10 Trending Fragrances That Are Just as Good as Le Labo's Santal 33

There are certain scents I am able to put my finger on as soon as I smell them. I count Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540Glossier You and YSL Black Opium as some of the perfumes I can instantly identify if they're being worn by someone in close proximity. But the one I consider to be the most distinguishable of them all is Le Labo Santal 33. 


(Image credit: @NATEISHASCOTT)

With a loyal fan base that includes Alexa Chung, Justin Bieber, Jodie Comer and Brad Pitt, it has fast become one of the most defining genderless scents of the last decade. TikTok has most certainly helped in further bolstering its popularity, and the #santal33 hashtag has racked up a whopping 33.4 million views. So what exactly is it about this fragrance that has so quickly earned it a spot on the vanity shelves of everyone from A-list celebs to Shoreditch hipsters?

"Firstly, it smells great and suits the majority of people," says Suzy Nightingale, fragrance writer and co-host of the On the Scent podcast. "Woody, creamy and musky scents seem to meld with your body chemistry somehow. It's that whole 'your skin but better' vibe, but if you naturally smelled soothing yet sexy. Santal 33 lasts a long time on the skin and projects really well, meaning that passers-by can smell your 'sillage'—aka the olfactory trail you waft as you walk—which, of course, adds to its appeal, acts as a compliment getter and helps its iconic status."


(Image credit: @EMMAHOAREAU)

For award-winning perfume expert and author Dariush Alavi, it's the particular combination of papyrus, leather and spices that gives it tremendous personality and tenacity. "It's bold, assertive and room filling, but without resorting to sweetness or vanilla or 'spiky' amber notes. When it emerged, it felt like a breath of fresh (if balmy!) air," he says. 

It's worth highlighting that "santal" is a translation of "sandalwood," a note that has long been associated with masculine fragrances in perfumery due to its smooth, woody aroma and earthy nature. However, it is also milky and slightly sweet, which widens its appeal. 

Opting for a trending scent like Le Labo Santal 33 is often how many people pick their next perfume. "The huge variety of fragrances on offer mean many people can feel overwhelmed—particularly younger consumers or those who don't know where to begin looking for a scent that suits them," says Nightingale. "An iconic fragrance has already been pre-crowd-tested on social media, so you're buying into that popularity." However, if you still want in on the action but would rather wear something a little less popular, I've got you. Keep scrolling for the 10 trending fragrances that are just as good as Santal 33, recommended by myself and the experts. 

Shop Santal 33:

1. Parle Moi de Parfum Milky Musk/39

2. Diptyque Tam Dao

3. Zara Olfactive No. 01 Energetically New York

4. Clean Reserve Sel Santal

5. Tom Ford Santal Blush

6. La Collection Privée Christian Dior Santal Noir

7. Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club

8. Miller Harris Peau Santal

9. Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule

10. Maya Njie Nordic Cedar

Next Up: It's Official—I Can't Get Enough of This French Perfume Brand

Mollie Burdell is a freelance beauty editor, presenter and host. She trained as a makeup artist at the prestigious Delamar Academy, covering everything from prosthetics and theatre to TV and film, and then went on to graduate from university with a First Class Honours degree in journalism.

After completing internships at Grazia, Look, Cosmopolitan and Stylist, she landed her first writer role at Superdrug's Dare magazine. Mollie then joined the Harrods content team as a beauty writer before being promoted to the deputy beauty editor. There, she developed the content strategy, tone of voice and creative identity for H Beauty—Harrods's standalone regional beauty stores. When she wasn't interviewing the likes of Gigi Hadid, Miranda Kerr and Regé-Jean Page, you'd find her on a live broadcast, hosting an event, shooting video content, reviewing the lastest beauty launch on social or crafting a magazine feature. She has also hosted and contributed to the LuxeGirl by SheerLuxe YouTube series.

When Mollie isn't writing about beauty, you'll find her talking about it on a TikTok shop, dancing to pretty much anything with a beat, reading a crime thriller or performing a solo rendition of "One Day More" from Les Mis.