Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo

Sandalwood oil produces one of the most enchanting, mysterious and complex scents on earth.  Anyone who loves the smell of sandalwood knows that there are as many different interpretations of this wood note as there are fragrances with the word "Santal" in them!  To make things more confusing, there are different types of sandalwoods, grown in different parts of the world, each with its own unique scent.  I've smelled ones that are sweet, some creamy smelling, some sharp and dry, some musky, some that smell like amber, and on and on.  It's enough to drive an experienced perfume enthusiast up the wall, never mind a newcomer!  Just trying to figure out what qualities all the various sandalwoods have in common is challenging, if not impossible. 

I own a lot of sandalwood perfumes, and all of them have qualities I love.  However, my holy grail sandalwood is Lorenzo Villoresi's Sandalo.  This one fragrance contains everything I look for in a great sandalwood perfume, and it does it all beautifully.

If you want an idea of how amazing this fragrance is, check out all of my reviews on sandalwoods here and on - e.g., Santal Noble, Caswell-Massey, Demeter, Crabtree & Evelyn, etc..  Make a mental note of all of the qualities I love in each of them.  What Villoresi's potion does for me is take all of those qualities and put them all together into one perfume that blends all of its facets seamlessly.

If you prefer "creamy" smelling sandalwoods, Villoresi will satisfy.  If you prefer a sharp, dry, aggressive presentation (e.g., Crabtree & Evelyn, Santa Maria Novella), it will also please you.  If you love the dark, deep-growl, super manly presentation of sandalwood you get in the base accords of a lot of men's scents, you'll love this too. 

The opening blast hits hard and aggressively, with sharp citrus, lavender and rosewood notes.  Underlying all that, you can smell the milky, creamy scent that is so often associated with Mysore sandalwood from India; because this type of sandalwood is very rare and expensive, chances are good that the creaminess here comes from Ebanol, which is an excellent synthetic sandalwood known for its creamy smell.  No matter, because it works brilliantly, never overpowering the complexity of this fragrance.  The drydown smells dark and husky, with a kind of dark brown hue, both rich and rugged at the same time.  It's an extremely masculine and deep smell, with its own sense of mystery separate from what you get from the earlier stages of the scent.  Wearing Sandalo is like being on a journey.

When you're paying niche fragrance prices like you will for Sandalo, you obviously want to know how much mileage you'll get out of a scent.  This will please you too, because this is a potent perfume.  It projects quite far, at least for the first couple of hours, and people will notice that you are wearing a very exotic fragrance.  After that, the scent stays closer to your skin, but is still noticeable by others near you.  Longevity is excellent, as it is with most sandalwoods, and I can smell this on myself for about ten hours.

I know many of you, like me, don't buy a lot of niche fragrances.  I think that out of the 300 or so bottles I own, about 25 or 30 of them are niche, and that's because I choose carefully before I buy.  The cost of niche fragrances can be prohibitive, so you need to be selective.  However, may I make a suggestion?  If you really love sandalwood, take the money that you'd normally use to buy four or five designer fragrances and treat yourself to a bottle of Sandalo.  Compared to the usual $25 designer fragrance you can get online, $80 for a 50 ml. bottle of perfume is a lot of money.  But you know what?  If you love sandalwood, this one bottle will give you so much enjoyment, I think you'll find the investment totally worthwhile.

MY RATING:  10/10

Fragrance House:  Lorenzo Villoresi


  1. Ever since my nine months roaming through India back in the 70s, I love Sandalwood.Back in those days it was as common and cheap as a cup of tea and we used it lavishly in its purest form (Mysore,Bangalore)as powder,soap, oil or incense. So when it comes to Sandalwood perfume,my nose is extremely spoiled and nothing but Mysore will do. The prices asked today however put those of Gold to shame, but I was lucky enough to get a bottle of Yardley Sandalwood EDT in India 2 years ago (the only country it is still produced)and have wanted to try out Sandalo for a long time as well.Only trouble is that it is even more expensive here in Germany than over at your end, so I guess I will have to be patient...

    1. If you're convinced that authentic Mysore sandalwood is the only way to go, then you're probably going to be disappointed with this. I can't imagine Sandalo having any Mysore santal in it, considering it only costs $80 for a bottle.

      I've never been to India, so I can never be 100% sure about what family of sandalwood I'm smelling. I like all the different types I've tried. I used to have a bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn's "Extract of Mysore Sandalwood" a long time ago, and it was great, but I can't say that I liked it better than Villoresi's Sandalo. I used up that bottle years ago, and I'm going purely on memory here.

  2. I tried it a long time ago, and remember a nasty herbal lavender that didn't last long. I like several fragrances with clear sandalwood notes and I have no interest in this one. I no longer have a sample so I can't go back and see if the top notes produced olfactory fatigue but I don't see this one as a "slam dunk" for those who like sandalwood notes. Sample first!

    1. I suppose no fragrance is a slam dunk for anyone until they try it first. I smell the lavender and rosewood in this, but I don't find the lavender to be super strong. For me, the sandalwood is clear as day in Sandalo.

      I've read many other reviews calling Sandalo a rough and rugged take on sandalwood. I agree somewhat with that, but I also smell a lot of depth in this fragrance, including creamy and dark facets as well.