Genuine Mysore sandalwood oil is a rarity these days, but Ensar Oud offers three different takes on it that are worth trying if you are a sandalwood addict. One is an actual vintage oil dating back to the early 1980s, another is from 30-40 year-old red Mysore heartwood, while the third combines Mysore from Indonesia with centennial Tanzanian sandalwood for something utterly glorious that swept me off my feet.
Elephant & Roses and Syconium are two very different fragrances from the Italian niche brand, Maria Candida Gentile. The former layers roses with grassy, animalic, or clean elements, while the latter covers sandalwood with figs then dunks them both in a mix of milk and honey. I’ll look at each fragrance in turn.
On a mountain top in Rajasthan grows a Tree of Life whose mighty body is made of smoky sandalwood. Gnarled roots of oak and rosewood dig into patchouli earthiness, while its limbs bear bright, yellow citruses. Higher up, hidden amidst a canopy of more patchouli leaves, lie rosy flowers that drip a dark plummy liqueur. Natives come from far and wide, bearing gifts of incense that they burn in tribute to the magnificent tree that they call “Richwood.”
Richwood is a stunning sandalwood fragrance that grabs your attention from the start with its smoky woods, spicy patchouli, and an aromatic booziness that veers between oak-soaked cognac and plummy liqueur. It is an eau de parfum from the Italian luxury house of Xerjoff (pronounced as “Zer-joff”), which was founded in 2004 by Sergio Momo. Officially called “XJ Richwood,” the fragrance was release in 2010 as part of the XJ 17/17 Stone Label Collection whose name refers to the stone labels on the handcrafted bottles. It is intended to be a more affordable option than the collection’s original packaging which consisted of extremely expensive, limited-edition Murano glass art or quartz. According to Now Smell This, XJ Richwood (hereinafter just “Richwood“) was created by Jacques Flori, the nose behind Amouage’s Opus IV and Jovoy’s Psychedelique, among other scents. And it is really quite something.
L’Orpheline is a brand new release from the venerated house of Serge Lutens, a scent that seeks to symbolically explore the line between the cool, silvered, smoky blackness of the moon, and the richer, spicier ambered warmth of the earth. To that end, “High Mass” Avignon church incense and aldehydes transform into creamy Cashmere woods with almost a Mysore sandalwood-like veneer from spices, black incense, and amber. It is a fragrance that I have very mixed feelings about, but one which I think will be incredibly appealing to a certain segment of the perfume-wearing world.