Etro Sandalo EDT Perfume Review

Etro Sandalo perfume

Spring has rubbed off on me. Over the past month I’ve focused on traditionally “pretty” perfumes such as soliflores. Looking at my own perfume collection, I realize that half of my collection includes pageant queens and the other half is a total freakshow. With perfume I tend to gravitate towards two genres: “more beautiful than reality” and “WTF”. As a designer perfume, one would expect for Etro Sandalo not to be in the later category, but I’m here today to tell you that is where it belongs.

Every single time I try Sandalo, I realize that I’ve forgotten just how weird it is. The opening is confusing. It’s ozonic with orange soda pop. The ozonic coolness is almost industrial. The best way I can describe it is like a mix of where you’d get your car’s oil changed and a bucket of buttermilk. I know this does not sound pleasant, but somehow it is. It’s cool and camphoric yet creamy. It’s like rubber tires, cool air and sour milk. Eventually the bizarre top settles.The scent attempts to balance the coolness with a creamier than butter sandalwood. It’s a weird fragrance because the sandalwood is warm, comforting and cozy (all the things you’d expect from a sandalwood), but it’s still cool (like geranium and ozone). I think of Sandalo like this bundle of sandalwood out in mountainous snow. But, this cute little bundle of sandalwood is wrapped up in angora wool, like if a bundle of sandalwood could be an arctic hare. (See how weird perfumes make for weird reviews?!). The dry-down is like Japanese incense that smells both like patchouli and musk with a slight smoky/smoldering quality. The sandalwood is still there but it is now more like leather or tar. And I swear, there’s something animalic in the base because it reminds me of civet.

Sandalo is a weird one which would explain why it’s my favorite sandalwood perfume. I like that it plays up the rubbery angle of sandalwood while not forsaking any of its other characteristics (like citrus or cream).


Notes listed include orange, lemon, rose, Mysore sandalwood, patchouli, geranium, cypress, vanilla, amber and musk. Launched in 1989.

Give Sandalo a try if you like sandalwood perfumes or even if you like weird “modern” perfumes. Or if you like Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente, CdG Tar, Nasomatto Duro, Alexandre J Golden Oud, and/or Diptyque Tam DaoI think Sandalo is best on its own but I have heard of people layering it with just about anything and swearing that it makes everything better.

For an EDT, projection and longevity is above average. I get a full day’s wear from it.

The 3.4 oz bottle retails for $154 at Osswald.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONWacky, weird sandalwood. Keep waving your freak flag, Sandalo! Because I love your motor oil meets buttermilk meets incense meets leather-y self.

Want more reviews? Try…

Katie Puckrik Smells

Australian Perfume Junkies

Basenotes (member reviews)

Perfume Posse


*Bottle purchased by me. Product pic from Fragrantica. AND FINALLY I have a reason to use a pic of Vampira huffing motor oil which is from

6 thoughts on “Etro Sandalo EDT Perfume Review

  1. Hey Victoria,
    I had never thought about Sandalo but now I really want to try it. Yours and SarahK’s posts both tell me how freaky the damn frag is; freaky yet comforting. Sign me up.
    Thanks too for the LinkLove.
    Portia xxx

    1. I think this and Heliotrope are the “must-try” perfumes from this line. There are others that I like from Etro but those two are sort of their “cult classics”. 🙂

  2. Oh. I blind bought this a couple of years ago because I kept seeing on perfume boards that it was a really solid sandalwood. On the contrary, it’s the opposite to my nose. I sprayed it twice and then gave it away. Yes, that goes against my usual practice of trying something over and over, but I was just so disappointed with it.
    I tell this story all the time. I was gifted a bookmark when I was 6 by an Indian friend of the family. It was made of sandalwood and I would keep it in a pencil case. I wouldn’t use it; it was a treasure I would reveal once in a while just to smell that beautiful scent. I don’t know what happened to that bookmark, but I’ve wanted to recapture that scent for so long.

    Maybe I found Sandalo too weird. I smelled all the other things you mentioned *except* sandalwood bookmark :). C’est la vie.

    This past weekend I did buy a sandalwood fragrance that was a nice approximation.

    1. Which sandalwood perfume did you buy?

      I get your frustration. That type of sandalwood is hard to come by now. Australian sandalwood is in everything (I’m not dissing that). And it’s different than the Mysore stuff. I always felt like Mysore was perfume itself while the Australian is nice, but needs some supporting dancers or even a lead singer.

      I will say that if you are looking for something authentic, that the Etro isn’t. The Etro is a sandalwood but it lacks that smoothness and robustness of the real (and aged) stuff. I get why you would pass along to someone else.

      1. Browsing at Essenza, I found a line I’d never heard of, Fiele Fragrances. I sampled Santalum on my wrist for a little over an hour and took the reasonably priced bottle home. While it’s more of a ‘general woodsy’ scent, the Australian sandalwood is very prominent to me in the dry down and gives me flashbacks of the creaminess of the Mysore. Every time I had one of those “Which one of my skin samples smells so good?” moments, it was Santalum. It’s one of those scents that are best smelled away from the source, not putting your nose very close to the skin (which makes it too cedar-y and sharp). I looked up the official notes and missed some of them on initial wearings. It leans masculine, but I think the silage on anyone would be amazing (or on a scarf a few days later). Maybe I can sneak up on people and spray them for my benefit.
        I obviously have tons now, so let me know if you’d like to try it.

        1. Oh, I need to try that. I haven’t tried anything from Fiele but I’ve heard of the line.

          A lot perfumes are like that, I’m noticing. They need some distance. And then there are the ones that smell better with your face up in them. We need some sort of Perfumista slang for these sort of scents 🙂

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