Woods : Scents and Words

For our edition of scent diary today, I’ve selected woods as our theme. You can describe your favorite perfume that contains woods such as cedarwood, sandalwood, rosewood, etc. Although it’s a leaf, patchouli is classified as a woody note. Or you can pay attention to your environment throughout the day and see if you can notice a woody aroma–coffee, cloves, pepper also have nuances reminiscent of woods.

One of my favorite woods is cedarwood, a wood redolent either of fresh sap and violet petals or of pepper and soft smoke. In perfumery, the note called cedarwood usually comes from a type of juniper, although the precious Atlas cedarwood is also used for its plush honeyed effect. Another popular cedarwood is a synthetic called Iso E Super. To experience it unvarnished, you can try Escentric Molecules Molecule 01, which is a solution of Iso E Super, or Hermessence Poivre Samarcande, which overdoses Iso E Super.

Extra Reading: Perfumes with Cedarwood Notes

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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94 Comments

  • kat: I love Sandalwood in all variations but of course that goes without saying. I love wood scents and as soon as a perfume has the magic ‘bois’ in its name I feel tempted. I still have almost a whole bottle of Shiseido’s ‘Feminité du Bois’ that I treasure.
    I’ve recently started to do more of my first-draft writing by hand and that has led me on a quest for the best writing tool – after years of roller pens I’ve returned to wood pencils. My current favorite is the Palomino Blackwing Pearl made of incense cedar, alas I only notice the scent during sharpening. But I have splurged on a box of scented pencils. It will arrive tomorrow so I can’t write a review yet but I’m already very excited (i.e. I have to add ‘pencil addict’ to my geek resume): the scent is called ‘Bois du Tibet’ and contains patchouli, incense and tonka bean (no wood listed but we’ll see about that)! March 29, 2017 at 8:44am Reply

    • Lily: Scented pencils?!!! That sounds awesome. I write longhand a fair bit these days just Bc I have a 3 year old and it’s easier to cart a spiral notebook around while watching him than my laptop. So these are VERY intriguing to me! March 29, 2017 at 8:49am Reply

      • kat: I was really having problems with my writing process and switching back to basics has done wonders. Finding the right pencil was a bit tricky as I hate any scratching sounds on paper but I also don’t like a smudged handwriting. And so I felt down the rabbit hole of pencil geekery watching way too many youtube reviews of various brands. The scented pencils are a collector’s item and slightly insane but I just couldn’t resist. I’ll post a review here as soon as they arrive. March 29, 2017 at 10:23am Reply

        • Victoria: I can’t wait to read your reviews of these pencils! March 29, 2017 at 11:55am Reply

          • kat: So they’ve arrived. And thanks to an untimely spring-induced sneezing-attack I suffer from light sniffles but I’ll give it a go anyway. They look great, are made from reconstituted wood and write really smooth (they’re a bit harder than the Palomino Pearl so there’s a tad more sound but it’s not at an unpleasant level and of course harder graphite means less shaving).
            But obviously I should talk about their scent. ‘Bois du Tibet’ is a home fragrance produced by Mizensir – the notes are patchouli, incense and tonka bean. The pencils are not heavily scented so you can open the box without having to air your room afterwards. The scent has a very good balance between the different notes to keep it from being too harsh or too sweet. As this is a product for men and women that was a wise decision. The incense is the most restrained note for me (good, because I don’t like it when it takes center stage), tonka bean and patchouli are equally noticeable with the tonka bean preventing the patchouli from getting too musty. All in all it’s a very pleasant, very soft scent that would also make a good (albeit not earth-shattering) perfume. Think dark, smooth velvet.
            Are they worth the money? Since I’m a Taurus and a firm believer in Morris’ quote about only having beautiful or useful things in your house I’d say yes but YMMV. They will definitely make a great gift for someone who loves to write. I will keep them in a tin box (and add some of the Palominos in order to see if I can turn them into scented pencils too) and of course I’ll also store the shavings in a little pouch for wardrobe scenting. Just because I like expensive things doesn’t meant I don’t know how to squeeze the most out of them 😉 March 30, 2017 at 9:42am Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you very much for this detailed review. I can imagine many of us here enjoying something like that. And the incense scented pencils really do sound wonderful. March 30, 2017 at 9:50am Reply

            • SHMW: I don’t think its reconstituted wood since the point is the spectacular grain (and colour, though these 4 are all quite subtle and muted, the last few sets had some that were really vivid colours) and they warn about using a good and sharp sharpener as the grain of some of these rare woods are probably not really that suitable for making pencils. If you wanted to carry them around or clip in a notebook you could always use one of these http://www.cultpens.com/i/q/FC00772/faber-castell-design-perfect-pencil-gift-set
              ….at least this is what i thought when I fantasized about buying some as I thought the aluminium top would protect the point and it might mean you smell them when you uncap it March 30, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

              • kat: No, it is reconstituted wood. I think they’ve added that on the package because the initial wording caused some controversy. How they manage to produce (the admittedly great looking) grain seems to be a trade secret. Here are some links (incl. one where someone cooked a pencil to figure out how it’s constructed):
                http://www.penciltalk.org/2017/02/les-crayons-de-la-maison-caran-dache-edition-no-6
                http://www.lexikaliker.de/2014/11/nach-art-des-hauses/
                As I said – pencil geekery, it’s a thing.
                Also: the whole pencil is scented so you’d only need to cap to protect the point. March 30, 2017 at 10:41am Reply

                • SHMW: thank you, that is fascinating…. not am impression you would get from the general sales pitch but I suppose they might not be that easy to make. I did get that the whole thing is scented but these perfect pencil things cover quite a bit of the pencil so as well as protecting the point (and you) I thought that it might trap the scent enough to make it noticeable when you uncap. I am a real stationery geek and my go to easy to use thing is a radon vanishing point (or caplets) fountain pen. I like the pearl pencil you mention but find it unworkably soft for note-taking but great for sketching.
                  I hope you enjoy the pencils March 30, 2017 at 12:56pm Reply

                  • SHMW: oops, thats ‘Raden’ (as in sparkly shell inlaid laquer) I did not notice autocorrect had changed it….. March 30, 2017 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Sylvia: Echoing Scented pencils?! That’s genius. My writer dil would love these- as might I! Thanks for sharing. 😉 March 29, 2017 at 11:13am Reply

    • Doreen: scented pencils?!?!?! Where!? March 29, 2017 at 1:27pm Reply

      • kat: Depends where you live – I’m including a link for the US. You may need to have smelling salt at hand before following that link because of the price tag (I’m Swiss and managed to find them at a cheaper price): https://cwpencils.com/products/maison-de-les-crayons-cda-edition-6 March 29, 2017 at 2:04pm Reply

        • Doreen: haha! thank you! March 29, 2017 at 6:41pm Reply

        • SHMW: these are also available at cult pens in the UK. The price is steep but it is the same as unscented previous editions, the main focus is on the rare and beautifully grained wood used to make them (not that I have any but I have seen several editions come and go) The perfume is a Mizensir one…. March 30, 2017 at 9:07am Reply

        • Lydia: Those Caran d’Ach pencils are so beautiful! They look like works of art. How could one ever use them? They look like they should be framed. March 31, 2017 at 12:08am Reply

          • kat: I’ve actually seen a picture of someone who had them framed (can’t find it anymore) – but that was a serious collector. I intend to use them because that’s what they are made for (and maybe I’ll give one or two away to people who’ll appreciate them): mono na aware is my motto here. March 31, 2017 at 7:52am Reply

  • Lily: It’s funny, I thought when I was first exploring perfume that wood scents would be my wheelhouse. Instead, while I have a good many scents with a woody base, about the only two i wear that have a prominent wood note are Fille en Aiguilles and Pacifica’s Mediterranean Fig.

    Fille is Christmas in a bottle, or a summer walk in the southern pine forest I grew up in. Pine is an ultimate comfort scent to me Bc of my childhood, but most of the “masculine” scents that use it are too brawny for me. Cedarwood is a favorite basenote, but I don’t have anything that dries down to JUST the wood.

    Med. Fig (which I found before I heard of Philoskyos, and to me they are VERY similar) is like wearing a fig tree in late spring. The green leaf phase is gone in an hour, and while I bought it for that part, I don’t immediately reapply Bc I enjoy the creamy woody base so much. March 29, 2017 at 9:01am Reply

  • Tijana: I love woods a lot. Sandalwood is a bit of hit/miss with me (as some sandalwood dominant fragrances smell like hamster cage on me). I absolutely love Santal Massoia and Gaiac 10, especially the latter. I also do like a lot Dries Van Noten which has sandalwood in it. Another favourite is of course Coromandel. March 29, 2017 at 10:03am Reply

  • Gretchen: Ahh, woods…..some of my most adored fragrances, all across the perfume world. Ormonde Woman, Bois des Iles, Sonoma Scent Studio’s Forest Walk, several OLO fragrances (Dark Wave, Foret, Valens, Wyeth), are but a few. Looking forward to reading everyone’s recommendations! March 29, 2017 at 10:12am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Serge Lutens, Bois de Violette: cederwood and violets, quite beautiful. I wore this a year long. But now for the timebeing I’ve put it aside.
    Still it is in a quiet way very lovely. March 29, 2017 at 10:35am Reply

  • Bela: After years of only wearing Serge Lutens fragrances, I finally got tired of the lack of interesting drydowns so I broke away and reconnected with a perfume I’d had a love-hate relationship for many years – Aromatics Elixir. I was very happy wearing it for several months and then I fell in love with Guerlain Santal Royal. I bought it more or less straight away; I didn’t research the composition; I didn’t read any reviews or anything; I just started wearing it, and I’m in heaven.

    It’s supposed to be sandalwood, but I think oud is the dominant note. I can’t take harsh oud, but his one is slightly sweet. I’ve already had compliments on it (not that I cared not getting any before, but still…). Since it’s a 125ml bottle and it takes me approximately two years to use up a 30ml one, I think I’m OK for a while. 🙂 March 29, 2017 at 10:40am Reply

    • Sylvia: Bela, that sounds beautiful. I’ll look for a sample. Thanks for sharing about it! March 29, 2017 at 11:14am Reply

      • Bela: You will probably find it a bit too ‘simple’, V. It’s not niche; it’s Guerlain and an oud/wood for ‘grande consommation’, but I’m so happy to have found something I like from top to toe, as it were. Serge should care a bit more about his drydowns: they are boring, imo.

        It’s not just b/c of the drydowns that I gave up on SL: 480 euros for 50ml is obscene. March 29, 2017 at 11:31am Reply

        • Victoria: I like Santal Royal very much, and I agree that it’s very well crafted. Despite being so rich, it’s not a typical heavy oud. March 29, 2017 at 11:33am Reply

          • Bela: It’s very strong, isn’t it? A small spritz goes a long way. That bottle will probably survive me. March 29, 2017 at 11:46am Reply

            • Victoria: I have a small decant, but it’s going to last me for a long time. I also like that it doesn’t feel heavy or scratchy the way many such baroque woods do. Guerlain, however, do does the woody notes splendidly, from Vetiver to Samsara. March 29, 2017 at 11:54am Reply

        • Sylvia: I agree- it’s one of the reasons I am hoping for some recommendations that are more affordable. SL is ridiculously expensive. I found my. It’s at a discounted at half price- only way it was moderately priced.
          The Guerlain Royal sounds interesting still. I will try to find a sample. One of my favorites, Le Terra-cotta isn’t real layered or nuanced- but I have genuinely enjoyed it. March 29, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

          • Bela: So sorry, Sylvie: thought I was replying to Victoria (it did surprise me that she hadn’t tested Santal Royal yet, but… LOL!).

            Santal Royal is £125 for 125ml, which makes it incredibly cheap, doesn’t it? I got it for less on AllBeauty (not affil. etc.). There is a limit to how exclusive exclusive stuff should be, when it comes to perfume, I think. March 29, 2017 at 11:45am Reply

            • Sylvia: No need to apologize. 🙂 thanks for the suggestion. That does seem marvelously affordable! March 30, 2017 at 12:47pm Reply

              • Bela: It’s a big outlay all in one go and I would have preferred to spend £30 on a 30ml bottle, but when was the last time one could get such a luxury perfume for that kind of money? March 30, 2017 at 5:41pm Reply

    • Austenfan: I tried it last summer and have 2 samples somewhere. I remember thinking it smelt like leather. It’s a great scent. March 29, 2017 at 3:44pm Reply

    • SilverMoon: I have never got around to trying Santal Royal. Somehow it seemed a boring name and there were always others to attract my attention at the Guerlain counter. However, i am now going to try it after reading so many positive comments. April 1, 2017 at 6:01pm Reply

  • Lari Frank: I would highly recommend much of the work of Laurie Erickson at Sonoma Scent Studio
    A large percentage of her work is wood based and just (sigh) lovely…Champagne de Bois, fig Tree, jour ensoleille, wood violet…the list goes on. The full bottles are quite reasonable. Sample away! March 29, 2017 at 11:08am Reply

    • Gretchen: Oooh, I do need to try Wood Violet. While I have Bois des Violette from SL, it’s not my fave. March 29, 2017 at 12:08pm Reply

    • MMKinPA: Yes, yes, yes! Winter woods is also lovely. I especially appreciate that I can actually afford the bottles! March 30, 2017 at 12:52pm Reply

    • Lydia: What an intriguing set of fragrances. Several of them seem like they’d be especially nice on sweltering summer days. (I’m wondering in particular about Spiced Citrus Vetiver.)
      It’s nice that the perfumer still uses real oakmoss in some scents.

      Since you mentioned affordable pleasures, I’ll give a wave to Mountain Rose Herbs aromatherapy sprays. They’re not traditional perfumes by any means, but I think they’re exceptionally nice herbal scents. A few of them use wood oils (sandalwood, cedar, cypress).
      I especially like using them as sheet sprays.
      https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/catalog/aromatherapy/sprays March 31, 2017 at 12:35am Reply

    • Bela: Great! Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can judge a perfume by its name. 🙂 April 2, 2017 at 11:36am Reply

  • Sylvia: I was surprised by how much I like sandalwood. I tried the sandalwood soap that you reviewed Victoria, and fell in love! So glad it’s so economical to buy. It brought a scent memory up that I couldn’t make sense out of. We lived in Hawaii in my childhood for awhile and The soap made me think about that house- and oddly the closets. My brother cleared up the mystery. Dad had placed sandalwood sachets in the closets to ward off moths. The lovely smell was in everything.
    That led me to trying a number of sandalwood scents. My current favorite is Santal Majuscule sprayed on clothing. The scent wafting up off of my shirts takes me back to that peCeful happy family time in such lovely country.
    Thank you for all of the fabulous reviews here! March 29, 2017 at 11:21am Reply

    • Lydia: What a lovely memory, Sylvia!
      I’m interested to try Santal Majuscule now. March 31, 2017 at 12:37am Reply

      • Sylvia: Thank you Lydia! Samples are available. I haven’t noticed it getting mentioned much but I have enjoyed it very much. It wafts better sprayed I believe, and the dry down is beautiful on clothing. March 31, 2017 at 10:49am Reply

  • spe: Oddly, as a US Pacific Northwest native (surrounded by wood notes), I’m leery of woody perfumes. With the exception of Timbuktu, many to me smell fake and are in the category of fragrances “most likely to annoy me.” Sandalwood often smells too sweet for me to register the note as a wood. Despite being a Chanel fan, I won’t wear Bois d’ Iles in any formulation and Samsara is, for me, simply unthinkable. Despite being surrounded by cedar on a daily basis and loving that, I simply cannot abide D&G Light Blue. What to make of it? I think that if you are keenly aware of certain natural smells, synthetic alternatives may be difficult to appreciate and whatever one’s notion of “wood” is may vary significantly, further complicating matters. Anyway, if I had to choose a woodsy perfume to wear: Timbuktu. March 29, 2017 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a good observation. Woods can smell different in real life and in a perfume bottle. When you’re exposed to such a wide range of woody aromas, you’ll definitely be more sensitive to the nuances. Light Blue is not the best representation of cedar, though. I would instead suggest Lutens’s Feminite du Bois, but even that is inspired by a specific type of Moroccan cedarwood. March 29, 2017 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Jessiferica: Spe, you took the words right out of my mouth. I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains (close to where TwinPeaks was filmed, to provide a visual). I very much struggle with woods in perfumes, and most especially with cedar. I inevitably find it jarring. And it seems like it is in everything right now! The only perfume I have found that melds with my internalized version of woods, is Slumberhouse’s Norne and it is really too strong for me to wear regularly. I will give Timbuktu a try 🙂 March 29, 2017 at 3:38pm Reply

      • zephyr: Spe and Jessiferica, in an attempt to break out of my “same old stuff” perfume rut, I visited Merz Apothecary a few neighborhoods over from my house here in Chicago. Chicago people take note – they’ve expanded and have a huge selection of niche fragrances, and they sell samples! Tanja helped me and a friend, and she knows what she’s talking about!

        Anyway, one of my many samples was Timbuktu. I didn’t expect to like it, but I love it! I don’t love the price for a full size, though. It is on the sweet side (green mango, pink pepper, cardamom) at first, but the base of patchouli, myrrh, and vetiver intoxicates me. DS thinks it’s too masculine on me, but I disagree and won’t listen to him, lol! March 29, 2017 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Marti: Creed Spice and Wood, for me, is an excellent fresh, balanced fragrance.
    Also very long lasting but not overpowering.
    Anyone tried it? March 29, 2017 at 1:22pm Reply

  • Maria: Hi Victoria and all the readers,

    I’m wearing today L’ether from Iunx, a beautiful incense intertwined with rose and saffron. I’m asking myself if you could classify an incense like this as a woody scent.

    And your photo reminds me how much I want to try Bois de violette from Serge Lutens. I’m not a big fan of Lutens, I love skin scents and I find his perfumes to have a very strong sillage, but the name “Bois de violette” is really tempting me!! March 29, 2017 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Maria: Oh, I’ve just read your article about cedarwood and find the answer to my question. So, l’Ether from Iunx is definitely one of my favorite woody scents. Du pur Giacobetti!! 🙂 March 29, 2017 at 4:05pm Reply

      • SHMW: I love her sandalwood one too, l’arbre although it is light as it is edt and not edp like l’ether… April 1, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

        • Maria: I’ve never tried L’arbre, I will put it on my list :-). In fact, I like Giacobetti’s EdT in the mornings. They are very evocative and put me in a special mood. It’s a pity they are so difficult to find! April 1, 2017 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Ninon: Woods, and cedar in particular, are one of my original fragrance loves. I still adore CdG Hinoki and want to try Iunx L’Eau Sento. I lived in the Northern CA redwood forest for many years and have searched for a perfume that evokes the smell of sunned trees in late summer–I haven’t found anything that comes close. March 29, 2017 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Tati: I find many woods difficult to wear. Although I love vanilla, I find SL’s Bois Vanille too harsh. Diptyque’s Tam Dao is all pencil shavings on me. My favorites, though, are among my most worn scents. I find them very natural and calming. CDG’s Kyoto is always right. Another favorite is 10 Corso Como. Chanel Coromandel is perfection in a bottle.
    One that intrigues me is SL’s Fille en Aiguilles. Will have to sample. March 29, 2017 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Lydia: Tati, have you ever tried SL’s Bois Oriental? I think the vanilla in it softens the spicy wood notes really well without ever becoming too sweet. It’s my favorite SL, along with Bois de Violette. March 31, 2017 at 12:46am Reply

      • Tati: Thanks for the suggestion, Lydia. Sounds like something I would like. I’ll add it to my list. March 31, 2017 at 3:16am Reply

  • Doreen: I love wood scents. Creating them with naturals is preferred in my book. But seems tricky! I love Green Witch by Roxanna Villa. It’s got other notes, but the wood is there. Also Skive by J. Hannah. I”m intrigued by Bois de Violette by Lutens. Violets are my favorite… March 29, 2017 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Alexandra Fraser: We have the heavy wooden beams of Lawson cypress near our front door and when they are sun-warmed the entry fills with a fragrant warm spicy smell a bit turpentine-y slight camphor
    We have the same lawsoniana wood as shelves in the linen cupboard
    When I was a kid we had a big lawsoniana hedge and every Christmas Dad would cut a big branch for our xmas tree. The leaves smell of parsley. And the whole room would have this fresh resinous parsley smell
    I currently have no wood scents in a bottle – I love sandalwood so am making notes from your comments
    Parsley and resinous xmas tree March 29, 2017 at 2:45pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I dutifully ( 😉 ) first read your ‘extra reading post’ before rereading this one.
    I struggle with woods, especially with what Robin of NST calls wood-puddings, but can mostly handle dry woody compositions quite well.
    My current favourite cedar heavy perfume is the divine Bois d’Encens. And I never would have guessed there is any cedar in Chant d’Arômes.

    On great smells: We had some rain yesterday after our warmer days and it smelled so wonderful. That damp earth smell that says spring. March 29, 2017 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those woods can be very harsh and raspy and some people are especially sensitive to them. For instance, Tom Ford’s Santal Blush is wonderful in the beginning, but the drydown is scratchy. March 30, 2017 at 9:53am Reply

      • Austenfan: I think my struggle is more with a certain kind of “dense sweetness” that tends to make me feel like I’ve overindulged on something. Even real beauties like Trayee and Bois des Iles seem to cause the same problem. I can admire their beauty but not enjoy it. I never even tried the TF. But I have the same problem with a lot of the woody SL’s. March 30, 2017 at 11:57am Reply

  • Patricia: I love woody fragrances, and those containing sandalwood notes are among my favorites, including 10 Corso Como, Tam Dao, Bois des Iles, SL Un Bois Vanille, and Ormande Jayne Woman. I don’t have any favorites dominated by cedarwood, which is a gap in my collection that needs to be filled! March 29, 2017 at 4:11pm Reply

    • SHMW: This sounds like you don’t think of Tam Dao as cedar dominated/ I like Tam Dao but probably love the sandalwood in Ormonde Woman most. It seems such a ‘real’ sandalwood but in a very different setting and it is great to see this mentioned here in the comments in the context of having a pronounced sandalwood note. I also love OJ Rose gold. This is strong stuff (a concentrated perfume) that worn sparingly had a middle section where sandalwood emerges from the rose and really dominates for a while. Again fantastic sandalwood but very different accented by the Ta’if rose… March 30, 2017 at 8:04am Reply

      • Lily: I am glad you mentioned that OJ Woman is rarely discussed in terms of its sandalwood! I find it to be nothing BUT sandalwood on me, was starting to wonder if my sample had gotten mislabeled! I get none of the interesting green people talk about. March 30, 2017 at 9:02am Reply

        • SHMW: I have seen tips that say try not to inhale too much of the just sprayed OW edp until it settles down or spray on the body …. but I agree with you. I find the sandalwood both spectacular and very very front and centre too.
          Do you think maybe the reason that it does not get mentioned in this context (and the reason you do not notice some of the other notes) is because in OW the sandalwood is sort of like a sandalwood jewel set in a very unusual setting, surrounded by green gold and oxidised or blackened silver as it were as opposed to being set in say rose gold (standing in for the more creamy rose petal way sandalwood is usually both described and accented). March 30, 2017 at 9:19am Reply

          • Lily: Hm, not sure. Sandalwood is problematic for me, one of those notes that I don’t dislike but is sometimes stomach-turning (which is disappointing Bc I like it!), so I have not really studied it. So, to your question about OJ and the waybit frames sandalwood…I am not sure. All I know is I have tried it several times and all I get is overwhelming sandalwood. Maybe someday that will shift lol March 30, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

      • Patricia: I initially get more sandalwood from Tam Dao, with the cypress more as a supporting player. Isn’t OJ Woman delicious? 🙂 March 30, 2017 at 9:34am Reply

        • SHMW: Yes to me it is just perfection but I can’t wear it every day as I would just not notice it after a while. It is also too transporting and too perfect to want to wear this every day so I try to ration OW to days when I really really want to wear it! It helps that I have a small travel size of the 50% parfum and this is different enough to help keep habituation at bay (its also wonderful and a little bit different wearing both at once too) March 30, 2017 at 10:14am Reply

  • Hamamelis: Since a big cedar had to be cut on my neighbour’s property, and its drying wood is still smelling beautifully months later with hints of apricot, olive and honey, cedar has become a much loved note. I think the best rendition is in the very affordable SJP Stash. March 29, 2017 at 5:13pm Reply

    • Patricia: Oh, and I just got a rollerball of that one! March 29, 2017 at 7:38pm Reply

      • Gabriela: Thinking of blind buying Stash but not sure…. Any thoughts?! March 30, 2017 at 8:48am Reply

        • Hamamelis: If you have no other option than to blind buy it is a low risk one price wise. You need to love a woody perfume though..In the Netherlands it is only for sale in the budget pharmacies, and there wasn’t a tester available. I asked the SA if I could try and she immediately opened a Stash box, without any expectation for me to buy! Are you in Europe? March 30, 2017 at 10:57am Reply

          • Gabriela: I am in Barcelona and found it online for 55 euros… March 30, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

            • Hamamelis: Would you like me to send you a sample? If so please either leave your mail here or contact me via Victoria. March 30, 2017 at 11:43am Reply

              • Gabriela: That would be very kind and generous of you! Please let me know if there are any perfume you would like to try also as I have many samples. Contact me at Gabriela.speller@gmail.com. Thank you! March 30, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

                • Hamamelis: I just mailed you and left another message on NST! March 30, 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with you on Stash, a very god woody perfume. March 30, 2017 at 9:52am Reply

    • Inez: I have gotten more compliments on Stash than any other perfume I own, which surprises me since I feel like it is so subtle. Everyone says “who is wearing that nice sandalwood?” Which is also not the note that is dominant to me. Stash also layers really well. I have been wearing it with Dzing! for a custom scent and it’s great for wintertime. March 30, 2017 at 1:41pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,

    Sandalwood is hands down my favourite ever since my grandmother brought me back a sandalwood fan from Asia when I was a little girl.
    I’m afraid once again I will sound like a retired English colonel but anyway: when I was in India I bought sandalwood oil in Mysore. Due to the restrictions, I’m not sure how original it is but it has a distinctive chocolate sweet woody aroma I cannot get enough of.
    Sycamore tree’s scent reminds me of my childhood too, there are these majestic trees by the lake where I spent my holidays. I still go there every year even if just for a couple of days. The fun thing is, there is a large tree near my workplace, I never miss to inhale deeply when I pass by. March 30, 2017 at 4:29am Reply

    • Victoria: You made me smile, Nora. 🙂 And no worries about sounding like a retired English colonel. I understand your fascination with Mysore sandalwood. March 30, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

    • Andy: Your memories from holidays past got me thinking. I’ve always felt a deep emotional connection to sycamore trees, and have even tried to see if there is any scented part I could connect with (wood, dried leaves, bark, seed pods), but I’ve always been disappointed by their utter lack of any scent. The tree we have here called sycamore is probably a different species from what you are familiar with, but all the same I’d love to find a scented sycamore. I’ve even wished there could be a perfume that captured the spirit of sycamore trees, because their beauty is so breathtaking (and no, Chanel Sycamore doesn’t do that for me). March 30, 2017 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Surbhi: I will share a little story.

    On my recent trip to India, I went to Mysore. I took a trip to a factory that produces sandalwood oil. The area just smell amazing.

    The trees take about 20-30 years before they are ready for oil production. Un-matured tree if cut is a waste. The wood is chopped into pieces and then finely powdered. It goes through steam distillation and the left over wood powder (after oils is extracted) is used for incense. Not a single piece goes to waste.

    I got some sandalwood oil from a government shop. (I was told only place that can legally sell sandalwood oil). That smells horrible neat. But once diluted it smells like sandalwood that I knew from smelling sandalwood. March 30, 2017 at 1:25pm Reply

    • mayfly: What a wonderful experience! March 30, 2017 at 3:01pm Reply

    • Lydia: Surbhi, that sounds so lovely, especially to be in an area so saturated with scent.

      A friend who knows I love perfume brought me a gift of two oils from India, one of which is Sandalwood. The oil has a strong turpentine smell that I didn’t expect, but after reading your comment, I’m wondering if I simply need to dilute it to fully appreciate it. March 31, 2017 at 1:08am Reply

      • Surbhi: do try and see if that’s the case. April 3, 2017 at 11:56am Reply

  • Zuzana: My absolutely favourite woody smell would be Lalique Encre Noire for men. Unfortunately I have experienced some alergic reaction to it. Maybe because it is mostly based on synthetic Iso E Super. Does anyone have similar experience? Or could you maybe recommend some perfume which is similar to EN? March 30, 2017 at 3:05pm Reply

    • MMKinPA: When I started my perfume journey I didn’t “get” woods. My skin also amplifies cedar and I think it overpowered a few fragrances I tried early on. As my nose matured, I discovered some true loves – Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de bois is an “anytime” favorite; I have an older bottle of Samsara that I reach for often; Timbuktu is in my collection. My favorite vanilla (my first note of exploration) is Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise which has a woody base. March 30, 2017 at 5:55pm Reply

  • Lydia: I was very happy to see this topic because wood incense scents are my favorite of all perfumes. It’s so nice to see people reflecting on their favorites.

    My gold standard wood perfumes are three CdG scents – White, Quarzazate, and CdG 2. I discovered recently that all three were created by Mark Buxton, so I think that officially makes me a Mark Buxton fangirl. (I also like Mb03 and Vetiver 46.)

    I tried White again for the first time in years and it was as compelling as I remembered. It started with a sour note which quickly expanded into Japanese incense and cinnamon, eventually drying down into a lovely wood scent. It smelled so perfectly balanced – nothing was wanting, no note went wrong. It’s a strange scent – the wood has an almost urinous, sweaty sharpness at times, but the incense smooths it out, and there’s an elusive floral note that peeks out for a few seconds and then retreats again.

    Quarzazate is pure, soothing japanese incense and wood. It settles into my skin like wearing a gorgeous old sweater made out of warm, autumn colored yarns, spattered with spice. Both White and Quarzazate settle into my skin, as though they were custom made for it, or as though they were magnifying a scent already there.

    The three CdG scents have always reminded me of the aromatic wood pillars in the Met museum’s Astor Chinese Garden Court. The pillars are made of very rare nan wood, related to cedar. (If you’re there, don’t be shy – smell those pillars!)

    My first “difficult-beautiful” perfume was Shiseido Féminité du Bois. They were selling it many years ago at a mall (can you believe you used to be able to find this at the mall?) and the moment I smelled it, I was enthralled. I’d never encountered a scent like it. Unfortunately, convinced (probably rightly) that no one around me would enjoy it the way I did, I only got the little travel size rather than the full bottle, but at least I have that. I just applied it to my wrist and it’s warm and woody and sour and sweet and resinous all at once. The notes keep swirling in and out of each other, rising and falling like music. March 30, 2017 at 11:45pm Reply

    • Lydia: (LOL I just realized it sounded like I thought it was nice that “I” was reflecting on my favorites. I meant that I love hearing about everyone elses favorite wood scents.
      For some reason, none of my friends care for perfume at all – they just look bemused when I try to talk about scent. So it’s a real delight to read these blog posts and comments by other enthusiasts.) March 30, 2017 at 11:52pm Reply

    • Lydia: (In the extremely unlikely event that someone notices any similar Luckyscent CdG reviews by someone named Odette, those were mine from years ago when I used that name online.) April 2, 2017 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Megan Manning: Thank you for this post, it has finally explained a conundrum for me! I really have a hard time with perfumes that have ceder in them. I get this sensation of sandpaper in my lungs and with asthma I never can wear a sample without scrubbing for fear of trouble. But I really like the smell of ceder mulch, it has a damp ,juicy, orangeness to it and none of that scritchy feeling. Knowing now that the “ceder” is a juniper extract makes sense as I am allergic to juniper (yeah, no gin and tonics for me)! Woods I do really like are the Mysore sandalwood soap, and whatever mystery wood is in Aqua Universalis that helps give it that dry salty sunning on the beach after a swim scent. March 31, 2017 at 3:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it can be complicated. Cedarwood oil in perfumery is extracted from the wood of juniperus virginiana, while juniper berries come from Juniperus communis. Then keep in mind that a lot of the cedarwood in perfumery is Iso E Super, which is a synthetic molecule. April 1, 2017 at 8:05am Reply

      • Megan Manning: True, I’ll have to go back thru some of the samples I have with ceder sometime and see if it’s the extract or the synthetic that bothers. 😊 April 4, 2017 at 7:32pm Reply

        • Victoria: Many cedar accords contain both. April 5, 2017 at 2:55am Reply

  • SilverMoon: I like the warm and cozy wood notes like sandalwood and myrrh. I’m less fond of the colder and scratcchy ones like cedar. Among my favourite are Bois des Iles and Ormond Jayne Woman. Also really like Feminite de Bois. Others have mentioned these and I can only agree they are special and beautiful.

    I thought I would also mention two woody perfumes that are really different from each other but both from Italian brands. Eau d’Italie Baum du Doge starts out spicy but its middle and dry down is a warm wood (I specially notice the myrrh and vanilla). The other is Santa Maria Novella Alba di Seoul. This initially is very green, then smells like walking through a pine forest in autumn and finally settles into a soft woody smell. Kind of a forest through the seasons. They aren’t spectacular perfumes, but are very lovely and just a bit different. April 1, 2017 at 5:50pm Reply

  • Inma: Hello,

    Thank you for the article and the comments.

    In my environment I smell “wood” in white tea and clothes made by linen.

    These days, while walking in the park, I get close to the trees and smell their trunk! Fig trees, orange trees, are the ones that have a stronger smell for me. And there are many others that I haven’t experienced yet. I’ll go on with the exploration.

    I think all the perfumes I already have aren´t strong in wood. The other day I was give a sample of Tenue de Soirée of Annick Goutal. Patchouli and iris, I was told. As I am exploring Iris it took my attention. It leaves, on my skin, something hard – it is like saying “this is the boundary I have chosen”. And, on top of it, an open sensuality, as sweet as sharp.

    Thank you, again, for the article. April 3, 2017 at 10:29am Reply

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  • Karen A in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Mine too! They are such wonderful shrubs/small trees. Yes, except the Burkwoodi is a pale pink, but the others are all native to this region. April 27, 2017 at 4:04pm

  • ana in Recommend Me a Perfume April 2017: Oh, thank you, the vetivers sound very, very good — I’m going to have to find myself a better-paying job soon! 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 4:00pm

  • Aurora in Cherry Blossom Haiku: I enjoyed this mix of poetry and humour, Victoria, and well done on the gardening, but take good care of your back! Lilacs across the street are in bloom, purple… April 27, 2017 at 3:03pm

  • Maria in Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes: It really is a nice iris!! I also like the Absolue and Iris-cedre versions, but the on and off effect is better done,for me, in the original Infusion d’iris 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 1:27pm

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