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  1. #1
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    Default Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    I'm not sure there's a combination/pairing of notes I enjoy more than sandalwood with an 'incense' accord. I've loved sandalwood since a child, often as an incense stick, and while thse incense:sandalwood scents I've tried aren't overly ashen, the combination of a slight smokey-pepper

    It probably started with Gucci Rush for me. Not solely sandalwood - the cypress in this is magical - but that slight heat from the incense married to the woods is glorious. More recently, I've bought a sample of YSL's rue de l'Université and it's similarly gorgeous, more simplistic, and more overtly sandalwood and incense. I've yet to try, though I want to, Sacred Wood By Kilian, and despite the note list showing only milk and sandalwood, the Kilian website shows this also is a sandalwood and incense scent.

    Would be great to hear if anyone else shares this love for these styles of fragrance. More than just sandalwood, it's the combination and prominence of the two together that I think works beautifully. Does anyone have any others they really love as well?

    Some existing threads that are relevant to this subject:

    - Coniferous incense sandalwood
    - "Incense confusion"
    - Sandalwood incense
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    When reading the title, Zadig et Voltaire This is Him came to my mind.
    It's a very well priced designer fragance and I like it a lot.

    I loved Gucci Rush back in time - so sad that they discontinued it! For me the best Gucci ever!
    I should have bought a lot of bottles... now you're paying crazy prices for them on Ebay and risk getting one which has gone bad after all the years.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Institution rynegne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    MadHat Scents

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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by FragFrog View Post
    When reading the title, Zadig et Voltaire This is Him came to my mind.
    It's a very well priced designer fragance and I like it a lot.

    I loved Gucci Rush back in time - so sad that they discontinued it! For me the best Gucci ever!
    I should have bought a lot of bottles... now you're paying crazy prices for them on Ebay and risk getting one which has gone bad after all the years.
    Agreed. I have two bottles of Gucci Rush - 150ml - purchased for just over £150 altogether. Don't think they've gone off, but performance is non existent. I'll definitely sell them eventually, instead of wearing them. I also don't think it's outstanding - I think the YSL is an improvement, and is only missing a cypress note that's in Rush that would make it basically perfect. Think it's more unisex as it is, but cypress would be beautiful in it.

    Interesting - I find This Is Him to be a vanilla scent, but sandalwood and incense is definitely next in line. A good designer offering, for sure - and great for young men, I think.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    Interesting - I find This Is Him to be a vanilla scent, but sandalwood and incense is definitely next in line. A good designer offering, for sure - and great for young men, I think.
    It's not a high quality sandalwood, but can't expect that in this price range.
    AC aka Smells good did a nice review of it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjyhq-n1I6Y
    So it's not only for the younger men.

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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Wood & Spices by Montale would fit the bill perfectly.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Also adding in no particular order (and mostly, with few exceptions, anywhere between the affordable to only slightly pricier categories) especially:

    - several Guerlain classics, like Heritage (both vintage and current) among the masculines, Samsara in any concentration among the feminines, plus a few exclusives from the same house that suit any gender like the Les Desserts d'Orient series

    - Zino Davidoff

    - vintage Crabtree & Evelyn Extract of Mysore Sandalwood (though their current sandalwood might suit all requirements as well at a fraction of the price)

    - most of the unisex EDP fragrances with a strong incense component by Le couvent des Minimes like for instance Valparaiso, Smyrna, Santa Cruz, Fort Royal to name only a few

    - vintage as well as current Egosite (even if the rose may seem to be stronger than the incense and only sandalwood remains a recognizable dominant, the incense-like notes do eventually albeit discreetly show up in its base)

    - a few, excepting the summery but including the higher strength and more powerhouse, almost macho beast mode flankers of Dior Fahrenheit like Absolute and Parfum

    - Floris Elite

    - Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme (should you like the cleanest, soapiest incense and sandalwood notes available in a striking, statement making powerhouse)

    - Open by Roger & Gallet (comparable if not same situation as with Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme, but its powerhouse performance being even stronger at an even more affordable price)

    - the Proraso Red series, almost in the dirt cheap territory and while performance is not outstanding, the matching scented products are inexpensive enough to make up for lacking longevity and projection while both increasing the performance and matching far costlier, more exclusive and luxurious perfumes

    - few of the Marbert masculines as well, while Man might seem a bit too medicinally herbal as well as leathery and Homme too animalic powdery, if both are given some time and allowed to develop until they reach their base, both incense nor sandalwood of a quality far better than the asking price of these fragrances become increasingly perceptible
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    I'll add Diptyque Tam Dao
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer View Post
    I'll add Diptyque Tam Dao
    ...no incense in this sweat stinker...!
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    To me Santal Noble by MPG is a brilliant sandalwood-incense match (but in this fragrance there is way more to it).
    My Top '11':

    - Paco Rabanne: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - Antaeus (vtg)
    - Azzaro: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - Armani: AdG Profumo
    - Jacques Bogart: Furyo
    - Guerlain: Héritage (vtg)
    - Thierry Mugler: A*men
    - SA: Al Basel
    - D&G: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - YSL: Kouros (vtg)
    - VC&A: Pour Homme

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Holy Water by La Via del Profumo.
    Ma Nishtana by Parfum Prissana

    More frankincense than sandalwood but superlative nonetheless. So the question is: do you prefer more incense or more sandalwood.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer View Post
    I'll add Diptyque Tam Dao
    Quote Originally Posted by Trauerkraut View Post
    ...no incense in this sweat stinker...!
    I agree - Tam Dao is a nice mix of all sorts of synthetic woods, very much in line with CdG Wonderwood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slayerized View Post
    To me Santal Noble by MPG is a brilliant sandalwood-incense match (but in this fragrance there is way more to it).
    The SN is top class in a bottle - but the way to go with this is a much older bottle than the room spray currently on sale.

    I'll also add Lorenzo Villoresi. I have banged on about them long enough to be aware that I am banging on about them a lot, but truth be told this house's DNA is the sandalwood & incense accord.

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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    I agree - Tam Dao is a nice mix of all sorts of synthetic woods, very much in line with CdG Wonderwood.



    The SN is top class in a bottle - but the way to go with this is a much older bottle than the room spray currently on sale.

    I'll also add Lorenzo Villoresi. I have banged on about them long enough to be aware that I am banging on about them a lot, but truth be told this house's DNA is the sandalwood & incense accord.
    I agree and are happy to own the vintage versions (90ml original vtg and 100ml red bottles 2nd version) of Santal Noble.
    My Top '11':

    - Paco Rabanne: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - Antaeus (vtg)
    - Azzaro: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - Armani: AdG Profumo
    - Jacques Bogart: Furyo
    - Guerlain: Héritage (vtg)
    - Thierry Mugler: A*men
    - SA: Al Basel
    - D&G: Pour Homme (vtg)
    - YSL: Kouros (vtg)
    - VC&A: Pour Homme

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slayerized View Post
    I agree and are happy to own the vintage versions (90ml original vtg and 100ml red bottles 2nd version) of Santal Noble.

    Sometimes I wonder why I sold that 2nd edition bottle... still, jealous but happy for you

  15. #15

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slayerized View Post
    To me Santal Noble by MPG is a brilliant sandalwood-incense match (but in this fragrance there is way more to it).
    +1 and if you can get a vintage version, you are in for a real treat

  16. #16
    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by rynegne View Post
    +1. This is a really good scent that doesn't get discussed very often.


    I would add Profumum Roma - Olibanum.
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Thanks guys. What are the Santal Nobile bottles to avoid, and what are the onesto seek out?

    Also have Villoresi Sandalo on the way. Looking forward to it.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    Thanks guys. What are the Santal Nobile bottles to avoid, and what are the onesto seek out?
    .
    I wouldn't avoid any but the real beauties were in a dark red smooth bottle --- same shape as the picture on Basenotes but without the ribbing.

    I had a nineties version and it was just incredible

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    Also have Villoresi Sandalo on the way. Looking forward to it.
    Awesome! Which one did you get? Blue bottle or the 'vintage collection' version?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    Thanks guys. What are the Santal Nobile bottles to avoid, and what are the onesto seek out?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    I wouldn't avoid any but the real beauties were in a dark red smooth bottle --- same shape as the picture on Basenotes but without the ribbing.

    I had a nineties version and it was just incredible
    Yep, anything in the red bottles are going to be superb - real gems IMHO and especially the 90ml size red bottle. The newest I think is a clear bottle and is 120 or 125ml. It's a nice scent, but it's just not SN.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Amouages Overture Man. Myrrh, which is used as incense, and sandalwood. Don't get a lot of cognac, but with the few notes it has, it does it very well.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    'Santal' (2002) by Floris London
    'Santal' (2002) by @FlorisLondon (01ac0).jpg
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Wonderwood is my favorite if we don't consider Sacred Wood.
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by rynegne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dougczar View Post
    +1. This is a really good scent that doesn't get discussed very often.
    Isn't the April Aromatics discontinued?
    Plus I thought it was more cedar & sandalwood, rather than having any incense.

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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    I, personally, do not smell a lot of incense in the recommendations above.

    I do agree with the La Via del Profumo recs. Holy Water is awesome!
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Maybe one that has not been mentioned here is Breath of God by Lush. There is no sandalwood in this but the smokey-incensy vibe is all there as is some sort of woody undertone. It might not be sandalwood as such but definitely one the OP should be aware of.

  26. #26
    Basenotes Institution rynegne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Not discontinued.

    There's both cedar and sandalwood and incense...although it's not super heavy on the incense side of things. I'm not much for review writing but ClaireV and Deadidol wrote great reviews of this one.



    ClaireV
    Precious Woods by April Aromatics is a wonderful woods perfume. Although natural perfumes can sometimes be rather squat and muddy, this has an impressive scope to it. There are several layers at work, and surprisingly I can smell them all quite clearly at different stages of the perfume’s progression from top to bottom.

    The top notes are pretty dark and oily – pungent almost, with fir balsam, pine, and the full-on lactic sourness of sandalwood. It’s not pretty. Actually, it’s so dense it almost feels like the top notes of something like Norne by Slumberhouse (not in terms of smell, but a general sense of notes crowding in on you too thickly). Each time I wear my sample of Precious Woods, I have to admit I have to brace myself through the opening.

    Soon, though, I get my reward for being patient. Through the camphorous murk comes a wisp of incense smoke, weaving through and cutting the density, and paring back the oily balsams until you see the real object standing there unobscured – a rich, clean cedar. For much of the middle section of Precious Woods, there is an almost equal dance between cedar and incense. It smells richly spiced, slightly smoky, but clean and satisfying – never too oriental or ‘decorated’.

    The best bit, by far, is the dry, creamy brown sandalwood that rises up from the base. Oh my God, it’s so good. It has that spiced gingerbread sweetness that I catch in scents where really high quality sandalwood has been used, like in Neela Vermeire’s first three fragrances or vintage Bois des Iles. I tolerate the opening of Precious Woods, thoroughly enjoy the heart notes, but I luxuriate and stretch my toes out in the base. It’s more than worth the journey it takes to get there. It’s a really expensive choice, Precious Woods, but the richness, the surprisingly well-worked-out development, and the delicious sandalwood in the base make this a strong ‘maybe’ option for me. Highly recommended!




    Deadidol
    Precious Woods is a cedar-dominant scent, but it features a number of other woody components to produce something that smells less like a natural space and far more like the wood aisle of a hardware store. Consider CdG’s Wonderwood done with natural materials and you’ll get a sense of what this is about.

    The cedar is the most prominent note, and it’s the scratchy, dry kind more than the balmy rich kind. This material tends to have a sharp, domineering quality to it, but here it feels deep and boomy—clearly the sub-bass effect of sandalwood. Buddhawood adds a boozy, smoky tone, and there’s a touch of Bohemian Spice’s patchouli involved too (I think), and that what's possibly responsible for making the scent feel more like a workshop than simply a pile of freshly cut planks. There’s a touch of peppery spice, and the overall profile comes off as slightly charred (the burning scent of the saw blade, perhaps?) It’s probably one of the most natural block-of-wood woody scents I’ve run across.

    With that said, it’s not necessarily a pretty or polite scent. In fact, it’s surprisingly dirty and quite musky. Although it’s predominantly cedar, the incense and herbal facets add dimension alongside the boozyness of the buddhawood. The sandalwood is hard to detect because most of the notes in this would ordinarily form a heavy base anyway, and so it's even harder to identify with such heavy materials piled on top of it. In this regard, it feels like a bit of a waste to use sandalwood in this way as the scent is so bottom-heavy that the richness and nuance of this material doesn’t get chance to shine as it should. So, in sum, this is a touchstone scent for the natural wood fragrance fanatic—think Wonderwood or Tam Dao EdP made real. And given how well sandalwood / cedar works with rose, I can’t help but wonder how this would work when combined something like Rosenlust. Anyhow, if you wear Precious Woods, expect to smell very natural, but not necessarily sparkling clean. A very good fragrance indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    Isn't the April Aromatics discontinued?
    Plus I thought it was more cedar & sandalwood, rather than having any incense.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Wonderwood is my favorite if we don't consider Sacred Wood.
    I have only tried a perfume oil (imitation) which are usually pretty good at giving a 2D, 'flattened' and blended impression of the actual fragrance. There have been very few which are noticeably different, and while it's clearly not enough to judge the real thing on, I find they're decent approximations, and I used oils to jutify buying Aventus and many others. I tried a Beau de Jour oil from the same people and it's very close.

    Based on that, I'm not bowled over by Sacred Wood, but I feel the nuances and specifics are what step it up from what smells like an almost *floral* sandalwood at the moment, in to something a bit more special.

    I'm keen to seek it out, but not sure I want to now semi-blind buy a refill bottle.

    I really like Wonderwood but I find with all CdG, they just fall apart in the base for me. Cloying, sickly, annoying - too much vetiver, basically, but also it's never as good as the first 5 minutes. That's true for 2 Man, Wonderwood, Avignon etc.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Holy Water by La Via del Profumo.
    Ma Nishtana by Parfum Prissana

    More frankincense than sandalwood but superlative nonetheless. So the question is: do you prefer more incense or more sandalwood.
    Thank you, both sound interesting, and having sampled neither, I think I really need to give them both a try. The only issue is I'm not a huge fan of rose - so might be a problem with Holy Water?

    Which do I prefer? Interesting question - I think both, equally. And in that sense I think I'm trying to seek out an 'incense with woody notes' fragrance and then the inverse, a 'sandalwood with incensey elements'. I have Heeley Cardinal for the frankincense scent, and I'd honestly be happy with the YSL for a sandalwood (with a nice fake 'incense' note)...but on the flipside...if there was a genuinely amazing incense-sandalwood where both are equally paired, or something coming close to that, I'd happily buy it if I loved it.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Valentino Uomo Noir Absolu gets two big thumbs up from me. Sandalwood and Incense are the two main players. Niche quality on this one. Super impressed.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Sandalwood & Incense: a match made in perfume heaven. What are some of the best examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdp191 View Post
    Valentino Uomo Noir Absolu gets two big thumbs up from me. Sandalwood and Incense are the two main players. Niche quality on this one. Super impressed.
    Smells like a better Black Orchid to me. Sort of fits the bill, buts lots more notes - mainly florals - going on as well.
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