12 Sandalwood Perfumes That Will Earn You Compliments From Strangers
So you’re scouring the internet for a new signature scent but in the vast realm of fragrance notes you can’t make out what would actually smell good let alone match your intended vibe. Surely you're familiar with rose’s sweet feminine aroma and vanilla’s warm and cozy allure, but you’re looking for something a little more complex and sensual — enter sandalwood perfumes. The sweet, woody, and somewhat exotic scent is present in a bevy of popular fragrances, often as a base note thanks to its complex richness. It can be easy to miss when paired with other equally strong notes (like oud or palo santo) but it’s often the thing that ties a myriad of notes together to make a truly enticing fragrance.
"Sandalwood has been used for thousands of years," Diptyque fragrance expert Eduardo Valadez tells TZR. "It is known for its origins in Southeast Asia, where it can often be found burning in temples." The perfume pro describes sandalwood as "smooth, warm, and sensual,” adding that it’s “versatile,” meaning it works in most — if not all — fragrance compositions. Per the expert, sandalwood “lends itself to many fragrance pairings.” For example, he tells TZR that it’s often paired with floral and citrusy notes “for stability in the composition and to add longevity to the fragrance. Its sweet yet earthy disposition gives it the ability to work in both floral and fresh scents, as well as musky and rich scents.
While sandalwood is frequently used as a base note, that’s not to say it can’t be the star of the show —consider Diptyque’s famed Diptyque Eau Tam Dao Eau de Parfum, inspired by the smell of Indochina forests or the beloved Le Labo Santal 33, based around Australian sandalwood. Many sandalwood based fragrances have the word Santal in the name which refers to the crystalline compound derived from flavone that is obtained from red sandalwood and camwood.
Ahead, shop 12 of TZR's favorite sandalwood perfumes, including the aforementioned industry mainstays and more newly launched scents like Dior Vanilla Diorama.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.