Smooth, clean and elegant. Opens with a sweet creamy woody accord that smells more of rosewood than sandalwood to me, and soon settles down to a comfortable skin scent with good longevity but limited sillage. Unisex, but perhaps with feminine leanings, and almost an anti-perfume due to the linearity and simplicity. Recommended for lovers of blond woods and light incense fragrances!
Im not a fan of woods in general, because they project too masculine for me. Im a tiny little woman. I had the same impression with Tam Dao in the opening, but then it softens to something like a powdery cardamom. Sillage is a bit weak, so all in all its totally wearable for me.
Tam Dao (2003) is an oft-celebrated masculine-friendly sandalwood fragrance from Diptyque that represents a perfect storm of the house's olfactory accuracy and the skill of it's mysterious perfumer, the elusive Daniel Moliere. The last time anyone saw this perfumer attached to a creation was Givenchy Insensé (1993) a decade prior. Maybe Moliere doesn't get around much? Who knows, but what is known about the guy is that he seemingly loves making dark horse hits that either become absurdly expensive unicorns when they leave the market, or grow cult followings that can get ahead of themselves in their worship. Insensé was the former while Tam Dao seems to currently be the latter, and is often the only Diptyque in a man's wardrobe, and the only Diptyque many men have heard of, being a best-seller to guys from the house since it's release. Tam Dao sits somewhere between the brighter presentation of Chanel Égoïste (1990) and the bone-dry faux-sandalwood of Arden for Men Sandalwood (1957), and this is because Tam Dao is also dry like the Sahara a la the Arden, but has an authentic sandalwood note like the Égoïste, just not wrapped in orange spice. Instead, perfumer Daniel Moliere wraps wood in more wood and more wood, making this one of the most aromatic fragrances on the market at any price, and a "love it or shove it" kind of thing that guys who wear it do so for themselves. Tam Dao is certainly no crowd-pleasure, but no Diptyque really is.
The opening of Tam Dao draws the most comparison to Chanel Égoïste, because of it's salvo of rose, myrtle, and cypress. The rose is the connective tissue to Égoïste here, but without the citrus, so it's already a peg dryer than it's designer cousin. Tam Dao's sandalwood star makes an appearance in the middle, flanked by cedar and almost a Chai-type spice, which makes sense considering the Indonesian inspiration for the scent, which attempts the re-creation of the ancient temples found there. I don't think those thematics really come through on Tam Dao as much as the house would like, because my first impression wasn't of esoteric places of worship, but smell of woodworking shops, saunas, or even the sun-baked teak of sailboats that I sometimes hopped on at the pier in my hometown of Baltimore. The base here is amber, rosewood, and musk, the last of which is a usual fixative of the house in lieu of oakmoss, because most Diptyque scents like to live in extended top or heart notes rather than become rich base note skin scents. The sandalwood always stays in view even towards the end of the wear, but because rosewood and cedar are also there, it's blended in such away that much of the creaminess associated with a sandalwood note is gone, replaced by more of an aromatic wood angle, but at least it isn't chemical "karmawood" or some other norlimbanol derivative giving Tam Dao it's glow, so scratchy is one thing this stuff isn't. I've caught a few wiffs of this on people in Seattle before knowing what it is, and now that I have a name associated with the smell, I can pick it out in a crowd. Really folks, if you want a fragrance of woodsy super woodswoods and woods (with woods), this has you written all over it's oval-shaped bottle.
Tam Dao is a good autumn or winter scent for me, and super formal due to it's dry nature, so it's a great work or official business scent, but I wouldn't rock it on weekends or when out with the buddies, because you'll come across like "Mitch from Accounting" unable to relax at best, or Bob the lumberjack out of his element on a trip to the city at worst, neither which sounds too appealing. The austerity of Tam Dao makes it a good choice for security or law enforcement (wink), since it's all serious and no humor in it's extreme aromatic presentation. Even the rose in this cedes all power to the almighty trifecta of sandalwood, cedar, and rosewood in the stuff, unless you opt for the more expensive parfum concentration. Tam Dao Eau de Parfum, from my brief sniffing of it at the store, seems spicier and a bit creamier, so it's likely more middle-heavy, which is where the sandalwood and spices live. All in all, I can see why this is beloved so much by niche guys, as it's kind of the "ultimate woody fragrance". Tam Dao is sold as a unisex fragrance, but unless you're perfumista that loves sandalwood, and a fan of something like Chanel Bois des Îles (1926), this won't appeal to most run of the mill hetero-normative ladies, sorry. I'd still say sample this despite the hype, because there's no middle ground or room to grow with this one, since like all Diptyques, it's pretty focused in what it presents, and in this case that means a whole pile of wood, with sandal sitting at the top. You might call this a "woodiental" if you wanted to be cheeky about it, but don't tell anybody I gave you the idea. Thumbs up from me.
Really a very nice scent. I tried both the EdT and EdP before I purchased and I had a clear preference for the EdT. Both smell nearly identical in the opening (the EdT DOES have the famed cracked pepper note), but the dry down is completely differently.
The EdT dries down to what is largely a woody note that I would best describe as what tropical wood carved items smell like. The EdP dries down to a more pronounced Sandalwood scent but finishes very sweet with some vanilla which I personally found to be more feminine.
Longevity on the EdT is outstanding in my opinion. I own Floris and Penhaligon's and Tam Dao EdT last quite a bit longer than any Floris or Pen fragrance I own. The EdP has almost silly longevity. I had a scent strip from Nordstrom's that I had in my office that was sprayed with 3 quick sprays and it stayed on the strip for days and filled my office with its smell.
So based on my experience, I would say that if you're a gentleman and want something more traditionally appropriate in a variety of settings, the EdT is definitely the way to go.
If you are lady and looking to add this to your wardrobe, I would recommend the EdP for its slightly more complex middle and base notes and sweeter dry down.
Overall, I believe this is a fantastic fragrance that has found a niche spot in my wardrobe that is heavily skewed towards cologne/citrus scents. It is the woody masculine fragrance I have been looking for for some time.
I like sandalwood scents so this is a good one for me.
Slightly bitter, dry sandalwood. Something earthy or rooty about it. Reminds me of Molecule 04 which is mostly Javanol, a synthetic sandalwood. Unlike Molecule 04, this has a much more soft projection and because of the other notes involved, more interesting or complex.
Masculine and refined, this feels like a fall scent and a little on the dressed-up side to me.
It doesn't project much but it does last all work day.