Le Labo Santal 33: They Made It Right!

Love it! I was ready for another prentetious (and disappointing) release from the guys at LeLabo but Santal 33 is just amazing.

Opens with a transparent and very dry cardamom note joined by cedar and a light violet. Papyrus and iris follow right away adding a slightly green, sort of wet, note that's just perfect and preserves the fragrance from being too overpowering or too loud. In this phase Santal 33 introduces a moderatley sweet, subtle yet remarkable, fig/coconut accord that enhances the creamy undertones throughout while a nutty-woody sandalwood make its appearance to drive the fragrance towards the spicy-woody-ambery drydown. 

Personally I wouldn't classify this as a sandalwood prominent composition and while the main note is surely remarkable, the fragrance is so well blended and orchestrated to leave enough space to all the other elements to properly shine and play their roles.

While being definitely different, Santal 33 made me somehow think about Papyrus De Ciane, Jardins De Kerylos and Calamus (expecially just right after the opening). It doesn't exactly shares many similarities with the aforementioned fragrances but the papyrus note is not very distant from the transparent interpretation  that Guillame delivered in PDC while the fig/coconut accord is just as refined and sophisticated as the one in Jardins De Kerylos (even if definitely toned down in the LeLabo). Last but not least, I experience the same slight wet/green, sort of cardboard-like, vibe that I much enjoy in Calamus.

Original, sophisticated and if moderately applied, very easy to wear. 

A big winner.

Rating: 8.5/10


  1. I agree. I was so impressed by so many Le Labo that I cynically thought that Santal 33 would be a failure or mediocre, only because it's rare for one house to have so many successes. Well Santal 33 is amazing.

    Love your review.

  2. I think it's about time to get a full bottle :)

  3. It sounds like an interesting scent. I was wondering how much, in your opinion, this composition is "similar" in terms of quality, notes and construction with By Kilian Sacred Wood

  4. As far as I remember, Sacred Wood is more of a balmy take on the main theme. More creamy and, in the end, a bit more conventional too. Santal 33 is sharper, kind of coconut-y (because of the massoia) and, surely more unique.