Trust Us: These Are the Best Sandalwood Scents Out There

Updated 07/16/19

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

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.

serge lutens
Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule Eau de Parfum $150
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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.

Elva Print Silk Tie
Byredo Parfums Blanche Eau de Parfum $175
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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.

Diptyque Tam Dao Eau de Toilette $140
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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.

Elva Print Silk Tie
Tom Ford Santal Blush $240
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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.

Maison Louis Marie 4
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil $57
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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.

Santal 33
Le Labo Santal 33 $189
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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.

Radio Bombay Eau de Parfum
D.S. & Durga Radio Bombay Eau de Parfum $260
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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.

Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum $105
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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.

frederic malle
Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten $225
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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.

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