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    Dec 2006
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    Default The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    I never got to 'meet' Vibrant_Violet when they were a BN member, but as a big fan of sandalwood prominent scents I've found their thread they posted back in 2005 an essential thread on Basenotes.

    However, because of this site's software code changes (or some other HTML gobbley-gook that I don't understand) the actual text for the 'Best Sandalwood' thread is all wacked out and hard to read, so I have retyped it. I left it exactly as it was, minus the wacky parts - so if something is misspelled or sounds wrong, I copied it this way from the original thread. I also fixed the links at the very bottom, many of them were bad or redirected links so I cleaned them up so they linked correctly to the BN threads intended.

    Of course, this thread doesn't have all of the wonderful hundred of replies that the original thread does, so feel free to click on over there after you read this one, and post your thoughts.




    The followings are my personal (therefore, very subjective and biased) reviews of sandalwood-themed fragrances in plain words (I haven't learned many sophiscated fragrance terms yet!). Please excuse me for some misspellings. It's either my Microsoft Word did not pick them up or it's simply because English is not my native language!

    Update: The more sandalwood fragrances I sniff, the more I realize how little I know about sandalwood. Considering all the responsibility of writing fragrance reviews even though it's personal reviews, I will constantly keep revising the already-existing reviews as well as just adding new fragrance at the bottom. I will also correct all the misspelling and typos, but I would appreciate your understanding that English is not my primary language...

    # Go away!
    # # Unremarkable!
    # # # Pleasant!
    # # # # Great fragrance!
    # # # # # Perfect scent!

    Santal (L'Artisan) # #

    'Sandalwood - The sacred wood is excellent for the sandalwood of Mysore and all its splendour.'
    Distinguishing feature: spicy coolness…
    Family : woody floral spicy
    Blend : sandalwood, nutmeg, sage

    It smells simply 'citrusy'. I'm one of those old-fashioned people who believe that citrus and sandalwood never get along with each other. Sandalwood adds some metalic bitterness to the fresh citrus. And just because both citrus and sandalwood are very commonly used, this combination inevitably ends up smelling generic unisex. It's almost equivalent to the combination of lavender and oakmoss, which, with whatever microscoipic difference added, would smell 'generic mens cologne'. This phenomenon actually is not annoyingly obvious in this fragrance but is there. Making it worse than that, sandalwood is not prominent enough to reveal its beauty It starts out smelling freshly citrus, reminding you of the lemon-ish sharpness of Eau d'Hadrien. The subtle sandalwood base makes this lemonish accord covered with metalic bitterness (i.e. Lemon Pledge). You patiently wait for sandalwood, but the more you wait, the more note of what appears to be vetiver comes up (correct me if I wrong). You may be able to find sandalwood somewhere in its base if you keep snifing, but I don't think it's the main ingredient of this fragrance. Sandalwood 'effectively' alters the other ingredients, but it never stands out on its own.

    Santal Imperial (Creed) # #

    'Santal Imperial - Mysore sandalwood, tonka bean & ambergris. (year; 1850)'

    Very creeeeeeed-ish. I used to be crazy for citrus colognes (triggered by the beauty of FM Bigarade Cologne) and bought a small decant of Citrus Bigarrade (Creed). I was expecting something similar to FM Bigarade. The sharp citrus top was refreshing at best and I was not impressed by it at all. But after this top dissipated, the 'creedish note' creeped up. The gentle yet very persistent (almost like tinnitus or buzzy noises in the ears). I'm not exactly sure but it must be something to with the neroli they use because of all the Creed frgrances I have sniffed, it was most prominent in Neroli Sauvage. You can find it universally in almost all the major Creed fragrances such as Silver Mountain Water and Millesime Imperial. Well, Santal Imperial is not an exception. There should be sandalwood somewhere in its base. But the 'creedish note' is so prominent that you feel as if the word 'Santal' might just mean 'something woody added somewhere'. I'm not a big Creed fan, and this is definitely unremarkable fragrance from the sandalwood standpoint.

    Sandalo (Lorenzo Villoresi) # # # #

    'Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi - supremely sublime sandalwood. From the ancient Indian tradition, this knockout begins with a zingy spritz of citrus, rose, and lavender which morphs languidly in true Villoresi fashion into a mellow pillow of labdanum, more rose and the beginnings of Mysore sandalwood. Once you've decided it can't get any better it segues yet again into a rustic, rough-hewn, almost unbearably rich base of
    sandal of Mysore and arboreal sap, aided and abetted by opoponax, vetiver, guiacwood, oakmoss, and amber. Stunning?? Yes, indeedy. Equally so, for men and women alike.

    Top note: Brazilian Rosewood, Australian Lavender, Sicilian Petit Grain, Orange,Lemon
    Heart note: Labdanum, Bulgarian rose, Sicilian Neroli, Sandalwood
    Base note: Sandalwood, Indonesian Vetiver Root, Amber, Opoponax, Oakmoss, Tibetan Musk'

    According to some aromatherapy websites I came across, the combination of rosewood and sandalwood is one of most commonly used blend for meditation and something spiritual. To my nose, Tam Dao and LV Sandalo are the two masterpieces where this 'spiritual blend' is used effectively. Rosewood adds spiritual height to the beautifully creamy Mysore sandalwood. Rose adds natural sweetness, and because of the gorgeous sweetness, it does not smell black-and-white Asian Buddhistic like Tam Dao. It's rich, exotic and gorgeous. It rather takes you somewhere out there in the Mid Eastern direction. A must try for sandalwood-lovers.

    Santal Noble (MPG) # # # # #

    'It is all the delicate feel of the wood which on the skin takes the body odor of each one. Linked to amber, it is the perfume of seduction.

    Family: wood
    Translation: noble sandalwood
    Pronunciation: santal nawbl
    Ingredients: sandalwood, vetiver, precious woods, coffee'

    There are some fragrances which make you go back and forth between love and hate over and over again. Santal Noble and Santal de Mysore (SL) are truly thw two sandalwood masterpieces which make you have this love/heate pendulum-like movement. Interestingly. the top appears to be almost fecal-smelling mixture of coarse cedarwood (very lumber-ish and cedar-chest-ish) and syrupy amber. Very strong initially and almost repulsive at times. And then gorgeous sandalwood eventually starts to creep up through the ceiling of cedarwood and amber. The drydown is relatively sandalwood-dominant with remnant amber and cedarwood. This drydown is just heavenly and it's definitely something you can die for! In my experience, the strong top made me say, 'I cannnot stand this!' a couple times before I reach the point where I keep sniffing the beautiful drydown on my skin and say 'It's a sandalwood heaven! I just cannot live without it!'.

    Tam Dao (Duptyque) # # # # #

    'The newest edition to the Diptyque fragrance line, the rare and coveted Orinental Goa Sandalwood is used in this smooth, bewitching and sensous scent.'

    Very sharp and kind of bitter cypress is very prominent in its top. It's a bit annoying to my nose at this stage, but it eventually calms down. And, to my nose, what appears to be a combination of cumin and rosewood/sandalwood gradually comes up. Cumin is very subtle, but steadily produces sensual waves on the skin. The sandalwood is not white-creamy like most sandalwood fragranes. Instead, it's more transparent and somewhat incensy (again, to my nose) to the point that you wonder if they're using smokey Australian sandalwood (as opposed to 'Goa sandalwood' as they claim). In combination with rosewood, smells as if you were meditating surrounded by Asian incense smokes in a Buddhistic temple. If Trumper's Sandalwood is in a rainbow-color, Tam Dao is simply in black-and-white. First-class sandalwood masterpiece which provides spiritual awareness.

    10 Corso Como # #

    '10 Corso Como is exotic sensuality, the meeting of the arcane and the new. It's a clean, warm sandalwood with a touch of churchy frankincense and an ingredient so expensive, so precious, so rare that we dare not speak its name but once. This is not your local headshop's version of sandalwood, so forget about multi-colored dancing bears and hookahs; 10 Corso Como's mystery is rooted in one of the most ancient of all incenses, yet it remains light on the skin, exuding a scent both delicate and intensely spiritual. Without a single ad campaign, 10 Corso Como has attracted so many crazed worshippers in Europe that some buy the bottles by the dozen. Impossible to find through any US website, we've managed to acquire a limited number of this haunting elixir. Welcome to paradise.

    Corso Como (Large) notes : sandalwood, frankincense, musk, rose, geranium, vetiver and rare Malay oud wood oil'

    This one is very similar to Tam Dao in terms of the sandalwood part. But its top note is plum. It's kind of like the ripe plums you get from Femme (Rochas). But very ripe to the point that it smells like 'mature femininity' and makes you feel like a middle-aged woman or something (no offense to middle-aged women, though). Some women may pull this off nicely. But I personally find it hard for me to wear.....

    Sandalo (Etro) # # #

    'A warm, Far East blend of exotic woods with touches of amber and musk. Fresh-flowery top notes, woody middle notes, and ambered-musky base notes.'

    It's a great sandalwood fragrance. But just because it's of eau-de-cologne concentration, it appears to be lighter than most sandalwood fragrances. In addition, the sandalwood per se is very transparent and ethereal (not creamy). Personally, I just don't like myrrhe used in it. Myrrhe, to my nose, almost smells a bit like fungal infection between toes (sorry for a bad metaphor). Apologize to those who love this cologne, but it's not for me.....

    Santal Blanc (Serge Lutens) # #

    'It is from the very organic concept of skin that Serge Lutens foresaw the fragrance come to life. Like skin, Santal Blanc is silky soft, tactile and comfortable. Its very essence is revelaed through cinnamon, fenugreek and rich resins of benzoin and copaiba balsam. Orris root gives the fragrance its soothing softness, which smoulders gently by the addition of musc. Rose and jasmine give it its flowery touch, while pink pepper seals and awakens the fragrance, giving it its irresistible presence. The perfect alchemy of a dream. Santal Blanc.'

    Is it benzoin? I have no idea, but it smells very sweet, creamy and milky to the point it feels 'sticky'. It reminds me of one of those sweet Keiko Mecheri fragrances. I can detect sandalwood in it, but I don't think it's the mysore sandalwood that is giving off this nauseatingly sweet milky stickiness. Is there musk as well? Something else feminine is also dominant there and it gives a powedery quality to it. No. Not for me...

    Sandalwood (The Art of Shaving) # # # #

    'With essential oils from the finest sandalwood trees in Mysore, India, The Art of Shaving creates a timelessly exotic fragrance. The custom blend of sandalwood and pure essential oils is sweetly spicy, lightly herbaceous, with a woody undertone that is both calming and sensual. Naturally free of synthetic oils and fragrances.

    Top note: Eucalyptus
    Heart notes: Jasmine, fur needle
    Base notes: Sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh'


    It's very pleasantly transparent sandalwood in the base. Not creamy at all. What makes this fragrance special is its medicinal quality. It does not have any bergamot or lavender, therefore it does not smell like 'generic after-shave lotion' medicinal at all. Instead medicinal-smelling eucalyptus and balsamic fur needles in the top and middle stab you in a cool way to the point that you feel as if it would clear up not only your sinus but also your mind. On the other hand, the transparent sandalwood in its base are very calming and peaceful. The only thing I cannot stand is myrrhe. My nose is a very sensitive myrrhe detector and whenever I apply this cologne on my skin, my nose activates, 'Myrrhe Alert' in my brain. It's just a personal preference, but I just cannot stand the combination of sandalwood and myrrhe, the latter of which makes the former smelling like 'sandalwood with mold growing on it'.

    Sandalwood (Trumper) # # # #

    'A high quality cologne to uphold Trumper's traditions of excellence. Sandalwood is a very rare and precious perfume and its popularity has caused many sustitutes and inferior preparations to be produced. The Sandalwood oil used by Trumpers is only of the very highest quality and originates from the mountainous Mysore region of India, the centre of the world Sandalwood production.'

    I would say this is one of the most multi-layered sandalwood fragrances. In the end (4-5 hours) the beautiful creamy sandalwood shows up. But you have to go though a very crowded olfactory street before reaching the sandalwood square. To my nose, the top to middle notes smell almost as rich, complex and elegant as Coco or Bois des Iles (Chanel). If Tam Dao were black-and-white, LV Sandalo were dark brown, AoF Sandalwood were moss-green in color, Trumper's Sandalwood would be raibow-color. It smells loaded with fragrance ingredients. Rich and gorgeous.

    Santal (Floris) # #

    'Featuring new innovative grooming and skincare products. With notes of Sicilian Bergamot, Provencal lavender, green grasses and crushed peppercorns combine with rich wood notes.'

    I may be wrong. But I just cannot find any sandalwood I know of in this fragrance. There're lavender and a lot of masculine woods. Or is this what they call Australian sandalwood? Very bold and pleasantly masculine scent. It's obviously going for the Santuary Pour Homme (Sonoma) direction...

    Sandalwood (Floris) # # # #

    'Warm, Sensual and Undeniably Enchanting - Oil from Mysore in India is blended with warm touches of musk and amber. A hint of bergamot and jasmine help to balance this 'exotic woody' fragrance.'

    When you first apply on your skin, you're just surprised because you don't smell a thing. No cheerful citrus. No feminine flowers. No dry woods. All you smell is 99% alcohol and 1% something very subtle. This subtleness gradually evolves into a fully-blooming sandalwood on your skin. It's very soft, transparent yet perfectly creamy sandalwood. In my opinion, this is a textbook sandalwood fragrance. You almost feel as if they (Floris) had chosen not to add anything else so that we can enjoy the sandalwood fully. If I were asked to recommend a straight-forward sandalwood fragrance which smells closest to essence oil, Floris Sandalwood would be definitely by far at the top of my recommendation list. It does not shout or yell, but keeps whispering on your skin and you can enjoy the pure beauty of sandalwood without any unnecessary additives like citrus, greens, amber or other woods confusing you.

    Le Roi Santal (Comptoir Sud Pacifique) # # #

    'This truly is a kingly sandalwood fragrance, balancing the legendary scent of sandalwood on a soft cedar. The warm sweetness of cabreuva wood brings a unique and mysterious brings to mind tanned skin and forests full of sunlit groves. Iris moves in and out, contributing a soft and velvety powder to the woods and creating one of the most unique fragrances in the entire line. A radical departure from the gourmand and sweet feel of many of the CSPs, it's proof that it doesn't have to be edible to be fabulous.
    Le Roi Santal notes:iris, cabreuva wood, cedar, sandalwood'

    Actually, it's......beautiful (sorry, I cannot find a better adjective, because it's truly beautiful). 'Le Roi Santal' means 'the King of Sandalwood', right? I don't get anything to do with 'King' here (no boldness or masculinity). The top is very soft and gentle. I can smell a touch of iris and..... something else there. I think I've smelled the same thing in the top note of Sandalwood (Floris). Very soft, whitish, and kind of floral-woody. Their description of the notes on the web includes something called Cabreuva. Is it what this is? It's a very comforting thing. At this point, I might like to call this 'La Fleurs de Santal' (Sorry, they don't teach us French in Japan....). It's that 'doux'. And then, very clear and transparent, yet mildly creamy sandalwood comes up. Again, this reminds me of Sandalwood (Floris). If you like Coco-goegeous rich and creamy sandalwood, nothing beats Trumper's Sandalwood. But if you're looking for positively one-dimentional, clear, soft, gentle and transparent sandalwood, you might like to try Sandalwood (Floris) and Le Roi Santal (CSP), which does not yell or shout, but whisper on your skin...

    Sandalwood Vert (Fresh) # # #

    'wandering through a fall forest of sheer woods...
    top: juniper berries, Indian santal, armoise
    heart: Italian bergamot, cypress, sheer verbena, green leaf
    base: oakmoss, rosewood, amber'

    The name 'Vert' pretty much explains its top note. Sharp and crisp green leaves are freshened by bergamot and lemon verbena. Very refreshing and it reminds me of L'Artisan's Santal, but this one is more green than citrusy. Eventually this top partially dissipates and without any prominent middle core, it dries down to an gentle vanilla-woody scent. Pleasantly creamy sandalwood stays on your skin, but the green note still lingers and keeps sandalwood smelling crisp and clean, as opposed to sensual or exotic. Also, rosewood is noticeable to my nose as much. Eventually, all you smell in creamy vanilla on your skin. Very 'pleasant' unisex fragrance, but that's pretty much it....

    Sandalsilver (Montale) # # #

    'Composition: Bergamotte, Agrumes de Sicile, Santal de Mysore, Epices'

    I obtained some Montale samples from Aedes. One of them was this fragrance called Sandalsilver. To a sandalwood-lover, it's a kind of interesting name, isn't it? Well, believe it or now, it's not bad at all. If you like Trumper's Sandalwood, you'll like ths one, as well. To my nose, Trumper's Sandalwood is so multi-layered that it almost reminds me of Coco (Chanel) every now and then. It's that elegant sandalwood fragrance. This Sandalsilver shares the same rich and creamy sandalwood, but has a subtle, but steady and deep incense-smokiness and licorice-sweetness to it, and it definitely smells masculine. If you're looking for a kind of masculine and less extravagant interpretation of Trumper's Sandalwood, I recommend sniffing it, at least. You might ike it.

    Bois de Santal (Keiko Mecheri) # #

    'Keiko Mecheri's Bois de Santal - A sandalwood for the ages. And the ageless.'

    I don't know why Keiko named this 'Bois de Santal' because this scent may as well be called 'Fleurs de Osmanthus'. Instead, her 'Fleurs de Osmanthus' has a very strong note of white-datura, tuberose and ylang ylang, and osmanthus is completely lost in it! Anyway, this 'Bois de Santal' starts out with a beautiful Chinese (white) osmanthus. Very soft and elegant top. And then, pretty quickly what appears to be some kind of woods (is this sandalwood?) comes up. Assuming this is sandalwood (after all, that's the name of this fragrane), this 'sandalwood' has not transparency or creamy richness at all. Maybe the combination of white osmanthus and "sandalwood" is not a good choice qualtitatively? Or the proportions of mixture are not optimal quantitatively? All this 'sandalwood' dose is adding artificial woodiness. Because of this, overall impression of this fragrance is 'osmanthus blossoms made out of chemicals'.

    Santal Blanc (Madini) # # # #

    'The highest grade of a time-honored classic - nothing mor, nothing less. As cool and fragrant as the breeze from a Chinese sandawlood fan.'

    I obtained some samples from their website. Besides, Santal Blanc (I also received a small sample of Agarwood, Oud, Madera de Oriente, and Bouquet). I know it's not a cologne, but it's worth being mentioned here, because their Santal Blanc smells just amazing! It's almost shockingly beautiful. I have to admit that all the sandalwood oil I had experienced before Santal Blanc was just Body Shop. To my nose, Body Shop sandalwood oil was pleasant enough, and I actually had thought it was the standard sandalwood..... until I sniffed Santal Blanc. Well, I've not sniffed Attar Bazaar's Mysore Sandalwood oil, or any other commercially available sandalwood oils yet, and my experience with oils is quite limited, but Santal Blanc truly changed my basic understanding of what sandalwood is supposed to smell like. It has typical transparent and smoothly creamy quality to it, but it's not just that, but also is mesmerizingly naturally oriental on its own. Trumper's Sandalwood smells kind of multi-layered and reminds me of the word 'oriental', but it keeps smelling very 'perfume-ish'; like Coco (Chanel). But this Santal Blanc, it actually reminds me of Bal à Versailles (Jean Desprez) without sweet roses. Naturally earthy, resinous, creamy, and transparent. Very gorgeous and irresistible. It's just perfectly perfect. Again, strictly speaking, it's not a fragrance, but I thought I should mention...

    Santal de Mysore (Serge Lutens) # # # # #

    'Mysore sandalwood, cumin, spices, styrax balsam, caramerilized Siamese benzoin'
    ( from

    First of all, living in US, this one is just hard to obtain! I don't know why SL has to set up this Exclusive/Export boundaries...... Anyway, some people may disagree, but I just cannot help noticing the striking similarity between Santal de Mysore and Arabie. One is in the Exclusive range and the other, Export range..... Anyway, to my nose, both have this vanilla-coconut sweetness. Very delicious smell to the point that it makes you feel like eating coconut fran or some kind of sweet desert. As opposed to Arabie's 'dry-fruitiness', Sandal de Mysore appears to be more caramelized, and it reminds me of Creme Brulee, which is by far my favorite desert. Yummmmm! On the other hand. Arabie is a tad more fruity and the dry-down has some dry fruits. But again, both have the same deliciously sweet core. Sandalwood is there. Rich creamy sandalwood appears to be beautifully covered with this delicious caramelized-vanila-coconut syrup. I love it. It's something you love to have on your skin on cold winter days. I would say this is something you'd like to try sometime if you've already found the beauty of Santal Noble. These are two different sandalwood scents; one is cedar-amber-(coffee?)-syrupy and the other caramelized-vanila-coconut syrupy. But both are just intoxicating and addictive. You end up going back and forth between 'I can't stand it!' and 'I cannot live without it!' like a pendulum. It's a hard-to-find fragrance, but you have to sniff it. Be careful, though. It's addictive...

    Sandalo (Santa Maria Novella) # #

    'An oriental, woody and persistent perfume.'

    Verrrrry medicinal, but not in a pleasant The-Art-of-Shaving-Sandalwood way. After applying on your skin, you start to get this bizarre mixture of citrus, cinnamon, cloves, vetiver and some black peppers. Especially cloves are very strong and smells like a kind of oral hygiene products (toothpaste?). Probably, sandalwoods are somewhere in there, but not obvious. Eventually, it settles downs into a generic woody dry-down which has a hint of creamy sandalwood. Not a great choice if you're looking for a sandalwood-themed fragance because chances are you will have tough time finding any until the very last drydown. On the other hand, if you like Listerine, you might like this....

    Sandalwood (Caswell-Massey) # # #

    'The sumptuous gardens of Maharajahs and Maharanis are fragranced by the rare sandalwood tree. The scent is as intriguing as India itself, and equally suited to men and women. Rich sandalwood fragrance is known for its long lasting scent.
    Fragrance Family: Spicy, Woody.
    Fragrance Note(s): Sandalwood (single note)'
    ( from )

    Have you ever tried a cologne called 'Orange Petitgrain and Sandalwood' (L'Aromarine)? It's leterally a fragrance made up of bitter orange and sandalwood. But just because they're just mixed, but not coordinated well, it appears the earthy resinous sandalwood ruins the freshness of bitter orange top. Is smells as if you just dropped freshly-peeled oranges into dirty sands by mistake, but you still picked them up and tried to eat it. In other words, the orange smells very unpleasantly metalic. Same thing appears to be hapenning here. The top is a pure lemon (Sicilian?). But because of the sandalwood in the base, this lemon smells more metalic-bitter than citrusy-fresh. You have to wait about 30 minutes until this Lemon Pledge accord disappers. The middle into the last notes consists of bare sandalwood. You can find the same earthy, resinous, balsamic, creamy and transparent sandalwood you can find in sandalwood essence oils. Actually very pleasant and quite beautiful sandalwood. It's just I cannot stand the top note It's just I cannot stand the top note....

    Tricorn (Caswell-Massey) # # #

    'A favorite of John Barrymore and Cole Porter. Why have sophisticated men like these found Tricorn to their liking? Perhaps it's the subtlety of Tricorn's top note of prized Bangalore sandalwood.
    Fragrance Family: Herbal, Spicy.
    Fragrance Note(s): Sandalwood (single note)'
    ( from )

    I have no idea what Bangalore sandalwood is supposed to smell like. I did some research but all I could get was something like , 'Bangalore is a city in India and called the Silicon Valley of India and is famous for sandalwood with its mellow scent...' Mellow? Well, first of all, it's very sweet. Not vanila-sweet or rose-sweet, but amber-sweet. And there's this spicy and medicinal quaility to it. Earthy?..... maybe a bit. Resinous?..... maybe a bit. Balsamic....probably so. Again, my nose does not know what Bangalore sandalwood should smell like and therefore it cannot pinpoint it. It's a very interesting sweet-spicy-medicinal fragrance, almost reminding me of Ambre Sultan (Serge Lutens), but from a sandalwood standpoint, I don't might like to give it a try to see if you can find sandalwood, but I was not impressed.

    Sandalo (Byblos) # # #

    'Elegant, luxurious and sophisticated, Byblos Sandalo was introduced in 2002. This sensational fragrance is a blend of mossy and woody aromas. Byblos Sandalo is recommended for a romantic evening'

    I bought a bottle on ebay because they don't carry this on standard fragrance websites any more. Considering this unpopularity, I have to say that it's actually a very pleasant woody fragrance. Very simple combination of fir needles, cedarwood and sandalwood. The combination of fir needles and sandalwood reminds me of Sandalwood (The Art of Shaving), but it lacks the medicinal-smelling eucalyptus. Cedarwood addes thickness and boldness to the scent to the point it seems to create the 'The Body Shop Woody Sandalwood Perfume Oil' accord. Overall impression is a pleasantly masculine woody fragrance. For those who love Sandalwood (The Art of Shaving) but cannot stand the medicinal eucalyptus top, you may actually fall in love with this one. Or for those who like The Body Shop Sandalwood Perfume Oil, but are looking for some milder version of it, you might like to give this cologne a try.

    Santal (L'Orientaliste) #

    'Sensual and wam sandalwood'
    (from )

    If I tried to be more objective, I could give two two stars, but sorry, I cannot stand this fragrance. Sandalwood is somewhere in there, maybe. There shouldn't be any argument about it. I may be able to detect erathy and resinous sandalwood, but...... Is L'Orientaliste a company in Morocco? No offense to Morocco, but they put agarwood (oud) in it! I understand some people are into these oud products from mid-Eastern or North African countries, but just to my Japanese nose, their agarwood is too smokey and too aldehydic. Not aldehydic like 'aldehyde floral fragrance' but like formaldehyde. It simply reminds me of the fluid they use to perserve dead bodies for anatomy classes. This definitely smells like one of those Montale products, but sandalwood per se appears to be buried and soaked in the formaldehyde smell. I'm sorry again, but I just cannot get to like this.....

    Santal (Ligne St. Barth) # # #

    'Powdery, warm and sophisticated. Notes of sandalwood, cinnamon, amber and musk.'

    According to the description on their official website, it's supposed to be a simple combination of cinnamon and sandalwood. Well, the balsamic and creamy sandalwood is there. It's mildly mingled with some oriental base like amber as well. But what is this medicinal top? It's not "wow, my sinus is clear" eucalyptus-medicinal like Sandalwood (The Art of Shaving). It smells like the dentist's office. I'm an ER physician (believe me, physicians and dentists are two different occupations) and have no idea what they use at the dentists office, but it reminds me of the fillings they give us. Probably, a combination of cinnamon, iris and a touch of rose may be the suspect. But the problem is by the time this 'dentist's smell' settles down (never dissipates, though), sandalwood also gets subtle. And all you have left isone of those typical 'aldehydic floral fragrance' scents.

    Santal Opoponax (Maison Berdoues) # #

    'The company Parfums Berdoues produces elegant, precious-French and delicate fragrances presented in their original 1936 bottle.'

    I don't even know why I got this cologne. Maybe the name 'Santal' caught my eyes. Sandalwood is there just like it's in most of the female fragrances. Nothing more than that. All I can smell is the powdery swettness of opoponax and amber. This one also goes towards the Ambre Sultan direction, but less spicy, less medicinal, much more shallow and much more powdery. Musk appears to add some feminine animalic base, too. I don't know what else to say....

    Sandalwood (Susanne Lang) # #

    'Days on the train now. Stopped by a river bank. I lay my cheek on the sill of the open window, so tired. The pungent scent of rich, fertile soil. A family sitting across from me. The little girl comes over, a shy smile, and dabs my wrists and neck with oil from a small vial around her neck. The rich fragrance of sandalwood. Perfect.'
    (from )

    I have to ask myself one more time, 'Why did I even get this cologne?'. Again, maybe the name 'Sandalwood' caught my attention..... This is simply a white-flowerish fragrance. Top is very fresh and clean. Then white flower notes (probably, lily and narciss) comes up in slightly feminine way. That's pretty much it. I have difficulty in finding sandalwood, though. It almost smells like what Samsara (Guerlain) would be without sandalwood. Again, very pleasant scent, remindning me of a word "fresh" or "clean". But from a sandalwood standpoint, all I can say is 'why did they even name this Sandalwood?'.

    Santal (Diptyque) # # #

    'Refresh any room with Diptyque's homesprays. Sandalwood. Deep, powdery, spicy yet soft.'
    from )

    Well, this is a roomspray. But as we I learned from Costes, I just had to give it a try. Especially, I'm one of the Tam Dao lovers and I just had to sniff it so that I can 'move on'. I'm not a specialist on different species of sandalwood. But since I read the description of Tam Dao on some perfume website, I was more than curious to find out what this Goa sandalwood was all about. Well, there's no guarantee that they're using the same sandalwood in this roomspray, but I purchased a bottle finally. I sprayed it on my wrist with an irresistible curiosity..... Very interesting. I think they're using the same sandalwood (so is this Goa Sandalwood?). But no sharp cypress, sweet rosewood or sensual cumin there. It's pretty much one-dimentional and straight-forward raw sandalwood in an almost eau-de-colgne concentration. But it's not creamy or transparent. Very dry, earthy and somewhat dark-smokey sandalwood. I actually kind of like it, but it does not take long before it fades away on your skin...... But, I tried spraying it on my desk lamp (after all it's supposed to be used as a roomspray, isn't it?). As I had some errands to take care of, I left my room and completely forgot spraying in my room. I came back in a hour or so and find my room smelling heavenly! No wonder it says 'roomspray'. it smells as if I had some sandalwood trees growing somewhere in my room. Very pleasantly woody with natual sweetness and creaminess. No Coco Chanel note there. No medicinal bitterness there. No citrus there. It's what I guess sandalwood tree barks would smell like naturally. It's amazing to see how differently fragrances smell on our skin vs on some non-human objects like a desk lamp. Well, my concusion would be great!!! as a roomspray, but too dry and one-dimentional on our skin. I guess this must be the bare Goa sandalwood they also use for Tam Dao.....

    Woody Sandalwood Perfume Oil (The Body Shop) # # # #

    'An ode to the Orient. Woody, spicy, and clean. You'll be asked what you're wearing....

    Frangrance Notes:
    Top: Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Chypre, Clove
    Middle: Rose,
    Wood Base: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Amber, Labdanum, Tonka, Musk, Balsams, Vanilla'
    (from )

    Pain of living in a boondock city of Ohio can be well descrbed as 'We have no Body Shop (though we have Bath and Body Works) or Starbucks Coffee (though we have Tim Horton's)......' I'm one of those people who strongly believe The Body Shop creates good stuff. Sandalwood Perfume Oil is definitely one of their masterpieces. It's oil, but it's not a single note sandalwood. When you first apply onto your skin, you're just surprised by its dry woodiness especially if you'ere expecting something creamy and rich like Madini's Santal Blanc. It's probably the cedar and balsams mainly and some earthy/resinous aspect of the sandalwood also, I guess, but the top is not only dry but also very pleasantly masculine to the point it almost smells smokey. This dry woodiness and bold smokiness eventually becomes mild and round. Then exotic sandalwood takes over. It becomes more and more deeply and transparently woody and feels as if it would take you to a different spiritual level. Just because it's oil, it stays on your skin all day, oil, it stays on your skin all day, and it just gets better and better on your skin.

    Essential Oil Fragrance Sandalwood (Tipton Charles) # #

    'Gorgeously fragrant yet never overpowering. Made from pure essential oils and essences. Scent your world: body, kitchen, bath, linens, pillows. Ideal for layering with Tipton Charles fragranced body lotions. Your total fragrance solution...'

    Based on the name, 'Essential Oil Fragrance', I was expecting some kind of bare and earthy sandalwood. Worng! It starts out with a combination of orange, licorice and vanilla, and it smells like a cheap artificially orange-flavored cremsicle. Very sticky sweet and reminds me of some generic fruity vanilla perfumes for women you can buy at WalMart or something you'd like to use as a car fragrance. Sandalwood should be somewhere in the drydown, but I had to wash it off because I started to develop headache....

    Sandalwood (Crabtree & Evelyn) # # #

    'Our eau de toilette fragrance captures the essence of Sandalwood, prized as an aromatic in India for over 4,000 years.'

    The top is lavender. The slightly medicinal, yet clean-smelling lavender is followed by dry, resinous and earthy sandalwood. But this sandawlood is buried in musk and oakmoss and therefore starts to smell like Royal Copenhagen Musk cologne in a sense. The more you wait, the more soapy it gets. Overall impression is a clean soapy sandalwood. This soapiness lasts quite long and very pleasant, but that's pretty much it.

    Santal (Florascent) #

    'Decadent and aromatic, Santal is a luxurious trip down the famed Spice Road of India. It opens with a daring rush of spicy ginger and pimento at first, while Indian sandalwood quickly stakes its claim and stays for the duration. Rare davana, which is grown in the same region as sandalwood, gives Santal its bittersweet woody notes. The sweet, warm muskiness of ambergris rounds out this spiced concoction. Masculine, steamy and smoldering.

    Santal notes
    ginger, pimento, sandalwood, davana, ambergris'

    The top is supposed to be a combination of ginger and pimento. I have no idea what this pimento smells like. But the top smells like someone is pouring lemon juice onto birchwood lumber. Forcifully fresh, and kind of unpleasant, Eventually, this lemon-ish woody note changes into urine-like stinkiness. The dry-down is identical to the 'bad breath' note you can find in Jicky. I don't know if there's anyone who like this fragrance....

    Pick-Me-Up Cologne Spray Sandalwood (Demeter) # #

    'Each Demeter scent is meticulously researched, designed and hand-blended in the classic European tradition, using synthetic and naturally occurring ingredients and botanical derivatives. Demeter captures the true essence of each scent. Whether it be Gin & Tonic, Leather or Angel Food, Demeter's technologically advanced fragrances allow you to scent the skin, as well as your personal space with scents that harken back to childhood memories.'

    For some reasons, Demeter Pick-Me-Up Spray Colognes series are very popular in my county (Japan). It may be because of the pirices. I used to have a Mango of this series and remember being disappointed by its too-ripe fermented mango scent. So, with quite a low expectation, yet with a holy mission of 'looking for the ideal sandalwood for me', I purchased a 30ml bottle. There's a website called It's the largest fragrance review site, and you can see what people say about almost all the fragrances available (in Japan). On this website, most people say somethinglike 'Pick-Up Sandalwood smells like pure sandalwood' and 'It just reminds me of temples in my hometown!' These comments gave me an impression that this cologne may smell like Santuary Pour Homme (Sonoma) or Body Shop Perfume Oil Sandalwood. Well, I was wrong. It starts out smelling like some kind of unpleasant chemical. Some ink products used in oil-based markers. Where's the Buddhistic temple? I was lost all of a sudden. I waited, let's see, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. This 'permanent marker' accord finally dissipated. Then finally, I could detect a hint of the dry down of Sandalo Room Spray (Diptyque). Very subtle, yet definitely dry sandalwood. As you can guess from this smell-alike, probably, this cologne can best be used as a room-spray, if on can tolerate the chemical top note.

    La Contessa (Yosh) # # #

    'La Contessa is an exquisite blend of Parvati sandalwood, Arabian sandalwood, Oriental Kush, Night Queen, Cucumber, Vanilla and Bergamont. A Flamboyant Fragrance!'

    I finally obtained a small oil sample of La Contessa. Nobody really told me about sandalwood in this expensive oil fragrance created by Yosh, the above description caught my eyes. Parvati Sandalwood? Arabian Sandalwood? I applied a small amount of the thick oil onto my wrist..... 'Ambre Sultan? Tricorn?' Very, very amber-dominant top. Sort of spicey, but also incensy and smokey. And interestingly, you really can find a cucumber note on top of it. Cucumber per is not unpleasant, but I got lost here again because I could not find sandalwood! Well, when it comes to smelling fragrances, patience is a very important key. So, I waited about an hour. To my surprise, the amber note gradually changed into more powdery and coconuty note, reminding me of Coppertone products or The Body Shop Perfume Oil Coconut. I was almsot ready to fly to Austraila to enjoy sunbathing on the beach or something. I gave up at this point, forgot about applying La Contessa on my wrist and went to work. Probably, it was about 2-3 hours after application, I think, I started to notice something sandalwoody on my wrist. It's very oudh-ish sandalwood. Sort of a very rosey and sweet sandalwood you can find in some Montale products. Oh, this must be the Arabian Sandalwood! It was a pleasant surprise, but I personally prefer Goa or Mysore Sandawood, and considering the price, I would not purchase a full bottle...

    Sandalwood (Elizabeth Arden) # # #

    'Sandalwood by Elizabeth Arden has top notes of Lavender, Bergamot, Clary Sage, and Lemon. It has middle notes of Geranium, Sandal, Basil, Cedarwood, Patchouli, and Vetiver. Sandalwood cologne has base notes of Treemoss, Amber, Musk, Opopanax, Labdanum, and Tonka.'
    (from ?)

    Wow. Most of the sandalwood fragrances I had sniffed smelled pretty much unisex (except some including Crabtree & Evelyn's Sandalwood and Sonoma's Sanctuary Pour Homme). But this one is definitely men's sandalwood. The top starts out with a bit generic-masculine-fresh 'men's eau-de-cologne' accord of lavender and bergamot. No tobacco like Crabtree & Evelyn, though. Then eventually, dry sandalwood comes up. It does not smell creamy rich like a mysore sandalwood. Is it Australian, maybe? Very dry sandalwood is there. Anyway, this sandalwood becomes drier and more earthy when patchouli note eventually joins. Vetiver adds some harshness dryness to it, too. If you're looking for a masculine interpretation of sandalwood, this may be something you might like to try. More 'Egoistic' than Chanel's Egoiste, in my opinion.

    ************************************************** ********************

    The following two reviews belong to SANDALWOOD (one of the Basenotes Supermembers). Let me attach them here because I've never smelled these and his reviews are way of higher quality than mine!

    Sandalo Speziali Fiorentini

    It's a raw sandalwood scent. It starts out with a sharp alcohol and turpentine-like note. After a while, it soothes and settles down a bit; a strong and creamy sandalwood scent -spotted with some vetiver- starts to develop. As time passes, that strong note recedes and after 45 minutes or so, the dry down leaves a persistent, vivacious, oily, resinous sandalwood note. It is the closest to raw sandalwood oil I have ever smelled. Sharp and raw, as opposed to the more refined and elegant sandalwood based fragrances available in the market. I don't know, but I like this one a lot and wear it quite often. It is an EDP but it lasts on me only 5 or 6 hours. Not expensive indeed for an EDP (35 USD for 50 ml)

    Sandalwood Le Jardin Retrouvé

    Much more refined than the one above mentioned. Sharp alcohol the first 5 seconds but it settles down immediately. I get some lavender on the top notes and a little vetiver as well. The sandalwood (and what appears to be some cedar) starts to warm the air. There is also a spicy trace in the middle notes, very subtle though. At the dry down, lingers a woody accord with that same sandalwood note of the beginning among some amber mingled with another ingredient that I can not identify. This one stays very close to my skin for 7 or 8 hours. It is a quality artisanal fragrance. I wish it only had more projection.

    ************************************************** ********************

    The following review belongs to moondeva (one of the Basenotes Members). Let me attach them here because I've never smelled this cologne!

    Yardley Sandalwood Eau de Toilette - Since 1770, Yardley of London has been using only the finest ingredients to create its quality fragrances, devoting to each product all the care and expertise acquired from its 200 year heritage. this distinctive eau de toilette is a sophisticated composition combining fresh floral scents (Bergamot, Lavender, Geranium and Lime) with a woody floral heart (Sandalwood, Rose) and a warm spicy base (Cedarwood, Patchouli, Benzoin and Musk)

    The initial character of the fragrance is quite fougere, clear & aromatic. I enjoy wearing this scent in the spring & summer as it is very fresh yet unique among the usually citrus / florals most others wear. The sandalwood itself in this scent is very sensual, smooth, smoky & woody due to the longlasting base notes making this scent perfect for any occasion. It is / was a unisex scent which morphs into something amazing on the skin which above all quietly stated power & confidence. It is exceptional and everything that Crabtree & Evelyn's 'stale ashtray' tobacco riddled Sandalwood dreamnt it could be.

    On myself it was sensual, conveyed strength and self possession whilst still complimenting my femininity. A more conventional, girly friend has stopped dead in her tracks several times (when meeting me) and asked what I am wearing. She says that it smells classy but extremely sexy to her, it also calls to mind discreet wealth. If I was a man and available, apparently it would have been my lucky day!! As it is she has to satisfy herself with just enjoying the scent of this wonderfully charismatic & sensual scent.

    Unfortunately I have heard that this amazing scent has been discontinued, and I have been finding it nearly impossible to find locally or online. So now I am desperately seeking a worthy replacement (may be a touch more 'feminine') and ekeing out the last I have. If anyone knows of a stockist in the UK or online please let me know. I would also welcome any suggestions for alternatives.

    ************************************************** **************

    Reference :

    'KO-ed by Tam Dao':

    'Fragrance Review: Scent of the day: Diptyque Tam Dao': (Now Smell This)

    'Fragrance Review: Geo F Trumper: some quick reviews' (Now Smell This):

    'Fragrance Review: Diptyque Tam Dao and 10 Corso Como' (Bois de Jasmin):

    'Commercial Sandalwood':

    'Santal and Sandalwood':

    'Best sandalwood scent':

    'Best sandalwood fragrance':

    'Sandalwood Heavyweights: Santal Nobel vs Trumpers':

    'What about sandalwood?':

    'The ULTIMATE Basenotes SANDALWOOD thread':

    'Tam Dao, a redundant purchase?':

    'Mysore sandalwoods?':
    "When you become comfortable with uncertainty. infinite possibilities open up in your life"

    -- Eckhart Tolle
    Currently wearing: Limed by Madhat Scents

  2. #2

    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Spiritually, Kansas
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Great thread! And that owl avatar reminds me of someone I haven't seen in a while - Sandalwood!
    There is no beauty
    That cannot be more abused
    To beauty's effect.
    - raging for the machines

  3. #3

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Thanks Mike. Great idea.

  4. #4
    Power Where You Need It
    alfarom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    I remember I saw it during my first days here at BN and got incredibly impressed. It looked more like "a comprehensive guide to sandalwood". Great thread indeed.

    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  5. #5
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Great info.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Thanks. I will be referencing this at some point for sure. Tam Dao is about the only one I've tried so far but it looks like it stacks up pretty well.
    Current favorites_____Black Tourmaline_____Gucci Pour Homme II_____Memoir Man_____Tuscan Leather______Montale Aoud and Pine_____Sel Marin_____Invasion Barbare_____Tonka Imperial____Dior Homme Intense_____L'Humaniste____Santal 33_____Bois d'Argent_____Nio_____MFK Oud_____Lumiere Noire_____Bois d'Encens_____Cuir Ottoman

  7. #7

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Thanks, Mike - great reference thread.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Very nice.
    Please visit my SALES thread! HERE
    Currently wearing: Antaeus by Chanel

  9. #9

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    However, because of this site's software code changes (or some other HTML gobbley-gook that I don't understand) the actual text for the 'Best Sandalwood' thread is all wacked out and hard to read
    I've noticed the HTML gobbledegook in older posts as well. My impression is that 90% of it could be cleared up by replacing the string " with a single quote. Should take less than a second.

    Jan Pieter

  10. #10

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Thanks to both of you for compiling and preserving it.
    for swap/sale:

  11. #11

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    Mike, thanks for reviving this thread. It really encapsulates the heart and soul of Basenotes. Reading it makes me feel so nostalgic. So many of the original big guns participated in this classic thread; the ones that gave, and still give, Basenotes its backbone. It's also a wonderful snapshot of the world of fragrance criticism pre-The Guide.
    I'm especially impressed by jimmyfresno's contributions. His comment, "What I smelled was a light but unmistakeable scent of sassafrass and a drop of eucalyptus," accurately describes, with great economy, the accord that is so often passed off as true sandalwood. For me, this description fits Sandalo per Teti's "sandalwood" accord, to a tee.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 23rd September 2011 at 01:16 PM.

  12. #12
    If not now, when?

    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: The NEW Best Sandalwood thread (Vibrant_Violet's thread re-formatted)

    You're welcome everybody.

    This has been on my mind for a while now to do, and in the middle of doing it last night I felt like I was participating in some re-mastering of an old black & white movie. Both honored and humbled.

    Since 2005, so many different sandalwood prominent fragrances have been released (and discontinued) that of course this thread has become a bit 'dated', still it really can help someone new to fragrances to get off on the right foot with the sandalwood note.

    Personally, I still haven't smelled many of the fragrances on the thread - mostly because I haven't been able to find some of them. That CSP sandalwood, has anyone even seen that one? I'd love to smell it!
    "When you become comfortable with uncertainty. infinite possibilities open up in your life"

    -- Eckhart Tolle
    Currently wearing: Limed by Madhat Scents

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