Published On:

October 22, 2022

Updated On:

February 13, 2024

gucci bamboo

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like? Aroma Smells Like Wood

The answer to the question: "What does sandalwood smell like" is:
Sandalwood is deep, woody and often smells like a mix of floral, rich, balsamic, soft, and sweet accords.

Sandalwood has made a name for itself in the fragrance industry, but its use extends far beyond that. This fragrant wood from Santalum trees in India has been used for thousands of years in Hindu and Buddhist rituals. Now, in the Western world, sandalwood oil is used as a home fragrance or as a base in perfumes. Before we look into the best sandalwood fragrances for women, we should look at the background of this fragrant bark. Or if you want to go straight to the perfume section, click here.

About Sandalwood And What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

Sandalwood tree,What Does Sandalwood Smell Like

What Is Sandalwood? And Essential Oil Scent

Sandalwood is a class of woods that are taken from Santalum trees. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained. They can also retain their smell for decades if stored properly. Sandalwood essential oil comes from the roots and wood of the Santalum trees. It is used in perfumes, cosmetics, sacred unguents and as a mild food flavoring. The oils are known to have a warm and relaxing quality.

Where Does It Come From?

Sandalwood originated from Southern India’s Santalum trees. Santalum trees are very slow-growing trees. They have to be 15 years or older before they can be harvested. These trees are not cut at the ground level, they are pulled down to their roots and processed to make use of every part of the tree.

Sandalwood is the second most expensive wood in the world. Unfortunately, these trees have been over-harvested in India. They are now considered a threatened species. The harvesting of Sandalwood trees is monitored by India’s government, but illegal harvesting remains a problem. Indian sandalwood is known to be the highest quality and best-smelling. Most of the sandalwood on the market today comes from Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hawaii and Australia. 

A Short History of Sandalwood

Many ancient Indian temples and sacred objects were made from sandalwood. The essential oil was also a main ingredient in Egyptian embalming practices. People believed that sandalwood had the power to release the souls of the dead during funeral rituals. These were rituals that honored their deities. This was because of their belief that sandalwood is essential for reincarnation.

Sandalwood was also used as an ingredient for incense in the 18th century. In this same time-frame, it became a vital component in cosmetics, unguents and pastes. It was also used in other substances used to perfume the body.

From approximately 1714-1835 (the Georgian era), sandalwood was assumed to be a masculine scent. In 1796, the perfumer James Floris created Stephanotis. This was a feminine scent. It blended base notes of sandalwood and musk with orange blossom, stephanotis, and lily-of-the-valley.

More recently, sandalwood has been the center of many scandals. Since the wood and its essential oil are so highly valued, it is a magnet for theft and smuggling.  

The Benefits of Sandalwood

The benefits are many; especially in terms of mental and physical health. Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medical practices use essential oils to treat ailments. Sandalwood essential oil has natural astringent and antiseptic properties, and skin-softening qualities. This makes real sandalwood oil popular in toiletries - the synthetic fragrance does not have these qualities.

It may increase mental alertness and decrease the symptoms of anxiety. The aroma is pleasant and charming. It relieves worries by relaxing the central nervous system. Sandalwood is a powerful aid in meditation practices, and some consider it an aphrodisiac.

The mild astringent properties of the sandalwood essential oil help to firm and tone aging skin. It is thus also used in beauty products.

What Does Sandalwood Smells Like?

Sandalwood scent description: as expected, it has a woody scent. It is quite unique because it has a distinct exotic, sweet, creamy, smooth, and warm aroma. Once you smell sandalwood you will immediately recognizable.

It adds nuance, warmth, and complexity to any scent. Sandalwood makes an excellent base and carrier for other aromas. A versatile scent, it blends best with cedar, rosewood, patchouli, and vanilla note.

It may as well be the time to ask "What does patchouli smell like"?

In floral and citrus fragrances, it is used as a fixative to make the other oils last longer. It is a soft woody and long-lasting base for fragrances in the oriental, woody, fougere and chypre families.

Now that you know what sandalwood smells like you may ask yourself which perfume you should buy? The scent that you choose should correlate with the kind of main accords and notes that you love in a perfume. (An accord is combination of two or more scents creating an entirely different aroma. The personality of a fragrance is determined by its basic accord.)

Make sure that you know what you’re looking for and then find the scent you love best and suits your needs.

Sandalwood Scents for Women

Diptyque Tam Dao - Unisex EDT

Diptyque Tam Dao Eau de Toilette

This is a woody, unisex masterpiece that was inspired by the landscape of Tonkin. The main accord is woody, and it has strong notes of sandalwood and cedar.


  • Top: Italian cypress, myrtle and rose
  • Middle: sandalwood and cedar
  • Base: Brazilian rosewood, spices, amber and white musk

Main Accords:

  • Woody
  • Aromatic
  • Powdery

Diptyque Tam Dao has a moderate longevity, so if your intention is to wear it for a whole day, you might have to touch up. The smell is not overpowering, but it can still be smelt by those around you. It is not flashy - an intimate and noticeable scent.

Diptyque Tam Dao is a versatile perfume and works well on any occasion. The packaging is simplistic but tasteful and refined. 

Gucci Bamboo Eau De Parfum

Gucci Bamboo Eau De Parfum,What Does Sandalwood Smell Like

Bamboo by Gucci is a floral fragrance for women. It reflects confidence and femininity and is designed for the modern women in all her multifaceted glory.


  • Top note: bergamot
  • Middle note: Casablanca lily, orange blossom and ylang-ylang
  • Base note: sandalwood, Tahitian vanilla, and amber

Main Accords:

  • White floral
  • Citrus
  • Woody

The longevity of Bamboo is moderate, so it may require touch-ups for long-term use. This fragrance is fresh, but still luxurious.

Gucci Bamboo has a lovely, citrusy scent that will be a real crowd-pleaser. It catches the attention of those around you in the best way.

The packaging is relatively simple, but still classy and a bright addition to any collection.

Once you smell Gucci’s Bamboo, you’re sure to remember it and want another whiff!

Also be sure to have a look at our Gucci article for men's fragrances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Sandalwood oil mix well with?

The sweet smell of Sandalwood oil make it a good pairing for floral essential oil scents like lavender, jasmine, and geranium. It also blends well with citrus oils like bergamot or grapefruit, due to its sweet, uplifting nature. You can even blend sandalwood essential oil with warm, spicy oils like frankincense.

Can I use Sandalwood oil on my face?

Sandalwood can help to keep your skin healthy. Face packs are a proven natural remedy to treat skin problems such as excessive oil secretions, acne, pigmentation and other skin problems, use Organic Tea Tree Oil. Don't forget,if you have a beard there is sandalwood beard oil

Is Sandalwood good for hair?

Yes - Sandalwood oil moisturizes dry ends, and adds fragrance to the hair.

Does Sandalwood have mental health benefits?

Those who practice aromatherapy can attest to the truth of its benefits. Sandalwood is known for helping to alleviate stress and anxiety, which improves mental clarity and provides better cognitive function.

Why is Sandalwood expensive?

Sandalwood has become a very rare commodity. Since is expensive, wood from the stump and root of a sandalwood tree are harvested instead of sawing down at ground level. This is so even more wood can be processed into oil containing high levels of this precious substance.

In Conclusion

Sandalwood oil makes a great base for fragrances, the above mentioned five being the best for women. Its woody, earthy scent makes for familiar and calming fragrances that pair well with many notes. This includes rose, frankincense, myrrh, and ylang-ylang.

You can find sandalwood oils on any major online fragrance shop, and you can buy sandalwood oil on Amazon.

Products that include sandalwood are wonderful if you’re looking to relax, take a load off and find your peace. Sandalwood scented products can help you feel better mentally and physically, so they are a great buy!

Sandalwood scents make excellent products that are well worth purchasing. Whatever you’re looking for, there is a sandalwood scent that can fulfill your needs. Try out some perfume, you won’t look back!

Burberry perfumes also offer a number of fragrances featuring sandalwood - have a look! If you are interested in sandalwood fragrances for men, have a look at The 7 Coolest Sandalwood Fragrances For 2021.