Creed Original Santal

Being a huge fan of Creed, it was with excitement and some trepidation that I tested Original Santal, one of Creed’s two launches for 2005 (the other being Love in White). I was quite disappointed with Creed’s previous launch, Original Vetiver, mostly due to the fact that it was anything but original (though truth be told, I’m considering buying a bottle anyhow) and word of mouth has not been much better for this new scent.

Original Santal is a 21st century interpretation of a scent created by Creed for Emperor Franz-Josef of Austria Hungary in the 19th century. It is an Eau de Parfum housed in a beautiful red-orange, typical Creed bottle. It has notes of cinnamon, coriander, juniper berry, lavender, rosemary, ginger, mandarin, neroli, orange wood, Mysore sandalwood, cedar, benzoin, vanilla and ambergris.

The second Creed fragrance exploring the theme of sandalwood — the other being Santal Imperial, an Eau de Toilette — begins with a zing of citrus and a hint of a sharp woody note. The effect is quite similar to Paco Rabanne’s citrusy XS for Men. The initial aroma also immediately reminds me of two other Creeds — Neroli Sauvage and Himalaya — but before I can write off the fragrance, the top notes calm and those woody notes make their grand entrance. Beneath the cool, icy citrus opens an amazing array of warm, slightly smoky cedar and benzoin and finally, after about 15 minutes, the ambergris and vanilla reveal themselves. Now I’m reminded of Nina Ricci’s Memoir d’Homme or the wonderful lower notes of L’Artisan’s Tea for Two.

After about an hour, the scent has settled completely and there hasn’t been much development. There is an odd note lingering at the edges of the drydown similar to…gasoline. I remember something similar in Silver Mountain Water. Strangely enough, I don’t detect a lot of sandalwood here; similarly, I didn’t get much vetiver from Original Vetiver.

I like Original Santal, but I am not terribly impressed. Many of Creed’s early scents were masterpieces of then modern perfumery. A number of these fragrances, such as 1938’s Cuir de Russie and 1933’s Angélique Encens, have endured and I’m proud to have them in my collection. Many of the newer Creeds, however, employ the millesime base, a common bouquet of notes that are found in Creed fragrances such as Imperial and Green Valley, and as such, Original Santal leaves me craving something different. Devotees of that rich millesime base will be pleased by this fragrance, but sandalwood aficionados will likely be puzzled by it.

Original Santal can be pre-ordered online exclusively at escentual in the UK. It will be available in the United States in March of 2006.

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15 Comments — Comments are closed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Er, isn't it just Chanel Allure Homme?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the review R! I am a bit bored with the house of Creed at the moment. Will try these though. Love in White – can you describe this please?

    Will have to get to that annoying Creed boutique where there is almost no concept of CS!

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey N, that is Marlen's review, I haven't tried the OS yet. I gave Love in White a very brief try, and will probably try it again next spring…it really struck me a summer scent more than fall. V reviewed it on Bois de Jasmin though:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey MC – I actually didn't think of Chanel Allure Homme at all, but other folks have definitely mentioned a resemblance. I got Rabanne XS and Ricci Memoire more than anything else…


  5. Anonymous says:

    oops – fuzzy today – thanks R!!

    Thanks Marlen for the review!

    Please read my comments above!

  6. Anonymous says:

    M, I have been curious about 1938’s Cuir de Russie. Can you please describe what it is like?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I must say, being a huge fan of the House of Creed for many years, I was very excited to pick up a bottle of the new Original Santal when I was in London last week. I especially enjoy the cinnamon top note which immediately makes a powerful and wonderful statement. I also love the red/amber colored bottle in the traditional design. I think it makes the perfect addition to my Creed collection.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am not a fan of Creed at all but I really like this one. To me it is just so different from their awful Green Irish Tweed that seems to get rave reviews for some strange reason.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Marlen – I haven't tried anything much from Creed, but this sounds like one I don't need to worry about. And like Victoria, I am curious about the Cuir de Russie you mention.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Marlen, glad you mentioned the “gasoline” note in this one; it DOES surface as well in Silver Mountain Water. In fact, as SMW ages, the FUEL note takes over and ruins the scent; my bottle which is just 18 mo. old and housed in a dark cool place is now almost unwearable because of this harsh chemical note. So sick of scents proclaiming SANTAL or VETYVER in their titles that are ABSENT those notes. Kevin

  11. Anonymous says:

    My girlfriend in Brussels wears Original Santal by Creed. She wants me to wear it too. I guess this scent has appeal for everyone, like Creed's Imperial Millesime.

  12. Anonymous says:

    In my travels around the world, and i do travel quite a lot, I've had occasion to sample Creed's Original Santal. It's the best ever from Creed, a combo of their history and total modernity. My good friend from Milan, who is actually a leading clothes designer, wears only Creed fragrances.

  13. Anonymous says:

    PARISLONDRES – I'm a bit bored as well…I'm tired of derivative scents that smell “nice” without being original!

    VICTORIA & KATIE – Cuir de Russie by Creed is a rich, almost smoky leather scent, whereas Royal English Leather is a sweeter, almost buttery leather scent. I like the warmth and darker notes of CdR but find it overall to be somewhat simpler than most of the other Creeds – and that's definitely not a complaint. It's a wonderful companion to Angelique Encens – both masterpeices. Send me an email, ladies! ; )

    ADAM – the bottle IS beautiful, isn't it! And I love the Original Vetiver bottle as well…I have a feeling we may see one more like this in blue…what do you think?

    BARRY – I agree about GIT, but there is something about it I quite enjoy when wearing it (depsite the fact that people ask me if I'm wearing Cool Water!)

    KEVIN – Tell me about it. It's like Floris's Santal – I kept thinking where IS the sandalwood here?

    ANTHONY – Clearly your girlfriend has great taste! What a sexy idea for both partners to share a fragrance – especially if you don't live in the same place. I bet OS carries some great associations for you!

    MAX – Ov vez! You should see my Creed Collection! I think I'm up to something like 9 bottles now…There are so many amazing scents to choose from. I like the idea of only wearing one house, however, I'm too fickle and need something different for every day of the year!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I was in London this summer and bought Original Santal — and absolutely adored it. My fragrance-loving American friends are so jealous they have to wait to get it! It is spicy, fresh and frankly destined to be a Creed claasic

  15. Anonymous says:

    LA KEVIN – I'm happy you are enjoying it. Wear it in good health!