The Grooming Editor's Test: 12 Superior Sandalwood Fragrances for Men

2023-09-04 00:12:53 - Dr. Sam Nine Dr. Sam Nine is a renowned urologist with over 20 years of experience in the field. Recognizing the need for more resources dedicated to men's sexual health, he created With his commitment to providing accurate information and fostering open discussions, he has become a pioneering figure in promoting healthier, stigma-free attitudes towards men's health.

At this juncture, you'll be hard pressed to discover a more widespread sandalwood aroma than Santal 33. That's not an undesirable thing. The sleek, warm scent is distinctive, but not overwhelming with warm notes of cardamom and ambrox, subtle floral notes of iris and violet, and a triumvirate of smoky woods from cedarwood, papyrus, and, of course, sandalwood. There is literally no place where this cologne isn't suitable or identifiable.

Aroma ClassificationAroma Classification
ScentsSandalwood, cedarwood, papyrus, iris, violet, cardamom, ambrox, leather
Size.5 oz, 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

Finest Affordable Sandalwood Perfume

Autonomous For Them Sandalwood SIZE&quantity=1" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">You don't always have to spend a fortune for an exceptionally good perfume. Case in point, this economical unisex aroma by Urban Outfitters, which smells equally as opulent and complex as the designer scents you encounter at the department store. Sandalwood takes center stage with this one but is invigorated with a collection of botanical scents like jasmine and bergamot with a splash of incense for spiciness and vanilla for sleekness.

Type of FragranceWoody
Scent NotesSandalwood, cashmere wood, vanilla, incense, jasmine, juniper berries, bergamot
Volume1.35 ounces

Similar to all Creed fragrances, this cologne with a prominent sandalwood scent has a luxurious aroma (and price tag). It possesses a spicy warmth that eventually reveals the smooth sandalwood note, which is enhanced by musk, cedar, and tonka bean. The end result is a fresh, sweet, and slightly soapy vibe that not only has a masculine scent but also lasts for hours. While it may not be as bold as some of the brand's other fragrances, it is just as distinctive.

Type of FragranceWoody, Amber
Scent NotesSandalwood, juniper berries, coriander, ginger, tonka bean, musk, cedar
Volume1.7 ounces, 3.3 ounces

Tom Ford is renowned for his bold fragrances, but he also excels in creating refined and subtle scents. This warm woody cologne offers a smooth warmth with initial notes of spices such as cinnamon, caraway, and fenugreek. It then transitions to middle notes of ylang-ylang and jasmine, and finishes with a base of sandalwood, oud, and musk. It is the type of cologne that entices people to lean in closer.

Read more: Top Tom Ford Fragrances

Type of FragranceWoody, Amber
Scent NotesCinnamon, caraway, fenugreek, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sandalwood, oud, musk
Volume1.7 ounces

Best Classic Sandalwood Cologne

Davidoff Cool Water

Best Classic Sandalwood Cologne

Cool Water

Davidoff Cool Water

Currently on Sale with a 67% Discount

It's likely that you are already familiar with Cool Water. It is one of the most popular (and iconic) fragrances for men ever made (in fact, created in 1988 and still going strong). What sets it apart, especially in terms of its use of sandalwood, is its refreshing aquatic quality. Many colognes focus on the woody aspect of this ingredient, but this particular cologne utilizes it to enhance the aquatic elements with a smooth, earthy touch.

Fragrance CategoryAquatic
NotesSea water, lavandin, peppermint, sandalwood, orange blossom, jasmine, musk, oakmoss, cedarwood
Size2.5 fl oz, 4.2 fl oz, 6.7 fl oz

Combined with fresh hints of bitter orange, bergamot from Calabria, lemon, and lavandin, this rendition of sandalwood exudes a masculine, almost reminiscent of a barbershop, vibe. It embraces tradition without being heavy and possesses a clean, soapy quality that many other sandalwood-focused fragrances lack. It's perfect for daytime wear, when you desire a subtle presence, but it is also suitable for a quick refresh in the evening.

Fragrance CategoryWoody, Fresh
NotesBitter orange, bergamot from Calabria, lemon, jasmine, lavandin, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber
Size0.67 fl oz, 3.3 fl oz, 6 fl oz

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This legendary cologne is almost instantly recognizable because it manages to possess a unique and familiar scent simultaneously. It is sweeter and fresher than most other fragrances on this list, thanks to the top notes of pineapple, lavandin, and bergamot, as well as middle notes of red apple and dried fruits. These fruity notes provide a freshness rather than an overly sweet sensation, which complements the smooth, earthy sandalwood at its core, resulting in an incredibly wearable fragrance.

Fragrance CategoryFresh
NotesPineapple, lavandin, bergamot, red apple, dried fruits, geranium, oakmoss, sandalwood, tonka bean
Size0.5 fl oz, 1.7 fl oz, 3.3 fl oz

Another icon in the world of men's fragrances, wearing Eternity is like instantly traveling back in time to the 90s. In a very positive way. It is crisp, fresh, and woody, representing a romantic and youthful scent that has stood the test of time and continues to attract attention. It can be subtle or it can be bold, depending on how you wear it, but it always pleases the crowd.

Perfume CategoryCrisp, Timbered
ComponentsLavender, citrus, bergamot, sage, juniper berries, sandalwood, vetiver, musk
Capacity3.4 oz
Eau de Parfum Spray

Finest Designer Sandalwood Perfume

Chanel Perfume Spritz

Finest Designer Sandalwood Perfume

Chanel Perfume Spritz

There’s an intricacy to this perfume that makes it remarkably adaptable. It’s refreshing upon initial spritz but dries down to a timbered, more tempting foundation that is contemporary and manly. This fragrance version is more daring and robust, and endures longer, but doesn’t forfeit any of the adaptability that makes this legendary perfume appropriate for daytime, nighttime, and any period in between.

Perfume CategoryCrisp, Timbered
ComponentsGrapefruit, citrus, mint, pink pepper, ginger, nutmeg, jasmine, sandalwood, cedar, incense
Capacity1.7 oz, 3.4 oz, 5 oz
Somewhere Extrait de Parfum

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Perfume Enthusiast Somewhere Extrait de Parfum

What makes this sandalwood-based fragrance so exceptional is how it transforms on your skin. Initially, when sprayed, it has a rejuvenating and blossoming quality with hints of bergamot, neroli, and blood mandarin, and then the musk arises to provide a perspiring, skin-like aspect. Lastly, the neroli remains present but gets grounded with the aid of sandalwood, patchouli, and oakmoss. This fragrance subtly conjures the natural scent of your skin; only in a significantly improved manner.

Scent CategoryFloral, Refreshing
AromasBergamot, neroli, blood mandarin, cumin, jasmine, orris, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss
Volume1.7 oz
Inverness Eau de Parfum

Finest Comfortable Sandalwood Cologne

Memo Paris Inverness Fragrance

Sandalwood Cologne

Inspired by the mossy, verdant, earthy terrain of Scotland, this cozy, comforting fragrance is as snug as they come. Anchored in cedarwood and sandalwood, there are also hints of orris butter and amyris oil to provide it with a silky, creamy, almost powdery conclusion. It's not so much "relaxing by the fireplace" as it is "enjoying a cup of tea after voyaging through the woodlands."

Scent GroupWoody
AromasOrris butter, amyris, cedarwood, sandalwood, mate
Container Size2.5 oz

Top Sandalwood Cologne for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Every Man Jack Sandalwood Fragrance

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Top Sandalwood Cologne for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Every Gentleman Jack Sandalwood Perfume

Alright, let's not overlook the fact that sandalwood is still a type of wood, which means it is highly suitable for scents that are inspired by the outdoors. This masculine blend of amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and vetiver is fresh, smooth, and undeniably woody; the kind of fragrance for men who prefer to go hiking. It also surprisingly has long-lasting staying power, so less is more when it comes to applying this fragrance.

Fragrance CategoryWoody
Scent NotesSandalwood, amber, vanilla, vetiver
Size3.4 oz
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What Is Sandalwood?When sandalwood is mentioned in the notes of a cologne, it is likely referring to sandalwood oil, which is derived from the Santalum album tree, native to India and Southeast Asia. There are 19 species of sandalwood trees, which can also be found in places like Hawaii and Australia, but Indian sandalwood is the most coveted for its fragrance. It remains an extremely rare type of tree and is notably expensive due to its scarcity. In perfumery, pure sandalwood oil can significantly increase the price of a cologne, so synthetic sandalwoods, which are lab-created molecules that mimic the natural scent, are often used instead.

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How is Sandalwood Utilized in Perfumes?Most often, sandalwood is incorporated into the base notes of a fragrance. Base notes form the foundation of a fragrance and have the longest staying power on the skin. Deep notes such as woods, amber, vanilla, and oud work well in base notes. Increasingly, sandalwood is also being used in middle notes, which are the "heart" of a fragrance and serve as a connection between the top notes and base notes.

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?Sandalwood is an extremely common note in fragrance, particularly in men's cologne, because of its versatility. Pure sandalwood gives off a warm, smooth, woody aroma, making it ideal for wintertime scents. However, depending on the accompanying ingredients, it can also have sweet, creamy, smoky, light, and amber nuances in addition to its woody character. It blends seamlessly with all fragrance families, including fresh, floral, spicy, and amber.

Headshot of Garrett Munce

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How We ChoseFor this article, editor Garrett Munce tested numerous sandalwood perfumes to discover the best ones from various fragrance categories and price ranges. With over a decade of experience in trying out colognes, Munce, a grooming expert, is constantly researching the finest men's fragrances worth investing in.

Garrett Munce

Garrett Munce writes about men's fashion and grooming. He has contributed to Esquire, New York Magazine, Spotlyte, and Very Good Light, and has held positions at GQ and W. Follow his skincare passion on Instagram at @garrettmunce.

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