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  1. #1

    Default Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    As a newcomer here, I feel like I'm pretty much late to every party when I discover a scent that everyone else has (no doubt) consumed and judged eons ago. But here I go again with Santal Massoļa.

    I've not hidden the fact that I'm a huge fan of the House of Ellena. Initially, it was Celine's scents that won me over (Sel de Vetiver and des Sens et Bois will always be in my top 10 lists). About six weeks ago, I started making my way through the Hermčssence line in search of the Jean-Claude frag that would steal my heart. When I initially tried Santal Massoia, I did so alongside Amber Narguilé, Vetiver Tonka, and several others that--in the context of smelling paper strips in a retail store--completely overpower SM and render it comparatively uninteresting. But my curiosity about SM persisted, and thanks to the sinister placement of an Hermčs boutique a mere three blocks from my office, I have had repeated opportunities to spray it on and return to my desk.

    Not long ago, I posted about the magic of Osmanthe Yunnan melding seamlessly into the skin, how it completely understands how to extend a person rather than engulf a person. I still love that scent, but I don't mind saying that Santal Massoļa is all that and more. Not only does it feel like a perfectly natural extension of my skin, but it has a mesmerizing complexity that some of the other Ellena scents forego. Somewhere, another poster pointed out that SM may have been designed to mimic the olfactory experience of standing in an Hermčs boutique. I think this is a fantastic observation. There is a very dynamic interaction of leather, wood, fabric, perhaps even the wispy floral from the print on a scarf. It's hard to pin down because it's in motion, and beyond the "transparent" quality that people are always attributing to JCE, I think the in motion quality is of equal importance here. This doesn't just sit well on the skin. It's stunningly beautiful as well.

    I scored a bottle on eBay from Hong Kong for $120, but of course the downside to that is having to wait four weeks for it to arrive. I have been slipping into the Hermčs boutique at least twice a week for the last month to give myself a fix. (Pretty sure they think I'm crazy in there.) I am so happy that it finally arrived. I don't know if I've ever been so happy to see any single bottle arrive on my doorstep.

    I know Tania Sanchez gave Osmanthe Yunnan the jackpot five stars in The Guide. I would have trouble understanding the next edition of that book if it did not do the same for Santal Massoļa. I think it's really Jean-Claude Ellena's masterwork.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 23rd April 2012 at 03:37 AM.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Agree with your assessment. Have this in my collection and think it's very nice.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I have tried Ambre Narguille and I find it to be a better room spray than a fragrance on my skin. It resembles warm apple pie a little too closely to be wanting to smell like that all day. I have also tried Vetiver Tonka and Poivre Samarcande which I would have to say that Vetiver Tonka is the better fragrance on my skin. Poivre Samarcande is a little too peppery and there isn't as much progression of the fragrance that I would have thought from all of the positive reviews of this. Vetiver Tonka is a nice sweet vetiver that is for the fragrance enthusiast who wants to stick a toe in the vetiver water. I have been wanting to try Santal Massoia and after this review I want to try it even more! Thanks a lot!
    My current top ten:
    1. Spice and Wood
    2. Epic Man
    3. Tonka Imperiale
    4. Noir de Noir
    5. Bois d'Argent
    6. Musc Ravageur
    7. Apple Brandy
    8. Dior Homme Intense
    9. Aoud 1
    10.Tobacco Vanille

  4. #4

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I bought it on impulse some time ago.

    Evidently I must've have liked it enough to warrant a quick purchase but did not love it.

    I'll need to try it again.

    It did remind me of Santal 33 a bit.

    for swap/sale:





  5. #5

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I heard that this is a bit light....how's projection though?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I like the smoothness of the scent but projection is really poor. It's just another subtle and transparent JCE fragrance.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    It`s a great scent, and definitively on my wish-list!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Surely among the most successful deliveries in the Hermessence line but, IMO, it's more of a fig fragrance than extaclty a sandalwood...nothing bad per-se though...
    Last edited by alfarom; 23rd April 2012 at 10:13 AM.


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  9. #9

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Remember it as being very nice, I might get it as one of the four 15mL bottle in the gift set. I think I will get two bottles of AN, a bottle of YO and a bottle of SM
    - Mark

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    I bought it on impulse some time ago.

    Evidently I must've have liked it enough to warrant a quick purchase but did not love it.

    I'll need to try it again.

    It did remind me of Santal 33 a bit.
    Yes too similar to Santal 33 IMO. Since I already have Santal 33, I'm in no hurry of getting Santal Massoia

  11. #11

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I'm coming around to SM. The first time I smelt it, I was shocked to find that all I was smelling was Paprika Brasil but somehow not as complete, built and extremely hollow. The next few times I got the faint fig, then the sandalwood; now I'm just hoping that one day I'll be able to connect the dots. It's happened before. I used to HATE Iris Urikyoe and even started a thread explaining my display and utter disbelief for Ellena and even stating that he's a lazy perfumer...well since then, I've been slowly eating my words one letter at a time

  12. #12

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    BTW, I loved you Osmanthe Yunnan litght (sp?) thread

  13. #13

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellhound View Post
    I like the smoothness of the scent but projection is really poor. It's just another subtle and transparent JCE fragrance.
    I get really good projection from Santal Massoļa! I was sitting in a Japanese cream puff store yesterday (don't ask) where there is a very strong smell of pastry, and my three sprays of SM were very present & holding their own. I was a little self-conscious even.

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Surely among the most successful deliveries in the Hermessence line but, IMO, it's more of a fig fragrance than extaclty a sandalwood...nothing bad per-se though...
    Ah, yes, there is some fig in there. Drifting in from the display area of Un Jardin en Mediterranée.

    Quote Originally Posted by wilz View Post
    Yes too similar to Santal 33 IMO. Since I already have Santal 33, I'm in no hurry of getting Santal Massoia
    I don't get this similarity at all. I love them both, but they're not comparable to me. Santal 33 is a bright, focused spotlight. Santal Massoļa is a spectral, ambient light projected into a fog. Very different vibe to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by scent View Post
    BTW, I loved you Osmanthe Yunnan litght (sp?) thread
    Thank you. That was the moment where I really "got" what JCE was trying to do. SM, to me, is the one that really does it well.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I liked it but it gave me a little too much of the sweet coconut vibe that I can't abide. I've been tempted to try it again, though. I really like PG's Cadjmere, and I want to compare them again. Plus, I was able to overlook the coconut in Fils de Dieu and I love that now.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    That coconut meat accord is everywhere now. That must be why people think SM & Santal 33 are similar. I'll have to try Cadjmere. I keep reading about it, and it sounds interesting.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I get really good projection from Santal Massoļa! I was sitting in a Japanese cream puff store yesterday (don't ask)
    We demand Pictures!

  17. #17
    Dependent
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    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    That coconut meat accord
    = Massoia Bark

  18. #18

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Kron View Post
    We demand Pictures!




    Nina: Brian, your Santal Massoļa is way too strong, but I can't stop eating cream puffs.
    Brian: That's just its excellent projection. Stop freaking out and eat.


    The story gets even weirder, believe it or not. A BN user came by to pick up his JAR split. I was planning to go over to his place and he was going to let me sample some Oriscent ouds; but his kids were sick, so he met me at the cream puff store. After handing him his JARs, I sampled three of the sickest, strongest, nastiest oud oils. I sat there at Beard Papas reeking of all three at the same time.

    How did I not get kicked out? I have no idea. I guess when you smell that wrong, people don't want to mess with you.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 23rd April 2012 at 08:36 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Classic! Well done B.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I'll have to try Cadjmere. I keep reading about it, and it sounds interesting.
    I'd be interested in your thoughts.

    And I also don't get the comparison with Santal 33. Santal 33 feels bitter and splintery to me, and it has that musk drydown (at least I think it's musk, will get to the bottom of it someday) that seemingly makes about 20 percent of perfumes unwearable for me. I really like your description of SM as spectral ambient light projected into fog. It does have a fine glow to it, and now I'm sure I'll have to go smell it again when I pass by Selfridges...tomorrow?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    On my last sample haul, I was debating whether to try SM or vanille Galante in the Hermessence line ( already ordered ambre narguile) I went with VG since it had vanille and im a sucker for vanilla lol, kinda wish i went with SM since I'm so disappointed with VG. The notes in SM are very interesting though and with my love for ambre narguile im really trying to dive further in the Hermessence line. (BTW good deal with the SM! )

  22. #22

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    I miss New York.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyBars View Post
    = Massoia Bark
    Yup, exactly. Massoia bark smells strongly of coconut meat, with a (creamy) woody aspect that is fairly pronounced, too. I'd imagine you could sort of simulate mysore sandalwood by adding some massoia to harsher australian or other sandalwoods.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Yup, exactly. Massoia bark smells strongly of coconut meat, with a (creamy) woody aspect that is fairly pronounced, too. I'd imagine you could sort of simulate mysore sandalwood by adding some massoia to harsher australian or other sandalwoods.
    Massoļa is also forbidden by IFRA, no?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Am I the only one who did not like Santal Massoia? It has a fuzzy milky sweetness which had a nearly stomach-turning effect on me. I didn't see much likeness to Cadjmere which I do love.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    Massoļa is also forbidden by IFRA, no?
    The essential oil is indeed prohibited, although I believe there are isolated massoia lactones that are usable.

  27. #27
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    drseid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Santal Massoļa is a masterpiece

    Great review, Brian. I haven't had much luck with the three Ellena scents from the Hermessence line I have sampled so far, but I will have to give this one a sniff now. Thanks for sharing!
    Current Top Favorites:
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