Best sandalwood fragrance?

Vint8ge

Member
Oct 13, 2019
Cool, I emailed Frank. Thanks for the heads up on this. He said the edt gets around 6 hours which isn’t bad for a natural. Will talk with him more soon
 

drseid

Sound Scents
Basenotes Plus
Jun 1, 2003
Cool, I emailed Frank. Thanks for the heads up on this. He said the edt gets around 6 hours which isn’t bad for a natural. Will talk with him more soon
Yes, Frank is a great guy. I have found he is more open to doing semi-bespoke custom combinations on various naturals more than any others I can think of (save perfumers that specifically specialize in that as their focus for big $$$). From what I hear, Frank created the EdT of the Mysore Santal after one of his customers requested it for themselves originally as a one-off, using a higher concentration of the Mysore than used in the Skin Food/Aftershave… and it ended up as a regular offering in the line…

As to the EdT…. So, the bottle arrived yesterday (which comes in a nice drawstring bag instead of a box), and I sprayed one spray on skin this morning for an early read as to how it compares to the Skin Food. In EdT strength, I actually am surprised at what a difference the added concentration makes…. No, we are not talking a radical change in direction, as things still are highly linear and minimalist with the Mysore sandalwood the sole focus, but rather the higher concentration brings out more facets of the Mysore that were somewhat obscured in the Skin Food…. The pretty much all-natural (as far as I can tell based on the ingredient list) EdT comes off as less creamy than the Skin Food, with the Mysore having a natural smelling cedar wood-like aspect that comes to the fore, with the sweetness and creaminess of the Mysore more secondary. Projection is still relatively low, with the perfume being more personal than most high projector types, but when I walked outside about 30 minutes in, the scent got caught by the wind blowing and it showed there is more silage than expected. Longevity ended up being about 8 hours on my fragrance-friendly skin (which is about average). Profile-wise, this is strictly Mysore sandalwood and nothing else. If one is looking for a perfume development roller coaster ride, this is not the perfume to give that kind of thing. This is a good fit as a reference perfume for someone who specifically wants to smell what real Mysore sandalwood smells like in isolation from anything else. The bottom line is for what the perfume is, I find it a highly successful effort that I bet would also make a great layering perfume.
 
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Singularious

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 16, 2018
I will have to check out Ethos. Thank you for that recommendation. As others have said, trying to find sandalwood in a perfume is a treasure hunt. Plenty include it, but few feature it well. Like drseid, I have moved to soloflores (and oils) in large part to get my fix, which I want almost daily.

That being said, another BNer, Sugandha, recommended a similar soliflore via Pure Essence on Etsy, and it is pretty dang amazing. Like Ethos, it'll give you a real taste of what actual sandalwood smells like.

A tip for those who have any left...apply to your hair (the oil or soliflores). It lasts longer and gives off the most wonderful little scent bubble anytime you move. Also makes your pillow smell awesome.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
I haven't tried all the sandalwood fragrances available on this planet, but some of my favourites are:

Dry take (cedar-y):
L'Arbre by Iunx (combined with cedar, pepper and laurel)

Dry take (sandalwood-y)
Santalum by Profvmvm (combined with incense)
Santal Noble by MPG (combined with incense and animalics)
222 by Le Galion (creamy base, without being sweet/vanillic)

Creamy take:
Essence No.8 Santal by Elie Saab (creamy with a hint of apricot and incense)
Gris Charnel by BDK
Luce by Meo Fusciuni (woody/creamy, with a vanillic amber base)
Bois de Turquie by MPG (similar to Santal Noble, with an emphasis on myrrh instead of sandalwood)

Spicy take:
Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens (creamy and foody)
Wonderoud by CdG (creamy and spicy)
Caravelle Epicee by Frapin (spicy and creamy)

Within a citrus aromatic fragrance:
Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi (one of the best sandalwood note around)
Monsieur by Lancetti (divine sandalwood/labdanum combo)
Pour Monsieur EDT by Pierre Cardin (not the best masculine fragrance, but the sandalwood note is stunning)

Fresh take (co-starring with vetiver)
Smuggler's Soul by Lush (very nice)

My 6 favourites?
Santalum, Santal Noble, Bois de Turquie, Essence No.8 Santal, Santal de Mysore and Sandalo.


Others I tried and liked, but a step lower compared to the previous ones, according to my tastes:
Santal Superbe by JD
Him EDP by Milano Cento
Tam Dao EDP by Diptyque
Sandalo Nobile by Nobile 1942
Blue Santal by CdG
Wonderwood by CdG
Dark Aoud by Montale
24 Rue de L'Universite by YSL
Sartoriale by Pal Zileri
No.1 by Clive Christian
Bois de Iles EDP by Chanel
Sandalwood Cologne by Geo F Trumper
Wood and Spice by Proraso
Heritage EDT by Guerlain
Heritage EDP by Guerlain
Santal Royal by Guerlain
Escentric 04 by Escentric Molecules
Santal Boise by Versace
10 Corso Como by 10 Corso Como
Rehab by Initio
Sandalwood Sacre by Le Jardin Retrouve
Tabarome by Creed
Radio Bombay by DS&Durga

Other ones I tried but didn't care for:
Oud Wood by Tom Ford
Santal Blush by Tom Ford
Indian Sandalwood by Dunhill
Santal by Floris
Colonia Sandalo by Acqua di Parma
Pasha Parfum by Cartier
Sandalo by Byblos
Tam Dao EDT by Diptyque
Original Santal by Creed
Bois du Portugal by Creed
Egoiste by Chanel
If by Frapin
Santal Austral by Matiere Premiere
Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens
Santal Majuscule by Serge Lutens
Santal Blanc by VC&A
Santal de Kandy by Boucheron
Molecule 04 by Escentric Molecules
Santal 33 by Le Labo
Meander by Amouage
No.4 Bois de Balincourt by Maison Louis Marie
Homme EDT by Costume National
Homme EDP by Costume National
Santal by Fragonard
Santalum Slivers by Kerosene
 
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Singularious

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 16, 2018
Is it telling that I haven't seen any Ensar Oud or Areej le Dore's sandalwoods in this thread?

I think only in the sense that ALD doesn't really have a sandalwood-centric fragrance. Despite the name, Santal Galore's durian rides the sandalwood pretty deep into dry down. Musk Lave and Baikal Gris, IMO, both have noticeable sandal bases. But they are also fairly polarizing fragrances.

EO's recently released Santal Sultan might be a contender here, but cost and a being a relatively new release, I don't think the verdict is in from enough noses. That being said, EO's sandalwood attars and distillations are quite good. I have smelled a few, and though they are not my personal favorites, they are most certainly the real deal and excellent offerings.
 

nosey74

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2014
If looking for a straight, *real* Mysore sandalwood offering from current perfumes, then Mysore Santal EdT by Ethos Grooming Essentials is the best I have sniffed and very reasonably priced at $75 per 60ml retail. It is literally Mysore sandalwood in a bottle (using Mysore Sandalwood essential oil), with each bottle even having some Mysore sandalwood chips at the bottom of the bottle to allow the perfume to get even better over time. Great stuff if straight sandalwood is your kind of thing.

View attachment 156174

Curiosity got the best of me and I seem to like many of your favorite fragrances, hence, a bottle is on the way!
 
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Castingshadows

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2020
Is it telling that I haven't seen any Ensar Oud or Areej le Dore's sandalwoods in this thread?

I think Santal Galore is absolutely a Sandalwood soliflare in many ways and I think it absolutely deserves a place as being one of my favorite sandalwood fragrances.

My list would be as follows for all natural sandalwood heavy hitters:

Santal Galore by ALD (after the durian start this is about as good of Mysore as it gets)
Crime and Punishment by EO (gorgeous Mysore/ambergris drydown)
Ensar’s Rose by Sultan Pasha
Rising Mysore OG by Dixit and Zak
Vintage 84 by Dixit and Zak (total Mysore soliflare of the highest quality)
Zeeba by TRNP (truly remarkable Mysore heavy drydown)
Monsieur Oud by Ensar (surprisingly this is more sandalwood heavy than Oud)
EO Green by Ensar (classic men’s Chypre but crazy good Mysore drydown)
 

HabibiGotIt

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 9, 2020
My favorite Sandalwood perfumes:

Mysore Sandalwood - Pure Essence
Baikal Gris - Areej le Dore
Santal Galore - Areej le Dore
Santal Sultan - Ensar Oud
Thai Tabac - Ensar Oud
Pour Homme (original) - Patou
Sandalwood - Arden
 

Vegas

Well-known member
Aug 10, 2005
MPG Santal Noble
Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo (my personal favorite, although it has other things going on, the sandalwood is clearly present, you just have to move past the rosewood)
Amouage Sandal Attar (an excellent nearly pure sandalwood)

Villoresi takes my top spot and I even found new respect and appreciation for it after going back and trying Amouage Sandal. The Amouage is a deep and creamy sandalwood and after smelling it, I could instantly recognize the sandalwood in the Villoresi from the getgo, no need to wait for the rosewood to leave. In fact, smelling the Amouage immediately before the Villoresi makes the latter almost smell barbershop-y/powdery. But only if smelled together. By itself, Sandalo does not evoke any kind of barbershop for me.
 

StylinLA

Well-known member
Aug 9, 2009
CHANEL EGOISTE
DIPTYQUE TAM DAO
TRUMPER'S SANDALWOOD

EGOISTE and TRUMPER'S are somewhat similar. EGOISTE more rosey and spicy; TRUMPER'S more creamy.

TRUMPER'S has the benefit of reasonably priced shower gel, aftershave and shave cream for a very immersive experience.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
CHANEL EGOISTE
DIPTYQUE TAM DAO
TRUMPER'S SANDALWOOD

EGOISTE and TRUMPER'S are somewhat similar. EGOISTE more rosey and spicy; TRUMPER'S more creamy.

TRUMPER'S has the benefit of reasonably priced shower gel, aftershave and shave cream for a very immersive experience.

So many caps, so little time. Better lock'em down.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
It's a tough one.

I spent an age and no small amount of money trying to find the answer to this. In the end, it was a forlorn search. A truly great sandalwood doesn't really exist (anymore).

My personal favourite, by the end, was Profumum Roma's Santalum - but it is by no means a great sandalwood scent and I certainly couldn't recommend it for the money. If I were to revisit now I would be tempted to change my mind: it's probably a toss up between this and the other ones I'm going to mention as what I'd recommend as 'the best'. In any case, this captures something of the 'fullness' of sandalwood: the warmth, the creamy butter, but also the spice, the dryness, the ambery elements, the oriental and the mystical. It's not the easiest thing to wear, and it's maybe not a particularly pleasant wear, either, as the myrrh (in many ways, a good cousin for the many elements of sandalwood) does give it a certain heavy feeling. Performance is also shite for something that will cost you over £2 per ml. Profumum Roma do take the piss as a company, so many of their scents are shocking. If you want something close to the real thing, however, opt for this: if only as a reference point.

Another good one was Serge Lutens' sandalwood. I didn't try Santal de Mysore - I'm not willing to blind buy but if I ever come across a sample, I will jump at the chance, as (despite the reviews) this one seems promising. His other one, based on sandalwood and rose, is great if you don't mind rose. Simple, clean. light, yet fragrant and traditional - not boring, bland, green, or vinegar-y.

In the vein of traditional, then the two worth trying are Trumper's and Villoresi's. The latter is lighter, more floral, slightly sweeter, creamier. It's not sandalwood-centric, there's more going on in the way of florals and citruses, and it's akin to an old sandalwood soap. Villoresi's is heftier, with plenty of clean/dry white woods, rosewood and the like. There's a dash of something balsamic in the base, but this is an otherwise dry, sober take on sandalwood with dry herbs supporting dry woods. Neither are perfect by any means.

YSL's Rue 24 might be the best 'modern' sandalwood in that it is a heavily suede-centric, creamy, furry, fuzzy sandalwood scent that doesn't really smell like sandalwood but does feel like it, in an abstract way. There's a dash of incense and some woods, but it starts to feel a bit feminine after a while. A good cousin to Oud Wood, if you like the creamy wood in that, with none of the fake oud or florals. Performance is excellent to the point of overbearing, which makes the high price easier to accept.

There are a number of decent but 'meh' scents - Tam Dao (either, although EDP is probably closer to sandalwood) and the like. There are also a few horrorshows, like Le Labo's Santal 33 and Kilian's Sacred Wood. These are unwearable vinegar blends but some people seem to love them, perhaps it's a case of inexperience/loving the idea of them, I really don't know. They don't smell like sandalwood in the slightest, nor do they feel like it, either. Given how women seem to have very different responses to javanol (sandalwood aromachemical) than men, I wonder if there is a male/female divide in this area: women seem to like the vinegar and don't actually perceive it *as* vinegar but as something woody instead, whereas most men don't like it and do smell the vinegar.

A special mention goes to Gucci Rush as well. Although there are more prominent woods in the blend - juniper, cedar - this is the best woody fragrance made for men, in my opinion. Its performance is poor, and its price is now prohibitive as it's been discontinued for so long, and it also suffers with a slightly 'dated' feel to the materials and quality of the scent. But it's the only fragrance I've tried that really maximises both the 'smells like real wood' aspect with 'this also smells like a lovely and wearable fragrance' element. Usually, you're sacrificing one for the other with woody fragrances, but Rush managed to absolutely nail what a woody masculine fragrance should be. Nothing I've tried that's been made since has lived up to Rush - again, not strictly a sandalwood fragrance, although it has sandalwood-as-concept in the blend. Worthy of a mention.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Any budget sandalwood recommendation?

Yeah. It depends what you mean budget I suppose. Wonderwood is a decent mid-range starting point - although it's not *just* sandalwood. Trumper's Sandalwood is also mid priced but the performance is more of a cologne, so the low price might not be worth it in the long run. Acqua di Parma's Sandalo is a good 'abstract' idea of sandalwood: not much in the way of sandalwood smell, but the additional use of citrus, lavender, and woody ambers does convey something of the traditional sandalwood cologne.

But those aren't really 'super budget', more mid range.
 

Renato

Well-known member
Oct 21, 2002
Lot's of people like Villoresi Sandolo here. I did too.
But I once sprayed it on my arm and went back to the office, and some of my colleagues asked why I "wanted to smell like a girl".

I like my Art Of Shaving Sandalwood, after the strong Eucalyptus opening note wears off.
I also like my Floris Santal, and another scent which smells very similar to it - Gucci Envy - and an Australian scent, Larrikin For Men.

I don't know why, but having got used to those other ones, Egoiste and Trumper's Sandalwood never immediately come to my mind as sandalwood scents.
Regards,
Renato
 

inasia69

Well-known member
Nov 30, 2016
My favorite is Vintage Santal Noble by MPeG I would love to find a bottle of it, followed by Egoiste Cologne Concentree by Chanel and TRNP Embers >
 

rum

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Mar 17, 2011
Lot's of people like Villoresi Sandolo here. I did too.
But I once sprayed it on my arm and went back to the office, and some of my colleagues asked why I "wanted to smell like a girl".

I know I have been a big fan of this one for some time on the site. I first heard of it in 2013 and managed to buy my first bottle in January 2014. I still remember going to Les Senteurs to get a bottle.

But alas, that was near to a decade ago now and Villoresi has moved 'Sandalo' in to the exclusive line known as 'Vintage'. I did buy a bottle of that a year or two ago and it was a mess. Too much opoponax, sweet (maybe that would explain why it was described as girly) and very little if any sandalwood.

I'm since back with a new, big blue bottle and I'm loving it again. When the weather cools down once again I will be wearing this one a lot more.

My favorite is Vintage Santal Noble by MPeG I would love to find a bottle of it

Once again, the older the bottle the better is the way to go with this one. 90ml or 100ml size in the red coloured bottle is perfect. Anything but the current stuff basically in the clear glass bottle (which I think is a 125ml size).
 

avo1811

Well-known member
Dec 6, 2018
Its not technically a "sandalwood fragrance", but speaking of ALDs, I *love* the mysore sandalwood base in Musk Lave. Truly glorious stuff.

YES. 100%! I wasnt going to mention it either since its not really a sandalwood frag, but that base is to die for.

I would say my favorite sandalwood fragrance is Rising Mysore 2 by Dixit & Zak. Right behind it - Sandal attar by Amouage for basically a soliflore.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Heard ensar ouds Santal Sultan is quite good for sandalwood lovers assuming you've had your nose to real sand wood though.

I'd be reticent to believe the hype with brands like this. They tend to attract cork sniffers, and the artisans are very happy to cultivate the pretension through the marketing and mythology as well.
 

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