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