It’s hard to really describe the sensation when you first smell Le Labo Santal 33. For me, I had been walking through the city when I passed a woman who smelled almost like an April shower mixed with rare books, if that’s even possible. It wasn’t something I ever expected to find a created scent of, yet it happened, and it was utterly mesmerizing. I ended up searching for the scent and sure enough, Le Labo Santal 33 was, in fact, what I had smelled. The scent will always feel somewhat grounding and earthy to me, and it seems like I’m not the only one being allured.
Now more popular than ever, people are turning to Le Labo for that “je ne sais quoi”, but not everyone can have the budget to accommodate its high-end brand. They might not all perfectly encapsulate the striking mystery of Le Labo, but the following dupes I’m going to lay out certainly are very similar.
What We Are looking for in a Dupe Of Santal 33
Debuting in 2011, Le Labo Santal 33 has continued to gain popularity steadily since its first release. For some, it can be a polarizing scent, but for many of us (including myself), there is something very comforting and alluring about this woody, aromatic structure. A perfect scent for spring and summer afternoons or a cool fall day, in my opinion Le Labo has made a fragrance really unique with its earthy leather quality that can be worn both by men and women.
An incredibly strong and long-lasting fragrance, it opens with sandalwood and powdery leather that is very warming to the nose. It then dries down into a bit of sweetness with violet, iris, and amber. I also detect a hint of cardamom which adds just a hint of spice to that sweet drydown base from the florals. Overall, I find this fragrance to be earthy and warming with its hints of leather and sweet touches of florals. Its complexity feels all together natural and refreshing and gives it the sense of green plants and soft rains. A very simplistic bottle design, I think the cylindrical opaque bottle with parchment label is very reminiscent of both the unisex and natural feel of the fragrance itself.
While this scent can feel like a work of the natural world, it certainly has a price tag of luxury living. If you are like me and can’t live without getting a whiff of this wonder at least once in a while, I’ve found some close dupes that can bring the allure without the high cost.
10 Dupes of Le Labo Santal 33
1. Woody Sandalwood by Dossier
A vegan and paraben-free company, this smell-a-like is right up Dossier’s alley with its back-to-nature feel and structure. This scent focuses itself on the sandalwood that is at the core of the Le Labo scent, and mixes it with creamy amber and violet.
The scent opens with a nice spice of cardamom and sweet violet, then dries into the sandalwood and cedar. I particularly like how this fragrance has the sweetness on the top because it allows the scent to sink into the cozy earthiness of the sandalwood. Perhaps a little less sillage than Santal 33 (although barely), I think Dossier gives Le Labo a run for its money with this almost perfect smell-a-like fragrance.
2. Shades of Santal by Dua Fragrances
In my opinion, a more masculine-leaning version of the original Le Labo, 33 Shades of Santal takes the smell of sandalwood and mixes in a hint of papyrus and amber to create a wholly woody yet charming scent.
Using cardamom, Australian sandalwood, and papyrus as its main notes, the one thing that is missing from this dupe is the sweetness of the violet and iris. There is a touch of floral to the structure, but overall, this comes off as a powdery woods scent. Still, if you were looking for a more masculine twist to Le Labo Santal 33, this is a strong and long-lasting scent that will bring the same warmth.
3. Maison Louis Marie No.04 by Bois de Balincourt
Offered as both a perfume and a candle set, Maison Louis Marie turned its focus on the powdery aspects of Le Labo Santal 33 without leaving behind that signature woody structure.
Opening with sandalwood and vetiver and then drying down into a lovely sweet floral bouquet of violet and iris, this scent feels a bit more spicy and vibrant than the cozy aspects of Santal 33. There is a nice deepness to this scent that comes from its amber and spice aspects that I also find enjoyable and mix well with the sweet florals.
4. Santal’s Kiss by Alexandria Fragrances
A scent structure that is reminiscent of scholarly lifestyles and cozy bookstores, Alexandria Santal’s Kiss takes the woody allure of Le Labo’s Santal 33 and adds a hint of sophistication with a blend of papyrus, sandalwood and leather.
The fragrance dries down into a cedar and sweet violet which breaks up the overall amber woods aspect of this fragrance, but becomes also a very male-oriented fragrance. My advice: match this scent with a more sweet fragrance to create a touch more femininity.
5. Commodity Book
Another scent inspired by the intellectual appeals of Le Labo Santal 33, Commodity Book became popular from its TikTok campaign and has been the perfect substitute for Le Labo lovers who want to evoke the feel of curling up with a good book.
Opening with a hint of eucalyptus and bergamot, the fragrance dries down into a sandalwood and papyrus velvetier combo. A unisex fragrance through and through, I think the appeal of Commodity book comes from the cozy, woodsy feeling it provokes. It captures the powdery allure of Santal 33, while developing it into something niche for someone who wants those cozy days at home at every moment of their lives.
6. Santal Perfume by ALT
Santal Perfume by ALT packs the same punch with its longevity as Santal 33 while being a fraction of the price.
Opening with sandalwood, papyrus, and smooth leather, the fragrance dries into just a touch of a floral bouquet mixed with cedar. While I can find Le Labo’s scent to be particular for spring and summer afternoons, I find this ALT version to be a great signature scent for year ‘round wear. The notes are just subtle enough to make this a strong but versatile scent that can match any time or day.
7. Oil Perfumery Impression of Santal 33
Completely alcohol-free, this on-the-go fragrance brings the same strength and longevity as Le Labo Santal 33 while being designed for a busy lifestyle.
Presented in a compact roller-ball application, the fragrance doesn’t lose any of its complexity from not being in a fancy bottle. The scent opens with cardamom and leather accord before drying down into a warm sandalwood and iris bouquet. I find this scent more feminine than the rest on the list because I think the sweet florals shine in this structure. The sandalwood is nearly identical to Le Labo Santal 33 and overall, this is my vote for anyone wanting to smell rich and lavish while working overtime.
This fragrance says it’s for men, but don’t be fooled; this is definitely still a unisex fragrance through and through. Opening with sandalwood and cardamom, there are hints of Egyptian papyrus, violet, and leather throughout the whole structure. This direct dupe is a bit spicier than Santal 33, evoking a bit more out of the powdery leather. While the sweetness from the florals are subtle, I do think they come through quite well, making this a perfectly suitable fragrance for women as well.
9. Oakcha Ruhe
Inspired by the Australian oceanside as much as it is by Le Labo Santal 33 fragrance, Oakcha Ruhe adds just a touch of salt to the otherwise woodsy amber of Santal 33.
Opening with cardamom, iris, and violet, the fragrance dries down into a deep sandalwood and leather accord. There are hints of papyrus throughout that also give a deep amber feel to the overall structure.
I find this perfume a bit lighter than the original but still matches the longevity. The florals in the top notes make this fragrance feel more feminine, though the dry down is the same deep notes we know and love from Le Labo Santal 33.
10. Sel Santal by Clean Reserve
A bit more pricey than the rest of this list, what I like about Clean Reserve is its slight departure with the use of mandarin in the opening. Adding this slight citrus bitterness makes way for a more fresh yet still deeply comforting fragrance.
A bit spicy and smokey from the sandalwood in the dry down, I find this Santal 33 smell-a-like to be the perfect balance between cozy and sophisticated. It’s a great fragrance to have the structure of Santal 33, but be a bit more unique with its more complex notes.
Final Thoughts on Finding Santal 33 Dupes
It’s hard to match the striking allure of Le Labo Santal 33. There’s a reason it’s been considered the most fashionable fragrance by the New York Times; the mixture of sandalwood with sweet florals feels sophisticated and alluring while also evoking a woody ambiance of a forest during a spring rain.
Since we can’t all be as rich as we want to smell, it’s lucky we aren’t the only ones who want to get our hands on this alluring scent. Now you can cozy up with a good book or turn heads at work, knowing you have the scent of an aristocrat without spending like one.