He's musky, woodsy, and oftentimes earthy, but overall a hero's scent is akin to sandalwood. Why is that? A curious reader wants to know!
Sandalwood: semiparasitic fragrant yellowish woods used often for their essential oils.
I researched sandalwood to figure out its appeal. I found that it's been used in incense and perfumes for over 4,000 years. It is said the best sandalwood smell comes from a mature tree as opposed to a young tree.
Sandalwood as a note is a striking wood base. It has a bright and fresh edge with few natural analogues. In most perfumes and scents I find it very strong. It permeates a small space easily and can be very heady despite the crisp edge. For me, the scent of sandalwood lingers, smelling like a memory after a time.
Most of the sandal forests are gone, having been depleted over the years to meet up with demand. Part of the problem is how it is harvested. They pull up the whole tree instead of just hacking at the base because the natural essential oil is so expensive.
Can you imagine how lucrative growing sandal trees must be?
Nowadays true sandal trees are heavily monitored, though poachers are still a problem, and trees within the same family are being used instead and labeled sandalwood.
Taking what we know of sandalwood and applying it to the genre we can deduce that it represents many characteristics for a discerning writer.
First and foremost sandalwood represents the earth. A sandalwood scented hero is a man of dirt and woods; he is robust, practical, and worldly. In a word sandalwood is manliness.
Secondly, sandalwood represents wealth, luxury, and status because it is scarce, expensive, and refined. A hero smelling of sandalwood is a rare specimen of finest quality.
Lastly, sandalwood scented heroes are in dire need of a helmet and a spear to ward off the ladies eager to sink their claws into him. His first two qualities alone will make him the sexiest man on the block and being so intensely desired requires a protector... a job the heroine is more than willing to fulfill.
Fragrances with Sandalwood (likely chemically produced versus naturally produced): 1189! Eau de Sandalwood by Le Jardin Retrouvé Review
Photo Credits: nicholaslaughlin