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H&M x Givaudan Fragrance Collection: Santalum + Rose Absolute Review

H&M x Givaudan Fragrance Collection: Santalum + Rose Absolute Review

H&M x Givaudan Fragrance Collections. Here is Santalum and Rose Absolute from The Essences collection.

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Oh, hell. If you are a fragrance lover of any disposition you need to get yourself to your nearest H&M asap. They’ve just collaborated with Swiss power player Givaudan to bring out 3 new fragrance collections: The Reveries, The Singles and The Essences. I managed to sweep the last of ‘Santalum‘ and ‘Rose Absolute‘ from The Essences collection into my basket and promptly through the checkout.


H&M x Givaudan Fragrance Collections. Here is Santalum and Rose Absolute from The Essences collection.Let’s start with the very obvious first impression: the packaging. The array of jewel tones give the fragrances a more luxury look, spot on for The Essences collection.

The curved, modern glassware isn’t too masculine or feminine and the 50ml bottles are the perfect fit for the palm of your hand. They’ll look pretty on your dressing table too.

In store the perfumes are packaged in simple but elegant black, white and cream packaging. On the side of the box there’s a rundown of the fragrance top, heart and base notes and the perfumer.


So the first scent I tried was the Santalum. Here’s how H&M describe it on the site (and the side of the box ;))


Mellow and creamy, deep and rich – a powerful, esoteric sandalwood fragrance. Sourced from mature trees in Western Australia. Perfumer: Olivier Pescheux. Species: Santalum album. Top: myrtle, cypress, pine. Heart: white peach, white flowers, jasmine. Base: red cedarwood, sandalwood, musk.

This really reminded me of that beautiful, intoxicating smell that you notice when you’re walking past an Arabian Oud: powerful, intriguing; complex.

For all it’s strength in the woody opening notes, it dries down to something softer and more feminine thanks to the combination of peach and white flowers in the heart and sandalwood in the base (at least on my skin it does!) I didn’t really get the jasmine but everything else comes through as the day goes by.
This was one of those perfumes where you just need a couple of sprays in the morning and you continue to get lovely little wafts throughout the day.
If you like strong perfumes then this one is for you, it’s not a room filler but it’s definitely not a soft scent.

SIMILAR TO: Le Labo Santal 33 (which is £180 per 100ml! :O )


The next day I decided to shake it up a little and go for the Rose Absolute. Now, I’m not usually a floral perfume kinda gal but my mum and sister have Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud and I’m a massive fan of Agent Provocateur’s EDP – it was probably the first ‘proper’ perfume I ever owned and I always used to sneak a spray or two from my mum’s dressing table when I was younger. Anyway, before I get carried away, here’s the official description of the scent:


Warm, honeyed and spicy, our Rose Absolute is derived from the essential oils of damask roses harvested in southern Turkey. Perfumer: Olivier Pescheux. Species: Rosa damascena. Top: saffron, cinnamon, clary sage. Heart: Turkish rose, iris, freesia. Base: cedarwood, patchouli, incense.

I am gonna describe it as a dusky and dark floral scent, not dissimilar to Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose but definitely not the same. I could really pick out the sage and of course the Turkish rose from the initial spritz.

Rose Absolute doesn’t have quite the sillage of Santalum and I didn’t find it as powerful – I think (if you’re anything like me) you’d want to top this up after 5-6 hours. Which is still an amazing amount of wear time if you ask me!

The rose element of the perfume lasted all day, and after a while it had a slightly powdery smell? Maybe it’s the iris. I actually love powdery fragrances so I really liked how this dried down. There was something quite ‘nighttime’ about this scent as well which was lovely. I get worried that florals can smell a bit dated but Rose Absolute doesn’t smell anything like a grandma. 😉

SIMILAR TO: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud (£75 per 50ml), Agent Provocateur EDP (varies)


All in all, I’m THOROUGHLY impressed with both of these perfumes. I actually love it when a high street brand can deliver something like this – just goes to show that you don’t always have to spend £70+ to smell incredible.

Remember, if you’re part of the H&M Club, you can get 15% off these new fragrances! I tell you, grab em while you can because I predict a sell out.

Even if you can’t get down to an H&M to give these a sniff test first, you could always add a couple of these little handbag-friendly roll-ons to your next H&M online shop – they’re only £8.99!

I know I’ll be grabbing some of the mini sizes on my next shop.

God, I LOVE a bargain.

H&M x Givaudan Fragrance Collections. Here is Santalum and Rose Absolute from The Essences collection. I've review these gorgeous highstreet perfumes! They're only £19.99 too!

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