Peppermint Twist – Review: Le Labo Santal 33

Of course Le Labo Santal 33 follows the Le Labo practice of naming a perfume after the ingredient that is the largest component in the formula of 33 in this case, which invariably leads to confusion, since those perfumes tend to smell nothing like their name suggests to the unititated.

Of the 33 notes, Australian sandalwood, papyrus, cedarwood, cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox and leather accord are mentioned. Santal 33 was created in 2011 by Frank Voelkl.

Australian sandalwood is described as being quite different from Indian sandalwood, rather rougher, less creamy-smooth, and with an almost medicinal pungency.

To me Santal 33 starts out smelling strongly of iris and cool spices (cardamom), before starting to exhibit a cool, almost mentholated facet of sandalwood on leather. There is a freshness, a cool breeze running through it. During the development the perfume gets sweeter and sweeter, thanks to violet, on me.

It is most unusual, and very unique. I like it, although it demands attention. It is not a perfume to wear casually and never think about it again. For me at least, there is a constant presence and a slight nudge to my nose whenever I move and smell Santal 33.

The icon that Le Labo wants to evoke with Santal 33 is the Marlboro man. I can see their point, but to me it smells not like my idea of the Marlboro man at all. I see mint candy.

Somehow my skin amplifies the underlying sweetness in Santal 33 and that combined with the menthol-like freshness makes me see peppermint patties and those red-and white after dinner mints American restaurants like to place at the cash register to grab on the way out.

Santal 33 is surprising for me, it is interesting to wear, but not something I would need a bottle, or even a decant of.

From what I have heard and read, Santal 33 seems to wear very differently on different people. What are your experiences with the fragrance?

Image source: liberty.co.uk, recipe2eat.com
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19 Responses to Peppermint Twist – Review: Le Labo Santal 33

  1. I tried this a few months ago and am undecided about it. I will give it another try. I had a bit of a giggle when I read your description of Australia sandalwood, this is a quite apt description of some Aussie guys that I know, real laconic boys – love them :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have met an Australian boy only once, in the summer after high school graduation in Greece, he was very, very drunk, but astoundingly polite and I loved his accent. ;)

  2. Lindy_Mop says:

    I’ve always sworn I can detect a sweet mintiness like Murray Mints in Tam Dao. Maybe it’s a sandalwood thing.

  3. Tara says:

    Hmmm, sounds interesting at the very least, will definitely sniff when I get the chance. I have to agree though, Calamity J is THE Marlboro Man scent – thanks to dee for that one!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Hmmm, this sounds rather intriguing because I love sandalwood, cardamom and anything that hints of mint. Now you’ve got me interested in looking up some other reviews on Santal 33, since you say that it tends to wear quite differently on people. Off to go research! :)

  5. I love Santal 33, but I agree that it’s not very easy to wear. I find that it’s incredibly refreshing on hot days, and I love the thin, cedar-laden drydown. It actually doesn’t get very sweet on me, but the camphorous element is practically out of control to my nose. Another unique creation from Le Labo… now I need to get the candle the perfume was based on!

  6. deeHowe says:

    It sounds kind of delicious! :)

  7. masha7 says:

    I am burning Indian sandalwood right now, and there is absolutely no mint, no camphor in it, it’s just creamy and sweet and yummy! But Le Labo is known for calling a fragrance on thing, and highlighting another with it! And you reminded me of my California youth, the Aussies would come to stay and surf with us during our summer (their winter), and those guys rocked! Some wonderful parties….

  8. Undina says:

    Carrie was very kind to send me a sample of Santal 33. I tried it once, had some thoughts about it but decided to test it more later. Then I read Persolaise’s review, was very surprised by what he could smell in this perfume. I tried it again – and it smelled nothing like what I read. When I read your review yesterday I tested Santal 33 again. Your description of it is much closer to what I smell but on me it never gets sweet. It’s not “not too sweet”, it’s not sweet at all.
    For a while now I was looking for the third Le Labo to get three 5 ml set (I’ve decided on Rose 31 and Iris 39 a long ago but needed the third one). I think Santal 33 fits the bill.

  9. jedennard says:

    This sounds like a very different take on sandalwood than I have experienced. I like menthol in my aftershaves. That scent/quality in a fragrance would certainly be new and interesting.

  10. Pingback: Tom Times Three – Review: Tom Ford Santal Blush, Jasmine Rouge And Violet Blonde | Olfactoria's Travels

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