The Gold Standard: Sandalwood- Xerjoff XJ 17/17 Richwood

When I look at the way too many bottles of perfume that I own it is interesting to see where there are concentrations of multiple bottles. One node within my collection is formed around sandalwood. One problem with the way I started my sandalwood perfume experiences was with Crabtree & Evelyn Extract of Mysore Sandalwood. It is like starting to drink champagne by having Dom Perignon. I have the very slight remains of a bottle of this remaining and it is gorgeous but it is what it says on the label an extract of Mysore sandalwood. To be a Gold Standard my choice has to be a perfume with the sandalwood as the most prominent note. There are many great sandalwood perfumes and if you want to see others that I considered, read My Favorite Things- Sandalwood article of last year. I said in that piece that Xerjoff XJ 17/17 Richwood is the best sandalwood perfume I own, which makes it my Gold Standard for sandalwood.

xerjoff richwood

Richwood benefits from owner and creative director Sergio Momo’s fanatical desire for the finest natural ingredients to be used in his fragrances. There are a number of Xerjoff fragrances which use these unique notes, in the hands of a talented perfumer, and display them as the singular beauties that they are.

For Richwood perfumer Jacques Flori was given a supply of Mysore sandalwood to work with to compose Richwood. M. Flori studied his central raw material and then surrounded it with complementary notes which would point the wearer’s senses towards all of the fantastic depth inherent in Mysore sandalwood.

Richwood starts with the sticky green quality of blackcurrant buds and grapefruit. It is a slightly sulfurous attention getter and as it glazes over the sandalwood it exposes a bit of a harsh edge that Mysore sandalwood has, especially in the early moments. Rose is the partner for the heart of Richwood and it gives a floral underpinning for the more wood part of sandalwood. These two phases develop fairly rapidly down to where Richwood lingers. The base is at first patchouli along with the sandalwood and this turns it creamy and smooth. M. Flori later on adds in coumarin and vanilla to pull out the sweet facets and finish Richwood as a comfort scent.

Richwood has 24 hour longevity and prodigious sillage.

Richwood never fails to thrill me when I wear it. I feel as if I am swathed in an aura of sandalwood of the highest quality. There are many great sandalwood perfumes but Richwood is the one I think is The Gold Standard.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke  

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