It must be terribly difficult for the elephant to escape its cliché tiny enemy, the mouse. And so the noble sandalwood must be having hard time avoiding confusion with lumber.
The first thing I smell in Tam Dao reminds me of wood shavings that are used to cushion the floor of hamster cages: Tam Dao opens with a definite aroma of Virginian cedarwood and other soft lumber, scents that are particularly favoured by carpenters.
The otherwise humble and well behaved sacred oil of Sandalwood usually acts out when it meets my skin – its otherwise smooth and benevolently flattering aroma tends to flatten out the other notes, and adds a certain woody bitterness that is not what I consider pleasant, but rather acrid. With Tam Dao, however, my experience is a bit different – once the initial slightly green blast of freshly-logged cedarwood blows away, it stretches into an endless sandalwood with barely-there hints of cinnamic warmth and an overall smoothness that is calming and has the potential of developing into an addiction. Especially if you happen to be a carpenter..
I think Tam Dao is a great woody scent, even if not quite what I would expect a sandalwood scent to be. Overall, it is nothing like the warm incense from dry sandalwood powder. In fact, it is rather cool and refreshing. It is also more on the bland side and does not demonstrate much evolution or complexity. After a while (half an hour to an hour) I get bored with Tam Dao, and feel tempted to layer it with other scents, particularly florals such as rose and tuberose and jasmine, but also Philosykos. But than – I would rather wear the scents that already have those notes built in to the original fragrance.
P.s. and while I find hamsters to be the friendliest of animals and the ideal pet, I cannot resist linking to this page that Katie have posted on her blog recently for no apparent reason - the image of the attack of the hamster is hands-down hysterically-funny.