Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
In 2013, Nest Fragrances launched a line of fine fragrances. I reviewed a few of them shortly after their launch. They’ve since launched a few more perfumes (that I have not tried). I’m more familiar with the brand’s home fragrances, which is why when I was walking in Soho last year and saw a sign for a Nest Sample Sale, I went in. I don’t know how familiar you are with sample sales, but imagine something like a thrift store meets swap meet for more luxurious goods. I usually avoid them because they stress me out (disorganized, crowded, usually in a small space, usually without things I want). Anyway, the Nest one wasn’t so bad because it was a few hours left of its final sale day. Nobody was there (like an opening day), but this also meant things were picked through. I ended up grabbing a rollerball of this fragrance, White Sandalwood, and a few out-of-season holiday candles.¹
I’m sorry to bore you with my mundane story of impulsive discount shopping. My point here is that A. I bought something unsniffed (I try not to do that). B. my expectations were low (I bought a discount perfume off of a folding table in a place that resembled a construction zone). I forgot I had this perfume but after my review of the über-fancy, expensive Strangelove NYC Melt My Heart perfume, I remembered that I had another sandalwood perfume by the same perfumer (Christophe Laudamiel) that also featured a lot of sandalwood.
White Sandalwood is a rather linear, minimalist fragrance that highlights sandalwood. However, there’s some unexpected elements to this fragrance that keeps me coming back for more. I always feel like Laudamiel adds some sort of subversive elements to his compositions – I mean, he did the Humiecki & Graef line and all of those are are weird. He’s done a perfume for Amanda Lepore. I guess I just didn’t expect it with this Nest fragrance, so it’s a pleasant surprise.
The opening of White Sandalwood mixes the creaminess and sourness of sandalwood; it’s almost “curdled”. It’s a dry, creamy woods fragrance with notes that remind me of root beer. It’s like a mix of wintergreen, vanilla, almond, cherries and dry spices…so a soft drink. It wears as this powdery, woodsy sandalwood (meets something like palo santo). Because of the spices, almond and powder, I feel like this is almost a more sandalwood-y/woodsy take on something like Dior Hypnotic Poison (one of my favorites from Dior). Now let’s talk about what I found so unexpected. Underneath, this woodsy, spiced sweetness is the weirdest addition of a marine-like, brine-y accord that is like oysters.² It’s not a fake, squeaky clean sea-breeze. It’s that salty, marine accord that is in my favorite Neo-Aquatics like Hermès Épice Marine and Heeley Sel Marin. White Sandalwood dries down to a coconut-y sandalwood that reminds me of massoïa woods (like a creamy, coconut sandalwood). It still retains some of that weird marine quality but the base is mostly a powdery, sweet and “hazy” massoïa.
I didn’t really notice any of the nuances of this perfume on paper. Once on skin, I became interested in this perfume. White Sandalwood is a minimalist, powdery sandalwood that reminds me of fog, drift wood and the sort of coastline/inlet scenery at places with a latitude remote from the equator. It smells “dark gray” and I love that.
Notes listed include Australian sandalwood, white sandalwood, spices, white musk and almond. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Christophe Laudamiel
Or perfumes like Dior Hypnotic Poison, Juliette Has a Gun Mmmm, Profumum Roma Confetto, Hermes Santal Massoïa and/or Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black. White Sandalwood is somewhere between Hermes Santal Massoïa and Épice Marine with a heavy Dior Hypnotic Poison influence.
Projection and longevity are average to above average. Also, I love the bottles of this line. They’re inspired by Mary Delany’s artwork, a woman that started mixed-media collages in her 70’s in the 1770’s.
The 1.7 oz retails for $72 at Sephora. A travel size is also available.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Sweet, powdery and briney sandalwood. I’m really happy I bought this unsniffed and gave it a chance. It has exceeded by expectations. It’s sweet, powdery and woodsy but with a weirdness (that’s probably unnoticeable to the people around you) that keeps it interesting.
¹I got all of this for under $10, new and in the box, so I was really happy with my purchase.
²And for anyone that cares, they remind me of sweet Pacific/Hood Canal (Washington) sort of oysters that are plump and creamy (and have always reminded me of vanilla bean pods, weird, I know).
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*Product purchased by me. Product pic from Fragrantica. Bruce Hulse and Talia Soto by Bruce Weber in Bellport, NY pic from teenagedirtstache.tumblr.com. Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!