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 and fall. 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. So if you're shopping for a new perfume or maybe you're just curious about what sandalwood has to offer, you've come to the right place. We've found nine tantalizing fragrances that will make you love sandalwood—that is, if you don't already.
Keep scrolling for our curated roundup of the top sandalwood perfumes worth trying.
Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule Eau de Parfum
Let's start things off with a fragrance that the perfumer himself describes as "sandalwood written in capital letters." With a profile—and a name—like that, it's a must-have (or at least a must-try) if a sandalwood scent is what you're after. Get introduced with a warm, woody opening note tempered with light floral notes (think: fresh rose). A snap of cacao at the end keeps things sharp and leaves a lasting impression.
Byredo Parfums Blanche Eau de Parfum
Blanche may be Byredo founder, Ben Gorham's, attempt at evoking synesthesia. The scent is meant to represent his perception of the color white. With floral top notes and heart notes like white rose and peony, it leans toward the lighter side of sandalwood. It's an overall clean and fresh fragrance, making it a great option for everyday wear.
Diptyque Tam Dao Eau de Toilette
The only eau de toilette to make our list, Diptyque's Tam Dao illustrates the powerful tie between scent and memory. Co-founder Yves Coueslant created the fragrance to evoke the Mysorian forests and temples where he spent his summers as a child. The woody notes of this fragrance (Italian cypress, cedar, spices, and amber) give it a warm, spicy appeal that seduces the senses.
Tom Ford Santal Blush Eau de Parfum
Ford intended for this exotic fragrance to embody a kind of "naked glamour"—and that's exactly what it delivers. Equal parts creamy and spicy, it counts cinnamon bark oil, ylang-ylang, benzoin tears, and copaiba balsam, among its ingredients. We're betting it would be right at home in the mid-century excess of Palm Springs.
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil
Here we have an affordable option that smells anything but. Sandalwood combines with vetiver and amber to create a warm, earthy scent that doesn't overpower. And while perfume oil may not have the sillage of an eau de parfum, it actually lasts longer. Light yet highly luxurious, this is the scent to slather on if you want major compliments.
Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
Thanks to its cult status, this perfume has become synonymous with modern luxury. With notes of cardamom, violet, iris, papyrus, and cedarwood, you've likely already smelled this incredibly popular scent in the wild—and if you've been to LA. Creamy and light, you'll want to continue layering it on throughout the day.
D.S. & Durga Radio Bombay Eau de Parfum
Wallflowers need not apply—this exotic fragrance demands attention. Its spicy, heady scent was inspired by the bustling streets of Mumbai. And with a formula that includes ambergris, one of the world's most expensive perfume ingredients—it should come as no surprise that Radio Bombay doesn't run cheap. Fortunately, D.S. & Durga also offers a Pocket Perfume ($72) that poses as a more budget-friendly option.
Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum
A classic fragrance created by Jacques Polge, Chanel's Coco needs no introduction. Sicilian mandarin, jasmine, patchouli, and a note of vanilla-like Tonka give way to a scent that is complex, but not complicated; empowering without overpowering. It makes for the perfect date night perfume.
Jo Malone Orris & Sandalwood Cologne Intense
Jo Malone's Cologne Intense line is the most fragrant of the brand's cologne offerings. Still, as colognes, they're light and refreshing by nature. Orris & Sandalwood makes our list for its intriguing woody-floral character that is steeped in sensuality. Wear it alone or layered for a truly bespoke scent.