Take a stroll down any sidewalk in Manhattan for more than 15 minutes, and chances are good that you’ll catch a whiff of Le Labo’s Santal 33. The unisex sandalwood perfume has become pretty much the ubiquitous choice of cool girls in NYC, and while it’s easy to fall in love, it’s an obsession that isn’t exactly wallet-friendly when you’re a broke college girl. (Aka, me.) Not to mention, where’s the fun in smelling exactly like everyone else?
That’s why I was totally excited when I smelled Diptyque‘s Tam Dao ($90-$125) while stopping in to try a few perfumes at a Diptyque boutique recently. I had heard of it before and knew it was supposed to be a similar woody scent, but I wasn’t prepared for exactly how much I’d love it. Honestly, I like it even better than Santal 33. The woody, edgy, “cool girl” factor is there, but Tam Dao leans slightly more feminine than Santal 33, and the eau de toilette formula is lighter (and easier to pull off in the summer), than Santal 33’s eau de parfum. (Likewise, while a 1.7 ounce bottle is still pricey at $90, Le Labo’s will set you back $175.)
The best part? I can still jump on the sandalwood fragrance train without smelling like five other people on the subway. Enough said.
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