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There’s a reason why seemingly half of the fragrance-wearing population names Le Labo’s iconic (and best-selling) Santal 33 as their signature scent — the unisex cologne smells pretty damn amazing on virtually everyone. As we all know, the same fragrance can smell wildly different from person to person, and while this is also certainly the case when it comes to Santal 33, it’s also surprisingly universally flattering. However, it’s definitely ~not~ cheap, and if you opt to wear it on the regular, you definitely run the risk of smelling slightly similar to half of the bar on any given night when you go out — at least in LA, that is.
Unfortunately, finding solid Le Labo Santal 33 dupes isn’t exactly easy, as the legendary perfumery likes to keep their proprietary blends uber-exclusive (despite the massive cult following they’ve clearly attained). But alas, as the master dupe-finder I am, I’ve found a pretty damn close alternative, all thanks to my former boss, who’s been wearing Maison Louis Marie’s No. 4 de Balincourt for years.
I can confirm that just like Santal 33 No. 4 also effuses a similar fragrance profile marked by sandalwood, cardamom, leather accord, iris, and ambrox. Also like Le Labo’s, Maison Louis Marie’s alternative is kind of an olfactory slice of heaven if you’re into warmer scents that emanate an aroma with equal parts musk and smoke and is painstakingly sensuous. However, it’ll only set you back about $60 or so—-not $250+.
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In case you simply cannot live without the real deal, here you go. The good news is that Nordstrom offers an assortment of different sizes starting at $82, so you can try before committing to a full size (which will set you back a whopping $275). Alternatively, you can also buy a sample size on Amazon for just $11.
As I said, I discovered this delicious scent thanks to my boss, who confessed it was basically Santal 33’s legit replica, and also only costs $57. It’s almost a spot-on dupe and a fraction of the price of Santal 33.