Why do sandalwood AC block the nose so quickly?


Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
If I make a sandalwood accord with some sandalwood AC it is always the same. On the blotter I can smell the accord for 3-4 breaths and then I can't smell it anymore. Then I need to recover my nose for a minute or so until I can smell it again. Why do sandalwood AC block the nose so quickly? I don't have this with any other material.


Basenotes Junkie
Nov 26, 2016
There are several classes of molecules known to cause olfactory fatigue or olfactory adaptation. Sandalwood, musks, iononic, and modern ambers are among them. Because your loss of sensitivity lasts for minutes, I'd call it olfactory adaptation. Some materials, if sniffed pure, can cause olfactory fatigue that can last around a week. But I've seen a newbie say his lasted 3 weeks.

Reasons why material might be more prone to blocking you are things related to the structure of the molecule. Large size, large weight, being long-lasting. But also things like your experience or exposure.


Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
Thanks RSG. I've now read something about olfactory fatigue, seems some also call it "olfactory habituation". As you say it, yes, I also see this with musks.


Basenotes Dependent
May 5, 2020
Often times when coming across molecules that do this to you, it would be in your best interest to try them in small blends. One trial with and one without to compare. Til this day I can easily name most ionones used in fragrances but I can’t smell them on their own, well I can, but literally one good sniff. In terms of sandalwood ac’s the only one I struggle with is bacdanol/sanjinol, but only on their own, in blends i’m perfectly ok.

What RSG says is right, there are some things I think we just adapt too very quickly and others not so much. Even though it’s a musk, I only know what celestolide smells like because of blends, I literally smell nothing on a strip.


Basenotes Junkie
Apr 4, 2021
I did do a small blend with them. I was testing sandalwood blends (dreamwood, dartanol, brahmanol, different ratios) and it was very hard to compare the different blends if you need to rest for 5 minutes after 2 sniffs.
In terms of sandalwood ac’s the only one I struggle with is bacdanol/sanjinol, but only on their own, in blends i’m perfectly ok.
For me its the same with bacdanol, but sanjinol I can smell nicely.


Basenotes Junkie
Apr 6, 2015
Weirdly the opposite can happen as well. I got some l-muscone and it was so faint at first I couldn’t really make out the scent. After 2-3 applications I became very sensitive to the scent and even traces on my skin smell strongly for hours. There is a lot going on with olfactory perception beneath the surface.

Deleted member 26348570

Every scent at some point in time will become undetectable if exposed over long periods of time. As some acknowledge, musks are typically the first our olfactory adapts to and tunes out. This is why I’ve conceded any attempt to develop a musk fragrance. They may smell exceptional, yet the wearer will quickly become anosmic to the scent. This is also why it is important to incorporate materials that may individually be considered unpleasant. I’ve found that a scents depth is profound when the right discrete material is included.

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