New kid on the block fragrance house, aiming to “unstink the world” through sustainable and regenerative practices.
Australian deadwood sandalwood, banana, cardamon, black pepper, labdanum, benzion resin.
Fragrances that have banana in often have this joyous, ebullient nature, and this is definitely true of the start of Sånd by Ånd Fragrance which shimmies out of the bottle and starts to play a paradiddle on your skin as soon as it is sprayed. The banana is very evident at the start, warm, sticky, on the point of going off, skin all speckled, the fruit itself ever so slightly mushy and at the sweetest it will ever be.
Undercutting the sweet goopy quality of banana is the lovely, aromatic woodiness of cardamon which here is a touch camphorous, combined with the lively lift of black pepper. The sweet and the aromatic, the banana’s mush and the cardamon’s harder edge, the fruity sweetness and the savoury backbone of pepper all riot against each other creating a lively display that feels frenetic and changeable depending on the weather, the ambient temperature and on the skin it’s sprayed on.
If the start of the fragrance were to be characterised as a creature, it would be a puppy leaping up to lick your face, all wiggle and expression of utter liveliness.
Once Sånd has had proper time to settle and open, a booziness gathers about the fringes of the scent. For a while it is evocative of something like a banana and cardamon liquor – if such a thing even exists. There is a definite syrupy sweetness and that sense of fruity overripeness that hits you high up in the sinuses. It’s like the memory of banana chews and whisky on you Dad’s breath at Christmas.
This is the start of the slowdown in the fragrance though, and it feels like it peaks at this point, expends most of its energy and then becomes much mellower and calmer. The cardamon crests and then recedes as does the pepper, leaving a much purer sense of the banana and the woodiness beneath. You could almost say that the scent pares itself back at this point.
If we go back to the puppy analogy then the little darling has spent an hour, tearing around the house and has now decided that it will lie on your feet, look adorable, and go to sleep for the remainder of the day.
The base of the fragrance is really where we get the shininess of the sandalwood coming through, and it feels like it is radiating from the skin with its luxurious loveliness. There is a rawness about the sandalwood used in Sånd though, which does have milky touches, but which is mustier and darker than the lighter sandalwoods we are perhaps used to. The fact that the sandalwood feels older, more seasoned, could come from the way in which sandalwood is utilised here. Sandalwood is a notoriously difficult ingredient for perfumery, it is often illegally traded and obtaining truly ethical sandalwood can be a challenge. Ånd have committed to using ethical sandalwood, by working directly with growers to ensure that only deadwood sandalwood is harvested and processed. This means that the trees themselves will be around for longer, and able to continue producing deadfall wood. This deadwood production seems to come through in the resulting fragrance, it has an aged quality, a density, like it’s been distilled and concentrated.
The banana never really leaves the scent, sitting atop the sandalwood and running its high hum and heavy sweetness parallel to the woodier, muskier and slower tones. With the hints of spice lingering at the edges, and just the odd moment of booziness coming through, you could almost imagine that there is something festive about the fragrance. It all feels rather jolly and warm in tone – Sånd is the sort of scent that will work really well with fairy lights and an extra helping of pudding.
All that said though there is a rawness about Sånd that feels real, unprocessed, new. It hits you, it’s big, it’s an assault – albeit a pleasant one. But that also feels like a deliberate point that the perfumer is trying to make: softness and lightness isn’t going to change things, the industry isn’t going to shake itself up. Positive action, positive perfume is what Ånd is going for and they are going to be bold about doing it.
The other stuff
Sånd is a really unique scent – I can’t call to mind anything that smells like it and if you are on the hunt for something with a characterful banana note then this is definitely something to check out (you might also want to try Meek Passion by M.Int).
The longevity of Sånd is great. It lasts 8-10 hours from application and will easily still be there at the end of the working day when applied first thing.
The sillage, or projection, of the fragrance is also solid. It goes to around handshake distance or a little further if you are exuberant with the trigger, and whilst it does reduce as the wear goes on, it doesn’t seem to do so dramatically like some scents do.
Sånd is also really good if you want to enjoy perfume whilst looking after the planet. The brand’s founder, Simon Constantine, was formerly of Lush fame, and has continued to build upon and work with the ethical foundations that they established, to ensure that the regions producing perfume ingredients, along with the workers themselves, are enriched and empowered by the production.
If you’d like to find out more about Ånd’s mission to “unstink the world” and how they will go about doing this, visit their website for more details.
Ånd are a new brand, launching right now, and they will continue their line of scents to five in total: Frånk (a homage to frankincense), Måd (a riff on vanilla), Båre (inspired by the Great Bear rainforest), Sånd (as above) and Beån (a tonka bean scent). All the fragrances will be handmade in Britain and are cruelty-free, vegan, ethically and sustainably sourced.
Wearing fragrance is one of life’s great joys, but if you can do that knowing you’re doing good for the world, then perhaps it can be even better?
Sånd is available from Ånd’s website, where it is priced at £35 for 10ml.
We received a sample of this fragrance from the brand but weren’t asked to say anything in particular in the review or in any content created using it.