Founded in London, Floris have been making colognes and toiletries for over 200 years. Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth began their business in the elegant quarter of London’s St James. Their store in Jermyn Street continues today as the heart of the family business. Since the store began trading in 1730 many famous names have made purchases from the store, including Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe. In 1820 the couple received their first Royal Warrant from King George IV. The warrant appointed the family as makers of smooth pointed combs for the royal family. Floris has continued to be a name synonymous with English culture and quality. Eau de Santal is a relatively modern creation and was launched in 2002. This eau de toilette is a modern sandalwood with traditional topnotes.
Floris’ Santal was a niche version of what had happened in the commercial fragrance world at the time of its launch. In the midst of Gautier’s Le Male and Gucci Rush and Envy for men, Floris’ Santal mirrors the same style of bright fruity colognes that transform into heavy aromatic woods charged with amber musk. Eau de Santal is a spicy fresh perfume with opening notes of bergamot, lemon and green grass. The spicy accord is made from black pepper, cardamom, clove, nutmeg and frankincense. Somewhat of an oriental fougere, a lavender accord gradually fades giving rise to the base note that is a classic turn of the century men’s fragrance featuring sandalwood, amber, vetiver, cedarwood, vanilla and musk. For me the point of difference in Floris’ Eau de Santal lies in wearing a sandalwood note that sits along side a green spicy accord in a linear relationship when in previous decades these lighter green notes would have been designed to evaporate with the top or middle notes.
Eau de Santal is a great fragrance for more mature men. It is also a suitable replacement for those men who are weaning themselves off Joop Pour Homme or Gautier’s Le Male. Many commercial fragrances in this style use some heavy hitting synthetics to achieve this wood/amber accord. Floris’ version has a slightly more natural approach. With less airbrushing so to speak I find it is more believable. Above everything else, it is simply a basic fragrance that gets straight to the point. If you like this style, you may be onto a winner. If you prefer something a little more sophisticated try By Kilian’s Straight To Heaven White Crystal.
Bottle designer: Floris
Release date: 2001 (first release 1850)
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woody Oriental