No matter the era, a sandalwood cologne never loses its appeal. These 5 best sandalwood cologne nominees aren’t exactly flying under the radar, but they have a scent profile that is highly appreciated in fragrance communities, a bit more than in fragrance shops where clerks point you to other more crowd-pleasing perfumes first.
Sandalwood men’s cologne is already made for decades. Just look at what made Taylor of Old Bond Street colognes so popular.
But since its humble British origins, the perfume with sandalwood has reached new heights.
We’ve seen its rollercoaster ride to being mixed with tens of notes only for it to come back stronger in minimalistic sandalwood base perfumes with just a few notes.
There are only a couple of really good sandalwood scents that combine multiple notes without truly overpowering this aromatic wood.
Sandalwood men’s cologne isn’t particularly hard to find, don’t get me wrong. But you will find it very difficult to find one which you can wear without smelling like the ‘80s.
This article looks into the best sandalwood cologne options that are modern and original without overlooking what the likes of Floris of Taylor of Old Bond Street did for this category.
1. Sacred Wood By Kilian
Calice Becker what have you done? The masterful perfumer (behind multiple Kilian perfumes and others such as Ambre Eccentrico) put a new spin on the classic sandalwood cologne. Both classic and modern, Sacred wood is truly sacred.
What about the name? Could it be any better? This fragrance is a 10 out of 10 in scent, presentation, and marketing.
Now for the bad news.
It’s discontinued, or so it appears. This means you find it in select stores from its remaining batches and Fragrantica reviews confirm people from other countries can’t find it either. I’ll leave a link to where you can still get it, albeit in smaller bottles.
Now for the scent.
Sandalwood and milk are its only 2 listed notes.
You might say – sure, what’s the big deal? This can be the best creamy sandalwood fragrance. But both the sandalwood and the milk are differently interpreted. The milk has transparency to its note as it’s not as creamy as you’d expect.
The sandalwood in the perfume is complex, effervescent, and may I say… rare.
Sacred Wood is a skillful interpretation of sandalwood of possible Asian-Pacific origin. It has coconut-like undertones on initial sprays with a hint of hydration that turns towards drier woodsy sandalwood later on. If you could compare the influences of a known note to this sandalwood it would be a woody-rice or the almost noticeable note of woods in some rice you can buy today.
All of these undertones come out at different times, just as sandalwood is like in the real world. Some spice is there as well, but not always.
Masculine and mysterious, the men’s sandalwood cologne projects, but it’s not obtrusive so that you can wear it to any occasion.
Longevity is about 12 hours on it with the mention the sandalwood isn’t liner in the first few hours.
- It smells like a mix of sandalwood, cumin, coconut, rice, cedar, spices, and elemi
- Sometimes impossible to describe
- It lasts more than other sandalwood perfumes
- Probably discontinued
2. Santal Majuscule Serge Lutens
Santal Majuscule from Serge Lutens is another top sandalwood fragrance for men but with a sweet feminine opening that makes it a bigger crowd-pleaser than Sacred Wood.
This perfume with sandalwood notes comes as a pleasant surprise in the world of santal lovers. It probably uses Australian sandalwood with a sweet jelly-like profile.
This perfume is not pure sandalwood and this note is not even the most prominent here. It’s the cacao note that first greets you with a milder but highly sophisticated Damask rose.
Iris or an influence of the rose give it a bit of a floral opening more than you first expect.
Sandalwood then makes its appearance tying up the entire Serge Lutens sandalwood scent superbly.
This combination of notes immediately pushes the fragrance towards formal events.
You’d spray it for a meeting, a date, a going out event, or daily if you wear a suit and a tie every day.
- Rich and deep sandalwood note
- Creamy floral opening
- Earthy cacao note without a trace of bitterness
- It won’t work with casual outfits
3. Tom Ford Santal Blush
This is the sexiest sandalwood cologne you can imagine. While often listed as a sandalwood perfume for women, Santal Blush is truly unisex, like any good Tom Ford fragrance.
As a complex sandalwood cologne, it’s the complete opposite of sacred wood as it comes with plenty of supporting notes which you can smell.
But the comparison between these 2 perfumes can have some common ground as Tom Ford also uses a pulpy or zesty sandalwood interpretation.
Spices, caraway, cinnamon, fenugreek, and carrot seeds are its daring opening notes.
Ylang-ylang, jasmine, and rose are its mid accords.
Sandalwood, benzoin, Virginia cedar, musk, and agarwood are the perfume’s base notes.
Sublime on its own and sublime when layered with other fragrances, it lasts for at least 5 hours and it can be the signature sandalwood cologne men are looking for.
- One of the underated Tom Ford colognes for men
- Spicy rich sandalwood note
- Highly daring
- Not easy to find and sample in stores
4. Creed Original Santal
Spicy, mildly sweet from the tonka beans, and slightly flora, Original Santal is still the number one sandalwood cologne for many.
This sandalwood perfume for him has launched about a decade and a half ago but yet so many fail to outrank it.
The quality of its natural ingredients is what makes it ephemeral.
Sandalwood, its main note, is there from the first spray and late into the drydown. It doesn’t come off as pure sandalwood as the supporting notes can be distinguished as well.
This perfume impresses with a tonka note right from the start, even if it’s a base note.
Sandalwood, cinnamon spices, juniper berries, and coriander are its top notes.
Lavender, spicy ginger, rosemary, and petitgrain are the Chanel perfume’s mid accords.
Vanilla and tonka bean are creamy sweet base notes that can be distinguished from the first spray. This vanilla sandalwood cologne is a good mix of tonka.
You’d wear Creed’s Original Santal to any occasion such as for work, to school, or on a date. This perfume catches the attention of others and compliments it gets are typically around ‘you smell rich’ or ‘you smell elegant’ rather than ‘you smell sexy’, just so you know.
- A work of art and a must-have
- Safe blind buy for those who love perfumes with sandalwood and vanilla
- It lasts for 10 hours on the skin
- Not the cheapest sandalwood cologne
5. Chanel Egoiste
Egoiste is the best sandalwood perfume from the ‘90s that is still appealing today. Warm and woody, this is the type of sandalwood perfume for men you can consider for winter wear.
It starts with Brazilian rosewood, coriander, Sicilian mandarin, and mahogany in a woodsy opening.
Cinnamon, rose, and carnation is their mid accords.
Sandalwood, tobacco, vanilla, leather, and ambers are its dewy comforting sweet, and smoky base notes.
If you like classic best sandalwood fragrances, you should look no further. This perfume with sandalwood is a top choice for men over 40.
- Superior warming feeling in the winter
- It can last up to 24 hours on clothes
- Still a reference in the cologne world
- Not the most welcoming opening
Why get a sandalwood cologne
Sandalwood based perfumes are typically associated with cold weather and comforting cozy colognes for men. But they can be worn during any season, as shown with the first 4 sandalwood colognes for men listed above.
All of the Men’s cologne with sandalwood listed above last hours and even a full. With so many modern perfumes that are gone after a couple of hours, it becomes almost impossible not to like these santal kings that show us how proper colognes for men that last should be made.
Sandalwood and cypress cologne, sandalwood and vanilla, or even pure sandalwood colognes smell masculine. Whatever happened to the old school perfume that made you smell like an aromatic spicewood without any florals?
Perfumes that smell like sandalwood are now original choices. This wasn’t the case 3 or 4 decades ago. But with the advent of sweet and overly sweet colognes for men that smell good and modern, it’s almost impossible to find something different. This is why sandalwood-centric colognes are a different way of smelling good.
If you want to learn how does sandalwood smells like make sure to check our dedicated article on fragrancespotter.com. The sandalwood scent is described differently by everybody and this is what makes it so interesting in the first place.
The best sandalwood cologne is always in trend and quite versatile. I know men who wear perfumes that smell like sandalwood all year even if specialized magazines tell them to only wear them in the winter. It’s just a matter of personal preference in the end.
|Types of sandalwood|
|Australian sandalwood||Santalum spicatum|
|Indian sandalwood||Santalum album|
|Red Sanders||Pterocarpus santalinus|
|Coastal Hawaian sandalwood||Santalum ellipticum|
|Forest sandalwood||Santalum freycinetianum|
|Hawai’I Sandalwood||Santalum paniculatum|
|Haleakala Sandalwood||Santalum haleakalae|
|Fiji Sandalwood||Santalum yasi|
|Southwest Australian Sandalwood||Santalum spicatum|
|New Caledonian Sandalwood||Santalum austrocaledonicum|
Does sandalwood smell good?
Sandalwood smells good on its own and in combination with other notes. It’s a versatile oriental smell that is used both in colognes for men and in perfumes for women.
What smell goes with sandalwood?
Successful sandalwood colognes tell use the note goes well with milk, ylang ylang, ginger, pepper, woodsy notes, and some white florals.
Why is sandalwood so expensive?
Sandalwood only grows in a few regions of the world which makes it hard to source. Natural sandalwood essential oil also takes a lot of work until it reaches its final stage.
Is sandalwood a masculine scent?
Sandalwood leans towards the masculine with its woodsy orientation. Spices make it both masculine and feminine and it depends on the other notes it’s combined with when it comes to creating a masculine cologne for men.