The deeply fragrant aroma of Basmati rice is one of the best smells in the world, and frankly, we’re a little surprised it doesn’t turn up in more perfumes. In Santal Basmati, perfumer Alexandra Carlin, taking her cue from founder Sophie Broneau’s passion for basenotes, cleverly pairs the scent of cooked rice to the most precious and fragrant of woods: Mysore sandalwood (s. album), grown sustainably in Kerala. Why clever? Well, you’ll notice that basmati rice has a lot in common with sandalwood ? they share a certain creaminess, as well as a steamy, nutty undertone akin to grains toasted in butter and cooked long and slow in milk. Santal Basmati simply identifies the facets they have in common, unites them, and serves us up a bowl of pure bliss.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that, given all these milky, woody notes, Santal Basmati is a rather heavy concoction ? but it’s really not. A remarkable sleight of hand injects the composition with an airiness that ensures that, while certainly comforting and warming, the scent wears as lightly as a silk cardigan. The sweetness level is nicely judged too, with a buttered popcorn nuance adding a hint of salt, and a supporting framework of woods that stops the scent tipping over completely into rice pudding territory. If you love the triple crème comfort factor of woody gourmands such as Santal Majuscule (Serge Lutens), Palo Santo (Carner Barcelona), or Praliné de Santal (Pierre Guillaume), then let us tell you straight: you need some Santal Basmati in your life.