Think of sandalwood as a gateway note—it’s an easy place to start if you’ve been loyal to scents like floral and vanilla but are looking for something slightly more sophisticated. And thanks to its incredibly light, slightly musky finish, sandalwood happens to be one of our go-to fragrances for summer. It's the kind of second-skin scent that makes you lean in just a little bit closer.
While certain sandalwood scents are practically household names at this point (ahem, Le Labo), we have many favorites on the market—and at every price range, to boot. Find nine of our favorites below.
Let's start things off with a fragrance that the perfumer himself describes as "sandalwood written in capital letters."
Notes: sandalwood, fresh rose, bitter cacao
What to Expect: A warm, woody opening note tempered with light floral notes and a snap of cacao at the end to keep things sharp.
As the name suggests, this fragrance was built around perfumer Ben Gorham's perception of the color white.
Notes: blonde woods, sandalwood, musk, white rose, pink pepper, violet, neroli, peony
What to Expect: The lighter side of sandalwood—a great option for everyday wear.
A tribute to sandalwood, inspired by Goa, India.
Notes: rose, myrtle, Italian cypress, sandalwood, cedar, spices, amber, white musk, Brazilian rosewood
What to Expect: The masculine notes of this fragrance give it a "borrowed from the boys" appeal.
Ford created this scent to embody a kind of "naked glamour"—and that's exactly what it delivers.
Notes: cinnamon bark oil, Australian sandalwood, cumin seed oil, ylang-ylang, benzoin tears, copaiba balsam
What to Expect: Equal parts creamy and spicy, this exotic scent would be right at home in the midcentury excess of Palm Springs.
An affordable option that smells anything but.
Notes: sandalwood, vetiver, amber
What to Expect: Light yet highly luxurious, this is the scent to slather on if you want major compliments.
Thanks to its cult status, this scent has become synonymous with modern luxury.
Notes: sandalwood, cardamom, violet, iris, papyrus, cedarwood
What to Expect: You've likely already smelled this incredibly popular scent in the wild. Creamy and light, you'll want to continue layering it on throughout the day.
This spicy, heady scent was inspired by the bustling streets of Mumbai.
Notes: cedar, radiant wood, sandalwood, iris, balsam fir, coconut musk, ambergris
What to Expect: Wallflowers need not apply—this exotic fragrance demands attention.
A classic fragrance created by Jacques Polge, Coco was inspired by Coco Chanel's home.
Notes: coriander, pomegranate blossom, mandarin orange, Bulgarian rose, mimose, cloves, amber, sandalwood, Tonka bean, vanilla
What to Expect: A sensual but not overpowering scent that's great for date night.
This is the first in a series of "olfactory portraits of extraordinary individuals" by the niche French fragrance house.
Notes: sandalwood, guaiac wood, tonka bean, vanilla, saffron, jasmine, musk, bergamot, lemon, nutmeg, cloves
What to Expect: This comforting unisex scent became an instant classic when it was released in 2013.