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CB picks: Captivating Sandalwood Scents That Anyone Will Love

Sandalwood is a scent that will steal your (or an unsuspecting love interest’s) heart in one quick spritz! Sandalwood perfumes have a warm and sensual nature to them, making them a firm favourite for lovers of oud, cedar and amber scents. If you want a perfume that will make any head turn when you meander past, an indulgent sandalwood scent could be the perfect addition to your {fragrance} farrago.

{Lena}, aka our {Cult Concierge} perfume sommelier (trust us, she knows all!), is offering her expert insight into the best sandalwood perfumes to help you take your fragrance collection to new heights. Let’s see which scents made the cut…

{Santal 33}, a classic favourite among Le Labo devotees, including THE Justin Bieber, features a signature addictive aroma that combines spicy, leathery and musky notes including the star of the show, sandalwood. This unisex fragrance is inspired by the masculinity of the American cowboy and the American West, and its sensuality is powerful enough to enchant anyone, regardless of gender.

Sana Jardin’s {Sandalwood Temple} exudes a gentle yet intoxicating aura, creating a comforting sanctuary of a fragrance (think of it as a warm hug from a loved one…). The scent features the mystical and inviting essence of East Indian sandalwood, intertwined with smoky cedar wood, atlas oil and Haitian vetiver oil, resulting in a fragrance that evokes both the sacred and sensual. 

A touch of Moroccan neroli oil, bergamot and orange blossom provides an alluring burst of aroma, while the base of the scent, vanilla, provides an enveloping and creamy air that lingers on the skin.

{Sand Service} curtesy of Cra-yon, takes you on a sensory journey filled with feel-good aromatics, evoking the essence of various exotic environments without ever leaving your home (no plane ticket needed!). The fragrance is a nuanced blend of papyrus, orris and birch leather, resulting in a scent that is both complex and expansive. 

As it dries down, the fragrance becomes increasingly intense, with creamy sandalwood and leather notes dominating the aroma. What’s more, Sand Service is super versatile and easy to wear, making it suitable for both office settings and casual outings. A must-have sandalwood perfume for anyone looking for the ideal all-rounder!

Created by Geza Schoen, a globally acclaimed perfumer known for his unconventional approach, {Molecule 04} is a velvety fragrance built around a synthetic sandalwood molecule called Javanol. Unlike its organic counterpart, Javanol provides the distinctive warmth of sandalwood without the heavy feeling. This delightful sandalwood scent is soft, woody and subtly captivating, enveloping you in a freshness that gently peeks out from the shadows, without being too overpowering!

Don’t be deceived by the anonymity of this iconic black-lacquered bottle! Behind the glass hides a captivating homage to sandalwood in the form of {Sacred Wood}, a fragrance from the woodsy Cellar collection. This scent celebrates the all-encompassing intensity of a classic sandalwood scent, combining it with spicy aromas that stimulate and entice both the wearer and those around them. 

The fragrance begins with a blend of ambrette and carrot seed essence, delivering a spicy and earthy opening. Then, the coveted sandalwood accord sourced from Mysore – renowned for its uniquely woodsy and milky facets – emerges and blends seamlessly with Moroccan cedarwood oil and amyris oil. 

Forget their iconic red bottoms, Christian Louboutin’s scent-lection should be on every fragrance lover’s radar! {Loubirouge} from Christian Louboutin Beauty combines spicy shots with a hidden warmth of vanilla, resulting in an irresistibly inviting fragrance. Choreographed by Marie Salamagne, a highly respected Parisian perfumer, this spirited fragrance features complimentary notes of cardamom, iris and vanilla, which are both harmonious and surprising to the senses.

{Radio Bombay} is a fragrance inspired by Bandra, a Mumbai suburb that D.S. & Durga playfully referred to as the ‘Brooklyn of Bombay’ (it doesn’t get cooler than that, right?). This scent emanates warmth through sandalwood, copper and cedar notes that bloom into a musky, creamy, peachy, ambrette and coconut profile. 

D.S. & Durga’s gender-neutral perfumes are presented in simple monochrome bottles that allow the scents to speak for themselves. Crafted from carefully chosen vegan ingredients for their aromatic payoff and quality, each scent is shaped in New York City but has a story that spans the world.

The {Eidesis} perfume from Aesop draws inspiration from the beauty and myth of Narcissus and its spell-binding fragrance is bound to leave an impression on everyone you meet. The scent blends iridescent florals with a rich, earthy base that is sure to captivate your senses. 

With notes of black pepper, frankincense and sandalwood, the scent is a heavenly symphony that is as irresistible as the reflection in Narcissus’ mirror. Its simple yet elegant apothecary bottle is a fitting symbol for this stunning perfume, which is sure to become your signature sandalwood scent.

BYREDO‘s {Mojave Ghost Eau de Parfum} is a captivating sandalwood fragrance that captures the untamed essence of the wilderness. This intricate aroma plays with a harmonious blend of musky ambrette, powdery violet, crisp amber and cedarwood to create an eye-opening, woody composition that is sure to enchant the senses. A truly long-lasting fragrance loved by women and men.

Enclosed in BYREDO’s signature black-and-white bottles, the {Gypsy Water} fragrance has become a must-have for perfume aficionados; you’ll often spot it placed front and centre in their shelfies and stories! Offering a mesmerising blend of woody pine needle, sandalwood, amber, with hints of refreshing citrus notes from lemon and bergamot, this scent will conjure up the magic and excitement of nights spent camping in the forest gazing at the stars. 

The {CONCRETE Eau de Parfum} from Comme De Garçons is a contemporary sandalwood perfume that captures the essence of chaos and its intricate nature. It uses unconventional and modern materials to create a warm and woody fragrance that defies boundaries. The fusion of architecture and scent is evident as it deconstructs traditional notes such as sandalwood and white cement. 

The fragrance is a blend of spicy cumin, cardamom, clove and ginger that pulls you to heart notes of Arabian jasmine and rose. The aroma embodies the essence of a modern city, juxtaposing its sturdy nature with a sensual appeal. What’s not to love?

What scents go well with sandalwood?

Are you a fan of fragrance layering? Us too! It’s a great way to diversify your perfumes and craft shiny new scent-sations that you’ll never find on a shelf… But which aromas and scents pair perfectly with sandalwood? Lena tells all. Some of the key notes you’ll find paired with sandalwood include:

  • Vanilla
  • Jasmine
  • Cedarwood
  • Bergamot
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Musk
  • Citrus
  • Frankincense
  • Oud

So, it’s highly likely you’ll find a suitable match for your new sandalwood perfume in your current collection. If you’re new to the art of scent layering, follow these expert tips…

  • Start by layering fragrances in the same olfactory group. If you’re new to layering, try pairing two fragrances that are not overly complex, or that have a note in common. You can also spray one scent on your wrists and another on your neck/nape.
  • When layering perfume, apply the heaviest fragrance first and layer the lighter ones on top after.
  • Use contrasting scents for originality. Sandalwood pairs well with almost everything. Perfumers create fragrances on the idea of accords (harmonies) and discords (contrasts).
  • You can build the complexity of your perfume with a lotion or oil in another scent and layered with different products, so that your fragrance lingers throughout the day and evolves.


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert