Best sandalwood fragrance?

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Apt description. Santalum is at the top of my list for next full bottle purchase but I am trying alternatives before I commit to 100 ml.

I would advise taking a long time to sample Santalum, unless you are prone to hoarding and/or not concerned by the prospect of buyer's regret later down the line. Wear it in different weathers, settings, while in different moods - really try to get to grips with it. It's a difficult old scent and I came to the conclusion that there's just too much about it that's 'off' - it captures sandalwood but, as a fragrance, it's tricky. There's something inherently annoying about so many of Profumum Roma's fragrances, something in the 'DNA' perhaps, and although Santalum has its positive points - and could make for an interesting irregular wear (fewer than 5 times a year, e.g.) - I would probably end up giving it a swerve, even if it were 50% of the asking price. If Gucci ressurected and modernised the formula for Rush...then I'd probably be willing to throw pricing out of the window. But Santalum? Interesting - but smells more suited to an incense. There's something annoying about the buttery-spicy-ashen quality that the myrrh, sandalwood, and cumin-cinnamon blend after a few hours that just doesn't work well on skin. Aromatherapy turns in to aromannoyance.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
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

Ha, interesting about Villoresi. The formula must have changed as it smells a bit like a tired 19th-Century-meets-1980s masculine aromatic wood to me. It's too sombre for its own good. Villoresi's fragrances do veer vintage, with powdery-floral-soapy drydowns, but I wouldn't have thought of Sandalo as feminine?

Floris Santal is a good fragrance but we're stretching the idea of sandalwood when we get to scents like that. It lacks the depth and gravitas of Envy, replacing the tobacco and incense accord for a rather ordinary clove. Still, a very decent replacement for Envy, if anyone desires such a thing.

I'd agree about Egoiste - more rose and cinnamon (sickening) - but I think Trumper's Sandalwood gets a pass. It's more 'sandalwood soap' than sandalwood-in-cologne-form, though.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Compared to some others who have posted here, my collection isn't large enough to permit me to offer many suggestions - but I must say that Samsara Parfum de Toilette, a concentration manufactured in the 1980s and early 90s, is sublime. Mysore sandalwood was still in use during that era. It's well worth checking eBay or Etsy for the PdT,
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Apt description. Santalum is at the top of my list for next full bottle purchase but I am trying alternatives before I commit to 100 ml.

A bit expensive, but it makes the very top of my list and I saw it cited many times by whom has had the chance to try it. You'll hardly find a better 'soliflore' take on Australian (dry) sandalwood, although I get also a healthy dose of spices (but less than Lutens SdM) and some cedar mixed in (but way less than in Tam Dao, for example). I nearly finished my sample, and I'm already saving for a full bottle. Better one stunning bottle than 4 'just great' ones, in my book. My Tam Dao EDP might slowly be pushed towards the exit, at this point.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Compared to some others who have posted here, my collection isn't large enough to permit me to offer many suggestions - but I must say that Samsara Parfum de Toilette, a concentration manufactured in the 1980s and early 90s, is sublime. Mysore sandalwood was still in use during that era. It's well worth checking eBay or Etsy for the PdT,

The good news is that I just got a loan approved at 35% APR. eBay, I'm coming!!!!
 

Singularious

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 16, 2018
Trying out the Villoresi today.

Definitely one of the better representatives of real sandal I've put my nose on, and equally as fleeting in its projection and sillage. All but gone except nose on skin after just a few hours. NOT a lactonic sandal, but more sawdust and a little ozone (but toned down compared to louder oils).

That being said, many oils are similar unless temperature and movement increase considerably.

I can see how negative reviews often throw the "old man" epithet around, but this is just how many sandalwoods dry down. Adding to that (and also my enjoyment) I do get some vetiver and oakmoss alongside something with just a *touch* of sweet. Perhaps labdanum?

Not sure it is FB worthy, but I will wear it again and do enjoy it.

Santal Sultan and Trumper samples are inbound if anyone finds these ramblings useful.
 

zerofox

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 31, 2020
A bit expensive, but it makes the very top of my list and I saw it cited many times by whom has had the chance to try it. You'll hardly find a better 'soliflore' take on Australian (dry) sandalwood, although I get also a healthy dose of spices (but less than Lutens SdM) and some cedar mixed in (but way less than in Tam Dao, for example). I nearly finished my sample, and I'm already saving for a full bottle. Better one stunning bottle than 4 'just great' ones, in my book. My Tam Dao EDP might slowly be pushed towards the exit, at this point.

I know, but my spouse really dislikes Santalum for smelling too much like furniture or mosquito repellent. Thus far I’ve been layering Amouage Sandal under Samsara EdT which is reads more femme to him. Most likely I’ll get a sizable decant of Santalum then a full bottle of Bois des Iles parfum as a compromise.
 

zerofox

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 31, 2020
Compared to some others who have posted here, my collection isn't large enough to permit me to offer many suggestions - but I must say that Samsara Parfum de Toilette, a concentration manufactured in the 1980s and early 90s, is sublime. Mysore sandalwood was still in use during that era. It's well worth checking eBay or Etsy for the PdT,


That would be great if I had Starblind on paid retainer to suss out the good deals.
 

SOB111

Well-known member
Feb 9, 2019
The ramblings are useful - keep them coming!

Trying out the Villoresi today.

Definitely one of the better representatives of real sandal I've put my nose on, and equally as fleeting in its projection and sillage. All but gone except nose on skin after just a few hours. NOT a lactonic sandal, but more sawdust and a little ozone (but toned down compared to louder oils).

That being said, many oils are similar unless temperature and movement increase considerably.

I can see how negative reviews often throw the "old man" epithet around, but this is just how many sandalwoods dry down. Adding to that (and also my enjoyment) I do get some vetiver and oakmoss alongside something with just a *touch* of sweet. Perhaps labdanum?

Not sure it is FB worthy, but I will wear it again and do enjoy it.

Santal Sultan and Trumper samples are inbound if anyone finds these ramblings useful.
 

slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
I know, but my spouse really dislikes Santalum for smelling too much like furniture or mosquito repellent. Thus far I’ve been layering Amouage Sandal under Samsara EdT which is reads more femme to him. Most likely I’ll get a sizable decant of Santalum then a full bottle of Bois des Iles parfum as a compromise.

You've already detected the problem with Santalum/Profumum Roma. Or, at least, your significant other has. It plagues the house and unfortunately it's precisely the quality that ruined Santalum for me.

Sandalwood really is a forlorn search. I'd much rather admit defeat/accept the reality there is no truly 'great' sandalwood fragrance currently being made than accept an inferior/substandard iteration.

If I had to recommend 3 it would probably be these:

1. Formal and old fashioned: Villoresi Sandalo: dry woods, herbs, spices, and a creamy-yet-dry bed of resin and wood (although if it's been reformulated then take this with a pinch of salt).
2. Unisex and 'sexy': YSL Rue 24: mostly suede, with a lovely supporting clean-creamy sandalwood accord.
3. A 'true' sandalwood: Santalum/Tam Dao EDP: I don't think either makes for a good wear, but if you want something that's close to the smell of the wood or oil then these get your fairly close without satisfaction for those who know/love the real thing.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Trying out the Villoresi today.

Definitely one of the better representatives of real sandal I've put my nose on, and equally as fleeting in its projection and sillage. All but gone except nose on skin after just a few hours. NOT a lactonic sandal, but more sawdust and a little ozone (but toned down compared to louder oils).

That being said, many oils are similar unless temperature and movement increase considerably.

I can see how negative reviews often throw the "old man" epithet around, but this is just how many sandalwoods dry down. Adding to that (and also my enjoyment) I do get some vetiver and oakmoss alongside something with just a *touch* of sweet. Perhaps labdanum?

Not sure it is FB worthy, but I will wear it again and do enjoy it.

Santal Sultan and Trumper samples are inbound if anyone finds these ramblings useful.

Villoresi is not the most sandalwood-centric fragrance I have smelt, but the sandalwood note in the base is probably one of the accords that comes the closest to Mysore Sandalwood. Yes, you are absolutely right, in the late drydown, there is a beautiful touch of vetiver. In order to increase performance, I spray on one spot, let it dry a min or so, then respray a couple of time on the same spot - it works.
When someone throw 'old man' to descibe a fragrance, I suggest to check their wardrobes, to understand how valuable their reviews are. If you like labdanum paired with sandalwood, I'd strongly suggest Monsieur by Lancetti.
For the sandalwood, Trumper's is just ok to my nose. More about cinnamon and vanilla than sandalwood. Taken as a whole though, it's a good fragrance.

I know, but my spouse really dislikes Santalum for smelling too much like furniture or mosquito repellent. Thus far I’ve been layering Amouage Sandal under Samsara EdT which is reads more femme to him. Most likely I’ll get a sizable decant of Santalum then a full bottle of Bois des Iles parfum as a compromise.

Santalum is mostly Australian Sandalwood, so indeed very woody/dry/cedar-y. That said, you would be right not to deprive yourself of such a beautiful scent, and a decant for yourself sounds to be the right move. If you (or your spouse) are (is) more inclined towards a creamier (but not sweet) take on sandalwood, I suggest

Sandalwood-centric:
222 by Le Galion (sandalwood + myrrh)
Essence No.8 Santal by Elie Saab (heavenly sandalwood drydown, supported by osmanthus and a hint of incense)
Santal de Mysore by Serge Lutens (sandalwood + indian spices) - not blind buy safe
Santal Noble by MPG (mysore sandalwood+incense+a hint of animalics) - not blind buy safe
Bois de Turquie by MPG (bay leaf+mysore sandalwood supported by myrrh and patchouli)

Great sandalwood note within a classic masculine blend:
Sandalo by Lorenzo Villoresi
Monsieur by Lancetti (paired with a divine labdanum)
Heritage EDT by Guerlain (sandalwood combined withpatchouli lavender and amber)
 
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Sinkinggrade

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2019
Nothing comes close in terms of composition to OG Chanel Égoïste, but Vintage 84 is really up there, along with the late drydown of OG EO2 Parfum and vintage Samsara Extrait. I'm not enamoured of this ingredient anyway.
 

zerofox

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 31, 2020
Essence No.8 Santal by Elie Saab (heavenly sandalwood drydown, supported by osmanthus and a hint of incense)

This one is under $80 USD at Fragrancebuy.ca right now. Use code WETHRIFT for free ship. I saw the request in your review to be notified if found for less than $100. I’ll probably stick to Bois des Iles parfum, but this does look like a nice option at the price.
 

saminlondon

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2011
Compared to some others who have posted here, my collection isn't large enough to permit me to offer many suggestions - but I must say that Samsara Parfum de Toilette, a concentration manufactured in the 1980s and early 90s, is sublime. Mysore sandalwood was still in use during that era. It's well worth checking eBay or Etsy for the PdT,

Are you sure you aren't thinking of the EdP? I don't think Samsara was ever available as a PdT, as it was the first Guerlain perfume to have an EdP concentration instead (launched 1989).
 

Zephyr1973

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2015
Well I am disappointed.

I had purchased both the Ethos EDT and the Skin Food to both try for myself and husband as well as offer as a split and I cannot elicit any more that 10 MINUTES of longevity on skin OR cloth! I had my husband as well as teen son try it as well - they had the same issue.

I'm so disappointed and frustrated. The EDT and skin food BOTH smell incredible in the bottle - it just doesn't translate to the skin or clothing.
 

drseid

Sound Scents
Basenotes Plus
Jun 1, 2003
Well I am disappointed.

I had purchased both the Ethos EDT and the Skin Food to both try for myself and husband as well as offer as a split and I cannot elicit any more that 10 MINUTES of longevity on skin OR cloth! I had my husband as well as teen son try it as well - they had the same issue.

I'm so disappointed and frustrated. The EDT and skin food BOTH smell incredible in the bottle - it just doesn't translate to the skin or clothing.
That is a real shame. I am getting a good 8 hours out of the EdT (much less on the Skin Food). I guess I just really *have* been blessed with fragrance friendly skin...
 

Zephyr1973

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2015
Want to buy mine LOL!

I usually have the ability to get great milage out of the "low silage/low longevity" fragrances. I wish I knew what was keeping me from having it with these two! Smells so GOOD in the bottles!
 

Clarissochka

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2015
Puredistance White. It might not be truly Sandalwood centric, but there is a real Mysore Sandalwood in dry down (takes a while to get to it), but so worth it.
 

RedRaider430

You smell good! 😄
Basenotes Plus
Dec 18, 2011
I know there are many on this board that sing the praises of Creed's famous (and long ago vaulted) Bois de Santal, and that would definitely be my number one sandalwood....by far. I have searched through all the entries in this thread, and I find it amazing that it hasn't been mentioned yet. The OP just asked for the best sandalwood we've ever smelled, so if it doesn't have to be one that's currently available, that's it for me.

Actually, two others that are my favorite sandalwoods aren't available, either.....including Crabtree & Evelyn's Extract of Mysore Sandalwood and Creed Santal Imperial. I don't recall seeing Santal Imperial mentioned, either.

hednic always says Montale's Santal de Mysore is his favorite sandalwood. It's no longer available, but I would sure love to smell it someday. It must really be grand. :smiley:
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
This one is under $80 USD at Fragrancebuy.ca right now. Use code WETHRIFT for free ship. I saw the request in your review to be notified if found for less than $100. I’ll probably stick to Bois des Iles parfum, but this does look like a nice option at the price.

Thank you, I appreciate! It's an old post... It's now probably 2 years that it sits in my wardrobe haha! That said, it might be back-up worthy, so since it is available for a few dollars less than what I paid for my bottle, I might get one extra!

The sandalwood note in Bois des Iles is superior to Saab's, no reason to shift. What stopped me getting BdI is that it leans quite feminine to my nose, while Saab is perfectly unisex.
Have you tried Sandalwood Sacre' by Le Jardin Retrouve'? In the same style as BdI, for decent pricing.
 

drseid

Sound Scents
Basenotes Plus
Jun 1, 2003
Want to buy mine LOL!

I usually have the ability to get great milage out of the "low silage/low longevity" fragrances. I wish I knew what was keeping me from having it with these two! Smells so GOOD in the bottles!
I have no idea if it will make any difference with your longevity problems, but one thing I noticed on the Skin Food over the past few months is the potency noticeably got more intense as time passed, near certainly due to the Mysore sandalwood chips continuing to infuse the perfume liquid over time. I haven’t owned the EdT long enough to comment on the same thing occurring (not that in my case it needs it), but as it too uses the Mysore sandalwood chips, it stands to reason it would do the same.
 

zerofox

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 31, 2020
375x500.52140.jpg


On the way! All set up for a sandalwood-themed Autumn and Winter. Mysore, Sri Lankan, and Australian. Finish up the home gym, set up all our separate study areas, and then I can sandalwood HAM.
 

Singularious

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 16, 2018
A quick note here that if you're pining for something like Ensar Oud's Santal Sultan perfume, Elie Saab's Essence No. 8 bears a VERY close resemblance to me at about 15% of the cost. The opening on the EO is way better, but it only lasts about half an hour anyway.
 
Jul 14, 2013
Villoresi Sandalo.
Hear, hear!

Villoresi Sandalo is my favourite sandalwood.

Followed by:
Ajmal Santal Wood
Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore
Santal du Pacifique
Yves Saint Laurent 24 rue de l'Université
Parag Fragrances Mysore Sandalwood EDT
Parag Fragrances Mysore Chandon Extra Attar
Atelier Versace Santal Boisé

Thus far I haven't been able to find a fragrance that even comes close to a specific memory from my childhood of a carved sandalwood fan that my parents had brought back from India in the 1960s - it was such an amazing, intoxicating smell and I later learned that my sister used to put me to sleep (she was 16 when I was born) by fanning me with that sandalwood fan which might explain why I find sandalwood to have such a profoundly calming effect.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
Hear, hear!

Villoresi Sandalo is my favourite sandalwood.

Followed by:
Ajmal Santal Wood
Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore
Santal du Pacifique
Yves Saint Laurent 24 rue de l'Université
Parag Fragrances Mysore Sandalwood EDT
Parag Fragrances Mysore Chandon Extra Attar
Atelier Versace Santal Boisé
[...]
I'm very curious about that Santal Wood by Ajmal, sandwiched in between Villoresi's and Lutens's masterpieces... I tried to start an Ajmal thread, but it got very little interest...
Could you tell us more about that one? Is it creamy? Woody? Spicy? Is it worth the $80/100? To what fragrance would you compare it? Or would you compare the sandalwood accord?

Edit: as not said... I just saw that you posted in my Ajmal thread... thank you!!!!
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
There's so much on top of it that it won't be everyone's favorite, but Bois des Iles EDP has that wonderful creamy, light, sandalwood note in the dry down. I'd really like to get my hands on the extrait at a decent price.
 

rbaker

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 27, 2012
Creed's Bois de Santal - clean hence gentle natural sandalwood in its core, although a tad of citrus and other 'contaminants' are present too. Chanel's Bois des Isles with its Mysore in older samples is a treat too. Trumper's version in older versions is very good too, and Montale's Mysore is good too but in a different way. Older versions of Chanel's Egoiste are most excellent too, and the paradigmatic rose-sandal scent at its best - a staple of mine in colder seasons.
 

Dr.Sardonicus

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 8, 2021
The best I've had was Profumum's Santalum first formula, which was dark and oily. The current, lighter formula is very good also with slightly different attributes.

Almost ( or just as good ) is Vintage Santal Noble. It has to be tried to be appreciated.

I also love Trumper's Sandalwood. Creamy and smooth as silk.......and a good price point.
 

N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer

Retired
Basenotes Plus
Jul 1, 2011
Creed's Bois de Santal - clean hence gentle natural sandalwood in its core, although a tad of citrus and other 'contaminants' are present too. Chanel's Bois des Isles with its Mysore in older samples is a treat too. Trumper's version in older versions is very good too, and Montale's Mysore is good too but in a different way. Older versions of Chanel's Egoiste are most excellent too, and the paradigmatic rose-sandal scent at its best - a staple of mine in colder seasons.
Agree with Bois des Iles and Egoiste, I share the same sentiments.

Creed Bois de Santal is a fine choice for sandalwood, my only gripe with it is the potent animalic notes early on. Very difficult to find.
 

NighthawkAtTheDiner

Well-known member
Dec 29, 2020
Santal Blush drydown (I've only tried the one in the clear bottle) comes the closest to actual Mysore sandalwood to my nose.
Dries Van Noten has a great sandalwood base.
Bois Des Iles Parfum is a very Chanel-esque take on the note.

All worth trying.
 

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