The New York perfumery Le Labo has been crafting unique scents since 2006. This luxury brand has created over 18 perfumes for both men and women. Among those 18, Santal 33 stands out as their most popular creation.
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This perfume, which earned the label of “cult fragrance” at the time it came out, has undoubtedly become an iconic perfume over the years. Some people even say it’s “The smell of New York City.”
Santal means sandalwood, and 33 is the number of ingredients found in this fragrance. Thanks to its earthy scent, this perfume is a classic among millennials.
One of the more unique aspects of santal 33 is that it defies gender. The woodsy and sweet smell makes it appealing to almost everyone. It’s no wonder that this perfume has lasted on the market for over ten years.
Take a look at our in-depth Santal 33 review to learn more about this enticing scent.
Who Makes It?
Santal 33 was created by master perfumer Frank Voelkl. Voelkl was raised in France but was born in Germany. He was trained in the science of perfumery at the prestigious ISIPCA. Voelkl’s career began at Symrise, and then Firmenich.
After establishing his career, Voelkl began collaborating with Le Labo founder Fabrice Penot. He has had a hand in creating several of their scents. None of them is more iconic than Santal 33.
Voelkl has created perfumes for a wide array of brands. Some of his more notable creations were for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Hugo Boss.
Voelkl’s style of perfumery usually combines woods, flowers, and fresh spices, and in his words, the scents he creates are “subtle and present at the same time.”
Santal 33’s scent notes are based on a theme of the American West. Le Labo sought to invoke images inspired by old Marlboro adverts: cowboys, freedom, campfires, and the night sky.
The most prevalent notes in Santal 33 are woody and rich. Sandalwood and cedarwood combine to give this scent a heady and masculine touch.
The middle layer of notes in Santal 33 is spicy and floral. Cardamom, iris, and violet combine to lend a softness to this perfume.
The floral aspects blend nicely with the more masculine wood giving this scent its signature unisex quality.
The base notes in Santal 33 are leather and white musk. These two scents combine to produce a creamy base that grounds the perfume.
This scent would be too sharp without the leather and musk base notes. The leather feels masculine, and the musk balances the base notes with its femininity.
PROS: Unisex, Long-lasting, Unique scent
CONS: Expensive, Plain packaging
- Sillage: Good
- Longevity: Very Good
- Scent Potency/ Appropriate For: The office
- Price: $$$
Who Would Like It?
This fragrance is an excellent choice for young professionals looking to treat themselves. It is a perfect scent for stylish, trendsetting people. In addition, Santal 33 is a men’s scent as much as it is a woman’s. The perfume is unisex in every sense of the word.
If you’re looking for a new signature scent, then find your closest Le Labo store to ask for a Santal 33 sample. If there is no official Le Labo store near you, you can order a small tube of Santal 33 on Amazon.
When To Wear It?
Santal 33 is one of those unique fragrances that work for any time of year. The wood and leather notes make it suitable for fall and winter. The cold air combined with the warmth of the perfume makes a great combo.
In spring and summer, the sweeter notes of the iris and violet complement the weather.
During the cooler months, you can wear Santal 33 any time of day or night. Once spring or summer arrives, we’d recommend keeping Santal 33 as an evening or nighttime fragrance.
Where To Wear It?
Some scents are true chameleons that can suit a multitude of occasions. Santal 33 is one of those scents. Applied lightly, it works well in a casual setting. The scent isn’t too intense or busy to be worn to the office.
Because Santal 33 is such a luxurious-smelling perfume, it’s also an excellent choice for more formal occasions.
Keep in mind that Santal 33 does tend to transfer thanks to its high oil content. So if you’re attending an event with physical contact, you may want to choose something else.
Packaging and Presentation
Le Labo –meaning “The Lab” in French– is a laboratory-themed company. The packing for Santal 33 follows the same minimalistic format as all of Le Labo’s perfumes: the bottles are like laboratory bottles that come in a plain cardboard box.
Santal 33 comes in two forms: the simple glass bottle and a roll-on tube, both labeled with a typewriter font.
What we don’t love about the packaging is that it doesn’t stand out so much. If you own several Le Labo scents, reading the tiny font on the labels and trying to find the specific perfume you’re looking for could be an inconvenience.
We picked up a Santal 33 tester to try the scent out and report our findings back to you. Our personal opinion about this scent is that we love it. There is something edgy but not too risky about Santal 33.
The scent didn’t disrupt any of the settings it was worn in. You can expect to be complimented every time you wear this fragrance.
The only downside, in our opinion, is that it’s easy to over-apply. One drop too much, and Santal 33 becomes overbearing.
The longevity of this perfume is impressive. Santal 33 contains a higher than average oil content, which attributes to how long it lasts once applied. Santal 33 applied to clothes can still be noticed after a wash.
This designer best-selling fragrance is, beyond question, the best in class. If you’re looking for a sandalwood perfume, look no further; Sandal 33 will be the perfect match for you.
Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.