Out of the many different woody notes used in fragrances, the note of sandalwood might actually be one of the more popular ones. But what are the best sandalwood fragrances for men?
What Is The Note Of Sandalwood And How Does It Smell
There are several different types of wood notes that are utilized in fragrances today. So many great scents have heart notes and base notes of varying wood accords. Most people are familiar with cedarwood, Peru balsam, sandalwood, pine, cypress, balsam fir, agarwood (also known as oud), redwood, rosewood and birch tree. The various woods give fragrances a different aroma and everyone probably has their own personal favorite when it comes to wood notes. In my opinion, one of the best wood notes is sandalwood.
So where does sandalwood come from? Sandalwood is an essential oil that is harvested from the bark of the Santalum tree. The highest quality sandalwood originates from Karnataka, India and is called Mysore sandalwood. The sandalwood tree is highly regarded and very regulated by the Indian government. Because Santalum trees are extremely slow-growing and rare (they are on the threatened species list), sandalwood has become the second most expensive wood in the world.
In addition, today most of the sandalwood that is used in perfumery actually comes from Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Hawaii. In the last few years, a synthetic chemical called isobornyl cyclohexanol has been developed to smell like sandalwood. This, of course, ensures that we do not lose the scent of sandalwood and that we can preserve the tree itself.
But how does sandalwood actually smell? Sandalwood has a very deep woody scent with creamy hints of sweetness, a little floral accord, and a warm almost balsamic vibe. It can also be described as rich, earthy, buttery, spicy, opulent, and even exotic. These features make sandalwood an amazing base note in many fragrances. Sandalwood is often paired with other wood notes such as balsam fir, cedarwood, oud, rosewood and cypress to provide even more complexity and depth to fragrances. Below are listed some of the best sandalwood fragrances for men, in no particular order!
1. Creed Original Santal
Scent: Creed Original Santal is an amazing Mysore (from India) sandalwood fragrance with a gourmand touch, nice spicy notes, and a wonderful clean balsamic accord. Original Santal opens with a slightly spicy and sweet scent of cinnamon and an amazing woodiness. Immediately afterward, you will begin to smell a calming lavender note, some orange tree absolute, and a couple of fresh spices. The base adds some sweetness in the form of tonka bean and vanilla.
Notes: The top notes of Creed Original Santal are Indian sandalwood, cinnamon, coriander, and juniper berries. The middle notes lavender, orange tree absolute, rosemary, and ginger. The base notes are tonka bean and vanilla.
Best for: Creed Original Santal is one of the best sandalwood fragrances on the market today. The perfect time of year to wear Original Santal is during the spring, fall and winter. This niche cologne can be used casually, formally, at the office, and even out on dates. Really, the only downside to Creed Original Santal is that it’s expensive. However, this scent is worth splurging on people.
2. Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin
Scent: Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin is a truly great fragrance with a balsamic, sweet, powdery, warm scent composed mainly of woods, vanilla, and spices. This fragrance opens with a gorgeous scent of fresh bergamot, sweet lime, and earthy saffron. In the heart of Santal Carmin, sandalwood, guaiac wood, and white musk are added to make the scent more complex and dense. The base notes enhance the woodiness and sweetness of this cologne even more, by adding Texas cedar and papyrus with a touch of vanilla. Overall, you get a gorgeous fragrance with a warm scent of various wood accords, vanilla, and a nice saffron note that makes it smell very upscale.
Notes: The top notes of Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin are lime, bergamot, and saffron. The middle notes are sandalwood, guaiac wood, and white musk. The base notes are Texas cedarwood, papyrus, and Madagascar vanilla.
Best for: Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin is a fantastic fragrance to wear during the fall and winter months. This fragrance has a sweet, spicy, fresh, and warm aroma with a pleasantly comfortable and overall welcoming vibe. During the colder months, this is a fantastic fragrance to wear all day, both casually, as well as formally, but it also works great at night.
3. Diptyque Tam Dao
Scent: Diptyque Tam Dao is a beautiful fragrance with the most amazing woody scent. In fact, this fragrance is one of the nicest sandalwood fragrances available today. If you are into woody colognes, Tam Dao EDP is the one for you. The opening of this fragrance is mainly a beautiful cyprus wood scent, but there is also a subtle hint of rose mixed with some myrtle. During the middle, you will get a magnificent combination of cedar and sandalwood. The base of this fragrance adds a little more wood, some warm amber, a dollop of musk and a couple of spices. This creates an incredible scent that is reminiscent of an old woodshop.
Notes: The top notes of Diptyque Tam Dao EDP are Italian cypress, myrtle, and rose. The middle notes are cedarwood and sandalwood. The base notes are Brazilian rosewood, white musk, spices, and amber.
Best for: Diptyque Tam Dao EDP is a fantastic fragrance to wear during the more temperate times of the year, like fall and spring. Overall you have an amazing wood fragrance that simply works. Adding to its versatility, Tam Dao can be worn both casually and formally.
4. Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood
Scent: Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood is a beautiful and extremely woody fragrance. This fragrance opens with a crisp cedarwood accord and a pinch of spicy pepper. In the heart of Wonderwood, sandalwood begins to take over and it will remain throughout the life cycle of this scent. In the dry down, some earthy, green vetiver presents itself, adding a nice layer of depth to this wonderful fragrance.
Notes: The top notes of Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood are Madagascar pepper, bergamot, incense, and nutmeg. The middle notes are cashmeran, guaiac wood, cedarwood, and caraway. The base notes are javanol, sandalwood, vetiver, and oud (agarwood).
Best for: Comme Des Garcons Wonderwood is an awesome fragrance with a strong, smooth and comforting wood scent. Wonderwood is fantastic during the fall and winter. During the colder months, this fragrance is great for casual daytime wear, but it works exceedingly well at night also. Wonderwood can be worn casually, to the office, and for dates. The aroma of this fragrance is very interesting and has a sophisticated feel to it.
5. Guerlain Heritage
Scent: Guerlain Heritage is a fantastic woody and spicy scent that contains a plethora of notes. This fragrance opens with fresh green notes, a couple of florals, and some spices. This creates an intriguing and complex scent, setting the tone for this fragrance. A little while after the opening, a woody scent starts to emerge, mixing perfectly with the aromatic florals from the opening.
Notes: The top notes of Guerlain Heritage are bergamot, aldehydes, juniper berries, lavender, various green notes, violet, clary sage, petitgrain, and lemon. The middle notes are cyclamen, coriander, carnation, patchouli, pepper, balsam fir, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose, geranium, and pink pepper. The base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss, and cedar.
Best for: Guerlain Heritage is an extremely classy, masculine scent that should be worn during the winter, spring, and fall. This fragrance is extremely fresh, warm, and rich with a wonderful scent of sandalwood, cedarwood, and balsam fir. Heritage has such an upscale scent that fits in casually and formally.
6. Tom Ford Santal Blush
Scent: Tom Ford Santal Blush is a very compelling unisex fragrance with a warm and spicy scent of woods. This fragrance opens with some warm cinnamon and several spices. Later in the wear, there are a couple of floral notes that present themselves adding a freshness to the heart. Santal Blush then welcomes a buttery, creamy, sweet and smooth aroma of sandalwood, some Virginian cedarwood, and a nice touch of oud. Overall Santal Blush is a warm, spicy, somewhat sexy, and beautiful scent consisting of sandalwood, cedarwood, and oud.
Notes: The top notes of Tom Ford Santal Blush are cinnamon, caraway, spices, carrot seeds, and fenugreek. The middle notes are rose, ylang-ylang, and jasmine. The base notes are musk, sandalwood, Virginia cedar, benzoin, and agarwood (also known as oud).
Best for: Tom Ford Santal Blush is a fantastic fragrance for a classy, well-dressed, sophisticated, confident man. This fragrance has a luxurious feel to it so please dress accordingly. The warm and spicy scent of the various wood accords makes Santal Blush work so well in formal settings on a cold winter day or night. However, it can also be worn casually since Tom Ford Santal Blush fits in everywhere. About the only negative with this fragrance is its high price tag.
7. Chanel Egoiste
Scent: Chanel Egoiste is woody, spicy, sweet, and classical fragrance. The opening of Egoiste is very fresh and citrus filled. This fresh, citrusy scent quickly turns into a spicier, floral scent, though. The main floral note in this fragrance is rose, which adds an interesting and unique structure to Egoiste. The dry down adds some additional wood accords, warm amber, rich leather, sweet vanilla, and smooth tobacco.
Notes: The top notes of Chanel Egoiste are mahogany, Sicilian mandarin, Brazilian rosewood, and coriander. The middle notes are carnation, cinnamon and damask rose. The base notes are leather, sandalwood, vanilla, tobacco, and amber.
Best for: Chanel Egoiste is an outstanding fragrance for a confident, mature, and well-groomed man. The name even implies the type of person Egoiste is specifically designed for. It works well during the fall, winter, and colder springs days and nights. Egoiste is NOT to be worn during the summer as it would quickly become offensive. During the other months, though, it’s perfect, as it portrays class and confidence like no other.
8. Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule
Scent: Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule is an exquisite unisex fragrance with woody, spicy, sweet, velvety, gourmand, powdery, rose-infused and almost edible cacao (dark chocolate) accords. The rose and cacao notes are the main stars in this fragrance with sandalwood only playing a supporting role. While there are just a handful of notes in Santal Majuscule, they are all blended to perfection.
Notes: The top note of Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule is damask rose. The middle notes are rosewood and tonka bean. The base notes are sandalwood and cacao.
Best for: Serge Lutens is at its apex during the colder months of fall and winter. This creates a very warm and cozy feeling that is perfect for those winter days and nights. During the colder months, this fragrance is fantastic for more upscale and formal events.
9. Elizabeth Arden Men Sandalwood
Scent: Elizabeth Arden Man Sandalwood is an oriental fougere fragrance with a major focus on the sandalwood note. This one opens with a fresh, fruity, and spicy aroma. With the middle notes, several wood accords start to take over along with a little basil and cooling geranium. The dry down of this fragrance adds some warming elements with amber, opoponax and labdanum, sweetness from tonka beans, some oakmoss, and a little musk to rounds things out nicely.
Notes: The top notes of Elizabeth Arden Men Sandalwood lavender, clary sage, petitgrain, bergamot, and lemon. The middle notes are sandalwood, patchouli, basil, vetiver, cedarwood, and geranium. The base notes are labdanum, tonka bean, amber, opoponax, musk, and oakmoss.
Best for: Elizabeth Arden Men Sandalwood is a wonderful cologne that can be worn year-round. The overall scent of this fragrance is relatively complex and it has a distinct sandalwood accord that makes it extremely likable. It works casually, at the office, out on dates, and even formally, so there really is no going wrong with this one.
10. By Kilian Sacred Wood
Scent: By Kilian Sacred Wood is a beautiful creamy sandalwood fragrance with a slightly spicy aroma. Although Sacred Wood doesn’t contain many notes, it is masterfully blended to create a unique experience. The most interesting note is a milk accord that makes this fragrance very creamy and different from most scents on the market today. And paired with the beautiful note of sandalwood, you’re in for a true treat. Sacred Wood is one of the longest-lasting fragrances out there and can easily go 10 plus hours.
Notes: The notes in By Kilian Sacred Wood are carrot, cumin, sandalwood, elemi resin, cedarwood, and milk accord.
Best for: By Kilian Sacred Wood is a truly beautiful fragrance. It is best utilized during the spring, fall, and winter. Sacred Wood is perfect to wear during both the days and nights, and can also be worn in many different types of environments from casual to formal.
11. Taylor Of Old Bond Street Sandalwood
Scent: Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood is a wonderful classic style woody fragrance that contains several different types of woods and florals. It opens with a couple of florals, a little spice and some amber. After the opening, a nice dose of florals is added to make this cologne very aromatic. When it begins to dry down, you will notice several wood notes and a clean musk accord added to the mix. Overall you are left with a woody, aromatic, spicy, and powdery feel.
Notes: The top notes of Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood are lavender, rosemary, geranium, and amber. The middle notes are carnation, fern, and orange blossom. The base notes are sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, powdery notes, musk, labdanum, cedarwood, and guaiac wood.
Best for: Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood can be effectively worn during the spring, fall and winter. Many people claim that it is one of the best colognes to wear during the fall season due to the various woods used in its composition. To increase its versatility, Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood can be worn to work, out on dates, casually and even formally.
12. Guerlain Santal Royal
Scent: Guerlain Santal Royal is part of an exclusive high-end Guerlain fragrance line so it is going to cost you a little more money to add this one to your collection. However, it is definitely worth it. The opening of Santal Royal is a floral affair with some neroli and jasmine. Immediately afterward, you will be greeted by one of the most beautiful scents of rose found in any fragrance. Added to this is a soft touch of juicy peach, providing some additional sweetness. After a little while, you will start to enjoy the agarwood (oud) and sandalwood notes as they begin to reveal themselves. This creates a fantastic, woody, warming, sweet scent. Santal Royal is truly a stunning fragrance that not many people own so wearing it will definitely set you apart from the crowd.
Notes: The top notes of Guerlain Santal Royal are neroli and jasmine. The middle notes are peach, cinnamon, and rose. The base notes are agarwood (oud), leather, sandalwood, musk, and amber.
Best for: Guerlain Santal Royal is an utterly amazing fragrance to wear during the winter and fall. The rich scent of florals and woods works perfectly with the lower temperatures, providing you with a warm and luxurious feel. Due to the luxurious feel, this fragrance works perfectly in a formal setting, but it can also be worn casually as well.
13. Comme Des Garcons Blue Santal
Scent: Comme Des Garcons Blue Santal is a gorgeous sandalwood fragrance that is perfectly suited for someone who enjoys the great outdoors. This fragrance opens with a beautiful scent of sandalwood, supported by a sharp scent of spicy blue pepper. Immediately after the opening, a fresh, aromatic vibe comes forth, mellowing out the sharpness from the pepper. This creates a very unique scent of airy woods and spices, reminiscent of a log cabin hidden deep within a forest adjacent to a beautiful lake. Overall, a fantastic fragrance with an interesting take on the note of sandalwood.
Notes: The notes in Comme Des Garcons Blue Santal are Australian sandalwood, Mediterranean pine, blue pepper, and juniper berries.
Best for: Comme Des Garcons Blue Santal is a fantastic fragrance that is extremely versatile. Blue Santal can be worn all year long and on every occasion from casual to formal settings. Someone seeking a great all-around sandalwood fragrance should definitely add Comme Des Garcons Blue Santal to their collection.
14. Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot
Scent: Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot has a nice sandalwood note, but the true focus of this fantastic fragrance is the bergamot accord. Venetian Bergamot opens with a fresh and absolutely stunning scent of bergamot, mixed with some spicy black pepper, some pink pepper, and a smidge of ginger. After a little while, this scent is accompanied by several sweet floral notes and a rich cedarwood accord. The base of this fragrance adds some warm amber, tonka bean and beautiful sandalwood note. Overall, Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot is a refreshing, yet warm fragrance that smells absolutely gorgeous.
Notes: The top notes of Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot are ginger, pink pepper, bergamot, and black pepper. The middle notes are magnolia, pepperwood, cedar, gardenia, and ylang ylang. The base notes are cashmeran, amber, tonka bean, and sandalwood.
Best for: Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot is a fantastic fragrance that you can wear during the spring, summer, and fall. About the only time of year to steer clear is during the winter season, as it’s a little too fresh for the cold winter days. The added warmth and sweetness in this fragrance makes it great for the slightly cooler months of the fall, whereas the fresh, citrusy opening makes it perfect for wearing during the spring and summer. During these months, you can’t really go wrong Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot, as it works both casually, as well as formally.
15. Ajmal Santal Wood
Scent: Ajmal Santal Wood is strong, woody, spicy, balsamic, aromatic and simply luxurious. This fragrance opens with a nice array of flowers and spices. After a little while, you can start to notice some woods and the addition of even more florals to create an aromatic feel. The dry down of this fragrance adds some of the finest sandalwood that you will ever smell along with a little oud and patchouli. Overall, you get a truly amazing scent that is sure to turn heads.
Notes: The top notes of Ajmal Santal Wood are marigold, caraway, and cardamom. The middle notes are jasmine, rose, ginger, and cedarwood. The base notes are sandalwood, patchouli, and agarwood/oud.
Best for: Ajmal Santal Wood is a great fragrance to wear during the winter or fall. The scent is strong and can easily slice through those cold days and it will actually provide you with a warm and extremely comforting feeling. Besides casual wear during the colder months, this fragrance is also a fantastic fragrance to wear on nights out.
16. Le Labo Santal 33
Scent: Le Labo Santal 33 is one of the most popular fragrances from the Le Labo house and with good reason; it is awesome! This fragrance has a leathery, woody, floral, powdery, warm and spicy scent. The opening of this fragrance is somewhat spicy and a little powdery providing a nice and dry feel to this cologne. During the entire wear, Le Labo Santal 33 has a woody aroma present. The wood accords of Virginia cedarwood and smooth sandalwood are the main attractions of this fragrance. Overall, you get a very masculine and dry cologne with a fantastically woody scent.
Notes: The notes in Le Labo Santal 33 are sandalwood, Virginia cedarwood, cardamom, violet, papyrus, leather, amber, and iris.
Best for: Le Labo Santal 33 works well in every season. However, it does lean a little more towards the colder seasons, due to the leathery, spicy, warm and woody scent. The versatility of this fragrance is enhanced further because it can be worn from casual events to the most formal affairs. Actually Le Labo Santal 33 is at its best when worn during formal occasions.
17. Amouage Lyric Man
Scent: Amouage Lyric Man is a fantastic fragrance with a wonderfully rich rose scent. This fragrance begins as a fresh, light, and citrusy scent from the bergamot and lime notes. However, Lyric Man quickly turns into a spicier, floral cologne when rose, saffron, nutmeg, ginger, and orange blossom are added to the equation. This transition from the citruses to the florals and spices goes smoothly and fits perfectly because it is so exceptionally blended by the Amouage fragrance house. Around this same time is when the stunning rose note really starts to assert itself along with a subtle earthy aroma. The base of this fragrance adds a woody scent, as well as some additional sweetness. Overall, you’re left with an amazing fragrance with a masculine, woody, rich, dark, rose scent that is simply marvelous.
Notes: The top notes of Amouage Lyric Man are bergamot and lime. The heart notes are rose, angelica, saffron, nutmeg, galbanum, orange blossom, and ginger. The base notes are vanilla, incense, sandalwood, musk, and pine.
Best for: Amouage Lyric Man is a fantastic fragrance to wear during the warmer months of the year. The amazing combination of sparkling citruses and sweet florals is absolutely perfect for the warm temperatures you get during the spring and summer seasons. Lyric Man has a beautiful scent that can be worn both casually, as well as formally. However, this fragrance has a refined and sophisticated vibe to it, making Amouage Lyric Man work especially well when worn formally or in a boardroom setting. Amouage Lyric Man will make you feel like the boss whether you are or not.
18. Gucci Rush For Men
Scent: Gucci Rush is a discontinued sandalwood fragrance that you might still be able to get your hands on out on the internet. Rush is a woody, spicy, powdery, balsamic and aromatic scent. This fragrance opens with a smooth note of lavender and a nice cypress aroma to begin this woody scent. The heart consists of a couple of woods (namely cedarwood and sandalwood) and juniper berries. In the dry down, even more sandalwood is added along with patchouli and white musk.
Notes: The notes of Gucci Rush are lavender and cypress. The middle notes sandalwood, cedarwood, and juniper. The base notes are sandalwood, patchouli, and white musk.
Best for: Gucci Rush is a great fragrance to wear during the slightly milder weather months of spring and fall during both the daytime and nighttime. However, Rush can be worn during any time of year with the lone exception of summer. This fragrance has a rich scent of various woods, a little musk and some fresh florals. Gucci Rush can go from casual to highly formal events because it is such an elegant fragrance.