What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like? The scent of Sandalwood falls squarely within the woody fragrance family, as opposed to the more common citrus, floral, oriental, chypre, ferns, or leathers. Cedar, vetiver, patchouli, pine, and cypress are some more well-known woody fragrances.

What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?

Sandalwood—what is it?

The tree species known as Sandalwood is classified in the genus Santalum. The slow-growing trees yield a finely-grained, yellow, aromatic wood with a strong scent that can last for decades after being cut down. Caring for a sandalwood tree, which produces one of the world’s most valuable woods, takes at least 15 years.

The quantity and quality of the oil a tree produces increases as it ages. Despite its original home in Southern India, the sandalwood tree is now found as far afield as Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hawaii, and Australia.

  • If you like the aroma of patchouli, you’ll probably also enjoy the scent of Sandalwood because of the similarities between the two.

  • Located in the “woody oriental” segment of the fragrance wheel, these scents are musky, earthy, and somewhat sweet and spicy.

  • If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to inhale just a whiff of Sandalwood’s pure scent, you know exactly what we’re talking about.


However, if you’ve never experienced the scent of Sandalwood before, it might be challenging to put into words the distinct and complex features of its aroma.

Sandalwood’s Aromas

Sandalwood’s aroma may be approximatively described in the same way the six blind mice described the elephant: by naming its primary features.

  • Mellowly woodsy

  • Soft and velvety

  • Affectionate, luscious, and grounding

  • Alluring and sensual

  • Quite foreign and unusual

  • somewhat musk-like

  • Mildly sugary

  • Mellowly fiery

A Smoky Aroma of Sandalwood

Since Sandalwood is classified as a woody smell, “woody” is naturally one of the most used adjectives for this aromatic substance. While similar to cedar in woodiness, Sandalwood has a more upbeat, somewhat sweeter mood than its other group members.

Sandalwood’s aroma is particularly unique since it is so soft and creamy. The smell of Sandalwood is often described as buttery, creamy, warm, sensual, and seductive by those who appreciate it.

Sandalwood stands out among other woods since it is a lovely base note that amplifies and enriches other fragrances. Using a variety of middle and top notes, including very fruity, flowery, and earthy, is a great way to create luxurious and energizing smells.

Since Sandalwood was typically reserved for usage in men’s colognes, its aroma was associated with masculinity. However, Sandalwood is now widely used in many women’s perfumes.


A tree in the Santalum genus produces the wood used to make sandals. The wood from these slow-growing trees is golden in colour and fine-grained, with a pleasant scent that lasts for decades. The highly prized sandalwood tree needs at least 15 years to mature fully. The aroma of Sandalwood is luxurious and buttery. They say the scent of Sandalwood is buttery, creamy, warm, sensual, and seductive.

Reason of Smell of Sandalwood

Essential oils derived from the heartwood of the tropical tree Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) and its cousins are the sole source of santol, the component responsible for the distinctive aroma of Sandalwood.

Sandalwood from India

An evergreen tree, Indian Sandalwood is found naturally in the warmer regions of southern India and Southeast Asia. One hundred years of life span is possible for each tree that reaches a height of 9 meters. The Indian Sandalwood is, sadly, on the verge of extinction. Due to decades of over-collecting for fragrance and medicine, it has almost vanished from the wild.

Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spice) and New Caledonia sandalwood are two of the many closely related types of sandalwood trees used to produce sandalwood oil (Santalum austrocaledonicum).

Sandalwood from Caledonia

New Caledonia sandalwood, which has a higher santalol concentration than Australian Sandalwood, provides a warm and creamy perfume like Indian Sandalwood. In contrast, Australian Sandalwood’s aroma is somewhat lighter and woodier.

Because of Indian Sandalwood’s endangered condition, these alternatives are more morally acceptable and come at a far lower price.


Due to increasing worldwide demand for its oil and heartwood and stringent government prohibitions on over-harvesting of surviving Indian Sandalwood trees, Sandalwood is often regarded as the world’s most costly wood.

Sandalwood’s Benefits

Sandalwood has been prized for its therapeutic properties for over four thousand years. Sandalwood oil has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, from the common cold to gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract infections, muscular pain, and even mental disorders, in both traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.

Despite the fact that many of Sandalwood’s purported health advantages touted in folklore haven’t been confirmed by current science, the tree has long been used for its symbolic value.

  • Concern Management

  • Helping Broken Bodies Mend

  • Efficacy in reducing inflammation

  • Advantages against cancer

  • Capacity to inhibit the growth of microorganisms

Essential oils derived from Sandalwood have been used for centuries to treat many emotional and mental health issues, including their calming, stress-reducing, and mood-lifting aromas in aromatherapy.

Sandalwood’s comfortable buttery aroma can also help you sleep better by making you feel more relaxed and alleviating insomnia symptoms.

Note: Don’t forget to end your favorite sandalwood candle before you drift off to sleep if you choose to light it before bed. Have no qualms. The perfume of a Sandalwood-scented candle lingers long after the flame has been extinguished.

Sandalwood Candles

Many of our best-selling candle fragrances at the Harlem Candle Company are infused with Sandalwood’s warm, addicting base notes to produce rich, long-lasting fragrances that permeate a room entirely.

Candles Explanation
JOSEPHINE With a zesty citrus opening of fresh bergamot and a velvety background of warm amber, sweet Tonka bean, and precious Sandalwood, this perfume captures the euphoric energy of Harlem’s hottest jazz clubs.
LANGSTON This very intimate fragrance was inspired by the life of jazz poet Langston Hughes. It contains tobacco, leather, vanilla, heady jasmine, resinous sandalwood, and ambery incense.
SAVOY The enticing blend of fruity and floral overtures, sensual Sandalwood, and sheer musk is reminiscent of the glamorous and exciting evenings spent at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom.
LENOX With top notes of succulent tangerine and green apple, this ode to the vital thoroughfare known as Harlem’s heartbeat opens with a seductive heart of lush gardenia and creamy coconut.
DREAM Lavender, pimento berry, and bergamot set the tone for this perfect relaxing fragrance, which develops into a heart of Jasmine and iris and is rounded out by a seductive base of liquid amber, patchouli, and Sandalwood.
MISS DAY Like Billie Holiday herself, the intoxicating combination of green leaves, neroli, gardenia, ylang ylang, and coffee flowers creates a scent that is at once bold and robust yet refined and supple.
BROWNSTONE Warm spices like bergamot, cardamom, and freesia waft on the breeze from the gardens of Harlem’s brownstones to the inviting front steps.


All the candles have unique scent combinations created to tell a story about the Harlem Renaissance. In the background, the soothing sounds of jazz mingle with the comforting aromas of patchouli and Sandalwood wafting in through an open window.

Are there any popular Sandalwood-based candle smells that I might try?

Sandalwood is a prominent component in several of our best-selling candle scents. Sandalwood is used in several of our best-selling scented candles, including:

The San Diego Candle Company

Put out our San Diego candle and shut your eyes to be whisked away to the finest city in America. Patchouli, sea moss, tonka, and amber join Sandalwood in the fragrance’s base notes, creating a perfume evocative of a sunny day at the beach. The smell is robust and refreshing thanks to adding sea air notes, Jasmine, lavender, rosemary, and marine.

Cottage by the Sea Candles

The calming scent of our beach house candle will remind you of carefree days spent at the shore. If you could bottle the smell of the ocean, the heat of the beach, and the thunder of an afternoon storm in a candle, this is what it would smell like.

Cedarwood, tonka bean, amber, and musk are all used as base notes and sandalwood pairs well with all four. Marina, beach, plumeria, and bergamot fragrances evoke beach vacations and nighttime strolls along flower-lined streets.

Yankee Candle Grand Canyon

From our series of candles inspired by America’s national parks, this one is inspired by the Grand Canyon and its association with the dry heat reflecting off the canyon’s bright orange and red rock. A blend of redwood cedar, vanilla flower, lemon, wild petitgrain, rose hips, Italian bergamot, and white Jasmine, with a touch of Italian bergamot to round out the fragrance, conjures up the stark beauty of this national park.

Boulder, Colorado Taper Candle

As if it weren’t obvious, everyone is keen on making Colorado their new home. The spruce trees and thawing snow in this picturesque state inspired us to create this scent. The Colorado Candle, one of our best-selling cinnamon scents, mixes Sandalwood and spice with amber musk, cedarwood, sea, and snow, creating a fragrance that is both comforting and refreshing.

St. Michael’s College in Baltimore

To properly convey the Old Line State’s unique personality, we had to find a similarly subtle fragrance. Sandalwood that has just been shaved helps the tonka bean, vanilla, and musk foundation stick together. At the same time, hints of cinnamon, thyme, ginger, bay, cumin, and nutmeg evoke Maryland’s signature Old Bay flavour.

Candela de Nuevo México

This sweet and spicy candle conjures up a late summer night in New Mexico’s desert. The woody, musky base notes come from a combination of Sandalwood, cedar, and musk, with clove and cactus adding depth. The candle’s spicy-woody flavour is completed by adding chilli pepper, nutmeg, and bay.

You can’t go wrong with our sandalwood candle smells since Sandalwood has a lovely aroma that complements various other perfumes.


Spruce trees and melting snow in Alaska inspired this aroma. The Colorado Candle has a delightful, energizing scent thanks to a blend of Sandalwood, spice, amber musk, cedarwood, sea, and snow. Fruity and floral overtures coupled with Sandalwood and musk evoke the sophisticated and exciting atmosphere of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

The following inquiries are all related to this subject.

1 - Precisely what does Sandalwood smell like?

Sandalwood’s predominant odour is woody due to the percentage of santol. It has an earthy aroma but is also a little creamy and thick. Sandalwood has a complex aroma that combines balsamic, sweet, and floral undertones.

2 - Is there a feminine odour to Sandalwood?

Despite its traditional association with a “masculine” aroma, Sandalwood is utilized in various scents aimed squarely toward women.

3 - Can you smell a musky quality to Sandalwood?

There is nothing quite like Sandalwood’s deep, warm, sweet-spicy aroma. It has been used in everything from perfume to incense to cosmetics since it has a universally appealing aroma.

4 - That smells like a hippy; what is it?

While patchouli oil has been around for a while, its massive surge in popularity in the 1960s is primarily attributable to the counterculture. Due to its natural, earthy scent, patchouli oil has been theorized to be a staple in the hippie lifestyle.

5 - Like Sandalwood, what other things exist?

Jasmine, often known as the Queen of the Night due to its enticing perfume and sexual properties, is a perfect substitute for sandalwood essential oil. It’s also possible to get the same results using Ylang Ylang or Ginger instead of Sandalwood.

6 - How about the aroma of Sandalwood? Is it pleasant?

Sandalwood has a pleasant aroma and has been a critical perfume ingredient for generations. It has a romantic scent that makes it useful in aromatherapy for relaxation and stress relief, but it is also thought to be an aphrodisiac.

7 - Does Sandalwood have a pleasant aroma?

Putting on a splash of sandalwood fragrance can help you charm the women. Inhaling Sandalwood’s aroma has been shown to improve one’s disposition and stimulate desire, according to a study published in Planta Medica in 2006. Sandalwood oil allegedly increased a person’s heart rate, skin conductance, and systolic blood pressure.

8 - Can males use sandalwood fragrances?

Many perfumes, particularly masculine colognes, use Sandalwood as a prominent note. It contributes a pleasant, somewhat sweet woodsy aroma to fragrances, making it a beneficial ingredient in the perfume industry. Given the popularity of the aroma, it’s not surprising that many people seek for bouquets including Sandalwood.

9 - What other aromas complement Sandalwood the best?

It’s a tremendous foundational note that works well with other aromas, such as floral and musky rose, herbal and green geranium, spicy and complex bergamot, fresh lemon, fragrant frankincense, peppery marjoram, and sugary orange.

10 - Can you tell me whether Sandalwood perfume works?

If you’re trying to branch out from flower and vanilla aromas but want to start with something a little more sophisticated, Sandalwood is a great option. One of our favourite summer and autumn scents, Sandalwood, is very airy with a hint of muskiness.


Like citrus, floral, oriental, chypre, woody, fern, and leather, Sandalwood has a distinct woody scent. Aromas like cedar, vetiver, patchouli, pine, and cypress are all examples of woody scents. Upon lighting, you’ll be transported to a warm summer night in New Mexico, thanks to this candle’s sweet and spicy aroma. The woody, musky undertones come from a combination of Sandalwood, cedar, musk, clove, and cactus.

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