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Getting a handle on Sandalwood

It's kind of a new smell for me even though I've been readng about it for years. So far my experience with it includes the following:

AOS Sandalwood Shave Soap: Had it for about a year. I get a stale, bland, waxy smell from it. Maybe it's just the smell of the soap ingredients/chemicals. Is this soap known to be heavy or light on Sandalwood fragrance, and is it true Sandalwood?


GFT Sandalwood EdT (sample vial): Had it for a couple weeks. Love it. It smells "classic" to me, kinda clean and barbershoppe-ish yet creamy at the same time. Also quite heavy and it gives me a headache if I'm not feeling 100% when I wear it or just sniff the vial. Does this Trumper fragrance use real Sandalwood oil?

Floris Santal (sample vial): Had it for a week so far, never applied to skin, just sniff from vial. It's just okay. Kinda similar to GFT Sandalwood but with an underlying generic men's cologne smell that I find common to many "designer" fragrances. Again, does anyone knoe if this contains real Sandalwood EO?

Creed Original Santal (10ml decant): About a year old in my wardrobe but not worn much. Honestly didn't know it's supposed to be a Sandalwood frag, despite its name (didn't think about it too much). Don't get much Sandalwood from it, mostly spices and cinnamon. One of my least favourite Creeds but it is okay when the conditions and weather for it are just right.

So my question to you guys is, what is the reference Sandalwood fragrance if one is looking to experience real, quality Sandalwood unadulterated by too many other notes (short of plain Sandalwood EO, which is crazy expensive if it can even be found)? Also, I'd be interested in your opinions on the GFT Sandalwood as I really enjoy it.

Sidenote pertaining to GFT fragrances.... I avoided them for the longest time, writing them off as inferior based on Trumper's lackluster shaving soap scents. I'm eating my words now as I also have recently fallen in love with GFT Wild Fern EdT. Sandalwood is nice, but Wild Fern is superb, in my opinion. Damn is it ever fine... green, sharp, clean, a bit soapy... all things I look for in a spring and summer fragrance. Nice work, Trumper!
 
I don't know of the one Sandalwood to rule them all.
Not quite sure that exists.
CREED Original Santal is one of my favourite scents. Not because it smells like sandalwood.
It has the whole package smell to me. It smells fresh and clean.
If I could naturally ooze any scent, that would be it. (say....that's an interesting idea for a thread...)

At any rate, I'm hard on sandalwood because of this crazy sandalwood incense that my friend's sister had back in good old days. (goooood times).
It was spicy, incense-y and everything good. I've always wanted to find it again or find something like it in a sandalwood scent.
Alas, it most likely shall never be. Sandalwood seems to be kind of sweet and often paired with softer scents.
My guess is the spicy notes I'm looking for are something else.

When I was looking for a good sandalwood shave soap, I thought the best one was Queen Charlotte Soaps sandalwood. It is (or was as that was a long time ago) close enough to what I thought sandalwood should smell like.
 
I agree with your feelings about GFT and Floris. I got samples of both and I ended up getting a 50 ml spray bottle of the GFT Sandalwood cologne (along with the shave cream and skin food). I liked the Floris Santal.... but not as much as the GFT. The Floris had kind of a strange drydown to me that I didn't find particularly pleasant. I get alot of a creamy vanilla-ish scent from the GFT Sandalwood, which I like. I don't know if either actually contain Sandalwood oil in them.... but I liked the GFT best so I went with it. I have Creed Original Santal in a large 4 oz bottle. I agree that it doesn't exactly smell like a sandalwood fragrance. There's juniper berry, cinnamon, tonka bean, vanilla..... to me it's perfect for the holiday season for some kind of special occasion.... but this time of year it sits a the back of my fragrance shelf. I've heard.... but never tried it.... that MPG Santal Noble is sort of the sandalwood fragrance benchmark to measure all others by. I believe it's more of a true sandalwood fragrance.... kind of like what they say about D.R. Harris Sandalwood aftershave. They actually smell like sandalwood oil.

Sandalwood is one of those components to a fragrance that gets used alot so they tend to stick sandalwood in the name, but there is so much else going on that it becomes something a little different. It's like "leather" fragrances. I've found that I don't particularly care for authentic leather fragrances (where they actually smell like leather). But I do like T&H Spanish Leather alot.... because it's got a creamy vanilla-ish element to it. But I don't particularly think it smells exactly like leather like maybe Knize Ten or Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather do.

Ben
 
I went on a sandalwood quest last year ( a very generous member helped me out with a goodly number of samples). My favorite of the dozen or so that I tried was easily Tam Dao. Although as Ben noted, like most EdT's it's not a pure sandalwood scent (I'm with Marc - the QCS mysore sandalwood cream is the closest I've found for that), sandalwood is the dominant note for sure. Floris Santal was my #2 choice, but Tam Dao was the clear #1.
 
the GFT Sandalwood has been reformulated. It went from a creamy, amber, sweet scent to a somewhat sweet/spice/cinnamon chewing gum/raisin-like scent.
 
I just got a tub of TOBS Sandlewood and find it to be very nice, subtle after a few minutes and leaves your face feeling very smooth.
 
There are different sandalwoods. Mysore is the most famous, but perfume companies have increasingly turned to Aussie and Indonesian variants. The latter two are still sweet, but less mellow than Mysore. They have a sharper, more balsamic character.

I'm of the opinion that GFT uses Mysore sandalwood in their EDT, but not very much. It definitely shines in the drydown. It truly is a "sandalwood bouquet" with a lot of supportive aromas that complement the sandal very well.

Tam Dao is my favorite sandalwood cologne. Nandita Sandal Incense Oil roll on is my go-to single sandalwood note frag. Synthetic, but accurate. Give it 20 minutes and magic happens.
 
Kevan, have you ever compared Tam Dao with Caswell-Massey Sandalwood? My inclination is that after the initial alcoholic blast of the C-M that it settles down to something very similar (and much cheaper) than Tam Dao. But I have not sniffed Tam Dao in an awfully long time.
 
I haven't compared them directly yet, John. I think it was a post by you that inspired me to get some Caswell Massey Sandalwood while it was on sale in a shop. It surprised me how different it was to the bath soap. They're the same fragrance for sure, but the Cologne has a much more nuanced character, very similiar to Pure Incense's Sandalwood in the Connoisseur strength. But I notice the sandalwood more in the mid notes; the drydown reminds me more of a classic 60's oriental (like Jade East but better in every way).
 
Great sandalwood scents were Bois du Santal from Creed and Floris Sandalwood. However, both are not longer made and one can only find them from time to time on ebay or so.
I also had a couple of the AOS sandalwood soaps and they had no scent of sandalwood, just the bland, waxy, tallowy smell as one described it here so well. I finally found one that has a nice scent to it.
 
After trying a variety I settled for some sandalwood EO that I sometimes use and Profumum Santalum. I prefer the scent slightly blended over the pure oil. Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo, Etro Sandalo and Dyptique Tam Dao are all excellent IMO and a less overpriced than the Profumum. Serge Lutems Santal Blanc was way too sweet and sugary for my taste, LeLabo Santal 33 has too much going on other than sandalwood, and Floris Santal not enough sandalwood.
 
You are about to get bombarded with different takes on Sandalwood fragrances. Sandalwood, or if you prefer Sandlewood is a versatile note, and I think what of concern is what other notes this note is blended with, and also the amount used in the blend. Personally I think the re-formulated version of Santal Noble by MPG is what I use as the standard for which I measure all Sandlewood fragrances by. Once again you have to sample, and sample, and once again sample all, and any Sandalwood fragrances you can get your hands on. At that point you will if you have paid attention to their pyramids will have enough of a base of knowledge to form your own opinion on this note, and how it is blended in various fragrances. I would not be shy about asking for samples, from other members. Not so much directly, but along the lines of does anybody possibly have a sample of X fragrance, as I am looking to sample. You just might be surprised as to the response you get. I find this note for me wears a little better in cooler weather. IMHO
 
After trying a variety I settled for some sandalwood EO that I sometimes use and Profumum Santalum. I prefer the scent slightly blended over the pure oil. Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo, Etro Sandalo and Dyptique Tam Dao are all excellent IMO and a less overpriced than the Profumum. Serge Lutems Santal Blanc was way too sweet and sugary for my taste, LeLabo Santal 33 has too much going on other than sandalwood, and Floris Santal not enough sandalwood.

This makes me very curious to try the Profumum, as I really really like both the Villoresi Sandalo and Tam Dao. I also have a sample of MPG on the way, so I'll chime in after I've been able to give that one a good try.
 
Sidenote pertaining to GFT fragrances.... I avoided them for the longest time, writing them off as inferior based on Trumper's lackluster shaving soap scents. I'm eating my words now as I also have recently fallen in love with GFT Wild Fern EdT.

Can't help on the sandalwood (all I've tried is DRH Sandalwood AS, and I do like it - but I don't know how accurate a sandalwood it is). But if you don't mind a brief off-topic comment about GFT, I really like Eucris - I only have a sample, but I'll be rectifying that before too long.
 
TOBS sandalwood is quite nice and spicy

Have a dig at the Trumper Astor and Marlborough. Sandalwood features quite heavily in both and they are excellent scents. Astor is sweeter and spicy. Marlborough has herbal tones.
 
I've had a few decants of Tam Dao over the last year or so as I like it so much, but I didn't mention it in this thread because I was under the impression it has been reformulated in such a way that it is now more a cedarwood/iso e super fragrance than a sandalwood fragrance. I obviously don't know much about sandalwood yet, but I think I have a pretty good handle on cedar in fragrance and I definitely get a lot of cedar in Tam Dao. But if you guys tell me there's a good sandalwood in there then I will go back to it and try to approach it with a new perspective. Unfortunately I don't think I'm very good at this stuff because I sense no similarities between Trumper Sandalwood and Tam Dao.
 
You have to develop your sense of discernment, and it comes with time. Honestly I wasn't very good with sandalwood until I started burning sandalwood incense and handling chips of the actual wood. You begin to pick out how the thing itself smells. And to that end, Trumper has a very noticeable sandalwood BASENOTE that takes about 30-45 minutes to even an hour to show itself, as all the supportive elements fall away. It's not wood start to finish like Tam Dao.
 
Go to some place that sells essential oils with an expensive price tag, and sniff their sandalwood. If it's Australian sandalwood, then that's going to be the base of most modern scents, if it's Indian it's what used to be the base of older scents.

My standard is AOS Sandalwood EDT - about an hour after application, when the eucalyptus note has died off.

But I am a real fan of mainly sandalwood scents - Gucci Envy, Floris Santal, ST Dupont Signature and Larrikin for Men have very strong similarities between them, while Trumpers Sandalwood and Chanel Egoiste are almost cousins.

I did like Villoresi Sandolo when I was wearing a sample, but I didn't like work colleagues asking me why I was wearing a women's scent - so I gave it a miss.
Regards,
Renato
 
I grew up in a very hot climate, 42 Centigrade was the norm.
There was a 100 year old block of sandalwood at home that mom would rub on a stone with a few drops of water that would make a paste..
then would rub it on back on especially hot summer days..it would intantly cool you down.
so I know the smell of sandalwood.
I have not tried the others I have just one
qedman sandalwood
and its the exact same smell i remember from childhood..
not similar..exactly the same..

you should try it while you can, I emailed qed abt getting a sample and got a reply back to order a full one because it might not be made again..I ordered immediately and was not disappointed.
now i hoard it and try not to use it more than once a week.
 
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