Nubian guard and grande odalisque.
Santal Majuscule is introduced by the brand as a big fat sandalwood, in capitals. The ingredient list is short: sandalwood, cocoa, rose (top/heart/base) For a start , even if the structure is far from linear, the ingredients are all noticeable from the beginning. As well, i would say that sandalwood is as important as the rose, but is the tannic cocoa what makes this fragance so captivating.
The opening is, as expected, big and daring. Of course a rich sandal is there, but also a delectable honey note, cool spices (clove) and a golden yellow tea rose. The honeyed facet of the rose mingles with the sumptuous wood and hints of incense, and a slightly burnt note. I really love the sweet, bold opening of Santal Majuscule.
This robustness continues as the tannin loaded cocoa unfolds. The puissance of the cocoa enrichens the sandalwood... for a moment i think i smell a high pitched patchouli, but i assume is the combination of cocoa and sandalwood and the rosyness, i am not sure. It is earthy and powerful. To round up i get a tobacco note when i get used to the cocoa. On each sniff i find a different facet of Santal Majuscule.
The drydown is also beautiful: once the vigorous cocoa fades, the sandalwood brings its narcotic milkiness, and the rose illuminates: is fruity and indolent, like the blonde slumbering beauty of Ingres "Slave and odalisque" A note of beeswax acompanies the lactonic sandal. It lasts soft and gentle many hours on my skin.
Santal Majuscule is very beautiful and well blended. Assertive, floral-woody, full bodied and with its dose of yummy. The cocoa/patchouli note immediately makes me think of L´Instant and Kokorico, but i find this Serge Lutens way more interesting and captivating, likable, easy to sell. It feels more traditionally masculine than femenine, but, as always we only care about this criterion in case we are buying a present for someone else. Well done, Lutens-Sheldrake.