I don't have any statistics to back me up on this, but when it comes to sandalwood perfumes the more popular ones seem to have that comforting creaminess of 10 Corso Como and Tam Dao. These scents go well with hot cocoa and a cashmere blanket, which is probably why they are considered more unisex than the formal Santal Noble by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier.
Santal Noble is a very dry incense and wood scent with a dark amber-patchouli drydown. It's quite spicy and peppery, especially during the first couple of hours I have it on, and has an exotic vibe at times. If I spray enough of it (and I do. It makes a world of difference for Santal Noble's staying power), I seem to pick a light saffron note, especially in warm weather. The overall impression of this Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier cologne is very woody, crisp and impossibly proper. It can be the male equivalent of a cashmere twin-set and heirloom pearls, except that it's a lot more tailored than that. Santal Noble is a scent fit for Tim Gunn, and just like him, it's always right.
The original version of Santal Noble (before MPG repackaged and reformulated) seemed to have a richer, almost thick drydown, but since the sample I have is much older than my bottle of the newer formula, it also might be due to aging. In any case, the new Santal Noble is very good and satisfying, with its dignity intact. As for the gender issue, I understand why many women would balk at wearing a scent that goes well with a tux. I still think it's worth trying, because you never know. I'm as girly as they come, but it's no secret that I wear vetiver, cedar and other woods much better than I wear rose or violet. It's all about skin chemistry and personal taste, after all.
Santal Noble as well as the other Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier fragrances ($120, 100 ml EDT) is available from Henri Bendel in NYC, Luckyscent/Scent Bar in Los Angeles and beautyhabit.com, which was where I purchased my bottle.
Photo of Tim Gunn from chicagotribune.com