Hermes Santal Massoia Review

The Scoop

Rarely do we come across a subtle and yet exciting fragrance resembling a haiku painting. That’s why we were very excited when we tried Santal Massoia for the first time. The milky sweetness of sandalwood and massoia is what grabbed our attention. Our fears that it may turn into sickeningly sweet fragrance were totally unjustified. After 2 to 3 hours the scent transitioned into a mix of Iso E Super and mildly sweet dried fruit.

Santal Massoia is truly a skin scent. It lasts over 8 hours but you may not notice it as it stays very close to the skin. Its is a woody fragrance, which does not fit the stereotype of woods. We love its understated elegance and versatility. This is why, it gets 5 stars from us.

Santal Massoia is one of the exclusive Hermes fragrances making up the Hermessence collection. It was released in 2011 and was created by Hermes’s in-house perfumer Jean Claude Ellena. Just like all other fragrances in the Hermessence line, Santal Massoia is available exclusively at Hermes boutiques and As of the date of this writing, the retail price for 100ml bottle is $250.

The Composition

Santal Massoia has a somewhat linear structure. It opens with mildly sweet woods, which, Hermes’s site says, are sandalwood and massoia. In a couple of hours of wearing it, we could detect a stronger presence of Iso E Super. In the dry-down, Santal Massoia maintains the same tone of subtle sweetness and velvety Iso E Super, which dissipates to mildly chemically crist Iso E Super.

The strong presence of Iso E Super doesn’t surprise us that much, considering that it is one of Ellena’s favourite ingredients. He has been using it liberally in many of his creations, even though it is rarely listed in the official notes. After all, putting chemical compounds on your notes list wouldn’t fit the image the marketing department is trying to push.

To be fair, Santal Massoia does have synthetic molecules in it (there is hardly a modern fragrance without them) but it doesn’t smell synthetic at all. It evokes images of natural and unobtrusive refineness.

Hermes Santal Massoia

 The Versatility

Santal Massoia has amazing versatility. Because it is an understated skin scent, it wears very easily in almost any weather and any situation. Due to its mild sweetness it tends to work best in colder weather even though we’d fearlessly wear it on a scorching summer day. Santal Massoia is appropriate for any place and time – a hot date, day in the office, dinner with your parents or a wild party, you name it, chances are it will fit the bill. Considering that it is a refined scent, we probably wouldn’t rock it at a frat party doing keg stands. Anywhere else, though, Santal Massoia is sure to fit the situation.

The Wearer

Santal Massoia reminds us of someone with refined taste accustomed to luxury and who doesn’t care to impress others. It is not showy and is almost bohemian laid back. If you are the type to rock suede driving shoes with designer jeans and a two-ply cotton shirt, this fragrance is probably for you. Santal Massoia is available exclusively at Hermes boutiques and


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