It's everywhere. Your best friend's clothes are covered in it and your favorite retail stores burn it in candle form. Every third person on the street leaves behind a trail of the vague but familiar whiff, invading your senses and provoking the question, when will this END?
Le Labo's Santal 33 is undoubtably a fragrance phenomenon. It's fresh, it's neutral, and it's intoxicating. Santal started by infusing design and fashion spaces with its ubiquitous presence, and has now infiltrated, well, everything else. Why is this an issue? Scent is a powerful and nostalgic reminder of people and places. If everyone and everything smells the same, what happens to fragrance and our memory of specialness? The perfume your mom wears, the smell of your high school, the scent you doused yourself in throughout college and can't stand anymore (ahem, Flower Bomb), are all markers of personal eras.
If we're finding these traces everywhere we go, the precious connection between feelings and fragrances fades. While the undertones of Santal 33 are undeniably wonderful and conveniently unisex, there are many other smells out there that serve up the same pleasant notes (Maison Louis Marie No. 04, for example). If you're not catching my drift, I'm suggesting we diversify scent-wise, exercise some originality, and I don't know, find something else.
Another thought that comes to mind when pondering the growing army of cedarwood-smelling humans, is this: Isn't the point of fragrance to establish a scent identifier, something that smells like home, like you? We take design notes from Instagram, find inspiration from Pinterest, but hopefully there is still at least one element of style that we use to distinguish ourselves?
I'll make a confession: I covered myself and my room in Santal 33, once upon a time. I even worked in an office that celebrated Le Labo — together, we were an overwhelming cloud of smokey violet. I was into it, and now, I'm just praying for patchouli or maybe even some potpourri. Alas, Santal 33 is our drug of the moment, and as Chance the Rapper sings in his tune "Cocoa Butter Kisses" — "I think we all addicted."