How many tales can sandalwood tell? Serge Lutens has already given two versions of it, the Indian bazaar Santal de Mysore and the neighbouring Santal Blanc, less spicy, more floral. Both explore the sweet, buttery side of sandalwood. For me the benchmark sandalwood is Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Santal Noble, a dry, creamy version of the wood with tons of refinement. Hearing the news of a third sandalwood coming from Serge Lutens really made me wonder whether the house would have come up with a drier scent.
Santal Majuscule is definitely a big scent, more restrained though than the exuberant Santal de Mysore. It opens with mere hints of the spicy, milky sandalwood house note but very soon a cornucopia of notes start pouring out of skin. A bright, pink rose explodes suddenly in a cloud of wet, sparkling florality. The rose seems to completely take over the composition in just a few minutes and at this point I am already wondering how this is going to help create a Capital Sandalwood as the name claims. A rich chocolate emerges after a while anchoring the previous flower-bomb phase. This chocolate note is great because it is not thick and gourmand, as in scented candles, nor bitter and vague, as in Borneo 1834. It could very well be the perfect chocolate note! At times it smells a little like Angel that has become less sexual and more lady-like. Underpinning the chocolate and rose I smell a hint of the breakfast accord found in Jeux de Peau but here it serves only to give a more playful context to the scent. I hated Jeux de Peau because from start to finish it made me smell like like a giant Yankee Candle but here only hints of the chicory note are used and the sweetness is cut down. As Santal Majuscule progresses it develops a very aggressive drydown, fierce and flamboyant. I suddenly catch myself thinking of Chanel Coco. A bright, sparkling, feminine scent is suddenly found on my skin. Chocolate, rose, aldehyde and a fuzzy sandalwood to make it special.
Santal Majuscule is better than I expected given it is the third Serge Lutens sandalwood-centred creation and the similarities with Jeux de Peau I was afraid of. But I wouldn’t say it is about sandalwood, definitely not a capital one. But it is a very pleasing, rather feminine scent and if you like Chanel Coco or Thierry Mugler Angel and feel like moving uptown (or niche-town) you may want to try this. There is nothing exotic about this, just a hint of the Indian style sandalwood Sheldrake has served us in the past with an elegant gloss of sophisticated exuberance.
Notes from Parfumo.net: Savdalwood, Cocoa, Rose
Notes from my nose: sandalwood, coconut, rose, chocolate, chicory
Photo from the fall 2012 Chanel runway taken from ilovewildfox.com
Two samples of this were sent to me from Les Salons du Palais Royals just by asking them together with all wax samples of the exclusive line. Guys, don’t pay for them online! Just ask and you will be given!
MemoryOfScent by Christos Karageorgos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.