Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sandalwood and Rodin

I want to take in all the lushness of Sandalwood, but no matter how I try, I just can't smell it. When I put the blotter to my nose, I start thinking that maybe the raw material didn't make it to the blotter or possibly someone is testing my ability and I was given a placebo, but none of this is true. Faced with my lack of impressions I try to conjure up something, "I find it soft, smooth, and fleeting, very strange for a base note, No?" I couldn't seem to get the "creaminess" everyone was talking about. This creaminess that has more to do with a sappy quality than a milky lactonic quality. It's flat and uniformed, I was told. All I could smell was wet blotter paper. I found this anosmic spell a little odd because I know what Sandalwood smells like. I can easily spot its sultry power inside a perfume, for example, L'Artisan's Safran Troublant. In the haunting Troublant, lying next to Vanilla, the Sandalwood becomes instantly alive, but once again, alone on the blotter I felt, abandonedTurns out, that I am not alone. While reading the very thorough article, The Invisible Scent in New York Magazine last week, (the link is below) apparently lots of people can't detect it, and there have even been studies done about it.  

Last summer, during a visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris I saw a particular exhibit that showcased the underbelly of Rodin's work. Mostly, porcelain vases he did as a young man to make some money and studies for his reliefs and sculpture, like the example above. I was surprised to see how delicate his approach was in these studies considering how extreme his final work can be. 

Sandalwood standing alone on a blotter is not unlike Rodin's studies; to my nose and eye they are both completely faint and fascinating.


  1. How interesting. Does Sandalwood needs something next to it? To bring it forth?

  2. Hi J. Vivienne,
    Thanks so much. Well for me it seems to be necessary, but not for others. Lot's of folks can smell it easily.