17 Best Sandalwood Colognes for Men (2022)

Best Woodsy Cologne Reviews


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picture of cologne bottles next to logs

This is a list of the 17 best sandalwood colognes in 2022.

We recently spent weeks researching and nose-on testing 67 prominent sandalwood fragrances.

We looked at how good they smelled.

We looked at the performance and lasting power.

We looked at what season and situation they work best in.

And:

We even considered the price and compliment factor.

And in this post I’ll reveal the world’s best sandalwood colognes…

…and help you choose the best one for you.

So if you love woodsy colognes, this list should serve you well. 🙂

Sound good? Let’s do this!

In a hurry?

Our Top 3 Picks:

#17 Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo


Dry, Woody & Masculine

In case you don’t know…

Lorenzo Villoresi are an Italian luxury niche fragrance house, created by the legendary award-winning perfumer himself, Lorenzo Villoresi.

By the way:

In 2006 Lorenzo Villoresi won the Le Prix François Coty international perfumery award in Paris. This is like the Oscars of the perfume world and is the most important recognition in the career of a perfumer. In other words…

You’re in good hands.

Award Winning Master Perfumer

Just a quick heads-up…

Sandalo used to come in a blue colored bottle. However, the brand has now added it to their Vintage Collection, so it now comes in the clear bottle. Same juice — different bottle. Anyway…

Sandalo is now part of the brands Vintage Collection. Same juice — different colored bottle.

Let me tell you how it smells:

Rich, Warm & Comforting

Sandalo opens up aggressively, with a blast of sharp citruses and some spicy lavender… with resinous rosewood sitting in the background.

When it starts to settle, the dry Mysore sandalwood appears and morphs beautifully with the rosewood. And they are joined with a herbal rose vibe and a hint of earthy vetiver.

However, the dry down is where the magic is… 🙂

Dark, Rich & Elegant

As it evolves, it slowly transforms into a full dark rich sandalwood – with a slight hint of sweetness and whispers of incense.

And it smells very, VERY masculine.

It’s warm, comforting and addictive.

Now, to be crystal clear:

This is NOT for the younger guys; this is grown-man’s stuff. It has a bit of an old school vibe, so is more suited for a mature 30-up refined gentleman.

Speaking of, if you’re a fan of mature, masculine scents, our top vetiver colognes will serve you well.

For Mature Refined Gentlemen

Now, this is perfect for formal events, semi-formal, dates, the office, nights out.

And best worn in the spring/fall/winter. As this doesn’t work well in high heat.

Sandalo is an EDT and projects good for the first 2 hours… then becomes more subtle, with about 6-9 hours of lasting power.

Bottom line:

If you’re looking for a high-quality, mature, masculine sandalwood scent… I urge you to try this.

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#16 April Aromatics Precious Woods


Like a Walk Through a Grand Lush Forest

Here’s the scoop…

April Aromatics are an indie fragrance house from Germany, founded by award winning artisan natural perfumer Tanja Bochnig.

They create unique luxurious 100% natural organic fragrances — unlike mainstream perfumes (which average only 2-5% of natural ingredients).

But listen to this…

Tanja Bochnig believes in the power of nature and follows a holistic lifestyle, so every scent is infused with individually chosen essences of semiprecious stones.

'I strongly believe that people can feel the love and energy I give into my perfumes, may it be conscious or unconscious. ENJOY!' – Tanja Bochnig.Click To Tweet

Furthermore…

Hand Blended Natural Ingredients

The fragrances are hand blended in Berlin using only the highest quality natural essences available from nature, and do not use animal derived ingredients (with the exception of beeswax extract in one of their pour perfumes).

The beautiful part?

April Aromatics use the highest quality natural fruit-based ethanol to create their Eau De Parfums — made from organic grapes (you don’t smell the grapes in the fragrance, however).

The result?

You don’t get that harsh alcohol opening like when you first spray a typical mass-market fragrance. Now, to be clear…

Artisan

Artisan perfumes are aimed at the true fragrance connoisseur, and those of you that want to smell super unique and stand out from the crowd… and who expect to pay more for the quality.

Now:

2 kinds of sandalwood essential oil are used to created Precious Woods: Indian sandalwood oil and New Caledonian.

Let me break it down for you…

Grand Lush Forest

Precious Woods opens with a blast of dry dark resinous cedarwood, mixed with a green pine vibe and whispers of smoky incense.

The dry down is where it shines… 🙂

As it starts to dry down, the green pine vibe and incense take a back seat… and some golden dry creamy sandalwood joins the party and morphs beautifully with the cedar, joined with a hint of vetiver (giving it some earthiness).

This is perfectly blended, and truly smells like a walk through a grand, lush forest.

It’s soft, warm and calming.

'It is my passion to create beautiful smelling, botanical perfumes and to share the healing power of nature with the world.' – Tanja Bochnig.Click To Tweet

Precious Woods is unisex but leans slightly masculine and can be worn all year – except in the high summer heat.

Now, to be clear:

Soft & Subtle

This is not a projection monster; it’s a subtle scent. It has about 2 hours of moderate projection (with a rich dense scent trail then sits close to the skin).

So if you’re looking for a woody powerhouse – this is NOT it.

Also:

Because this is 100% natural, and has no synthetic fixatives, so it’s not super long lasting.

It’s an EDP, and during our testing we got an average of between 5-6 hours of lasting power. However, the smell is a 10 out of 10 — it smells so natural!

Side note: In line with the perfumer’s holistic approach, the scent has been infused with a Herkimer Diamond and each bottle contains several transparent crystals.

Nice 🙂

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#15 Escentric Molecules Molecule 04


Soft, Warm & Creamy

I will make it super easy for you:

If you don’t want anything complex and want to smell of a straight-up authentic warm creamy sandalwood – with NO other interfering notes.

Try this. 🙂

Here’s the scoop:

Escentric Molecules are a German niche fragrance house, founded by master perfumer Geza Schoen — who has a bit of a reputation as being a rebel in the fragrance world. Why?

Because listen to this…

Aroma Moleules

Escentric Molecules have a super unique concept, and Geza Schoen has taken minimalism to the MAX!

Their fragrances are centred around ONE synthetic lab created aroma-molecule(which do not exist in nature).

Pretty cool, right?

Now, this is Escentric Molecules’ 4th fragrance release, and it’s simply called “04.” And this time, they have chosen an aroma-molecule called Javanol.

Javanol

Javanol represents the smell of sandalwood, but is transparent and like no sandalwood found in nature.

Natural sandalwood is heavy and is usually used as a base note in perfumery. However, here the Javanol molecule acts like a top note, but is super-long lasting.

In fact:

The Javanol molecule itself has many facets: a fresh grapefruit top note, a touch of rose, and of course — the creamy sandalwood.

'Escentric Molecules celebrates perfumery as the art of chemistry.'Click To Tweet

Now, to be clear:

Each of their fragrances come in 2 different versions, which smell different (and are sold separately):

  • The Escentric version (a mixed formula)
  • The Molecule version (a single molecule on its own)

And each version uses the one aroma-molecule in two different ways.

Let me explain…

The Escentric version features the aroma-molecule with other added ingredients around it, to create a conventional fragrance.

But:

The Molecule version simply contains that one single aroma-molecule – and nothing else.

So to clarify, the version in this list is the Molecule version. It is called Escentric Molecules – Molecule 04 (this sometimes creates confusion, so please be careful while choosing).

Fun fact:

The number 01101101 on the bottle is binary code for the letter “M”, for Molecule.

You’re probably wondering…

What does Molecule 04 smell like?

When you first spray Molecule 04 on your skin, you can’t really detect anything.

Crazy, right? 🙂

Because this is a strange fragrance that plays tricks with your sense of smell. It comes and goes. Here’s the thing…

You have to let it sit on your skin for about 20 minutes before it really starts doing its magic.

And when it starts to bloom, you get a warm, slightly sweet, creamy sandalwood… mixed with a fresh green vibe and a faint hint of rose. It’s light and subdued.

Very nice.

However, it doesn’t evolve. It doesn’t change. And the person wearing it sometimes loses the ability to smell it after a short while… only to get whiffs of it every now and then.

The good news:

Molecule 04 is unisex and hyper versatile: All seasons, all situations, all ages. This is perfect for the office.

Great for Layering

It makes an amazing scent used on its own, but is also GREAT for layering. This could boost the longevity of your other favorite scents.

Can you say jackpot? 🙂

Molecule 04 is an EDT that doesn’t scream out for attention, it’s subtle and lasts about 6-8 hours.

Now, I should point something out:

Although the person wearing it sometimes loses the ability to smell it after a short while, others around you will be able to detect it. So be careful not to overspray. 🙂

Side note: Like the juice, the bottle presentation is also minimal and comes with no cap.

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#14 Perris Monte Carlo Santal Du Pacifique EDP


Sandalwood, Light Florals & Musk

Perris Monte Carlo are a luxury niche perfume house based in Monte-Carlo, created by Gian Luca Perris. And you probably haven’t heard of them. Because…

Instead of marketing their brand name, they focus on the fragrances themselves — using only the finest raw materials from around the world.

By the way:

Santal Du Pacifique is French, and translates to Pacific Sandalwood. And Perris Monte Carlo have used genuine Pacific sandalwood to create this. The good news…

As part of Perris Monte Carlo’s giving back to the environment policy, for every tree sourced and cut, another 50 are planted. 🌲

'Our point of distinction as a family business is our in-house expertise in creating perfumes.' – Gian Luca Perris.Click To Tweet

Now, to be clear:

Santal Du Pacifique is available in 2 different concentrations that smell slightly different:

  • An Extrait concentration (comes in a clear bottle), which emphasizes the flowery and light spicy aspects of sandalwood.
  • And this version, an EDP concentration (comes in the black bottle), which is more woodier and denser than the Extrait version.

Anyway…

Creamy

Santal Du Pacifique is a straightforward, uncomplicated fragrance, where creamy sandalwood is the star of the show – from start to finish. Let’s take a look…

When it first opens, you can detect a slight carrot vibe mixed with the sandalwood. However, the carrot vibe doesn’t last long and fades, revealing some whispers of spices and violet leaves — giving it a spicy green vibe.

Now:

As it dries down, you get a smooth, sweet, creamy sandalwood… mixed with some clean white musk. This is joined with a nice hint of vanilla – with whispers of florals sitting in the background.

And it smells SUPER authentic.

It’s warm, comforting… and incredibly luxurious.

Dressed Up, Dressed Down

Santal Du Pacifique is unisex and more suited for the mature 20-up crowd.

The best part?

This is highly versatile: can be worn all year round (except in the high-summer heat).

Dressed up, dressed down, all occasions, office safe. Great for dates and romantic settings and sophisticated evening wear.

Now, to be clear, Santal Du Pacifique doesn’t scream out for attention – it has subtle projection. And the good news…

This is super long lasting: 8-10 plus hours of performance. Great.

Bottom line:

If you’re looking for a straight-up reference sandalwood, don’t sleep on Santal Du Pacifique.

Side note: The bottle is gorgeous.

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#13 Serge Lutens Santal De Mysore


Rich & Spicy

I’ll be straight with you…

This is NOT a typical woody cologne. It’s super unique and super spicy. It’s also incredibly expensive.

So if you don’t like spices, this is not for you.

Exclusive Collection

Now, Serge Lutens are a luxury brand from France, and Santal De Mysore is part of their high-end Exclusive Bottles collection.

The Exclusive Bottles collection come in Serge Lutens’ iconic Palais Royal apothecary (Bell jar) style bottles, that have a stopper.

Now, to be clear:

These Bell jar style bottles are splash bottles, and do not have a sprayer. However, you can simply decant them into your own atomizer, or simply dab the scent on.

Anyway… Let’s break it down:

Sweet Indian Spices

Santal De Mysore opens with a blast of sweet Indian spices, including cumin, and a heavy dose of dark smoky sandalwood.

It gives you a burnt, slightly sweet, spicy caramel woody vibe. Almost like a spicy semi-gourmand.

I’ll be honest:

The opening is quite harsh… and it takes a while for it to truly shine. So please be patient. Stay with me… 🙂

Rich, Deep & Smoky

After about 20 minutes, it starts to smooth out and the spices fade, but linger in the background till the very end.

And:

Eventually… the sandalwood starts to shine through – It’s rich, deep, smoky, sweet, and beautifully creamy.

And it smells INTOXICATING.

Formal

Santal De Mysore is unisex, but leans slightly masculine, and is best used in cooler weather – fall and winter. It’s not advisable to rock this in the high summer heat. 🙂

Now:

This is more for the mature 25-up crowd and for formal situations, special occasions, upscale nights out, etc…

Santal De Mysore is not a room filler, it has moderate to light projection, but leaves a beautiful scent trail.

This is an EDP and you get about 6-8 hours of lasting power.

Not too shabby. 🙂

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#12 Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin


A Spicy-Sweet Leathery Vanilla Sandalwood

Atelier Cologne are a fairly new Niche fragrance house. However, they quickly become known for their super authentic smelling fragrance notes and high-quality ingredients.

Now, Santal Carmin is part of their higher end Rare Orientals collection. Let’s take a closer look…

Saffron

Santal Carmin opens with a burst of bergamot citrus with hints of warm spicy saffron, and a dark woody vibe in the background.

When it starts to settle, the star of the show, the sandalwood, makes an appearance… along with a nice rich warm vanilla. The result?

You’re left with a slightly sweet, smooth creamy sandalwood/vanilla combo — with a nice kick of spicy saffron and whispers of smokiness in the background.

And it smells GORGEOUS.

By the way, if you love vanilla, be sure to check our best vanilla fragrances battle.

It’s warm, comforting, and alluring. Screams high quality — as the saffron gives it that new luxury car leather seat smell.

Screams High Quality

Santal Carmin is unisex and best worn in the fall, winter and cooler spring days. This does not work well in the high heat. However…

This is highly versatile: all occasions, days or nights, and is office friendly. And is more suited for the mature 20-up crowd.

Now, to be clear:

Subtle

Santal Carmin is not a projection monster; it projects good for about an hour, then becomes more of a subtle scent… but leaves a nice scent trail.

And note:

Although this is called a Cologne Absolue, it is in fact, pure perfume concentrated at 18%.This results in decent lasting performance of about 6–7 hours.

Oh, did I mention the bottle is gorgeous? It’s shiny gold colored with a dark red leather-like cap.

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#11 Editions De Parfums: Dries Van Noten Par Frederic Malle


Premium Warm Milky Sandalwood

Here’s the skinny:

This fragrance is dedicated to the Belgium fashion designer Dries Van Noten.

Editions de Parfums are a luxury brand, created by perfume expert Frederic Malle — for people who want to smell exclusive.

However, if you want to smell exclusive, it’s gonna cost you — these are not cheap.

Because Malle commissions the most talented perfumers in the world and gives them total creative freedom — using the highest quality ingredients.

'Eliminate all that is superfluous or merely decorative’ — Frédéric MalleClick To Tweet

Case in point:

Master Perfumer

For this fragrance, Malle commissioned master perfumer Bruno Jovanovic. Furthermore, this creation contains genuine Indian Mysore sandalwood — which is the crème de la crème.

You’re probably wondering… 🙂

How does it smell?

Dries Van Noten opens with blast of bergamot citrus, mixed with some spicy saffron and sweet creamy vanilla… with some woodiness sitting in the background.

It’s sweet, but not overly sweet or cloying.

As it starts to settle, the citruses fade and warm buttery milky sandalwood makes its presence known. And is joined with a hint of tonka bean, nutmeg, patchouli and whispers of spicy cloves — which give it some rich depth.

Rich, Warm & Comforting

It’s rich, warm and comforting. And to my nose, it kind of has a cookie dipped in warm milk type vibe. 🍪🥛

And it smells DELICIOUS. But be careful, your significant other may want to eat you. 🙂

And Eventually…

The sweetness fades and you’re left with a nice creamy woody finish.

Screams Quality

This is super unique and screams quality… People will want to know what you’re wearing. HUGE compliment puller.

Now:

Dries Van Noten is unisex — so everyone can smell amazing. And is more suited for cooler weather; think fall and winter (and cooler spring days).

The beautiful part:

This is ultra versatile: formal, casual, dates, work, office safe, special occasions, nights out. So if you’re looking for an all-rounder… you can’t go wrong.

Now, to be clear:

Dries Van Noten is not a projection monster. It has good projection for the first few hours, then settles, creating a beautiful personal scent bubble around you. Plus, it leaves a gorgeous scent trail.

And the good news…

This is an EDP and is super-long-lasting: 10-12 plus hours. So, 2 sprays MAX …and you’re gold.

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#10 Maitre Parfumeur Et Gantier Santal Noble


Smoky Woods With a Pinch of Coffee

I’ll be straight with you:

This isn’t for everyone. Why? Well, this can be quite polarising because it has a slight animalic note. Therefore it’s more suited to those of you with seasoned noses, who are looking for something more interesting and/or challenging.

I wouldn’t recommend this to those of you just getting into the game.

With that said:

Maitre Parfumeur Et Gantier are a French niche house that create luxury perfumes and scented candles, founded by famous perfumer Jean-François Laporte.

In case you’re unaware:

Maitre Parfumeur Et Gantier is French and translates to “Master Perfumer and Glovemaker.”

Back in the day, scented gloves were all the rage with the perfume houses of the 17thcentury. Because the wealthy elite used scented gloves to mask the smell of strong body odours, due to the poor hygienic conditions at the time. Yikes, right?

Let’s take a sniff…

Spicy Dark Coffee Vibe

Santal Noble opens up with an intense spicy dark coffee bean vibe, mixed with whispers of smoky incense. The rich sandalwood sits patiently in the background.

Hey, speaking of coffee… explore our favorite coffee scented colognes to see if anything fits your taste. Anyway…

When it starts to settle… the coffee starts to fade and the sandalwood steps up, joined with some vanilla (which gives it a slight sweetness). Also, some hints of patchouli and vetiver appear, to give it an earthy vibe.

Classy

As time goes by… the sandalwood becomes ultra-smooth and creamy and has a slightly animalic, sweet musky vibe. And as I said earlier, maybe this is not to everyone’s liking.

It smells warm, rich and luxurious.

Now:

Santal Noble is more suited for mature classy gentlemen (30-up) and to be worn in the fall, winter, and cooler spring days.

It can be worn dressed up, dressed down, special occasions, dates, nights out, etc…

Scent Trail

Santal Noble is an EDP that has good projection, and leaves a beautiful scent trail for the first few hours. It then becomes more subtle and lasts a respectable 8-10 hours.

Side note: The bottle is classy with bevelled edges, and has the seal of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier printed in gold on a fine layer of enamel.

It also has a heavy engraved gilded cap, adorned with a real Swarovski crystal stone on the top, and comes presented in a gorgeous red case.

Thumbs up.

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#9 Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood


The Superhero of Woody Fragrances

This is a spicy woody cologne.

In case you don’t know… Comme des Garcons are a Japanese avant-garde fashion house, who create high quality fragrances.

Here’s the deal:

With Wonderwood, you get exactly what the name says on the tin: Wood. Lots and lots of wood. 🙂

In fact, it’s a combination of many different types… all blended to perfection, with a nice dose of pepper. However, the main players are cedar and sandalwood.

Let’s break it down…

Peppery

Wonderwood opens with a blast of bergamot citrus, mixed with peppery cedar and sandalwood – with hints of cypress and whispers of incense.

Wonderful! (Ouch!) 🙂

The bergamot quickly fades, and the cypress lingering in the background gives off a smooth green vibe.

And it smells just like bright clean fresh cut wood, with a sprinkle of smooth pepper. Seriously.

And as time goes by… it gets darker, thicker and heavier… with slight buttery tones and whispers of smoky incense.

Calming, Warm & Inviting

It’s calming, warm and inviting. Exceptional quality.

Now:

Wonderwood is classed as unisex, but leans masculine, and more suited for the mature 20-up crowd.

It’s an easy to wear fragrance you could use all year round, except in the high summer heat (maybe cooler summer nights, if you’re easy on the trigger).

Great for casual use, social events, and is office safe. However, this is not a clubbing type of scent.

Wonderwood is an EDP, and has decent projection for an hour, then sits closer – creating a personal scent bubble around you.

So, if you’re looking for a projection monster, this ain’t it.

The good news?

This has good lasting power and sticks to your skin for about 7-10 hours.

Bottom line:

One of the best affordable woody fragrances on the market.

Side note: The bottle is pretty cool and has a curved design, so you have to lie it flat down.

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#8 Xerjoff Richwood


A Superior Pick

Richwood actually contains genuine sandalwood from Mysore — one of the most beautiful and rare materials in perfumery.

Now, to be perfectly clear:

This is for true fragrance connoisseurs. I wouldn’t recommend this to you if you’re just getting into fragrances, or simply want something to be worn casually. This is super expensive juice.

With that said:

Luxury

Xerjoff (pronounced Serj-off), are an Italian niche fragrance house, who create luxury fragrances. They use super high-quality materials, and use premium presentation. And understandably, they also come with prices to match.

Richwood is part of their XJ 17/17 Stone Labels collection, which are created by the artisan expertise of the master perfumers in Grasse.

Smoky

Let me walk you through it:

Richwood opens up with a deep red rose, mixed with a blast of bergamot/orange citruses. And there is a strong smoky woody presence sitting in the background.

By the way, if you love rose based scents, be sure to smell our best rose perfumes — most are unisex.

After about 30 minutes…

The rose melts into the background, and the smooth creamy Mysore sandalwood starts to shine through. This is joined with some deep spicy patchouli mixed with a hint of blackberry fruitiness.

The dry down is STUNNING.

And, as time goes by… the smoky creamy milky sandalwood becomes more prominent. And is joined with some vanilla, musk and labdanum.

Make no mistake:

This smells ridiculously luxurious. And so it should, for that price. 🙂

But it gets better…

Stunning Presentation

The presentation is stunning. The bottle is gorgeous and is fitted with a hand cut, and hand polished, natural Kalahari granite stone from India.

Even better:

Richwood comes presented in a luxurious box, with a crocodile leather-like texture, that opens up to display the bottle sitting in a silky effect lining.

Xerjoff Richwood Box
Richwood comes beautifully presented in Xerjoff’s premium presentation, and high attention to detail.

Also, inside the box there is a metal plaque with the individual numbered edition stamped onto it.

Pretty awesome, right?

Upscale

Richwood is a unisex fragrance and more suited for the mature 20-up crowd. And best worn in the fall, winter and cooler spring nights.

However, do not rock this in the high summer heat, or you will cause some damage. 🙂

This is a sophisticated scent, so it’s best worn for formal, upscale events, dates, special occasions. This is NOT an everyday casual fragrance.

The best part?

Lasts

Richwood is SUPER long lasting. This is a Parfum concentration and sticks to your skin for up to 10 plus hours.

Not too shabby. 🙂

It also has good projection for the first 4-6 hours… then becomes more subtle. It’s not a room filler, but you will get noticed. Leaves a beautiful scent trail.

Now, a quick word of warning, be careful with the trigger, 3 sprays MAX …and your set.

Simply put:

An outstanding woody fragrance, that comes with a price tag to match.

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#7 Tom Ford Santal Blush


Upscale & Luxurious

Santal Blush is part of the luxury Tom Ford Private Blend Collection.

By the way:

The Private Blend Collection are Tom Ford’s creative luxury fragrances. The collection has been created in collaboration with world renowned perfumers, using super high-quality ingredients.

In fact, they use more challenging notes, and are more complex to the nose than typical mass marketed mall fragrances.

In the words of Mr Tom Ford himself:

'Private Blend is my own personal scent laboratory; where I create special, original fragrances unconstrained by the conventions of mainstream scent-making.' – Tom Ford.Click To Tweet

But here’s the kicker:

If you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s going to cost you. These are super expensive.

Speaking of… If you want to know what the best Tom Ford fragrances are, check out our best Tom Ford fragrances list.🙂

Now, to be clear:

Unisex

All the Private Blend Collection are unisex, but Santal Blush gets marketed towards women.

But, to my nose, it smells pretty much like pure sandalwood, which is totally unisex. However, some people say it leans slightly feminine.

So, if you’re looking for a super masculine woody fragrance, maybe this is not for you. So please keep this in mind.

That said:

This smells amazing on anybody. 🙂

'Private Blend is a series of fragrances I love and wear. Ones that never cease to challenge, to stimulate, to delight.' – Tom Ford.Click To Tweet

Let me break it down for you…

Santal Blush opens with a slightly sweet, soft, creamy sandalwood… mixed with a touch of spicy cumin and cinnamon. (However, the dose of sandalwood balances the spices out, so they don’t get out of hand.)

By the way:

The opening can be a little harsh for some noses. But don’t worry, after about 20 minutes it settles down, and is joined with some cedar.

And eventually, the sandalwood starts to get smoother and more creamier… with some whispers of florals and musky sweetness sitting in the background.

And it smells AMAZING.

It’s soft, warm, spicy and incredibly sexy.

Tom Ford Quality

The beautiful part?

This is super versatile: All seasons, all occasions, dressed up, dressed down. However, maybe refrain from wearing in the high summer heat, as it might get a bit funky. 🙂

Perfect for dates, romantic settings, special occasions. HUGE compliment getter.

Subtle

Santal Blush is an EDP, and doesn’t scream out for attention. It has average performance for the first few hours, then sits close to the skin – creating a soft gentle scent bubble around you.

So, to be clear, if you’re looking for a sandalwood powerhouse – this is not it.

Side note: The clear bottle looks gorgeous.

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#6 Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule


Spicy Woody Chocolate With a Hint of Rose

This one is heavenly.

Santal Majuscule is the type of fragrance that starts conversations. People will want to know what you are wearing.

Now, if you’re unaware, Serge Lutens are a luxury niche perfume house from France. And…

Santal Majuscule is French and translates to SANDALWOOD! — written all in uppercase letters.

The name is VERY fitting. 🙂

Anyway… Let’s take a look at the scent:

Bittersweet Dark Cacao

Santal Majuscule opens up with spicy sandalwood, mixed with a bittersweet dark cacao powder vibe… and a hint of powdery rose sitting in the background.

When it starts to dry down, the woodiness starts to amp up and is joined with some whispers of incense. And then the cacao and rose start to fade into the background. The result?

You get a warm spicy semi-sweet creamy sandalwood cacao vibe.

And is smells AMAZING.

Dates

Now:

Santal Majuscule is unisex and more suited to the mature 20-up crowd.

And is best worn in fall and winter – do not rock this in the high heat, or you will choke people out. 🙂And you’ll be pleased to know…

This is super versatile: dressed up, dressed down, all occasions, and office safe. Great for dates and romantic settings, nights out, etc…

Now, to be clear, Santal Majuscule is not a projection monster. It projects good for the first few hours, then sits closer to the skin. Does it last?

This is an EDP and we got around 7–8 hours on skin. So no complaints there.

Bottom line:

A super unique seductive sandalwood scent, that garners a LOT of positive attention.

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#5 Floris Santal


Fresh Sweet Spicy Vanilla Sandalwood

In case you don’t know…

Floris are a British family owned luxury niche perfume house, who use super high-quality ingredients, and have been creating fragrances since 1730. Seriously.

In fact, over the years, they have built up an impressive loyal client following, and their fragrances have been worn by celebrities and pioneers of past and present…

David Bowie, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill, to name but a few…

James Bond’s Choice

Fun fact: Floris even get mentioned in 3 James Bond novels, as Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was a huge fan of Floris No 89 (which is named after their flagship shop on Jermyn Street, London)

But listen to this…

Floris have several Royal Warrants and have been supplying the British Royal family since the 1800s, including the Prince of Wales, and are the only appointed perfumer to Her Majesty The Queen.

Pretty impressive right?

Anyway… let me break it down for you:

Sophisticated

Santal opens up with a brief blast of bitter fresh bergamot/lemon citruses mixed with a soft spicy peppery sandalwood.

When it starts to settle, the spiciness fades a touch, and some soft lavender appears, giving a slight spicy soapy green vibe.

And:

As it continues to develop… smooth creamy sandalwood with a hint of vanilla sweetness starts to shine through, with whiffs of nutmeg and clove.

And it smells GREAT.

It’s super sophisticated and has a classic, but not dated vibe.

Santal is unisex but leans masculine, and suitable for use all year except in the high summer heat.

Now, to be clear:

Well Dressed Gentleman

This is not for the younger crowd; this is for a mature 25-up, classy well-dressed gentleman. Great for formal wear, is office safe, special occasions, dates, etc…

Santal is an EDT and is a soft subtle fragrance that doesn’t scream out for attention – with a respectable 6-8 hours of lasting power.

Side note: like the juice, the bottle is also very classy.

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#4 Chanel Egoiste


A Timeless Classic

Sweet Spicy Creamy Woodiness.

Now, to be clear:

They’re are 2 different versions of Egoiste, and they smell completely different:

  • Platinum Egoiste, which is a floral woody musky fragrance
  • And this version, Egoiste, which is a sweet spicy woody cologne

So please be careful when you choose.

With that said…

Master Perfumer

Egoiste was created back in 1990, by legendary master perfumer Jacques Polge, the former head perfumer at Chanel for over 35 years. (Now succeeded by his son, Olivier Polge.)

In fact:

In an interview, Polge once said that out of all the fragrances he has created at Chanel, Egoiste was his favorite. Now that’s saying something, coming from one of the world’s best perfumers.

Now, I should point something out:

Complex & Daring

Egoiste is not a typical mass appealing, easy to wear fragrance. It’s a complex and daring love or hate fragrance, that’s super unique.

But, make no mistake:

Egoiste is an AMAZING fragrance. However, you have to have the right style to pull it off. Let me break it down for you…

Spicy Citrus

Egoiste opens with a blast of spicy citrus, mixed with a spicy woody vibe and whispers of florals.

Now:

Don’t judge Egoiste by its opening. For some noses, the opening can be quite harsh and polarising.

This is a fragrance that the longer it’s on your skin, the better it gets. So be patient for the magic to happen.

Stay with me… 🙂

After about 30 minutes, it starts to settle down, and a nice dose of spicy cinnamon appears with some rose floral sweetness.

And, as the fragrance develops… the buttery sandalwood finally kicks-in. And it constantly becomes more prominent and creamier, with hints of vanilla. The end result?

Warm sweet sexy spicy sandalwood. In a word: awesome.

Now, to be clear:

Sophisticated Manly Scent

This is NOT for the young crowd. It’s a serious, sophisticated, manly scent — for the 30-up crowd. For classy well-dressed mature men.

Suitable for the fall, winter and cooler spring days.

Great for formal, semi-formal, suit and tie gigs, dates, nights out, upscale events.

Egoiste is an EDT and projects well for the first 3-4 hours… then gets closer to the skin, lasting around 7-10 hours.

Simply put:

A classic sandalwood masterpiece — that has stood the test of time.

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#3 Geo. F. Trumper Sandalwood Cologne


Best Cheap Sandalwood Cologne

This is a GREAT bang-for-your-buck!

A high quality sandalwood fragrance at an affordable price.

In case you don’t know… Geo. F. Trumper are a London based traditional gentleman’s barber and luxury men’s grooming brand that have been going since the 19thcentury. They know a thing, or two.

Now, to be clear:

Trumper’s Sandalwood opens up extremely complex and could be quite harsh to some noses.

However, please do not judge this fragrance by its initial opening. Because this eventually smooths out, and transforms into something MUCH more enjoyable.

Let’s break it down:

This opens up with a HUGE blast of sharp spicy citruses mixed with some herbs, floral notes, lavender and some woods sitting in the background.

Be patient. Stay with me… 🙂

Creamy Smooth

After about 15 minutes… the brutal opening subsides and is smoothed out beautifully with the appearance of some vanilla sweetness and creamy buttery sandalwood.

GREAT. And…

As it develops, it morphs into a warm smooth sweet creamy sandalwood and vanilla combo — with a hint of lemon soapiness. You also get a light hint of patchouli and a sweet leathery vibe.

It smells super sophisticated and the quality is TOP notch.

Classy

Now to be crystal clear:

This one is NOT for the young crowd. This is more suited for a mature 30-up classy well-dressed gentleman.

The best part?

This can be worn all year; just adjust your sprays (but be careful in the high summer heat). For formal events, semi-formal, dates, the office, nights out.

Trumpers is an EDT and packs a punch, so be careful with the trigger. As it projects good for the first 2 hours — leaving a nice scent trail. It then becomes more subtle sitting closer to the skin. Lasts a respectable 6-8+ hours.

Bottom line:

A very affordable high-quality sandalwood fragrance.

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#2 Acqua Di Parma Sandalo


Fresh Citrusy Sandalwood

Acqua Di Parma are an Italian lifestyle company that create niche quality fragrances.

And Sandalo is part of their premium Signature of the Sun collection (formerly called the Ingredient Collection).

This collection focuses on one ingredient, which they blend with their classic Colonia citrus DNA.

By the way:

This was originally first released as a Harrods exclusive, but is now available worldwide. Great. 🙂

You can find more of their blockbusters on our top Acqua di Parma field-test.

With that said, let’s take a smell…

Smooth & Clean

Sandalo opens with a blast of fresh bergamot/orange citruses and lavender… with some woodiness sitting in the background. It gives you that traditional barbershop vibe

The opening is quite harsh, so be patient… 🙂

When it starts to dry down, the citruses start to fade and balance out beautifully with a soft sweet creamy sandalwood, joined with some whispers of spicy cardamom.

You get a smooth clean soapy spicy woody vibe — perfectly blended.

Luxurious

It’s soft, it’s warm, and it smells ridiculously luxurious. HUGE compliment getter.

Now, Sandalo is unisex, but leans masculine and is more suited for a mature 25-up well-dressed guy.

And the good news:

This is hyper versatile: suitable for all seasons, except in the high summer heat.

Days, nights, formal, work, office safe, dates, special occasions, nights out. Even better…

Long Lasting

Sandalo is super long lasting because it comes in an Eau de Parfum concentration, so you get about 8 plus hours of lasting power.

Can you say jackpot? 🙂

However, this is not a projection monster. It projects good for the first few hours… then becomes more subtle.

Ain’t complaining.

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#1 Diptyque Tam Dao EDP


Best Sandalwood Fragrance

This is the Holy Grail of sandalwood fragrances for a LOT of people — for good reason!

Diptyque are a French niche perfume house, that create luxury fragrances and scented candles.

Fun Fact: Tam Dao is named and inspired by the memories of one of the founders of Diptyque. His memories of the velvety, milky scent of sandalwood, being burned in the temples of the holy forest area of Tam Dao in Vietnam.

Now, to be clear:

Tam Dao EDT Vs EDP

Tam Dao is available in both EDT and EDP concentrations and they smell slightly different. (The sides of the EDP bottle are colored black.)

This is the EDP version. It has an intensified sandalwood note and dries down more creamy and woody. Plus, it also lasts longer on your skin.

(The EDT version mainly focuses on cedarwood and is more peppery.)

Let’s take a closer look…

Tam Dao EDP opens with a spicy cedar and sandalwood combo, with some lime citrus, and whispers of ginger.

This initial sharp opening quickly settles… and then rich creamy milky sandalwood starts to shine through — joined with a touch of vanilla and a slight hint of greenness. The result?

You get a dusty warm buttery sandalwood vibe, with hints of spices in the background.

Nice!

It smells SUPER smooth and natural — just like freshly carved wood. It’s classy, calming and comforting.

Tam Dao is unisex, but leans slightly masculine, and is more suited for the mature 20-up crowd.

Daily Use

And is best worn in the spring, fall and winter. Also, you could even wear it on cooler summer nights (if you’re careful with the trigger).

It can be worn dressed up, dressed down, for work, office, and daily use.

Now to be clear:

This is an EDP and doesn’t scream out for attention. It has decent projection for the first 2 hours, then becomes more subtle. And lasts ballpark 5-7 hours on your skin.

Wood lovers, don’t sleep on Tam Dao. 🙂

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Bonus: Kilian Sacred Wood


Creamy & Milky

Now, I should point something out:

Sacred Wood would EASILY be in our top 3 list, but only appears here as a bonus.

Why?

Sadly, this has now been discontinued.

The good news?

Although you can’t purchase the full bottle presentation, Kilian are still making 50 ml refill kits available.

Can you say jackpot? 🙂

Now, you can simply decant these refills into your own atomizer, or original Kilian bottle (if you have one).

Anyway…

Luxury

Kilian are a luxury niche fragrance house based in Paris, created by Kilian Hennessy, the grandson of the founder of the Hennessy cognac company.

'I want to put perfumery back on its pedestal by going back to the truth about perfume.' – Kilian Hennessy.Click To Tweet

And Sacred Wood is part of their Asian Tales collection and was created by superstar perfumer Calice Becker.

Fun fact:

This fragrance was originally only created to be a base to be used in the creation of other fragrances.

But listen to this…

Kilian Hennessy loved the scent so much so, that he decided to release it as is, with nothing else added.

How’s it smell?

Straight out the gate, Sacred Wood opens with soft sandalwood, mixed with a hint of cedar, and whispers of spices. There is also a slight green vibe sitting in the background.

As it starts to dry down, the green vibe disappears. And then the sandalwood becomes more pronounced… and is joined with a warm steamed milk vibe with whispers of incense.

Warm & Milky

And eventually, it mellows into a beautiful warm milky creamy sandalwood — with a slight hint of sweetness.

In a word: AWESOME.

It’s alluring, rich… and screams quality. BIG compliment getter.

Now:

Sacred Wood is unisex and versatile: all ages, all situations, and all seasons (except in the high summer heat).

Dressed up, dressed down, the office, dates, special occasions, nights out, you name it!

Even better…

This is an EDP and lasts a long time: up to 10 plus hours!

Can you say jackpot? 🙂

Sacred Wood is not a projection monster. It projects good for the first 4 hours and leaves a beautiful scent trail – then sits closer to the skin.

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In case you don’t know…

What is Sandalwood?


Sandalwood is a type of hard wood with an oily texture that has a distinct fragrance, and is obtained from various species of Santalum trees.

Both the wood and the oil have been highly valued for centuries and have multiple uses:

From building temples and making handicrafts, to being used for fragrances in soaps, incense, cosmetics and perfumery.

But listen to this…

Santalum is a slow growing tree. And, even using good irrigation and fertigation to boosts the trees growth, it still takes a minimum of 15 years for the tree to produce high levels of fragrant oils. (This boost produces the same chemicals as if the tree were 30 years old.)

cut sandalwood logs
Cut sandalwood logs

Now, to be clear, True sandalwoods only come from the Santalum species.

But, make no mistake:

Not all sandalwood is created equal

Look:

There are about 25 different known species of Santalum, and the oil content varies greatly between each species.

But that’s not all…

The scent profile of the extracted sandalwood essential oil smells noticeably different between each species.

However…

Popular Species

The most popular species that are highly aromatic and sought after by perfumers are:

  • Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album): this the most common source of sandalwood. The best quality is found in India, but is also grown in Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, and Indonesia.
  • Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum): found in the semi-arid areas of Southwest Australia
  • New Caledonian / Pacific sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum): found in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Sandalwood Oil


The sandalwood essential oil is extracted from only the heartwood part of the tree and roots, using a steam distillation method.

By the way:

Because sandalwood is super expensive, the entire tree is removed from the ground — roots and all. So the oil can be extracted from everywhere possible to maximize profit.

raw sandalwood logs
Raw sandalwood. Even the roots are used to extract the oil.

Santalol

Now:

The main organic compound in Sandalwood oil is Santalol (which is composed of 2 substances).

This is what gives sandalwood its woody and creamy nuances, and is the main ingredient perfumers look for.

Australian sandalwood oil contains only about 35-39 % santalol

But listen to this…

Indian sandalwood oil has a far superior 70-90 % santalol content, giving it more complex aromas.

Which leads us to…

What is Mysore Sandalwood?


Sandalwood from the Mysore region of Karnataka, India, is the best variety in the world, and is known simply as Mysore Sandalwood.

This is the Holy Grail and is highly sought after by perfumers.

Why?

This oil has a minimum of 90% santalol, making the quality and smell FAR superior to any other sandalwood oil produced anywhere in the world.

In fact:

All of the greatest sandalwood fragrances created in the past contained some genuine Mysore Sandalwood.

Make no mistake:

Genuine Mysore essential oil is one of the most beautiful fragrances you can imagine. It’s also super expensive.

Speaking of…

Why is Sandalwood Oil so Expensive?


Today the demand for Indian sandalwood cannot be met, causing prices to sky rocket.

Due to previous over harvesting, it is now stripped from most of India’s forests and threatened with extinction.

In fact:

Santalum album is now listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN).

But thats’s not all:

The Indian government have placed a ban on the export of sandalwood timber and set strict controls.

Now, although individuals are permitted to grow sandalwood trees, they are not allowed to cut or sell them — even on their own land.

Only government granted officials are permitted to do so.

Also, it is illegal to extract the sandalwood oil, unless a licence is obtained from the Indian government.

You may be wondering…

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?


Sandalwood smells slightly sweet, milky and creamy with soft spicy buttery exotic woody notes.

It has a calming, comforting soothing effect.

Now to be clear, the sandalwood oil extracted from each species of tree smells different.

For example:

Australian sandalwood is less sweet and creamy and cannot compete with the complexities of Indian sandalwood.

Which brings us to…

Synthetic Sandalwood


Here’s the deal:

Today, as a result of the scarcity and cost of genuine sandalwood oil, most sandalwood fragrances do not actually contain ANY sandalwood oil at all. Seriously.

In fact:

Fragrance companies are turning to affordable lab created synthetic molecules that try to imitate the smell of real sandalwood, such as Polysantol, Sandranol and Javanol.

But, make no mistake:

Nothing can compare to the smell and complexities of natural sandalwood oil. Period.

Now, it's your turn...


We would love to hear from you:

What do you think are the best sandalwood fragrances? Do you have a favorite woodsy cologne?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, please let us know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

Where to go from here?

I highly recommend you check out our top 10 best men’s cologne list and for some more woodiness check out our best oud colognes list.

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