7 Best Santal 33 Alternatives in 2024 – Hands-On Test

Santal 33 is known for its subtle, classy, and alluring scent, but it can be quite expensive. Many simply can’t afford these prices for a cologne, and so I’ve tested some similar fragrances to find the best alternatives that won’t break the bank.

The best Santal 33 alternative is Diptyque’s Tam Dao, which I find to be an improvement over the original. It lasts just as long, smells 90% the same, and skips the slightly “pickle-ish” note that some people dislike in Santal 33. Tam Dao is natural, sophisticated, and consistently garners compliments.

Budget Choice
Best Alternative Overall
Premium Option
4.2
4.8
4.5
$23.99$21.02
$92.97
$136.49
  • Natural-smelling, creamy woodiness that's perfect for professional settings.
  • A great budget alternative for fans of Le Labo's Santal 33.
  • A very close scent that removes the divisive "pickle" note of the original Santal 33.
  • Long lasting with powerful projection. A little goes a long way!
  • A musky base of leather and amber lends Fahrenheit unique retro masculinity.
  • I love the beautifully seductive violet note. A great example of subtle masculine florals.
Budget Choice
4.2
$23.99$21.02
  • Natural-smelling, creamy woodiness that's perfect for professional settings.
  • A great budget alternative for fans of Le Labo's Santal 33.
Best Alternative Overall
4.8
$92.97
  • A very close scent that removes the divisive "pickle" note of the original Santal 33.
  • Long lasting with powerful projection. A little goes a long way!
Premium Option
4.5
$136.49
  • A musky base of leather and amber lends Fahrenheit unique retro masculinity.
  • I love the beautifully seductive violet note. A great example of subtle masculine florals.
07/22/2024 09:02 am GMT

For those seeking a more masculine option, Cremo’s Palo Santo is perfect. It’s about 80% similar to Santal 33, lacking the floral elements, but featuring creamy sandalwood with an extra touch of smokiness.

If you’re looking for something different, Dior’s Fahrenheit offers a floral twist, while Burberry’s Touch provides a long-lasting, professional sandalwood scent.

Burberry Touch is a light, floral, and elegant scent. Photo taken by Joe Manktelow-Pimm. Copyright: 7Gents ©

Now, let’s explore the complete list of Santal 33 alternatives that I’ve enjoyed the most.

5 Best Santal 33 Alternatives


1. Diptyque Tam Dao – Best Santal 33 Alternative Overall

Tam Dao is about 90% similar to Santal 33, and I actually consider it a bit of an improvement on the original.

Best Overall
Diptyque Tam Dao
4.8
$92.97

A very similar alternative to Santal 33 that removes the divisive "pickle" note of the original.

Long lasting with powerful projection. A little goes a long way!

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07/22/2024 06:26 am GMT

The masculinity here is dialed up slightly, substituting the subtle floral notes for more emphasis on the spicy sandalwood.

It’s got a soapy clean feel, with a dash of extra muskiness in the base for good measure. In my experience it’s not nearly as polarising as Santal 33 – it avoids that pickle-ish note that can turn some people off.

It lasts around 8 hours (the same as Santal 33), but I find it projects a little “louder” too. The creamy sandalwood can be detected from at least a few feet away without being overbearing and is a serious compliment collector.

This fresh and clean fragrance is around half the price of Santal 33. Not a budget pick by any stretch of the imagination, but Diptyque is still a luxury brand in its own right. 

Diptyque Tam Dao Fragrance Notes
Top Notes:Italian Cypress, Myrtle and Rose
Middle Notes:Sandalwood and Cedar
Base Notes:Brazilian Rosewood, Spices, Amber and White Musk

2. Dior Fahrenheit – Best Alternative for Masculine Florals

If you smelt Dior Fahrenheit, you’d know it wasn’t Santal 33.

But it does share plenty of the cedar, bergamot, and nutmeg DNA that produces such an alluring effect.

Best Alternative for Masculine Florals
Fahrenheit By Dior
4.5
$136.49

A musky base of leather and amber lends Fahrenheit unique retro masculinity.

I love the beautifully seductive violet note. A great example of subtle masculine florals. 

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07/22/2024 06:55 am GMT

It’s the ideal cologne for Gents who wish Santal 33 had a little more sweetness, with additional floral touches of honeysuckle and violet that add some nuance without straying into feminine territory.

It makes me imagine a Santal 33 that went off on a trip to France, and came back more aloof, sophisticated, and smoking a lavender cigarette.

I’d recommend it for cooler evenings in fall or winter when you need something that can cut through the cold without making you smell like a Christmas cake.

Fahrenheit by DiorFragrance Notes
Top Notes:Violet, Cedar, Nutmeg Flower and Mandarin Orange
Middle Notes:Honeysuckle, Sandalwood and Cedar
Base Notes:Leather, Musk, Amber and Tonka Beans

3. Palo Santo – Best Budget Alternative

Palo Santo is one of the newer Cremo colognes – and it’s a really solid addition to the line for fans of sweet woody fragrances.

This is the pick for Gents on a budget who want to present masculine confidence in the office while still smelling natural and professional.

Best Budget Alternative
Cremo Palo Santo Cologne
4.5
$23.99 $21.02

Natural-smelling, creamy woodiness that's perfect for professional settings.

A great budget alternative for fans of Le Labo's Santal 33.

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07/22/2024 09:02 am GMT

It has a bright opening that soon makes way for the woodsy, lightly smokey aroma. The woodiness here is sweet, creamy, and very pleasant.

Palo Santa is a masculine fragrance, with a central sage note that adds a dose of herbal maturity, and the lightest of cardamom touches bring a little warmth.

The papyrus in the base reminds me a little of fresh paper – that “new book smell”.

Overall, it’s a fragrance that will regularly pick you up compliments. It’s an absolute steal at this price point, particularly when you consider how long it lasts. Palo Santo projects a nice arms-length scent bubble for the first few hours and sticks around more intimately for 7 – 8 hours of overall wear. 

It stacks up with colognes several times the price, and comparisons with Santal 33 are inevitable. I’d say Palo Santo is about 80% similar – it lacks the florals and the slightly acerbic pickle note of the popular Le Labo fragrance, but it’s definitely in the same creamy/woodsy ballpark.

Palo Santo EDTFragrance Notes
Top Notes:Light Citrus
Middle Notes:Cardamom and Palo Santo
Base Notes:Papyrus

4. Tom Ford Santal Blush – Best Unisex Alternative

If you prefer classically masculine accords, look elsewhere. Santal blush is firmly unisex, but the quality Mysore sandalwood transcends gender concerns, anyway.

Best Unisex Alternative
Tom Ford | Santal Blush Parfum Spray
$295.00

A delicate and creamy blend that prioritizes sophistication over masculinity.

Vanilla adds some sweetness to the woods, like a powdery milkshake.

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07/22/2024 05:05 pm GMT

This dry and spicy scent makes me feel luxurious and elegant. Santal Blush reminds me of a fine dry white wine in the opening, crisp but with delicate woody infusions. As the heart opens up it becomes creamier, a little like snacking bread in a workshop scattered with sawdust.

The more masculine elements of animatic musk and suede emerge in the dry down. There’s also a touch of vanilla that leaves Santal Blush feeling like a thick, powdery milkshake.

My girlfriend says she ruined Santal Blush for herself by realizing it smells like maple whiskey (she had a bad experience in college…). She’s not wrong, but for me, it’s a bonus. The sweetness and woodiness are all there. 

It’s not overly masculine, but for me, Tom Ford offers one of the best sandalwood fragrances out there. 

But if you’re interested in poise, precision, and craftsmanship – Tom Ford delivers once again. 

Santal Blush by Tom FordFragrance Notes
Top Notes:Cinnamon, Caraway, Carrot Seeds and Spices
Middle Notes:Ylang-Ylang, Rose and Jasmine
Base Notes:Sandalwood, Virginia Cedar, Musk, Agarwood and Benzoin

5. No.04 Bois de Balincourt Maison Louis Marie – A Very Close Designer Scent Alternative

This spicy, powdery scent is packed full of sandalwood and vetiver with beautiful warm amber in the dry down.

A Very Close Alternative
Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt
$93.00
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07/23/2024 03:06 am GMT

It smells like an Autumn stroll in a bottle, and captures the essence of Santal 33 beautifully.

To my nose, it’s an almost perfect alternative that I’d struggle to differentiate in a blind smell test. The only difference is, like Tam Dao, No.04 skips the slightly acerbic “pickle” note. It’s replaced by a warmer hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, which makes me lean more towards colder weather than the fresher notes in Santal 33.

When I was testing it, I had 3 people stop me to ask what I was wearing in 1 day. That rarely happens, even for me as a fragrance aficionado.

The only drawback is the longevity. It’s still perfectly functional at 5 – 6 hours, but it does fall short of the Le Labo original. But for the price, I don’t mind refreshing my scent before I head out for the evening.

No.04 Bois de Balincourt EDP Fragrance Notes
Top Notes:Sandalwood and Cedar
Middle Notes:Vetiver, Nutmeg and Cinnamon
Base Notes:Woody Notes and Amber

6. Santal Supreme – A Solid Alternative (While it Lasts)

Santal Supreme smells almost exactly the same as Santal 33 – I just wish it lasted longer

A Solid Alternative (While it Lasts)
Santal Supreme by Le Monde Gourmand
$25.00
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07/22/2024 05:36 am GMT

This blend of milky sandalwood, spicy sandalwood, and zesty bergamot really captures the balance between freshness and earthiness.

It definitely deepens over time, starting off more like the crisp white pages before descending into rich, calming woodsiness that reminds me of tree sap in the forest. It feels silky rather than sharp, rounded out by a musky base that lends a velvety sense. 

The problem is, this alternative doesn’t stack up in terms of longevity. It becomes pretty undetectable after 3 hours or so -despite the bargain price, that really isn’t good enough for me.

Only consider this alternative if you’re happy to reapply throughout the day – you’d have to keep a bottle on your desk to carry you through a working day, for sure.

Le Monde Gourmand Santal SupremeFragrance Notes
Top Notes:Virginia Cedar, Palisander Rosewood, Eucalyptus and Bergamot
Middle Notes:Cypress, Amyris and Amber
Base Notes:Sandalwood, Musk and Velvet

7. Burberry Touch Eau De Toilette – Best for Longevity

Burberry Touch has that same muskiness that you find in Santal 33, sharing notes of cedar, violet pepper, and thyme with the Le Labo fragrance.

Best for Longevity
Touch EDT by Burberry
4.5
$105.00

Perfect for retaining a fresh and clean feeling in the office.

Longevity is excellent at over 10 hours. Plenty to cover you for a full working day.

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07/22/2024 09:02 am GMT

The main sense I get from Touch is a clean feeling all day. It makes me feel fresh, but there’s also enough going on that I can show a bit of personality.

There’s a snap of white pepper in the top notes, followed by a bright heart of nutmeg, violet, and succulent mandarin. Touch is not your generic citrus freshie, but it does still feel a little juicy. The floral elements are tastefully done and definitely point towards sophistication rather than femininity.

In the base, there are more masculine accords of cedarwood and musk that combine in rich creaminess.

It makes me think of a handsome, hypnotic gent with a brooding persona and perhaps a chequered past. Inviting, but somewhat mysterious at the same time.

Longevity is amazing for me at over 10 hours, which is plenty to cover you for a working day. Touch is particularly good for office environments, with a subtle projection that won’t dominate the space when you walk into a room.

Burberry Touch: A woody scent with floral, musky undertones. Photo taken by Joe Manktelow-Pimm. Copyright: 7Gents ©

I think they should pump it directly into the AC of most office blocks to improve morale, but I am yet to hear back from the guys at Burberry about that particular plan. 

1 – 2 spritzes in the morning are enough, so a bottle of Burberry Touch will serve you a long time.

Burberry Touch Eau De Toilette Fragrance Notes
Top Notes:Violet Leaf, Artemisia and Mandarin Orange
Middle Notes:White Pepper, Cedar and Nutmeg
Base Notes:White Musk, Tonka Bean and Vetiver

Want the Real Deal? Consider a Decant From MicroPerfumes.com

If none of these alternatives are jumping out at you, maybe consider getting a sample decant of the real deal from Microperfumes.com instead.

You can order 2ml vials of fragrances for just a few bucks so you can try out designer colognes without blowing the bank.

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Once you’ve tried Santal 33, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love and be able to justify splashing out on a full-sized bottle. At least, that’s what happened to me.


FAQs:

What does Santal 33 Smell Like? 

Santal 33 is a dry, powdery spiced sandalwood and leather combo that straddles the line between warm and fresh.

It reminds me of my studying days back in old libraries packed with leather and wood. The masculinity presented by Santal 33 is of an English gentleman plotting in his drawing-room, unbothered by trivial matters.

This refined fragrance implies authority without demanding it through aggressive notes. For example, the leather in the base is smooth and clean rather than rugged and dirty.

The opening can be a little divisive, with a seasoned vegetal opening that reminds me of fresh cucumber and tomato salad. 

Different, for sure, but pleasant all the same.

This watery and bright aroma is subtle compared to the main thrust of the Santal 33: a key sandalwood note has enough grit to keep things interesting while remaining fresh and vivacious. 

Santal gets me noticed and complimented almost every time I wear it.

I get a full 10-hour day of meaningful fragrance. It doesn’t fill the room but leaves a trail and people will catch wafts when they interact with you.

It’s no huge surprise to me that Santal 33 has been catching fire in the last few years. The hipster revolution has got its claws on another one of my favorites, and I’m now smelling it everywhere.

It was the top scent in my best Le Labo colognes review, after all.

Is Santal 33 Unisex?

Yes, Santal 33 is a unisex scent perfectly suitable for both men and women. The milky sandalwood and cedar blend is not a raw expression of masculinity, but rather an exercise in refinement and class. 

Often true gender-neutral fragrances can feel a little too safe. By attempting to avoid offending anyone, they fail to truly please anyone. But that’s not the case here.

This is an exquisitely balanced sandalwood expression that transcends gender concerns serendipitously, rather in a way that feels contrived.

Which Santal 33 Alternative is Best Value for Money?

The cheapest scent that smells like Santal 33 is Palo Santo by Cremo. Most people would have a hard time telling the difference between Palo Santo and Santal 33 in a blind smell test, I think.

It also performs like a beast, lasting a very respectable 7 – 8 hours – which is more than can be said for the vast majority of budget colognes. If you’re here to save cash, Cremo is certainly the way to go

On the other end of the scale, you’ve got Tom Ford’s Santal Blush – which basically costs the same as Santal 33. That’s not to say it isn’t worth it, though – Tom Ford colognes are an exercise in luxury and balance, with this powdery sandalwood delight worth every penny for special occasions.

Which Santal 33 Alternative Lasts Longest?

The longest-lasting Santal 33 alternative is Tom Ford’s Santal Blush with 10 hours of wear. I’d also recommend Diptyque’s Tam Dao or Cremo’s Palo Santo, which can both reach up to 8 hours on warmer days.

FragranceHours of Longevity
Diptyque Tam Dao8 hours
Cremo Palo Santo7 – 8 hours
Tom Ford Santal Blush9 – 10 hours
No.04 Bois de Balincourt5 – 6 hours
Santal Supreme3 hours

Equally, if your priority is firepower, you’ll want to avoid Santal Supreme. It’s a good Santal 33 imitation, but you’ll find yourself having to reapply it throughout the day if you want to pick up any compliments.

What’s the Best Place to Buy Santal 33 Alternatives Online?

The best place to buy Santal 33 alternatives is somewhere like FragranceX. They’ve got direct relationships with distributors, and they’re the cheapest guys I’ve found that are still legitimate businesses. 

They are able to offer such low prices because they buy colognes in bulk when they go out of rotation, capitalize on wasted sampler products, and pass that saving on to the consumer. 

Don’t go ordering colognes, particularly designer ones, from dodgy-looking sites that promise prices that are too good to be true.

You can also order colognes from Amazon for quick shipping and competitive pricing. Just make sure you’re buying through reputable sellers with plenty of good reviews (all of the links included in this guide are from trustworthy vendors, by the way).


What’s Changed?

We updated this guide in January 2024 to reflect the most recent pricing information.

6th June 2024: This guide was overhauled with changes to our recommendations, latest reviews, and was re-fact checked to make sure our reviews are as up to date as possible.

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