It actually reached 45.8℃ (114.4℉) here in Sydney on Friday, the hottest ever recorded weather. It was also coincidentally the day I decided to write about Serge Lutens Santal Blanc. Wearing any of Serge Lutens’ scents in warm weather seems to me about as appealing as eating bark off a tree. So it was quite a pleasant surprise that it didn’t all end in disaster.
Santal Blanc is by no means a new scent. Created in 2001, it translates to “white sandalwood” in English. Like many other Serge Lutens fragrances, its scent is intense with considerable longevity. If you break it down, Santal Blanc really is quite a complex fragrance. Starting off with a sweet muted cedar note on a floral (rose in particular) background, pepper, cumin and cinnamon soon join the mix. Cumin is a tricky note that rubs me up the wrong way when used heavy-handedly, as it simply reminds me too much of curry (à la Serge Lutens Serge Noir). I love eating curry but not smelling like it. Fortunately both the cumin and cinnamon notes in Santal Blanc function to add an interesting edge to the otherwise overly sweet scent, rather than dominate it. Like many others, I do often find a “candied fruit” note common in many of Serge Lutens’ more intense fragrances. I remember smelling Santal Blanc for the first time half expecting that note to pop up, but it never did. As the scent wore on during that very hot day, its sweetness slowly dissipated, leaving behind a more traditional sandalwood note, staying close to the skin, never cloying.
What I do find amazing about Santal Blanc is that all its individual notes come together in some crazy perfume mathematical formula to eventually conjure up… pencil shavings. And that’s why I love it! I’ve had a stationery obsession for as long as I can remember and Santal Blanc simply reminds me why I love the smell of pencils so much.