Santal 33 Review: A Timeless Scent or Overhyped Fragrance?

Wondering if Santal 33 is the right scent for you? In this Santal 33 review, we unwrap the enigma of its widespread popularity, concentrating on its fragrance notes, longevity, and adaptability. We’ll help you decide if this celebrated perfume merits its fame and your attention.

Key Takeaways

  • Santal 33 by Le Labo is a story-driven scent, expertly blended with creamy sandalwood, spices, and leather, crafted by perfumer Frank Voelkl transitioning from a room spray to a signature perfume.
  • It’s unisex, seasonally versatile, and offers a lasting presence with a complex profile of creamy woods, spicy cardamom, fresh citrus, and a sensual base of leather and musk.
  • Despite its high-end price tag, Santal 33 has gained immense popularity and celebrity endorsements, and for those seeking more affordability, there are market dupes like Eden Perfumes’ version.

Discovering Santal 33: A Sensory Experience

Illustration of a perfume bottle and a candle

In the realm of perfumery, Santal 33 stands out with its compelling narrative. This signature scent is not just a blend of notes; it’s a story that unfolds on your skin, with each whiff taking you on a sensory voyage. Le Labo’s visionaries, Eddie and Fabrice, have crafted this tale with great precision, making each bottle of Santal 33 not just an aroma, but an experience.

The creamy sandalwood core, coupled with hints of spices and leather, beckons you to delve into the depths of this fragrance and uncover its secrets.

Origins of Santal 33

Santal 33’s narrative begins with a modern take on classic aromas, its high oil concentration distinguishing it from other perfumes. At the helm of its creation was the skilled perfumer Frank Voelkl, who crafted a scent that is at once nostalgic and refreshingly modern. Voelkl’s personal touch—a room spray that garnered admiration—became the bedrock for Santal 33’s development.

He aimed to go beyond, formulating a fragrance that was both profound and soothing, mirroring the complexity of the human spirit. As a result, it smelled truly unique and the smells it produced captivated everyone.

From Candle to Perfume

The transformation of Santal 33 from a scented candle into a sought-after perfume is as distinctive as the scent itself. Its predecessor, Santal 26, began its life as a candle and room spray, imbued with the calming essences of coconut and vanilla. The turning point came when Fabrice Penot recognized its distinctive smell being worn by someone at a bar. This encounter illuminated the potential of the room spray as a personal skin scent, marking the dawn of a new era for the fragrance.

By 2011, Frank Voelkl had reimagined Santal 26 into the perfume that would become Santal 33, a bottle that resonated with a wider audience and solidified its place in the realm of perfumery.

The Scent Profile of Santal 33

Artistic representation of earthy woody notes with a touch of leather

Take an olfactory expedition to the Wild West with Santal 33, a perfume that encapsulates the rawness of the landscape with a meticulously blended array of earthy, woody notes. The scent is a homage to the pioneering spirit, featuring a touch of leather that evokes images of vast, open plains and the freedom of an unbridled life.

This signature scent owes its existence to the expertise of Frank Voelkl, who, in his quest to perfect the fragrance, endowed it with deeper olfactory characteristics that have made it a staple in the collections of fragrance aficionados.

Creamy Sandalwood and Cedarwood

The creamy texture of sandalwood, both luxurious and comforting, forms the heart of Santal 33. The fragrance skillfully emulates the profile of Indian sandalwood using its Australian counterpart, known for its smoky and leathery qualities, to create a scent that’s both medicinal and enticing.

As the scent lingers on the skin, it unveils a harmonious interplay between cedarwood and sandalwood, culminating in a creamy accord that’s juxtaposed with the contrasting sharpness of amber notes in its drydown.

Cardamom, Bergamot, and Fig

The addition of cardamom, bergamot, and fig further enhances Santal 33’s complexity, each introducing its unique dimension to the scent.

  • Cardamom introduces a warm, spicy element that weaves through the scent, offering a blend of sweetness, spice, and a hint of green.
  • Bergamot, with its fresh citrus aroma and a touch of bitterness, complements the spiciness, adding a layer of freshness that brightens the overall composition.
  • The inclusion of fig rounds out the scent, lending a sweet and green note that enriches the fragrance, making it irresistible and multifaceted.

Leather, Musk, and Powder

The sensual interaction of leather and musk completes the signature scent of Santal 33. This combination deepens the fragrance, adding a layer of:

  • warmth
  • allure
  • sophistication
  • primal essence

As the fragrance settles, it reveals a powdery aspect that softens the intensity, providing a balance that makes Santal 33 so captivating and memorable. The smoky nuances of the leather and the clean seduction of musk create an olfactory tapestry that is both bold and harmonious, inviting those who wear it to leave a lasting impression.

Wearing Santal 33: A Personal Journey

Illustration of unisex appeal with diverse individuals

Santal 33, adorning the wrists and necklines of countless individuals from New York’s bustling streets to Kyoto’s serene gardens, has become a personal signature scent for many. Its versatility is unmatched, transcending gender norms and seasonal changes, making it a prized possession in any fragrance lover’s collection.

With its softer and more universally approachable aroma, Santal 33’s allure stands in contrast to the masculine profile of other Le Labo offerings like Patchouli 24.

Unisex Appeal

With its balanced scent profile that harmonizes both feminine and masculine notes, Santal 33 has won favour among all genders. The creamy, leathery, and woody tones of sandalwood make it a particularly attractive choice for those who seek a fragrance that embodies both strength and softness. While some may perceive it as leaning towards the masculine, its universal appeal is undeniable, with style icons like Jodie Comer and Brad Pitt among its famous fans.

This unisex nature is a testament to the fragrance’s capacity to boost confidence and cater to a diverse range of personal styles.

Seasonal Versatility

Santal 33’s beauty lies in its adaptability to the changing seasons, serving as a constant companion all year round. In the cooler months of autumn and winter, its sensuous and earthy qualities provide a comforting warmth, while in the summer, it evokes the refreshing sensation of a forest after a downpour.

The fragrance’s application can be tailored to the climate, with a lighter touch in the warmth and a more generous application as the temperature drops, ensuring its presence is always felt, never overwhelming. In your spare time, you can experiment with the perfect balance for each season.

Longevity and Sillage

One of the most remarkable aspects of Santal 33 is its enduring presence and potent sillage. Wearers of the fragrance report its lasting power, often catching hints of its scent lingering on their skin long into the evening. Such longevity ensures that Santal 33 remains a constant olfactory backdrop throughout the day.

The sillage is equally impressive, with a trail that is noticeable yet never intrusive. This balance between endurance and presence has made Santal 33 a top choice for those seeking a perfume that makes a statement without saying a word.

Comparing Santal 33 to Other Le Labo Fragrances

Artistic depiction of Santal 33 compared to other Le Labo fragrances

Among the constellation of Le Labo fragrances, Santal 33 shines brightly, its star marked by distinctive versatility and a signature scent profile. While other fragrances in the Le Labo line, such as Bergamote 22 and Vetiver 46, have their own devoted followings, Santal 33 offers a different olfactory experience—one that is less floral-centric and avoids overpowering smokiness, making it a softer and more universally approachable choice.

Carnal Flower and Tuberose

Santal 33’s subtle floral notes provide a gentle undertone that contrasts the more dominant floral notes found in other Le Labo fragrances. Carnal Flower, for instance, is a celebration of tuberose, showcasing the flower’s opulent and intense scent as its primary feature. Santal 33, on the other hand, allows its floral elements to play a supporting role, creating a nuanced scent that is both elegant and grounded.

This approach sets it apart from fragrances like Tuberose 40, where the tuberose is blended with other notes, offering a different perspective on the flower’s potential.

Salty Sea Air and Freshness

While Santal 33 captures the essence of fresh, salty sea air, it does so with a finesse that distinguishes it from other oceanic scents in the Le Labo collection. The freshness of Santal 33 is airy and subtle, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of coastal breezes rather than the direct marine notes found in other fragrances.

This distinction is what sets Santal 33 apart, making its scent profile one that is refreshing without being overly sweet or heavily influenced by the scent of the sea.

Santal 33: Celebrity Endorsements and Popularity

Illustration of celebrity endorsements and social media buzz

The allure of Santal 33 extends far beyond its scent profile, reaching into the realms of celebrity and social media, where it has been embraced with open arms. High-profile personalities like Justin Bieber and Ryan Reynolds have donned this luxury fragrance, magnifying its appeal and solidifying its status as a symbol of style and sophistication.

Such celebrity endorsements have been crucial in positioning Santal 33 as a sought-after item in fashion circles, further boosting its popularity among perfume enthusiasts and the broader public.

Famous Fans

The endorsement by famous personalities such as Jodie Comer has had a significant impact on Santal 33’s visibility and appeal. Comer’s open admiration for the fragrance has not only added to its allure but has also highlighted its versatility as a go-to perfume for those in the limelight.

The ripple effect of such celebrity mentions has played no small part in the fragrance’s success across various platforms, as it continues to captivate and enchant a growing fanbase.

Social Media Buzz

The buzz surrounding Santal 33 is not confined to the glittering world of celebrities—it has also found a fervent following on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The fragrance’s distinctive and recognizable scent has become a hot topic of conversation, with influencers and enthusiasts eagerly sharing their personal stories and recommendations. This social media phenomenon has not only enhanced Santal 33’s trendy image but has also been linked to a noticeable uptick in sales, showcasing the power of digital engagement in the modern age of perfumery.

Santal 33 Dupes

Although the allure of the original Santal 33 is undeniable, its price tag may be prohibitive for some. This has given rise to a market of Santal 33 dupes, offering a similar scent experience at a more accessible price point. For those who yearn for the creamy sandalwood and the leathery allure of Santal 33 but are looking for a budget-friendly alternative, these dupes have become a popular choice. Here are some Santal 33 dupes that provide a taste of luxury without breaking the bank:

Eden Perfumes, for example, has become well-known for its ability to replicate high-end fragrances, offering an olfactory equivalent for Santal 33 that captures the essence of the original scent. These alternatives meet the needs of fragrance enthusiasts who want to enjoy the Santal 33 experience minus the hefty cost, thus making the world of fine fragrances more accessible.


As we come to the end of our fragrant journey, it’s clear that Santal 33 is more than just a perfume—it’s an emblem of modern perfumery that has captured the hearts of many. Its unique blend of creamy sandalwood, leather, and spices, combined with its unisex appeal and year-round versatility, make it a standout fragrance that transcends trends. The celebrity endorsements and social media buzz have only added to its mystique, cementing its place as a modern classic in the olfactory world.

Whether you’re a connoisseur of fine fragrances or simply someone seeking a scent that tells a story, Santal 33 offers a multi-faceted experience that continues to enchant wearers around the globe. It’s a fragrance that promises to linger in the memory, long after the last scent trail has faded.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Santal 33 smell like?

SANTAL 33 has a dreamy, intoxicating scent with a mix of cardamom, iris, and violet notes that create a crackling effect. So, it smells warm, woody, and floral with a spicy kick.

What celebrity wears Santal 33?

Celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Justin Bieber, Ryan Reynolds, and Sophie Turner are known to be fans of Santal 33 by Le Labo. They have been seen wearing this fragrance on multiple occasions.

Is Santal 33 more masculine or feminine?

Santal 33 leans more masculine with a great longevity, but it’s considered unisex, so anyone can wear it.

Why is Santal 33 so popular?

Santal 33 is popular due to its distinctive scent that represents a blurring of gender lines, a connection to nature in urban settings, and a manifestation of identity through fragrance. It’s a universally appealing scent.

What makes Santal 33 a unisex fragrance?

Santal 33’s balanced creamy, leathery, and woody notes of sandalwood appeal to both men and women, making it a unisex fragrance that suits a variety of personal styles.

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