel of sweet, fruity accord swirling along with a wonderfully woody, barbershop base of sandalwood. And, no, it (confusingly) does NOT smell like the Sandalwood Shaving Cream by Geo F. Trumper, but if you shave with the one & then layer with the EdT the combination is fantastic.

    Santal 33 by Le Labo - coconut sandalwood! Seriously. This stuff rocks, it's like a tropical fiesta sandalwood. Very gourmand, but nicely done. I only have to put a tiny amount on and it lasts incredibly long. It sticks to fabric like glue, I have gotten a big nose full of this when I'm doing laundry, from a t-shirt I wore more than a week before. I have a large decant bottle en route and I cannot wait until Fall comes to rock this more and more. I think this one would also work great in a nightclub, it has that same sweet/dark/radiant vibe that I sense from Costume National Homme, Black Orchid, etc. Just more sandalwood-y.


    Ones that I have sampled and DO NOT like are:

    Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens - OMG how I hate this stuff. It is the classic example of an over-the-top Serge Lutens fragrance, done wrongly. The juice color, that deep syrupy red, reminds me of acid that runs off a leaky car battery. This should be swallowed, a spoonful at a time, when you are trying to suppress your cough - not sprayed on skin. Blech.

    Santal Noble by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier - I have come to the conclusion that coffee mixed in with sandalwood just turns my stomach. And yes, I tried vintage juice also. Just no, no, no, no, no.


    One that I am on the fence about:

    Samsara By Guerlain (vintage EdP or parfum) - I'm afraid of the jasmine, it sort of explodes out of the bottle before it goes into a heavenly sandalwood base (very Mysore sandalwood prominent). Will I wear this if I buy a bottle? I'm not sure.


    What other 'sweet' sandalwood fragrances do you like/hate/recommend/etc?
    "All problems are illusions of the mind."

    -- Eckhart Tolle

  2. #2

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    By the way- hoping not to get too off-topic here- am I the only one who noticed a certain "burnt matchstick-sweetness" and/or "burnt sugar-sweetness" in Creed's Original Santal?

  3. #3

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    I seriously recommend you to try Chergui in its bell jar version. I have sandalwood oil from Mysore (bought by a friend two years ago), which to my mind smells like the real stuff I remember from my teenage days when I continously had this as an essential oil. Last time I had this on my skin I kept thinking for at least an hour 'which fragrance this reminded me of'... until it stroke me... it clearly is Chergui in the bell jar. It is rich in sandalwood oil of the real kind and therefore was reformulated when it joined the Export range IMHO. Do try it!

  4. #4
    Off-Scenter
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    You need to try Praline de Santal. ;-)

  5. #5

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Where do you stand on Bois des Iles, Mike? Sounds like a fit to me.

    I find Egoiste a bit too much, and I'm not big on Santal Blanc so I suspect we at different ends of the spectrum. I like Santal Noble a lot altho I tend towards simpler stuff. You know Reflection Man is quite sweet (at least that's one facet of it) and sandalwood plays a part in the base - I like it a lot but I've never thought of it as a sandalwood scent . . . might be worth a look if you haven't already.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Not sure if it is sweet enough for you, Mike, but I would be curious to know what you think of AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo's Chillum, tobacco and ginger + sandalwood. It has the tastiest sandalwood I have come across.

    (BTW, Mysore is a wonderful city to visit! Go!)
    Sans parfum, la peau est muette.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    By the way- hoping not to get too off-topic here- am I the only one who noticed a certain "burnt matchstick-sweetness" and/or "burnt sugar-sweetness" in Creed's Original Santal?
    I don't get that Ken. No sweetness. I sort of hate it actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    I seriously recommend you to try Chergui in its bell jar version. I have sandalwood oil from Mysore (bought by a friend two years ago), which to my mind smells like the real stuff I remember from my teenage days when I continously had this as an essential oil. Last time I had this on my skin I kept thinking for at least an hour 'which fragrance this reminded me of'... until it stroke me... it clearly is Chergui in the bell jar. It is rich in sandalwood oil of the real kind and therefore was reformulated when it joined the Export range IMHO. Do try it!
    Well that's news to me, I will definitely do my best to seek out some vintage bell jar juice, although that sounds extremely difficult to source. My 'new' Chergui (from a small decant) is wonderful but I don't go anywhere near it in Summer...it's just TOO much. I find that when I sweat wearing Chergui, the combination makes me a bit light-headed and sort of claustrophobic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Off-Scenter View Post
    You need to try Praline de Santal. ;-)
    Will do!

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    Where do you stand on Bois des Iles, Mike? Sounds like a fit to me.

    I find Egoiste a bit too much, and I'm not big on Santal Blanc so I suspect we at different ends of the spectrum. I like Santal Noble a lot altho I tend towards simpler stuff. You know Reflection Man is quite sweet (at least that's one facet of it) and sandalwood plays a part in the base - I like it a lot but I've never thought of it as a sandalwood scent . . . might be worth a look if you haven't already.
    I like Bois des Iles but I don't think it's 'sweet'. Those aldehydes buzzing all around, the crispness and the floral lift...love all of that. Just doesn't really smell sweet IMO.
    I have a sample of Reflection Man that Joe gave me so I will put that aside & give it my full concentration to see if I 'get' the sandalwood.
    "All problems are illusions of the mind."

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Mike, l love your description of Santal 33; "coconut sandalwood" sounds right up my street! (And l luuurve Black Orchid )

    l can't add any suggestions, but l will be watching this thread with interest to see what folks come up with. Samsara is a huge favourite of mine, in fact l'm a little obsessed with it at the moment. Just this week l've acquired bottles of the vintage EDT & EDP, & will be sitting down to compare them soon. l've been spraying my sheets with the modern EDP for a while now, & that sweet, comforting sandalwood drydown is just divine to wake up to!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    My favorite sandalwood is Montale's Santal de Mysore from its confidential collection.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmopolit View Post
    Chillum, tobacco and ginger + sandalwood. It has the tastiest sandalwood I have come across.
    Wow. Yet another one of D. Dubrana's to go on the list His Santalum Album EDT is a lovely reference Mysore but I haven't tried much else where he has used sandalwood in a composition. Thanks for mentioning this.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    A few suggestions (sweetness included)

    Arpege Pour Homme
    Tricorn by Caswell Massey (sandalwood/amber)
    Biehl Parfumkunstwerke EO01 (a spicy oriental with a strong sandalwood base)
    Bois 1920 Sandalo e The

    Caswell Massey also makes another sandalwood based conposition wich I think is simply called "sandalwood". If memory serves me well It's a fresher take on the main theme (something between Guccy Envy for Men and Floris Santal but I may be wrong)
    Last edited by alfarom; 25th August 2011 at 05:00 PM.


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  12. #12

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Have you ever tried Laura Tonatto's Sandalo per Teti? Sweet sandalwood with orange and a bit of mint on top. Absolutely gorgeous.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Mike, l love your description of Santal 33; "coconut sandalwood" sounds right up my street! (And l luuurve Black Orchid )

    l can't add any suggestions, but l will be watching this thread with interest to see what folks come up with. Samsara is a huge favourite of mine, in fact l'm a little obsessed with it at the moment. Just this week l've acquired bottles of the vintage EDT & EDP, & will be sitting down to compare them soon. l've been spraying my sheets with the modern EDP for a while now, & that sweet, comforting sandalwood drydown is just divine to wake up to!
    Yeah, the Le Labo has that same thick sweetness of the TF...and honestly I think sweet coconut scents can sometimes be sort of gross (like Datura Noir by Serge Lutens or Kai), but in Santal 33 it works. As far as Samsara, I am very tempted by the vintage EdP and parfum but what I should probably do is get a sample of the parfum before I go splurging for a whole bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    My favorite sandalwood is Montale's Santal de Mysore from its confidential collection.
    Oh hednic, I know, isn't it great. Once my tiny sample is gone I will miss it. Still, I didn't mention it above because it doesn't fall along my current sweet trajectory.

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmopolit View Post
    Not sure if it is sweet enough for you, Mike, but I would be curious to know what you think of AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo's Chillum, tobacco and ginger + sandalwood. It has the tastiest sandalwood I have come across.

    (BTW, Mysore is a wonderful city to visit! Go!)
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    Wow. Yet another one of D. Dubrana's to go on the list His Santalum Album EDT is a lovely reference Mysore but I haven't tried much else where he has used sandalwood in a composition. Thanks for mentioning this.
    Thank you cosmopolit, I have been considering getting a small vial of the mysore oil he sells so maybe I'll grab a sample of the Chillum too (love the name!..what does it mean?). Still it doesn't sound very sweet. Is it?
    I would LOVE to visit Mysore. One day, one day. I am in awe of the hustle and bustle of that part of the Middle East and IMO some of the men are just jaw droppingly handsome.
    "All problems are illusions of the mind."

    -- Eckhart Tolle

  14. #14

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    I personally can't stand Original Santal. I don't get any sandalwood out of it at all, just a sweet mush that disappears in a half hour. It's probably just a skin chemistry issue, though.

    One you may want to give a try is Santal Blush by Tom Ford. Neiman Marcus has it in stock- you mentioned Georgetown- try the one at Tyson's Galleria and ask for Nahzi. She took great care of me last time I was up there. Santal Blush is kind of a floral/fruit bomb right out of the gate but soon settles down to a boozy, luxurious Australian sandalwood that I think you may appreciate. It's definitely one to test on the back of your hand in case it ends up as a scrubber for you. Any more than a single spritz is, IMHO, enough to choke a horse.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    nice reviews Mike!

    just don't agree with the santal de mysore and Santal Noble reviews (but you already knew it was coming ... Santal de Mysore has a lovely drydown which smells extremely rich in sandalwood. Santal Noble is crude sandalwood bark with sandalwood soapiness.

    but, to me, nothing comes close to Villoresi's Epic release - Sandalo. in my mind, that's how sandalwood smells.

  16. #16
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    To answer your question Mike, a "chillum" is a type of hashish-smoking pipe. (Aah, my misspent youth! )
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    To answer your question Mike, a "chillum" is a type of hashish-smoking pipe. (Aah, my misspent youth! )


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  18. #18

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Chillin' with a chillum.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    Chillin' with a chillum.
    Not exactly my style LOL


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  20. #20

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Mike, nice thread. I've never smelled the Egoiste Concentree (hard to find) but I've been getting into Egoiste lately and it's nice.

    I can't remember if you tried Creed Santal Imperial or not... It's not super sweet, but has a smokey tonka bean accord around the edges that makes it feel very soft and comfy. The topnotes are very exalting and uplifting-- it's one of those scents where I just can't find the seams of the notes. Very unisex and natural smelling. I suppose it has a lightness to it, but I like it quite a bit.

  21. #21

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    To answer your question Mike, a "chillum" is a type of hashish-smoking pipe. (Aah, my misspent youth! )
    Hah. I was wondering if that's what the name was referring to, but didn't want to out myself.

    +1 Creed Santal Imperial

  22. #22

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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    for a good, pure sandalwood sweetness try Creed Bois de Santal
    Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal is a sweet, floral sandalwood
    Oriscent, AgarAura Pure Ouds, Creed, LIDGE, Patou Pour Homme, tons of niche and rare stuff for sale!
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  23. #23

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Great thread!

    Mike, I'm sure you've tried Floris Santal, which is often compared to Gucci Envy (with more of a sandalwood element). I remember it being pretty classy, but the way Floris has been acting lately, I wouldn't be surprised if it was crappily reformulated.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  24. #24
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    The new Tom Ford Santal Blush is a sweet creamy sandalwood.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    A few suggestions (sweetness included)

    Arpege Pour Homme
    Tricorn by Caswell Massey (sandalwood/amber)
    Biehl Parfumkunstwerke EO01 (a spicy oriental with a strong sandalwood base)
    Bois 1920 Sandalo e The

    Caswell Massey also makes another sandalwood based conposition wich I think is simply called "sandalwood". If memory serves me well It's a fresher take on the main theme (something between Guccy Envy for Men and Floris Santal but I may be wrong)
    Well, I was gifted a bottle of Arpege Pour Homme and I hated it. So I don't imagine I'll do a 180 on that one. I didn't think Tricorn was that sweet when I wore it, does anyone else think it is?
    I would love to try the Biehl, thanks.
    Sandalo e The is sweet, I agree, but it's also very aldehydic to my nose...almost unbearably so. The fizziness disrupts the sandalwood IMO and made it hard to wear/enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    Have you ever tried Laura Tonatto's Sandalo per Teti? Sweet sandalwood with orange and a bit of mint on top. Absolutely gorgeous.
    Have not. Added to the list!

    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    I personally can't stand Original Santal. I don't get any sandalwood out of it at all, just a sweet mush that disappears in a half hour. It's probably just a skin chemistry issue, though.

    One you may want to give a try is Santal Blush by Tom Ford. Neiman Marcus has it in stock- you mentioned Georgetown- try the one at Tyson's Galleria and ask for Nahzi. She took great care of me last time I was up there. Santal Blush is kind of a floral/fruit bomb right out of the gate but soon settles down to a boozy, luxurious Australian sandalwood that I think you may appreciate. It's definitely one to test on the back of your hand in case it ends up as a scrubber for you. Any more than a single spritz is, IMHO, enough to choke a horse.
    I am excited to try Santal Blush, I was wondering if it was sweet. I was vacationing in Georgetown - I live in Miami so I'm still on the lookout here for this new Tom Ford. Not sure if my local Saks has it yet - the Saks in Bal Harbour sort of sucks. Is the scent very musk prominent Orobas?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    nice reviews Mike!

    just don't agree with the santal de mysore and Santal Noble reviews (but you already knew it was coming ... Santal de Mysore has a lovely drydown which smells extremely rich in sandalwood. Santal Noble is crude sandalwood bark with sandalwood soapiness.

    but, to me, nothing comes close to Villoresi's Epic release - Sandalo. in my mind, that's how sandalwood smells.
    Thanks jenson. Maybe one-of-these-days the Santal de Mysore will click with me...I mean I really tried to like it and I tested it several times - each time it was just awful. Really vile.

    There are a ton of GREAT sandalwood scents that I am getting to know, in fact Joe gifted a sample of the Villoresi that I haven't smelled yet. I'm waiting for a special occasion. But, as I've come to learn, the most 'vivid' and 'realistic' sandalwood scents are usually not the sweet ones. So I guess I've come to realize that I love sandalwood when it smells true-to-life, natural and linear and I also like it when it's blended, sweetened, gustatory, etc.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 25th August 2011 at 08:51 PM.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    You know me Mike, I would recommend Xerjoff Richwood.

  27. #27

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    Thanks jenson. Maybe one-of-these-days the Santal de Mysore will click with me...I mean I really tried to like it and I tested it several times - each time it was just awful. Really vile.
    note, i said drydown i could imagine how top to mid notes may not go well with many. spice overload...

    with regards to your preferences for "true-to-life, natural and linear" sandalwood, i would presume Sandalo wont disappoint.

  28. #28

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23;
    I didn't think Tricorn was that sweet when I wore it, does anyone else think it is?
    Tricorn didn't strike me as sweet either. It is one of my guilty pleasures, love its old school, gentleman vibe.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 25th August 2011 at 11:18 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Great writeup mp23 and ofcourse you are entitled to your opinion.

    A couple of notes: Santal de Mysore does have a decent sandalwood note, its just that the spices and sweetness can be overwhelming at times and consequently it feels unbalanced. Santal Noble does have an odd wood + coffee combo...it smells like parched diuretic wood, and its sandalwood smells a lot like cedar/cedar-chest to me.
    -

  30. #30

    Default Re: The 'sweet' sandalwoods

    Most of the Sandalwoods people have reccomended are Australian , not Mysore( the sweet one and the highest quality) . The only true Mysore sandalwood smelling surprisingly is WONDERWOOD it is probably the best quality mysore sandalwood you will find , SERIOUSLY. I have a Mysore sandalwood figurine , from the 80s , they smell VIRTUALLY the same. Montale's santal is a knock off of Lutens Santal de Mysore, it has that curry smell in it.

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