The Art of Wearing Sandalwood
December 1, 2011

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By Stephanie Nolasco
Co-Founder, creator and artist of A Dozen Roses, Sandy Cataldo, signing bottles
The weather in New York City has transform from the sticky and steamy summer season to cooler, crisp fall-the perfect time to unleash your sensual side. These months are ideal to put aside those light, fruity body splashes and opt for something warm and comforting, like a cashmere sweater or homemade apple cider. Sandalwood is currently one of the leading scents for the fall and winter months because its woodsy aroma doesn’t fade away with brisk winds or menacing storms. Rather, this natural treasure, prized in India for its medicinal properties, can conquer stress and leave you feeling like a goddess. However, a poorly made sandalwood perfume can be like cheap incense, a major no-no if you’re attempting to unleash your inner siren. Fortunately, there are ways to master this rich, smoky note. Here are some tips on how to rock sandalwood with ease. You might just love going au natural.

Enhance Your Signature Scent

Sandalwood isn’t just a powerful scent that can make or break a late date night. The sandalwood trees of Asia produce a musky smell that blends perfectly with other notes, creating a unique, signature scent you can wear anytime. California-based scent blender Jennifer Hardaway often uses sandalwood in her perfume oil blends because its gives her the opportunity to be in in making fragrances for each of her clients. “Sandalwood can be very versatile,” explains Hardaway. “Mixed with vanilla it is intoxicating. Add a drop of ginger and orange and it creates so many levels. I think it’s a sexy scent to begin with just by smelling it, but I also think that the wearer perceives it as sensual and therefore makes them more sensual.” If you’re looking for something that invokes passion, seek perfumes that highlight notes of sandalwoods to unleash your sexiness.

We have listed just a few of some popular sandalwoods scents for you to try.

Lucky Scent has a great "section" on the sandalwood notes and all of these sandalwood fragrances are used by both woman and men.

  • Tom Ford Santal Blush

  • Guerlain Samsara

  • Chanel Bois des Iles

  • Le Labo Santal 33

  • Creed Santal Imperial

  • CREED Original Santal (Millésime)

  • Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore

  • Serge Lutens Santal Blanc

  • Hermes Santal Massoïa

  • Molecule 01 - BLACK EDITION

  • Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal

  • Xerjoff XJ Richwood

  • Bois 1920Sandalo e The

  • 10 Corso Como

  • Profumum Santalum

  • Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Santal Noble

  • Montale Dark Aoud

Stephanie Nolasco

Bottle Images and Sandalwood fragrances added courtesy of Editor
Recommendation: Hermes Santal Massoia
House perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s fragrance may imply sandalwood, but its scent is far too refine and airy to be categorized as a typical exotic aroma. One sniff alone reveals coconut milk fresh from the cracked shell, luscious dulce de leche, and sun kissed fig, resulting in a sheer perfume that’s a marriage of woods and toasted sugar. As a sandalwood scent, it’s light and green enough to be worn during the day, making it a perfect introduction to this heady note.

Give Sweet Scents a Break

While creamy vanilla and sun kissed pear may smell sweet, not every shopper is looking for their signature scent to be girly or candied. Luckily, sandalwood is a great fragrance option for a woman who doesn’t desire the typical mass-marketed aroma that’s often found in celebrity perfumes. New York City-based fragrance editor Candice Sabatini recommends for curious shoppers to look into sandalwood as a more desirable option. “Sandalwood is enjoyed by women who love soft woody scents and want something not flowery or fruity,” explains Sabatini. “Too often woods are associated with masculine fragrances, but it’s not necessarily so. The soft creamy sandalwood creates perfumes in the oriental family of scents and can be very feminine. It’s often paired with tonka bean, patchouli, or amber, but a good perfumer is careful not to make a cloying or cheap hippie mix.”

Recommendation: Tom Ford Santal Blush
Couture designer Tom Ford sparked headlines this past September with his sinfully seductive Violet Blonde perfume, but ladies seeking to make a bold statement for a potential beau should reach for his more underrated creation, Santal Blush. This sandalwood-dominated fragrance is a romantic medley of blooming jasmine and rose, transforming into rich Australian sandalwood (a lighter take on India’s woods), and seductive musk. However, a touch of cinnamon gives this aroma a spicy, smoky spirit.

Get Energized

Need a boost in the morning, but that cup of java just isn’t doing the trick? Simple: sniff some sandalwood. Connecticut-based interior designer Kat Burki, who recently launched a body care line, believes this fragrant wood is key to uplifting your spirit. “Sandalwood is often used in aromatherapy to promote energy and enthusiasm, increasing self-esteem and lust for life,” reveals Burki. “Because sandalwood is energizing, it’s a great daytime fragrance to stimulate the senses and calm stress-related emotions.” While sandalwood can be a powerful scent to wear daily, Burki does suggest purchasing a mild fragrance that features fruit it balance it out. Also, you can also wear this fragrance in a softer form, such as soap or body cream. Not only will its aroma slowly fade with time, but it’s certain to last for hours. Can your coffee do that?

Recommendation: Serge Lutens Santal Blanc
For a quick jolt to jumpstart the morning, consider spirtzing some Serge Lutens Santal Blanc, a more powdery take of sandalwood that lasts beyond the 9-5 grind. White sandalwood, a lighter take on the sharper note, is a perfect complement to zesty pink pepper and cinnamon, creating a citrusy aura that’s nearly as refreshing as handpicked mint. You’ll want to have a bottle on hand whenever you’re in a hurry for that last-minute meeting.


When it comes to discovering your new signature scent, treat it as if it were your lover. Doesn’t every lady desire a fragrance that enhances her natural beauty and stays with her at all times without becoming too cloying? Sandalwood is no different. The best way to learn about this complex aroma is by dabbing on some sandalwood essential oil, which isn’t blended with other herbs, flowers, or fruits. From there, you can explore other perfumes that not only highlight sandalwood, but also your personal style. Are you sweet and sassy or spicy and sophisticated?  No matter the case, sandalwood can be found in fragrances, lotions, and even dusting powder that feature an array of notes, including blooming rose, juicy orange, or creamy vanilla. Ultimately, there’s no wrong way to make sandalwood yours. All you simply have to do is let it find you.

Recommendation: Le Labo Santal 33
Ladies, forget all those syrupy treats and stale flowers and opt for something a bit more powerful, a fragrance that’s meant to encapsulate the myth of a rugged cowboy. Le Labo Santal 33 is unisex, but this perfume modifies the creaminess of sandalwood with hearty, smoky, and leathery notes. It provides the same comfort as a beau’s caress with dry cedar wood, musky papyrus, and fresh, raw sandalwood. It’s on the masculine side, but it stands out on its own as a noteworthy sandalwood creation that anyone should wear with confidence.