The Fragrance Profile of Sandalwood?

What does sandalwood smell like

Sandalwood has been used as a beauty product, perfume, medicinal properties, and many more. It is one of the most precious and exclusive ingredients out there in the perfume industry for its sophisticated smell and its longevity. Sandalwood is used as a base note for adding warmth and depth to many exclusive perfumes out there. A variety of undertones compliments the base note to create the very distinctive and versatile fragrance of sandalwood.

So, if you are about to buy a new perfume and want to try something different you can definitely give the sandalwood smell a quick try. Since this smell doesn’t cause any irritation or allergic reaction it is safe to check out. In this article, I have discussed and explained the potential quarries in detail about sandalwoods and what does sandalwood smell like.

What Is Sandalwood?

What is sandalwood
What is sandalwood

Sandalwood (Santalum album) is a native tree to southeast Asia and India. These trees are evergreen and live for at least a hundred years. The sandalwood trees produce fine-grained, yellow aromatic woods. The scent of these woods can retain for ages.

It is one of the most expensive woods in the world since sandalwood has been used in perfumes, aromatherapy, medicinal properties, Ayurveda, traditional Tibetan, and Chinese medicine, and also for performing sacred rituals in different religions and civilizations for almost 4000 years. Because of these reasons, these trees are almost on the verge of extinction due to their overharvesting. Nowadays, most of the sandalwood oil comes from Australian or New Caledonia sandalwood as an alternative to Indian sandalwood.

Santalol is a naturally formed ingredient that is found in the essential oil extracted from the heartwood of sandalwood trees. Sandalwood trees can take 15 years or more to grow completely and become ready for harvesting. When the tree becomes older, it produces a higher quality and quantity of essential oils in the heartwood. These essential oils are the main reason behind the therapeutic aroma of sandalwoods.

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

What does sandalwood smell like.
What does sandalwood smell like.

There are a variety of smells you can find out there, for instance, citrus, amber, woody, ferns, floral, leather, etc. Sandalwood has a unique distinctive fragrance that is a mix of sweet and woody aromas.  The fragrance creates a complex rich aroma that is very warm. There are other scents that have wood as their base note such as pine, cedar, cypress, vetiver, and patchouli.

Sometimes, you also can find some creamy and buttery notes in your sandalwood. The wood scent of sandalwoods is soft and smooth, unlike any other woody tones. These notes are normally found in Australian sandalwoods.

It also has very few hints of musky, earthy, and balsamic notes.  A very slight hint of spiciness and smokiness can also be found if you take a sniff at the sandalwood. If you like a strong woody smell with a soft, subtle, and creamy twist, then you are definitely going to like the sandalwood smell.

The Base Notes Of Sandalwood

If you never smelled sandalwood before, it can be pretty hard for you to recognize the unique and complex qualities of a sandalwood fragrance. Here I have put together the base notes to have an approximate understanding of what sandalwood smells like.

  1. Woody
  2. Earthy
  3. Tropical
  4. Exotic
  5. Sensual and soft
  6. Slightly Musky
  7. Sweet
  8. A little hint of Spicy and smokey
  9. Buttery
  10. Creamy

These wonderful base notes of sandalwood enhance the quality and blend with each other. Sandalwood has been used as a masculine fragrance for years, but nowadays it is equally popular among women as well. the base notes of sandalwood are being used in many luxury brands.  The smell of sandalwood is so inviting and appealing that it is used in candles, colognes, perfumes, soaps, and many more scented products.

5 Fragrances That Are Similar to Sandalwood

5 Fragrances that are similar to sandalwood
5 Fragrances that are similar to sandalwood

Sandalwood has a very unique and multifaceted aroma that has been desired by many for its ability to reduce anxiety and calm down the mind. Some other fragrances are kind of similar to this versatile scent. Such as:

  1. Patchouli: The scent of patchouli is very similar to sandalwood because of its woody, musky, and earthy aroma. The smell of patchouli is very intense. They have a little bit of warm and spicy hints at the back as well.
  2. Vetiver: Vetiver also has earthy and woody tones in it which makes it very similar to sandalwood. You can find some under notes of smokiness in it. It has a very little hint of fresh, citrus, and floral undertones in it which makes it distinctive from sandalwood.
  3. Cedarwood: Cedarwood has an aromatic wood scent with balsamic undertones in it. It has a pine-like soft camphorous smell in it. It is also similar to sandalwood because of its strong woody base.
  4. Agarwood: The agarwood has a very subtle woody scent with a hint of sweetness in it. The smell of agarwood changes when it is smoked. It turns out to be a complex vanillic note with a deep woody smell.
  5. Cypress: Cypress has a fresh, woody base just like the base of sandalwood. It has a hint of spice and citrus in it which makes the smell of Cypress a very uplifting and energizing smell.

All of these fragrances have their own distinctive smells and qualities, but there are similarities in all of their base notes which make their smell very near to the smell of sandalwood. So, if you do not know the smell of sandalwood, you can try smelling any one of them to understand the woody and earthy notes of sandalwood.

Which Smells Pair Well With Sandalwood?

Which smells pair well with sandalwood
Which smells pair well with sandalwood

Sandalwoods have a dense aromatic fragrance that can be easily combined with some other smells to create interesting fragrances. There are specific fragrances that can pair well with sandalwood and create a beautiful base note. Such as:

  • Rose: You can add these floral scents to your sandalwoods. The fragrance will turn out to be sweet and floral with undertones of woodiness and muskiness. This fragrance can create a perfect sensual romantic date night.
  • Vanilla: Sandalwood and Vanilla are the perfect combination for creating a warm and cozy fragrance. It has a sweet, earthy, woody undertone which will make a very comforting smell. This fragrance will be best if you want to spend a cozy night with fire.
  • Patchouli or Vetiver: Both of them has a strong woody and earthy base in them. While patchouli has more of a musky aroma, Vetiver has fresh and citrusy undertones in it. If they get combined with sandalwood, it will create more of a masculine fragrance which will be perfect for an evening hangout.
  • Grapefruit and Bergamot: Grapefruit and Bergamot have a sweet and citrus base in them. If they are combined with sandalwoods, they will create a refreshing scent that can easily uplift your mood. This type of fragrance will be the best daytime wear.
  • Jasmine: if you combine sandalwood with Jasmin’s fragrance, it will create a smell that is floral, sweet, fruity, and woody at the same time. It will create a complex and rich fragrance. This fragrance will be perfect for a dinner night.

Which Perfumes Have Sandalwood Top Note?

Which Perfumes Have Sandalwood Top Note?
Which Perfumes Have Sandalwood Top Note

Sandalwood is normally used as a base note fragrance in many perfumes for its long-lasting scent. It was a favorite ingredient in many well-known perfume brands for this reason. But some perfume still uses sandalwood as their top notes which has an emphasis on sandalwood scent in them. For instance,

  • Santal 33 by Le Labo: This perfume has a woody scent as its top note. This fragrance has a warm undertone making it perfect for a cold night. It also has some hints of cardamom, violet, and iris notes in it.
  • Tam Dao by Diptyque: This perfume has a very strong sandalwood fragrance as its top note. It has other notes like woody and floral as its side notes like cedar, cypress, and jasmine. It will give you a hint of warmth and spiciness as well.
  • Somebody Wood by Phlur: Somebody Wood by Phlur has a prominent sandalwood fragrance with strong woody and creamy tones in it. It also has an undertone of bergamot which gives the freshness of flowers and citrus.

Final Thoughts

Sandalwood has a very sophisticated fragrance that has very unique characteristics. It has a very distinctive smell, unlike others. Sandalwood smell can blend in with a variety of scents and create a wide range of scents with a versatile smell. You can find the sandalwood smell in a variety of sandalwood products like soaps, perfumes, lotions, candles, etc. The top note of sandalwood is woody with a slight softness to it. It has undertones of various other smells like sweet, balsamic, musky, and creamy. Sandalwood offers so much versatility that you can use sandalwood or the smell of sandalwood in your home, with your beauty routine, and also for wellness and meditation.


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