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  1. #1

    Default Sandalwood Questions

    I have become very interested in sandalwood of late, and have been doing some investigation and exploration.

    Now I throw out some questions hoping that someone with good knowledge of this can enlighten me and others here who are interested.

    The questions are these: When did the santal album (mysore) start to get so rare that people had to change their formulae and find substitutes? When was the last time it was reasonably easy to order a significant quantity? Is it possible that some fragrances produced in limited quantity still contain some? Maybe some houses maintained a stock?

    Also does the australian santal smell similar or quite different and in which ways (I have not yet smelled this pure to isolate it)?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by hirch_duckfinder; 8th July 2008 at 12:49 AM.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Sandalwood Questions

    Australian sandalwood has the same chemicals but in different proportions. The level of santalol is alot lower, for one thing. Desciriptions I've read say that the Australian wood is drier and less sweet. I've never smelled Mysore sandalwood, but have smelled Australian sandalwood. To my nose it is a drier, woody smell as compared to the synthetics which seem warmer and sweeter.

    Most fragrances now days use synthetics for sandalwood. Alot of the Australian sandalwood is sold for incense and aromatherapy purposes. It's also not exactly cheap stuff as far as essential oils go.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sandalwood Questions

    Over 20 years ago a kg of real unadulterated Mysore Sandalwood was costing like 20 kg of Patchouli (real and unadulterated).
    Which means it has been expensive for as far as I can remember, and has not ever been used in mainstream perfume except in very small dose inside bases of various prices sold as "Santal Mysore" to perfumers who want to use a Sandalwood note not completely flat and boring as is the synthetic substitute.
    Four or five years ago Mysore Sandalwood disappeared from the market, the real one I mean. It reappeared 2 years later having doubled its price.
    I now try to buy it as often as I can in order to store it, as it betters with age and I know that it will not be available for too long still.
    Imagine that the Indians are one billion, they all want to perfume themselves for prayer with Sandalwood, to burn Sandalwood incense in temples made with Sandalwood, to honor statues made of Sandalwood, and when they die they wish to burn on Sandalwood if they can. Indians are definitely a religious folk and Sandalwood is at the core of their spirituality.
    This is just to give you the measure of the local demand, which is mostly supplied with chemical sandalwood made by the great aromachemical indian industry.
    Chinese, Arabs and Japanese are also very fond of it as it belongs to their religious and medical tradition.
    The french of Grasse buy as much as they can sell, but the fact remains that the planetary production is limited, unsustainable and dwindling, as over cutting of the trees and illegal cutting and smuggling of this precious good has brought fears about its ability to survive man's avidity for money.
    So do not expect it on any mainstream perfume, what you smell in Kenzo or Grigio perla is the synthetic sandalwood, and the one you will buy in India with the seal of Mysore state will probably be the same thing.
    Still it has to be recognized that the chemical Sandalwood is very true to the original as a note in composition. As a pure aromachemical it comes nowhere near the natural ones.
    From this you can understand that a Sandalwood lover who knows only the chemical stuff will find heaven in the real ones.

    Mysore Sandalwood is often invisible in a composition, I have it in high percentage in 2 of my perfumes (Oak Moss, Holy Water), but Sandalwood lovers of Basenotes hardly can smell it (see old threads).
    Nonetheless, in these compositions it rounds up Frankincense and vetyver very effectively, and that is its function in these fragrances.
    I rather use the Australian Sandalwood when I want a Santal note in a perfume, it is more powerful in this respect and also cheaper (about half the Mysore price).
    One of my last perfumes Gringo, with a very small proportion of Australian Sandalwood, has the Santal note very distinct while it is not so in Oak moss which contains a lot more of Mysore.

    Mysore Sandalwood is the Qiblah of Sandalwood lovers, in it the sandalwood note so successfully synthesized and known to the general public is rich, resinous, round, deep, it makes you dive down into your own soul.
    Australian Sandalwood is definitely a Sandalwood with the Santal core note very powerful, but it is harsher, dryer, more woody and it lacks the wealth and fullness of the Mysore.
    It is called Sandalum Album, it is from Mysore in India, and when some seller wants to sell you a cheat he proposes you "Sandalwood from the Indies", meaning west indies, meaning Amyris Sandalwood, meaning a totally different plant, different smell and different essence.
    Never buy this one if you are a Sandalwood lover.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    www.profumo.it

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sandalwood Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Mysore Sandalwood is often invisible in a composition, I have it in high percentage in 2 of my perfumes (Oak Moss, Holy Water), but Sandalwood lovers of Basenotes hardly can smell it (see old threads).
    Nonetheless, in these compositions it rounds up Frankincense and vetyver very effectively, and that is its function in these fragrances.
    I rather use the Australian Sandalwood when I want a Santal note in a perfume, it is more powerful in this respect and also cheaper (about half the Mysore price).
    One of my last perfumes Gringo, with a very small proportion of Australian Sandalwood, has the Santal note very distinct while it is not so in Oak moss which contains a lot more of Mysore.
    Interesting info.
    -

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