Ah, the wonderful, long-ago days of fragrance, when perfumers used real Mysore sandalwood (santalum album); now, I only get to smell it in my vintage perfumes — where delicious, irreplaceable Indian sandalwood appears like a ghost, a reminder of a loved one long departed. I probably won't live to see the return of Mysore sandalwood, if it ever returns — the best sandalwood oil comes from trees fifty years or older. The Indian government's effort to save surviving, old-growth sandalwood trees is in disarray (with trees, even almost-worthless 'teenage trees,' being chopped down all the time on government and private property by thieves who trade in sandalwood oil).
Crabtree & Evelyn says the sandalwood in their Indian Sandalwood Cologne1 (formerly named Sandalwood, and presumably tweaked) is from sustainably harvested sandalwood trees; if that's true, those trees are probably outside India and grow in Australia (santalum spicatum)...but who knows? There may even be synthetic sandalwood augmenting natural sandalwood oil in Indian Sandalwood Cologne.
Like many things to do with fragrance — use of endangered animals and plants, IFRA restrictions — the topic of sandalwood is depressing.
Indian Sandalwood Cologne is not depressing; wearing it makes me happy and nostalgic. Indian Sandalwood Cologne goes on with brisk citrus and lavender notes; quickly, those notes are joined by a refreshing, sheer sandalwood aroma. If you've ever smelled sandalwood window blinds as the sun hits them, or used a sandalwood hand fan, you'll know the sweet/dry wood smell I'm talking about.
Indian Sandalwood Cologne, during mid-development, presents unadorned sandalwood (with maybe a hint of cypress); this perfume reminds me of summer (or should I say, since it IS summer, this is a summer-enhancing scent). Indian Sandalwood Cologne brings to mind the sandalwood-scented fragrances and shave soaps my father used when I was growing up. Indian Sandalwood Cologne isn't "old-fashioned" — it's just rare to smell a sandalwood "soliflore" these days.
Near the end of its development, Indian Sandalwood Cologne presents some spice: a cinnamon-and-nutmeg-like accord accenting the sandalwood and mixing with faint, but not boring, musk (neither "white musk" nor "laundry musk" in case you're worrying). I really enjoy wearing Indian Sandalwood Cologne, and I've been wearing it liberally in hot weather; it has good lasting power and sillage. Men and women: indulge, because Crabtree & Evelyn Indian Sandalwood Cologne is, take a deep breath, only $45 for 100 ml. Now, if the sandalwood oil from a 60-year-old Indian sandalwood tree were being used...we'd know it at the cash register.
Unimportant Aside: I was surprised to see that Crabtree & Evelyn uses the identical bottle design as Maître Parfumeur et Gantier fragrances, minus the cheesy MPG tops, of course.
The Crabtree & Evelyn Indian Sandalwood Cologne fragrance collection also includes shave soap and shave cream, aftershave balm, and hair & body wash.
1. Listed notes: bergamot, lavender, sandalwood, cypress, vetiver, musk
Note: top image is via Lakshmi as "Gajalakshmi" [cropped] via Wikimedia Commons.