I Don’t Care If Le Labo Santal 33 Is the PSL of Fragrance

santal 33 review

My Le Labo Santal 33 review: I freaking love it.

Passionately. Forever. Still — even after it has been skewered in online outlets ranging from Fashionista to The Cut, which wrote: “In a recent Quinnipiac poll, one in five women said she wears Le Labo Santal 33 as her preferred fragrance.” That, of course, is a joke, though before I realized that it was, I figured that depending on where they asked people — perhaps in a Venice Beach pilates studio — it might very well be true.

Its ubiquity has provided it with infamy. A once-cool thing — the extremely similar Santal 26 candle was part of the brand’s launch collection all the way back in 2006 — defeated by its own inevitability. Speaking of Fashionista: “Its woodsy smoke had already filled nearly every metropolitan bar, hotel lobby, and boardroom, long overstaying its welcome.”

And yet. And yet!!!

It’s the best. Officially, in its typically overblown and ridiculous language, Le Labo describes Santal 33 as: “a perfume that would intoxicate a man as much as a woman… that introduces our use of cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox which crackle in the formula and bring to this smoking wood alloy (Australian sandalwood, cedarwood) some spicy, leathery, musky notes, and gives this perfume its unisex signature and addictive comfort.”

Moi, I personally believe that it smells like cucumbers on first application, before settling into smoky violet beach.

Here’s the thing. Maybe the typically jaded Santal 33 review is true, and the fragrance is 10 years past its prime — a cliché for some people. But who, then, are these people? People who are jaded about perfumes. Who has time to be jaded about a perfume? People who work in the beauty industry, the media, people who regularly frequent the kinds of hotels where the managers care very much that the lobby should have a singular scent. Those aren’t most people. Those are basically 250 scenesters, going to all the same parties with all the same people, conniving for a bit more power and privilege. Fuck them! Who needs that? They mock. That’s their job — to figure out what might be cool before anyone else, and then tear it down in favor of the next thing. Put this on your neck, and people will want to get closer to you. You will want to get closer to you. (I’ve written my entire Santal 33 review with my wrist glued to my nose.) And isn’t that the point of smelling amazing? Frankly, I don’t want to make out with anyone who gets jaded over their perfume selection, and neither should you.

Buy it at Nordstrom.

Related reading:
Le Labo City Exclusives — Ranked
Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc Smells Like a Coconut Dream, Until It Doesn’t

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