As already seen with Adventus Creed dupes, ZARA did it again with Santal LeLabo and released a brand new scent named Scent#1 that is uncannily similar to Tiveden. It's a gorgeous scent, not "pervasive," which is a word I like coming to mind with a personal fragrance. It is a bit masculine. It is feminine. It is smoky. It is woody. It is leathery. It is creamy. It is shape-shifting in my nostrils. It is elegant but edgy. It is sophisticated but down-to-earth. It is love, pure love. It starts very fresh, then does this glorious move into the sweetest, most divine creamy wood fragrance ever. The combination of the sandalwood, cedar, and violet is inspired! I don't think I've ever sampled anything from Le Labo before, but this is nice. And it lasts!
The smell. Describing scents in words is tough, especially when an odor is as complicated as this one. I'm a big fan of sandalwood based scents, but the trick here is the floral accord. When you wear this, you get occasional whiffs of the florals and that grape note from the iris that keeps this composition interesting. For one thing, I find this to be a predominantly leather-focused scent, with salty, green cucumbers, or better pickles quality that is almost aquatic. It opens with a powerful blast of green cardamom, with its spicy yet elusive flavor, resinous and dark with hints of eucalyptus, sea salt, leather, and that aqueous herbal element. Perhaps a tad of tarragon or drill in the headnotes is not listed on the official site.
What makes a fragrance intriguing is when it evokes a specific time, a certain place, or a particular material while remaining elusively vague. Scent#1 is intensely masculine. It makes me think of a lifestyle concept store full of raw, oily leather and balsam – one of those deep-toned, white empty studio spaces where they place a tangle of dried white driftwood in one corner and a long leather couch in the other. Close your eyes, breath, and let your mind go in there.
Much later on, there is the aroma of the raw and brusquely woods in the far dry-down, and it is only then I see the reference to sandalwood. But, in general, this is dry and woody-leathery, not lactonic or sweet. The more I sniff it, the more I get the wonderful smell of genuine leather exuding from a brand new handmade coat, belt, or pair of shoes.
It reminds me of books, too. In particular in the raw, harsh chemical breeze of salt, which ultimately comes off as a combination of freshly-tanned leather and newly-printed paper.
Scent#1 is an experimental mixture that is leathery, with some bright woodiness mixed with muskiness. Longevity and sillage are enormous. I've been wearing it since 8.00 am, and after almost 7 hours, it is still alive and kicking, and I do love it!
Ultimately, the smell lies on the masculine side and can be worn well in the fall. It's a warm, woodlike smell that I found surprisingly identical to how the forest smells after it rains. It captures the scent of damp earth, ferns, creek water, cedar, and wet leather. Woodsy like the aroma of the freshly-cut wood you get in a sawmill or lumber mill, where logs are cut into lumber. Ever been to a lumber yard? It's that scent. Wonderful woods being cut. It's terrific and entirely wearable. I love the trail the fragrance leaves behind in an elevator, on my clothes, or even in a room. It's memorable and immediately bonds you to the person who knowingly asks if you are wearing Santal... Oops, Scent#1!