Saturday, October 4, 2008

Serge Lutens, Santal Blanc: A Review


It might be my imagination but Santal Blanc seems to be an under appreciated fragrance from Lutens. In autumn, I crave woody scents and especially sandalwood. Santal Blanc (SB) is a tribute to sandalwood, cedar and wood notes.

Somehow I’ve managed to end up with three bottles of SB. I’m not sure why, it’s not like Lutens discontinues his scents, but I must be worried about SB in the back of my mind (or maybe I’m just flaky). A few nights ago I got the urge to smell hardcore sandalwood. I have 10 Corso Como, Tam Dao, and many other sandalwoody scents, but SB is the most intense. I came home from the office and doused myself with it. It had been about five months since I’d worn SB and it felt like a reunion of sorts. There are so many fragrances that claim to smell like cashmere, many even contain the word ‘cashmere’ in their name. Santal Blanc is the only fragrance that actually smells like cashmere to me. The bureau where I keep my cashmere sweaters is cedar lined, perhaps this is why. Santal Blanc is a meditation on sandalwood, a sweet doughy, vanillic sandalwood plus an ample helping of cedar. I think my sweaters actually smell strikingly similar to SB when I remove them from their cedar lined bureau. I also include harvest vanilla & cinnamon sachet packets in my sweater drawers so the resemblance to SB is quite close.

Santal Blanc is potent and has excellent longevity. I’ve read that others find it soft and light but on me it’s neither. SB starts off like most Lutens fragrances, with a blast of the spicy, fruity, boozy Lutens/Sheldrake potion. You need to wait about an hour to smell the perfectly bone dry yet sweet sandalwood aroma with hints of cedar, cinnamon and florals (which I think come off as vanilla to me). Still, as much as I love the dry down, the first hour is gorgeous, there’s an interesting peppery quality that tingles your nose and an assortment of apricot like fruits stewing in a bowl of turpentine. Once SB calms down it loses its effervescence and becomes velvety smooth with the most beautiful deep, rich woody aroma.

Since I have three bottles, I think I’ll douse myself in this today and enjoy every moment of it.

The official list of notes: white sandalwood, cinnamon, fenugreek, pink pepper, rose, jasmine, orris root, musk, benzoin and copaiba balsam.

1 comment:

tania said...

I like this one, too.
I'm a big fan of sandalwood in general, and will often reach for it in winter. For me, the closer to the real thing, the better.
My absolute favourite is a bottle of Kiehls Indian Vintage Sandalwood oil - smokey, sweet, long-lasting. I've had it for years. But the SL comes second. (Tam Dao, 10 Corso and one of the Madini oils are joint third. Yep, I really like sandalwood!).