Santal / Sandalwood fragrance notes

  • Head

    • bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, green grass, lemon
  • Heart

    • clove bud, lavender, nutmeg
  • Base

    • amber, cedarwood, frankincense, musk, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver

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Latest Reviews of Santal / Sandalwood

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I've come full circle on Santal. While it isn't what I expected, and it certainly isn't a high end "sandalwood" scent at all, I now find it incredibly wearable and versatile for what it is. What initially struck me as odd choices--sweet lavender mixed with bright spices over a creamy nutmeg/cedar/musk base with kind of a lazy nod towards a sandalwood accord--now strikes me as a quirky early 2000s designer scent I can wear anywhere. As I finish off a decant, I would very much like to hunt down a full bottle.

Most folks exploring this one 20 years after its release are probably here because it's so often recommended as the closest thing still in production to the much venerated, sadly discontinued Gucci Envy for Men, which of course goes for stupid prices these days. Alas, I've never smelled Envy and can't really comment. I was recommended Santal as a potential replacement for another discontinued unicorn: my old signature scent, L'Occitane Eau de Vetyver, which is also sometimes compared to Envy (and Carven Homme, also discontinued and stupidly expensive).

Let's be real: Santal barely has a vetiver note and it's not at all a direct replacement for my beloved L'Occitane. But the creamy nutmeg / cedar / synthmusk base does have some similarities to EdV's drydown. You'd never confuse the two, but they could easily fill a similar slot in your wardrobe. They're both easy to wear spiced woody scents, distinct from typical designer fare without feeling particularly challenging or niche, and they each have a pleasing warmth to the base without being overly sweet or cloying. There is a sandalwood note here, but it won't be enough to satisfy anyone seriously interested in sandalwood (Tam Dao this is not). In some ways it feels like a twice-removed cousin of Egoiste - easier to wear but less convincing overall, just a friendly blend of citrus and spice over warm woods with a hint of sweetness. (Egoiste is far better blended, but also warmer and sweeter overall).

As I've quested for a replacement to EdV, I've come to realize there was a distinct trend of nutmeg/cedar scents from this era (roughly 1998-2005 or so). Santal fits in squarely with the others I've tried like Azzaro Visit (more focused on incense but with a very similar base) and Histoires de Parfums 1828 (more complex and weirder overall, with grapefruit, eucalyptus, and pine over a similar base). There are others from this era with similar creamy/spicy/woody base notes that I'm still hoping to try some day (things like Kenzo Jungle Homme, Jacomo Aura for Men, Calvin Klein Contradiction for Men, maybe even Penhaligon Endymion), as I suspect they all riff in the same general zone.

In any event, if you ignore the misleading name and approach Floris Santal as a creature of its time and more of a wearable everyman scent than a true sandalwood fragrance, there's a lot to love here. Performance isn't strong, but 3-4 sprays will get me through the day just fine, and I don't find myself going nose blind very easily. Recommended.
3rd April 2022
One of my trademark go to colonies.
It varies quite a lot depending on people skin in my view... Strangely doesn't work as well on some friend who tried it! For me it's a beautiful unfolding of peppery sandalwood. Longevity is OK. Not amazing and if you go in the morning you might have to top up in the evening. I feel that this is worst than it used to be.. 15ish years ago..? Said this... I love this perfume, I discovered it by chance in Savile row, and I keep getting asked by everyone what is it... :)
29th October 2021

Floris Santal Review:

This fragrance starts of with a fairly subdued spicy opening. The spiciness comes from the cardamom mixed with a hint of pepper. Just like with everything else in this scent, the pepper never feels brash or abrasive to your senses. Sitting behind this spicy concoction is just a little bit of citrus.

The opening then leads into a soft lavender mid, with a creamy sandalwood base. It amazingly accomplishes all of this with a fresh airiness to it all. It's a beautiful fragrance in it's simplicity and is one of my absolute favorites.

This is one of the fragrances that gets compared to the classic Gucci Envy on occasion. From what I have tried, this is the smell that reminds me of Envy the most. It just so happens, that for my personal tastes, I actually prefer this one. It has a lighter and brighter smell to it than Gucci. This is a perfect fragrance to add to your Fall and Spring Rotations. Also, if you find the Extreme version I would definitely pick it up. It's a bit stronger than the original and would be quite a find.

Best Age Group- 30+
Best Season(s)- Fall/Spring
Occasions- Formal, Work, Casual
Projection/Sillage- Moderate
Longevity- 7 Hours
Smell- 10/10
Overall- 10/10

YouTube Channel: theaveragecologneguy
27th July 2021
Overly sweet lavender, that will be first supported by a strong cardamom in the top, and the usual synth amber (and tonka?) in the base. Sharp, unbalanced, and no news of the sandalwood to my nose (a hint of vanilla at most). I seriously question if who is praising the sandalwood note in this one has ever smelt a decent sandalwood-centered fragrance in their life - I don't say high-end stuf with real Mysore sandalwood, no.... I mean even just a frag with a pleasant sandalwood accord made of aromachemicals... How can this one be remotely compared to Tam Dao?
I admit that wearing Villoresi Sandalo all day long before testing this one for the first time might be a bit of a show killer, but since both navigate in a similar price range, I expected a similar level of quality. To my nose this one shares strong similarities with mainstream crap like A&H No.1, D&G The One and TF for Men. The comparison with Penhaligon's Endymion and Lothair are way too generous towards Floris. The poor performance doesn't help either.

My first experience with Floris (blind buy based on reviews and raving forum posts). This is just a first impression review, that will be updated later, but I have low expectations as my first impressions are usually quite in line with my later perception. But everyone deserves a second chance and I hope that my next date with a different Floris frag will provide me a different experience.
Still cant believe my nose... seriously? $75 for that? The same as I paid for Villoresi Sandalo? Seriously buddy??

Might fit the box for who looks for a sharp sweet/spicy floral/amber thing, but if it's sandalwood you're looking for, look elsewhere!
20+, Fall days (if really you should have to...)
14th February 2021
Not sure why this directory listing is for two completely different fragrances - Santal and Santal Extreme have their own listings; this should be simply for Sandalwood from the classic range to avoid any confusion. Sandalwood is a fairly simple, straight forward sandalwood scent that was originally introduced in the 1800's and then subsequently re-released in the early 2000's around the same time Eau de Santal and its extreme counterpart were released. It has since been discontinued and should not be confused with the others, lacking their zesty peppercorn and clove notes.
11th January 2020
I was very disappointed with this fragrance. A slightly citrusy, slightly peppery sandalwood, which *sounds* great, but it is so poorly done that it just smells cheap and the peppery notes make it feel, for lack of a better word, scratchy. The longevity is also very poor. It almost completely disappears after a few hours. The only good things I can say about this are: the bottle looks nice; it does have a clean feel at the opening; and you are unlikely to offend anyone with this (since it is very light and it will be gone by lunchtime anyway).
18th June 2019
Show all 18 Reviews of Santal / Sandalwood by Floris