Santal 33 is undeniably the most popular scent to have ever come out of independent perfumery, Le Labo. It single-handedly catapulted the niche house from relative unknown to mainstream success–a “stupid amount of success”, admitted Le Labo co-founder Fabrice Penot in a 2015 article in the New York Times Style Magazine.
The same article asserts that, at one point, you couldn’t go anywhere in New York without smelling Santal 33. It isn’t hard to see why, either: the fragrance is perfectly unisex, blending notes of sandalwood and cedar with iris and violet. The concoction is smoky and mysterious, spicy and sensual, and therefore infinitely wearable.
Nowadays, Santal 33 has reached near-legendarily ubiquitous status, worn by everyone from Alexa Chung to Justin Bieber. If you can’t get enough of those vibes but are looking to smell a little different from everyone else, here are a few alternatives, recommended by Scent Split:
Bal d’Afrique – Byredo
Bal d’Afrique is a heavy-hitter of a fragrance in its own right, and is one of Byredo’s most iconic offerings. Launched as part of the initial collection that started it all for the Swedish brand, it, too, has gained a cult following, just like Santal 33.
Inspired by Paris’ love affair with all things African in the roaring late ‘20s, Bal d’Afrique is both a celebration of and a tribute to one of the most fascinating continents on the planet. Similar to Santal 33, this is a unisex fragrance that opens with bright African marigold, bergamot, and buchu, before revealing a heart of violet and cyclamen. Its base notes of Moroccan cedarwood and vetiver call back to dark, earthy elements, balancing the scent out.
You can buy genuine decants and sample sizes of Bal d’Afrique on Scent Split here.
Jazz Club – Maison Margiela
Maison Margiela specializes in perfumes that are olfactory distillations of places and moments. Jazz Club is one of their most popular scents, having made it to numerous top 10 lists for male perfumes. However, bold women can wear the scent just as well.
The description on the bottle is short and sweet. It claims to smell of “heady cocktails and cigars”, achieving this effect by combining accords of rum and Java vetiver oil with lemon and neroli. It is a tobacco-forward fragrance that can instantly transport the wearer to an underground jazz club at night, having a glass of their favorite spirit.
Genuine decants of Jazz Club in various sample sizes can be scored from Scent Split here.
Orpheon – Diptyque
Diptyque classifies itself as a perfumery, first and foremost, but they also produce bath and body products, home scents, decor, and candles. Orphéon was created to celebrate their 60 years in the industry, and has since become the new Santal 33–sans the part about everyone wearing it.
Subtle and low-key, it, too, was inspired by Paris, the City of Love and Light. With this fragrance, Diptyque aims to capture the essence of one of the most romantic places in the world during the swinging ‘60s, a time of excitement and effervescence. At its heart is sensual jasmine, surrounded by notes of Juniper berry, tonka bean, and cedar.
You can purchase genuine decants of Orpheon from Scent Split here.
Distinguish yourself from the crowd by purchasing decanted samples of these fragrances from Scent Split today. Scent Split offers sample sizes in 1mL, 2mL, 5mL and 9mL on most of their selections, as well as new-in-box bottles for a number of them. Visit the site today.