There's a little blurb about Santal Massoia on Hermès website where perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena talks about a
"...perfume of milky woods, with its unusual, pungent hints of resin and dried fruit, and familiar smells of dulce de leche and flowers."I don't trust Jean-Claude. A few years ago he promised me vanilla and instead I got a giant bouquet of poisonous lilies (Vanille Gallant). I had every reason to be afraid.
I'm still searching for that dulce de leche note, but in doing so I managed to fall in love with Santal Massoia, use most of the generous sample given to me at the local Hermes boutique, and put a bottle of this fragrance pretty high on my wishlist. You see, Santal Massoia turns into a woody milky coconut fig thing, thickened with a starchy edible substance (almost like chestnut flour), and have I mentioned FIG?
Robin, who reviewed Santal Massoia on Now Smell This, mentions a common thread with Ellena's Bois Farine (L'artisan). I think of this newish Hermèssence fragrance as the lovechild born after Bois Farine and Premier Figuier Extreme made sweet sweet love. Thickened milk, coconut and green figs on a strangely woody raw pastry dough. I find Santal Massoia more attractive than Bois Farine as it's slightly more perfumy. There are swirls of green floating in a cloudy white glass: a perfume friend (thank you, Jarvis) compared it to the fresh coconut water you can buy from street vendors in India.
The pull of the East keeps Santal Massoia from turning into a glass of warm milk with a Fig Newton. It's too mysterious for that and has a sensuality I rarely find in Ellena's Hermèssence fragrances. I'm not complaining, though, other than about the lasting power: one needs to really go to town with the sprayer to achieve some longevity.
Notes: sandalwood, massoia, coconut
Other reviews: Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Shrine.
Image: 'Magniloquent’by photographer Thanassis Krikis with model Laragh McCann for Schön! Magazine.