First off I want to say thanks for the excellent suggestions you folks made on my Little Pleasers post. Some of the items (e.g., wine stoppers, pepper grinder, keychain flashlight) I´m happy to say I already own, and others are now on the way to the house. The Big Cheese is really thrilled with the tsunami of boxes arriving daily (hey, bud, at least it´s not perfume!) Anyway, if you´ll recall I said the first person to guess my New Serge Lutens Crush would win my Barbara Bui tee-shirt n stuff giveaway, and that goes to Camille – for naming Santal Blanc. Camille, send me your address (and I love my new Longaberger mugs! I got the berry ones.)
I´ve been ragging on Serge Lutens lately. When I was getting into fragrance it took me awhile to warm up to the Lutens concept, and the base in some of them is so syrupy sweet I can´t stomach it. But as a line, there is really nothing like Lutens. Some of my favorites are grand gestures, like Fleurs d´Oranger. Others have more subtle charms, like Clair de Musc. Some of the scents are outrageous, like Miel de Bois. What I think Lutens does really well is fragrances that are both delightful and a little odd, and that quirkiness is conspicuously absent in the line´s most recent releases.
Today´s scent topic, Santal Blanc, is on the highly-wearable end of the Serge Spectrum, but that doesn´t mean it´s lacking its own peculiar charms. I must have smelled this scent a number of times at the local boutique that sells it, and somehow I never got around to putting it on and giving it a chance to register. (Notes are white sandalwood, musk, cinnamon bark, fenugreek, balsam, pink pepper, iris, wood.)
I was surprised there are so many negative reviews of Santal Blanc on Basenotes, but after further consideration it makes sense; anyone looking for a manly payload of sandalwood is bound for disappointment. There is sandalwood, sure, but it´s gentle and creamy and melts into the general woodsiness of the base. Santal Blanc is also missing that signature dark-fruit Lutens note, which is fine with me; in its place is fenugreek. Here´s a weird quote from Wikipedia (so you know it´s true!):
“A side effect of consuming even small amounts of fenugreek (even as just an infusion in water) is a maple syrup or curry smell in the eater’s sweat and urine, which is caused by the potent aroma compound sotolone. Fenugreek is frequently used in the production of flavoring for artificial syrups. The taste of toasted fenugreek is additionally based on substituted pyrazines, as is cumin. By itself, it has a somewhat bitter taste.”
Santal Blanc is fairly quiet and semi-gourmand – a faint sugar note in the opening, then a brief hint of something like mustard or cumin that fades quickly, and then the main body of the scent– mostly bark and woods, something milky, a light dusting of pepper. Santal Blanc is one of those fragrances I wish I had a new vocabulary to describe, creamy and peppery and gourmand being pretty played out at this point. It´s wonderful – it´s a little weird, falling between dessert spices and a sandalwood box. It´s certainly subtle by Lutens standards, and oddly sexy. It´s a comfort scent par excellence, as well. It´s quite unisex, and it seems to me like the sort of unobtrusive scent you would wear to the office, but that people would still inquire about enthusiastically. I´m thrilled to have finally noticed its charms.
sandalwood mala beads: saranam.com