What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Sandalwood: The most meaningless word in wetshaving?

I have tried three different "sandalwood" scented shave soaps. All three smelled completely different.
Edwin Jagger smells clean and soapy.
Taylor of Old Bond Street smells more earthy and maybe a bit medicinal.
Stirling vanilla sandalwood smells like some kind of sweet dessert treat.
They all perform great, they all smell fine. But I still have no idea what sandalwood smells like. Seems like every manufacture makes a sandalwood but there is no consensus between them on what a sandalwood soap should smell like. I know a lot of people seem to think that Pepsi and Coke taste different, but after drinking one of each you have a pretty good idea of what a cola tastes like. Not so with sandalwood.
 

JCarr

Contributor
I have Captain's Choice Sandalwood soap and...add that one to the list. I would venture a guess that it's a bit more baseline.

Only one other wet shaving term as meaningless as Sandalwood...and that's Bay Rum.
 
I find TOBS Sandalwood recommendations amusing when someone is looking for a sandalwood. That is just one of several base notes in that soap.

“A classic fougère fragrance with top notes of geranium lavender rosemary and liquid amber supported by a heart of carnation fern and orange blossom resting on a sumptuous base of patchouli sandalwood vetivert powdery musk and rock rose.”

I guess it’s in there somewhere. But my nose just picks up a heavy floral scent. I was looking for a straight up Sandalwood ... not TOBS.
 
I have tried three different "sandalwood" scented shave soaps. All three smelled completely different.
Edwin Jagger smells clean and soapy.
Taylor of Old Bond Street smells more earthy and maybe a bit medicinal.
Stirling vanilla sandalwood smells like some kind of sweet dessert treat.
They all perform great, they all smell fine. But I still have no idea what sandalwood smells like. Seems like every manufacture makes a sandalwood but there is no consensus between them on what a sandalwood soap should smell like. I know a lot of people seem to think that Pepsi and Coke taste different, but after drinking one of each you have a pretty good idea of what a cola tastes like. Not so with sandalwood.
Most sandalwood soaps give you an "impression" of sandalwood using synthetic fragrance ingredients, or other types of wood.

If you can shop at an Indian market, you can find this soap:
1613962119553.png
This scent is very familiar to most Indian people. But, I think the soap is mainly used by the older generations.
 
I can't figure it out either.

From the Sandalwood scents I've gotten from Trumpers, Proraso, AoS and WSP.

I've kinda given up on trying to figure out what a true sandalwood scent is supposed to be?
 
Natural sandalwood oil is damn precious so they use it very less and mostly is synthethic lab made frag.

We can't grow it locally in India as it has to strictly handed over else hefty fines are levied

Its TRIPS secure so not even allowed for export so I assume almost all the sandalwood flavours are synthetic or modified or is of Austrailian origin

For india If you want to experience best its the Government owned Mysore Sandalwood soap as thats the only company so far which does use Natural sandalwood oil.

In shave creams its Vicco sandalwood shave cream but I doubt its natural oil content and the frag as its not that simmilar to Mysore Sandalwood soap.

The reason for Mysore sandalwood soap is due to it being considered the best varities in the world with the highest concenrtrarion in the oil
 
...For india If you want to experience best its the Government owned Mysore Sandalwood soap as thats the only company so far which does use Natural sandalwood oil...
...The reason for Mysore sandalwood soap is due to it being considered the best varities in the world with the highest concenrtrarion in the oil
The soap is both pungent and expensive. [Rs 810, or approx. US$11, £8]
The maker, Karnataka (KSDL), is a government subsidiary and does use real Mysore Sandal oil in its soap, making it by far the most expensive soap sold in India.
However, it is a perfumed soap comprised of many scent notes and as such does not smell even faintly of sandalwood.
mysore sandal.jpg
Truth is, you will not find any after shave, cologne, soap or cream that smells purely of sandalwood, if at all.
That's because sandalwood is a base note and simply doesn't stand on its own.
It is described, from the essential oil, as creamy, buttery and faintly resinous or wood-like. It is actually quite neutral by itself and works best as a background or recessive note upon which are built other woodsy, musky forest notes, such as cedar, pine, rosewood, patchouli, myrrh, and vetiver. It is found as a base in orientals, fougeres and chypres. It also works as a fixative for citrus and florals.

Most colognes to-day are made with synthetics because real sandalwood oil has got too dear and rare. The export of Mysore Santal from India is highly restricted. Even lesser-regarded sandalwoods from Australia, the Orient, and Africa are cost-prohibitive.
Only high-end colognes or EDT's costing over 100 pounds are even likely to use any real sandalwood; Floris, Tom Ford, Creed...

The question of Sandalwood arises often on these forums, usually as in what's the best, or truest sandalwood scent?, and it's a misguided question. You can search the term and read all the recommendations, but I don't think ANY of them smell like sandalwood. What you smell are the middle and top notes, not the sandalwood. A keen nose may detect it in the dry-down but that's about the extent of it.

If you really must know the scent of Sandalwood, buy a bottle of the essential oil. If it's real East Indian Mysore Santalum album, it will cost several hundred pounds or dollars per ounce. Thus, they are sold in vials of fractions of an ounce.
Australian sandalwood oil is almost the same, and cheaper.

But you will be under-whelmed by it, because sandalwood's true value in perfumery is it's functional role. As a fixative, it serves to slow down the dissipation of top notes. As a foundation, it serves to support, meld and elevate the various middle notes into a more complex three-dimensional whole, all while adding its own muted flourish to this, the heart of the perfume. Traditionally, sandalwood functioned to distill and unlock rare or difficult essences, which, in the oil, opened up and were magnified. In to-day's world of synthetics, this function is largely redundant.

So, the better question is, which so-called Sandalwood colognes smell great? None smells the same, some not even remotely.

There is a cologne called Molecule No. 4, which is made from a synthetic imitation of sandalwood. Aside from an additional aroma of grapefruit, it claims to smell of pure sandalwood, top, middle, and bottom notes. Problem is, it's a polarising scent, with many detractors. While some love it, many others simply cannot detect it.
 
I have tried three different "sandalwood" scented shave soaps. All three smelled completely different.
Edwin Jagger smells clean and soapy.
Taylor of Old Bond Street smells more earthy and maybe a bit medicinal.
Stirling vanilla sandalwood smells like some kind of sweet dessert treat.
They all perform great, they all smell fine. But I still have no idea what sandalwood smells like. Seems like every manufacture makes a sandalwood but there is no consensus between them on what a sandalwood soap should smell like. I know a lot of people seem to think that Pepsi and Coke taste different, but after drinking one of each you have a pretty good idea of what a cola tastes like. Not so with sandalwood.
Welcome to the club!

If it provides any solace, same can be said of Vetiver, Patchouli, Levander, "Bay Rum", Oak Moss, Amber (has no scent whatsoever), etc, etc... the list is endless.

Thing is, all those fragrances are carefully blended mixtures of many different scents, creating a unique profile.

So, unless you buy Sandalwood E/O, you won't have a clue.
 
The soap is both pungent and expensive. [Rs 810, or approx. US$11, £8]
The maker, Karnataka (KSDL), is a government subsidiary and does use real Mysore Sandal oil in its soap, making it by far the most expensive soap sold in India.
However, it is a perfumed soap comprised of many scent notes and as such does not smell even faintly of sandalwood.
View attachment 1226696
Truth is, you will not find any after shave, cologne, soap or cream that smells purely of sandalwood, if at all.
That's because sandalwood is a base note and simply doesn't stand on its own.
It is described, from the essential oil, as creamy, buttery and faintly resinous or wood-like. It is actually quite neutral by itself and works best as a background or recessive note upon which are built other woodsy, musky forest notes, such as cedar, pine, rosewood, patchouli, myrrh, and vetiver. It is found as a base in orientals, fougeres and chypres. It also works as a fixative for citrus and florals.

Most colognes to-day are made with synthetics because real sandalwood oil has got too dear and rare. The export of Mysore Santal from India is highly restricted. Even lesser-regarded sandalwoods from Australia, the Orient, and Africa are cost-prohibitive.
Only high-end colognes or EDT's costing over 100 pounds are even likely to use any real sandalwood; Floris, Tom Ford, Creed...

The question of Sandalwood arises often on these forums, usually as in what's the best, or truest sandalwood scent?, and it's a misguided question. You can search the term and read all the recommendations, but I don't think ANY of them smell like sandalwood. What you smell are the middle and top notes, not the sandalwood. A keen nose may detect it in the dry-down but that's about the extent of it.

If you really must know the scent of Sandalwood, buy a bottle of the essential oil. If it's real East Indian Mysore Santalum album, it will cost several hundred pounds or dollars per ounce. Thus, they are sold in vials of fractions of an ounce.
Australian sandalwood oil is almost the same, and cheaper.

But you will be under-whelmed by it, because sandalwood's true value in perfumery is it's functional role. As a fixative, it serves to slow down the dissipation of top notes. As a foundation, it serves to support, meld and elevate the various middle notes into a more complex three-dimensional whole, all while adding its own muted flourish to this, the heart of the perfume. Traditionally, sandalwood functioned to distill and unlock rare or difficult essences, which, in the oil, opened up and were magnified. In to-day's world of synthetics, this function is largely redundant.

So, the better question is, which so-called Sandalwood colognes smell great? None smells the same, some not even remotely.

There is a cologne called Molecule No. 4, which is made from a synthetic imitation of sandalwood. Aside from an additional aroma of grapefruit, it claims to smell of pure sandalwood, top, middle, and bottom notes. Problem is, it's a polarising scent, with many detractors. While some love it, many others simply cannot detect it.
I love Millennium sandal soap. Such a beautiful sandalwood scent! I have a bar or two, but I only use it from time to time. I was able to find a seller in India that sold them for around $30 shipped. Given the quality of the soap and the deluxe packaging, I feel that this is a very fair price to pay.
 
The Big Island of Hawaii used to be covered with forests of excellent Sandlewood.

King Kamehameha and the western companies logged it all.

Well, not all. At high altitude in the saddle between the two volcanos, the forests were just too far away from the coast to be carried to the English ships, so a small forest survived.

Recently it has been restored and they are now making what I think is very good Sandlewood oil. And the idea is to do sustainably this time.

I bought the oil and added a few drops to an unscented Mike's Natural Soap.

It was very good.

I think there really is a certain "Sandlewood" scent. But you have to use the natural oil, and a fair bit of it.

Having a bottle of real Sandlewood and real Bergamot in the cabinet is great. You can top up your soaps and aftershaves.

The hawaii site is below.

Aloha

Home - Hawaii Sandalwood
 
The Big Island of Hawaii used to be covered with forests of excellent Sandlewood.
King Kamehameha and the western companies logged it all.
Well, not all. At high altitude in the saddle between the two volcanos, the forests were just too far away from the coast to be carried to the English ships, so a small forest survived.
Recently it has been restored and they are now making what I think is very good Sandlewood oil. And the idea is to do sustainably this time.
I bought the oil and added a few drops to an unscented Mike's Natural Soap.
It was very good.
I think there really is a certain "Sandlewood" scent...
Great story.
Just remember, it has nothing to do with footwear...sandles, it's sandalwood!
 
Great story.
Just remember, it has nothing to do with footwear...sandles, it's sandalwood!
Well, these are sandals in English...

sandals-1.jpg

It's just that the word sandalwood has a different etymology. Sandal seems to have come indirectly from Sanskrit or other Indian languages: "chandanam" meaning wood for burning incense. So, incense instead of shoes, that makes more sense!
 
I think barbershop scent might have Sandelwood beat.
Ah, barbershop! Citrus, musk, amber, oakmoss, lavender, talc, bergamot, mint, sandalwood (the fragrance in question), cedarwood, Tonka bean, juniper, fougere, Clubman (everything in the inventory), industrial cleaner, linen, jasmine, geranium, orange flower, bay rum, rosemary, thyme, Barbicide (no kidding), patchouli, cigars, calendula, eucalyptus, powdery, floral, green, oud, leather, smoke, spice, rose, cardamom, camphor, almond. A few of the descriptors I've found for "barbershop." There may be others....
 
I have tried three different "sandalwood" scented shave soaps. All three smelled completely different.
Edwin Jagger smells clean and soapy.
Taylor of Old Bond Street smells more earthy and maybe a bit medicinal.
Stirling vanilla sandalwood smells like some kind of sweet dessert treat.
They all perform great, they all smell fine. But I still have no idea what sandalwood smells like. Seems like every manufacture makes a sandalwood but there is no consensus between them on what a sandalwood soap should smell like. I know a lot of people seem to think that Pepsi and Coke taste different, but after drinking one of each you have a pretty good idea of what a cola tastes like. Not so with sandalwood.
I have no idea what sandalwood smells like either since I can't detect any fragrance from the real deal.
The only sandalwood scents I can smell are synthetic and they do indeed smell different from one another.
 
INCI of Castle Forbes Cedarwood
& Sandalwood shaving cream:

Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Juniper Virginiana (Cedarwood Essential Oil), Dipropylene Glycol, Santalum Album (Sandalwood Essential Oil), Citric Acid, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate.


Althought,not a pure sandalwood scent,it does contain Santalum Album
essential oil and not some kind of
artificial imitation.
 
Top Bottom