What the heck does sandalwood smell like!?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by npinn001, Mar 22, 2009.

    I know im asking you to describe a smell and that its kinda stupid, but does it smell similar to anything for comparison? I want to order a couple of bits that come in indian sandalwood as one option, or rose or lime, but no idea what to expect from sandalwood
  1. Hard to explain as I'm not the most experienced with scents, but I'd say that it doesn't smell like a wood to me...quite a ballsy (but not too heavy) smell with some nice spicy notes in there. I can see why it's used as a base in colognes.

    From what I've seen the scent can differ...I'm just going on the Mysore Sandalwood scent.
  2. I'm in no way a basenotes-level egghead when it comes to describing the way a scent smells, but Sandalwood in general, to me is a combination of musky, cedar woodsiness with an acrid, almost vanilla-like sweetness to it. Most are too sweet for my taste, but a nice spicy, musky sandalwood in a soap or a cream is not on my blacklist.
  3. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    Agreed with ClibmanRob... Different companies market their sandalwood differently. The only one that I like so far is Edwin Jagger Sandalwood (shaving soap/cream).
  4. Cheers guys....would you say its a summery or wintery kind of scent? Just wondering because if i buy now, it summer soon!
  5. I find most sandalwoods a bit heavy for hot weather....I only use mine in the wintertime.
  6. great stuff, cheers......citrus it is!
  7. You mean it doesn't smell like wooden sandals?

    :9898: joke, I know.

  8. Most of the sandalwood stuff you see is not true sandalwood. The British stuff, in my opinion, smells nothing like sandalwood.

    Go to Caswell-Massey and smell their sandalwood soap. That's how real sandalwood smells like (muky, woodsy, similar to cedar). There should not be any sweetness.
  9. So it smells a bit like cedar? Awesome! How much cedar vs how much vanilla?

    I love the scent of cedar, but I read recently that pregnant women should not use or be exposed to cedar EO, which to me explained why I haven't seen any cedar shaving soaps or creams...
  10. It differs from brand to brand. Most sandalwood Colognes and aftershaves tend to have a higher vanilla/sweetness note vs. cedar. That's why I stay away from the vast majority of them, as I personally detest vanilla fragrances.

    Soaps tend to be more cedar-heavy in my experience. I'd like to recommend The Gentlemans Quarter Sandalwood soap; it doesn't contain organic Cedar EO, but instead uses a synthetic fragrance oil, which is fine around pregnant an' nursin' wimmenfolk. It's very high in cedar scent, and very low on sweetness. I can cut you off a sliver if you'd like to sample it.
  11. Thanks, thats a generous offer, but I already got a freebie in the last 30 days :biggrin:. Save it for as a sample for the next newbie to ask. I just got a nice bay rum and mint pif I'm still enjoying. I love how people do this type of thing here though... I want to put together something to PIF at some point in the next few months myself... Help the next college student down the line :D

    I'm mainly interested in sandalwood as an EO to add to a mixture of Lavender EO and water I use as homebrew EDT, but might want to look into that synthetic cedar if it's able to be found. I may also just stick with straight lavender as it is right now as frankly it's a pretty masculine scent if mixed properly, and (the most important reason) - I'm loving it.

    Really the reason I'm thinking of adding something to the Lavender is a bit of a "spicy" scent might really complement the natural aroma of the Lavender. I'd have to be extra careful though as Lavender alone can make people sleepy... myself included. The stuff is like chloroform or something.... a drop will do! Old man scents FTW!
  12. Gruder

    Gruder Moderator Emeritus

    +1. My baseline for sandalwood is QED (his soap base plus generous amounts of quality EO -- so generous, in fact, that he's had to quit making the stuff due to price increases). Second is AoS (though it doesn't seem quite as pure-smelling to me). If it's sweet, it's sandalwood in name only so far as I'm concerned. If it's cheap, it's going to be sweet. I simply haven't found a shave product to bust up this maxim, and I've been looking for a while (though not as long as some!).
  13. Seems like most sandalwood products out there have very different scents from one another. Some, like Trumper's SkinFood don't smell anything like sandalwood. I would imagine that since sandalwood eo is so expensive, many manufacturers use very little eo and blended with other scents or they just use a synthetic scent.
  14. Good question, and in my experience one that defies a simple answer. Any words we use to describe it to you will never replace your own pure, unadulterated experience. I will confine myself to 'woody, and a little spicy in some cases.' There are different species and subspecies of trees that are generically called 'sandalwood,' and there are different countries of origin, both of which contribute to a WIDE variety in scent. If the species and origin are not specified, you could be smelling anything from the finest in the world to some perfumer's pathetic bastard concoction and never know which.

    Generally, 'santalum album' is the sandalwood people lust after, and the best comes from India, Mysore in Karnataka province. Australian sandalwood is 'santalum spicatum,' a different species. While expensive, it is less so than Mysore and apparently more ecologically sustainable, and I see it more often in the products I come across. People tend to describe it as less musky, whatever that means. Hawiian sandalwood, 'santalum ellipticum,' was nearly pushed to extinction due to overharvesting. I have neither smelled it nor read a description of it. 'Sandalwood' oil is also culled from other non-santalum genus trees like 'West Indian sandalwood,' Amyris balsamifera. Not even in the same genus, hemisphere, or scent class (or so I'm told on the last count). It's a South American tree.

    I'm not a botanist, I'm just reading from the wikipedia entry. Neither am I remotely a scent expert by any stretch. Sorry for being so wordy, I suppose this is my around-the-world way of saying, 'the issue is extremely complicated these days, and there is no simple answer.' What mysore- harvested santalum album smells like is easy to define- if you can get your hands on a rare and extremely expensive item. Additionally, good luck finding that in a product, unadulterated and unadorned. QED soap is probably as close as I'll ever come, although I have no idea what species or country of origin he uses. Basically, I've smelled different kinds, and they all smell different, even radically in some cases. Add to all that the fact that many perfumers use artificial sandalwood scent because of serious shortages and stratospheric prices, and you never know what you're getting unless it is specified. Hell, many cosmetic firms gave up trying to simulate he real thing a long time ago, and now produce their own interpretaion of sandalwood, with varying results.

    If you really want to know what it smells like, order a high quality EO from a reputable essential oil dealer. Hope you've got some room on the credit cards for that one! A cheaper alternative would be to check out the local health food/ organic stores and hunt for it there. Generally those stores have an EO selection of some sort. Of the three in my city, one had Australian Sandalwood, and another had the Santalum album (no country of origin listed) oil, but was heavily diluted in jojoba oil to keep the price reasonable ($17.00 for 1/4 OZ). Many have testers, and you could put a drop on a piece of paper or your wrists to check it out. I ordered a synthetic 'sandalwood oil' that was supposed to contain at least some portion of the real thing, it was OK, but basically spelled like fancy sawdust, which was not my experience with the natural oils.

    That was too long. Sorry. Still, rather have too much info than not enough myself. I don't have extensive experience in sandalwood oils, but I have sampled enough products to realize that for my nose, there is wide variation.
  15. I Just received a bowl of TOBS sandalwood today, and it smells identical to Dial antibacterial soap. I got it from a seller on Amazon, and i'm hoping i didn't get ripped off. Does anyone else think this?
  16. Go have lunch at a Thai restaurant and you will then know what Sandalwood (incense) smells like.
  17. I agree with everyone that said it has a cedar/musk/vanilla kinda smell to it or a woodsy sweet smell anyway. I found that in the products I own that have sandalwood in them anyway. I have no plan to reorder any.
    My wife kinda likes the smell but since I work with wood for a living and half the time come home smelling like cedar anyway I'd prefer to smell like something else after I shave lol.
  18. maxman

    maxman Moderator Emeritus

    To me sandalwood smells really smooth and almost creamy. Mind you that's based off of a nice vial of Indian Santalum Album oil.
    However, in a soap scent, I like it more spicy. I don't know, it's really confusing honestly.
    QCS Sandalwood is one that I like for soaps.
  19. Sandalwood,rose or lime?
    Why choose? go for all three :biggrin1:.
    Seriously though I love the AOS sandalwood cream though as noted the sandalwoods tend to differ slightly from brand to brand.

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