I don't have an extensive experience with aged Mysore, the nicest I smelled was the one from Profumo which I've heard was distilled in the 90s. I'm not sure I'd use the word 'richer', perhaps mellower, lacking the harshness or sometimes sharp ('urinal') notes of the freshly distilled oils or oils distilled from inferior cuts of wood (too young). I imagine even a fresh Mysore oil distilled correctly and from an old heartwood would smell great. As far as I know, even a good aged Mysore should have a little sour milky/lemon note up top.. if a sandalwood oil smells instantly super smooth, creamy and mellow then I believe it's 99% adulterated with synthetics esp. if the oil is cheap.
I've heard some santalum album EOs from Tamil can be nearly as nice as good Mysore.. I wish I could find some.
I'm resurrecting this thread as I'm a little confused, so thought I might get some feedback.
I have a friend who has just come back from a holiday in Sri Lanka, and brought back for me a bottle of Sandalwood oil from a distilling farm that she visited. (It is supposed to be from Santalum Album trees). ... HOWEVER, I have been highly surprised by this oil which smells incredibly strange to me, and not like any sandalwood oil I've ever smelled before. ... Firstly it is coloured a very very pale straw, almost clear. And it is thick and gloopy-sticky like a thin syrup. Most distinctly of-putting is the fact that it has a turpentine-y type top note (smelling sort of like dry-cleaner fluid). The smell itself is very faint indeed, with no silage whatsoever. And it's not even what I would call particularly "woody" in smell. More cardboard-like or very faint wood-like if even that. If I had smelled it without knowing what it was, "wood" would not have been my first guess. ~ It is however quite tenacious, but seeing how it is so faint anyway, it hardly matters. ... Now, considering it was purchased from an actual distillers, I imagine it's therefore a really young "just-distilled" oil. BUT still surly this is not how a sandalwood oil should smell like at all, young or not ??? ~ Does this sound like what a "young oil" might smell like ???
Has anyone here had any experience with Sri Lankan sandalwood oil, who might enlighten me ? Or do you think my friend has been completely duped, and this ain't even a sandalwood oil at all ???
Last edited by Sybarite; 19th April 2011 at 01:00 AM.
Well, I don't consider myself a sandalwood expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been purchasing up samples from all over lately to compare, including the Sri Lanka 2007 and the Tamil 2006 from the Nature's Gift site. I also picked up some of the Dabur sandalwood oil that's been mentioned (the one in the strange medical-grade bottle), and a sample of Aluwwah's Karnataka sandalwood, plus a few others from elsewhere. In terms of scent profiles, the Karnataka and the Dabur smell very much the same although I think Aluwwah's Karnataka is stronger in scent. The Tamil was next in line for similarity of scent, although a bit lighter than the Dabur. The Sri Lanka oil was quite beautiful, woody and creamy. As far as "wear it now" status, the Sri Lanka gets my vote. But that Karnataka oil is soooo very deep and rich.
Some notes on a few others -- the Vanatu had a somewhat acrid smokiness to it, I thought. And the Australian sandalwood smelled very piney to me and not much at all like the other sandalwoods. And some of the samples I've tried have had hardly any scent, at all.
Thanx for the reply "tatter" ... I'm surprised to hear that you were so pleased with your Sri Lankan sandalwood oil. (And one that is only a relatively young 4 years old too). ... I do wonder (and hope !) if mine will therefore still improve in the next few years ? (As I suspect mine is probably only a couple of months old at most). ... Although I must admit that I still find mine highly suspect. I would not have thought that I'd have had trouble recognising mine to be what it supposedly is. (It's not the least bit "sandalwoody" at all).
Anyone else here have any experience with Sri Lankan Sandalwood oil ???
Sybarite, I have no experience of Sri Lankan sandalwood oil but a good place to acquire some for comparison would be here:
Cheers "Trebor", thanx for the tip ! ... That would indeed be the perfect way to check and compare. And I have actually been wanting to order various (far too many ;o) oils from them for ages now. ... However, they unfortunately charge quite a lofty postage charge to the UK (i.e. £20 - £25). Far too steep for ordering just a single oil. So until I have a much larger order to place, in order to make it worthwhile, I'm afraid it's just not an option at the moment. ... ~ (Plus I'm awfully impatient, so I'm gonna have to find an alternative option meanwhile. )
However, I am totally convinced that this oil just cannot be a genuine sandalwood oil. (Or at least unadulterated). Or if it surprisingly actually is then it must be an incredibly poor quality one. Or perhaps from far too immature a wood ???
~ It displays none of the usual typical sandalwoody characteristics like, well to start "woody", or buttery, subtle spicy and even slightly "sweaty". The only one's it does have is the slight sweetness & tenacity.
This is NOT a question about "Mysore." It is a question of species and / OR distillation process and / or proceedure. So there is a lot to cover in this answer.
A) Let us begin with "Mysore." Mysore is an area in India that WAS known for it's superior quality. Then there was a greedy craze for it and everything went wonky. Now it's endangered and even though the trees are owned by the government and their are strict sustainability laws, there is serious blackmarket devestation happening for the money and much of the quality is being reduced for profit.
Better quality S. album can be found now in Australia through sustainable practices.
S. album and a few rare Hawai'ian breeds are the sweet smelling varieties. Santallum spicatum is often used instead and they do have a scratchier drier balsamic smell instead of the sweet smell. Both are woody. Both can be used interchangably in traditional medicinal aromatherapy.
B) Extraction by chemical solvent CO2 is the "chemical" process of distillation everyone is talking about, but they do NOT have their facts right. This produces a superior smell that is longer lasting and a product that is more medicinal in every way. This distillation process is also more environmentally ethical because it takes less product to produce both more smell AND more oil quantity. The steam distillation temperatures are so high that they do lessen some of the medicinal value (constituents).
C) Even if it WAS Mysore AND S. albums, reguardless of the extraction method, the HEARTWOOD is the part of the tree that produces the best smelling (ok, only smelling according to some) essential oils. AND the MOST essential oil. The regular botanical "SAPWOOD" is inferior in every way. If you add sapwood to the ingredients being processed then it produces a cheaper sharper smelling inferior product, but each tree will produce MORE essential oil because there is more product to extract from...so the makers win financially.
D) The best time to harvest a tree is just after the peak of the rainy season. The oils are best and most abundant then. Because of the guerilla warfare for the profit in these trees, blackmarket speculators are cutting the trees down whenever they please and not even using the roots (stupid because they hold the most oils).
It took several years to produce this answer in this thread...I am very suprised that no one had answered it yet...all before were mere speculation as far as I can tell. I am writing an essential oil book that should be very comprehensive. If you are mesmerized by my typing this at the top of my head, you should see what the book is like when it is finished! Or maybe someone here would like a hand in publishing it??
I have a trip to mysore in the next two months - where i will be sourcing the real shit from where they cut this stuff
Thanks Star Light! Welcome to BN.
"All problems are illusions of the mind."
-- Eckhart Tolle
I can recommend the Santalum Album from many sources, in many different quantities.
I was even able to acquire the gold standard of 80 year old aged Mysore Sandalwood. That which I judge all sandalwoods by...
Gold Medal for "Best Aroma"; Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon
Last edited by benzganesh; 29th January 2013 at 09:15 AM.
Last edited by benzganesh; 29th January 2013 at 09:16 AM.
I got an itching to compare it to a new bottle of Mysore Sandalwood that I bought from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz.
I didn't even know that DSH made a Mysore Sandalwood oil & honestly I've never heard anyone here on BN describe it or discuss it, so I don't even know how much Mysore it actuall contains, etc. Perhaps I should email her. Here's the link to it on her website: http://www.dshperfumes.com/shop/mysore-sandalwood/
"All problems are illusions of the mind."
-- Eckhart Tolle
Cauvery Handicrafts (a govt operated store) sells pure mysore sandalwood oil attars 5 ml for 30 USD and 10 ml for 47 USD. One of my Indian friends got it for me.
The price will eventually fall though when Australian Mysore variants go on the market within 5-10 years.
Vinramani's source is something I'll recommend; however, be preparedto see leaks / broken bottle too, this is a state govt run jjoint, legit, but no QC at all. My suggestion, if you have a contact in India, have them buy and ship, better choice, decant to a leak proof vial and ship.
There are other legit sources, but I've been away too long to recommend anything close to reliable apart from the above.
As for scarcity, I would say it's still "easily" available locally ; but it's a cash crop, so politicians control vast majority of the real source - which is an area which is part jungle, part tourist spot between the states of Karnataka (where mysore is) and tamil nadu. U can find hand carved sandalwood statues / figures for one hundreth the price it sells in the western markets. Also adulterated SW oil can be found at these places.
Most of the ones that I have from various sources are sitting around ageing, so they're not necessarily ready to wear.
It's not as 'realistic' as the Aqua Oleum that I own or the Profumo one that's been blended with alcohol, but it is very wearable and sort of 'average' when I want to lift a certain fragrance and boost its woodiness.
I sent an email to DSH asking them about this, since the price is so affordable for a 'Mysore' sandalwood & this was the reply I got:
From: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 6:49 PM
Subject: Re: Contact Form Submission on DSHPerfumes.com
Our Mysore Sandalwood that you received is sold just as we receive without being diluted with a carrier oil, however, we believe it has been pre-mixed with some synthetics but remains mostly natural. This is how it can be sold at a less expensive price than straight aromatherapy grade sandalwood oil like the Australian Sandalwood essential oil we also use. Hopefully this helps and please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.
the DSH Team
"All problems are illusions of the mind."
-- Eckhart Tolle
Thanks for the info., Mike - I think that Sandalwood, like most things, is definitely one where you get what you pay for, especially when buying online.
Does anyone know an online source for the Karnataka Sandalwood Oil (the source of the famous Mysore sandalwood soap) ??
hi all, I just received my order of Dabur Sandalwood oil. Its strange but to me its a very smoky hot oil with low silage. I can even smell the rubber from the seal. People rave about how smooth and buttery dabur oil is. I find it the opposite. I am in no way implying that its not pure oil but can I be sure? Is this how its supposed to smell. I don't have much experience with sandalwood but the two others I smelt years ago were smooth sweet and lovely. This is not the same. I want to mix musk grains in it and if its not pure I don't want to waste the grains as they are very precious.
Also, As i poured the oil into a small vial I noticed it had a little water still not dried from when I washed it. The water has now mixed with the oil and you can see where it is as its cloudy. Will this spoil the oil over time or its not a problem?
I know this thread is five years old, but I just wanted to make a point about Santalum Album, aka "Mysore Sandalwood" for the benefit of anyone who might look to this thread as a reference.
The term "Mysore Sandalwood" was used in the late 19th century onwards to refer to White Sandalwood, aka "Santalum Album, which is indigenous throughout South East Asia and Australasia.
It was named thus because the primary exporter of White Sandalwood was the Raj, specifically the province of Mysore in British India, after the Maharajah of Mysore had set up a factory (now known as the Karnataka Govt Soap and Detergent Factory) to distill essential oil from this fragrant wood, the export of which was the main source of his private income.
This was back in the days when Britannia ruled the waves, and the other source of sandalwood and sandalwood oil was the colony of Western Australia, where the export industry in Santalum Spicatum (one of the fourteen varieties of sandalwood native to Australia) was created in the 1860s.
Sandalwood had countless applications, especially in luxury products, such as perfumery and was the traditional fragrance for gentlemen's cologne.
Trade in both these types of sandalwood was long established and worth a great deal to the exporters, whose products were known by their point of origin.
Mysore Sandalwood is not a region-specific variety of sandalwood, it is merely white sandalwood - Santalum Album - which can be found growing wild from China to Australia and everywhere in between.
Nowadays it is an anachronism to speak of "Mysore Sandalwood", because sandalwood in India is currently endangered - and after the Indian government introduced strict controls on the manufacture and export in sandalwood products in 2004, a rampant illegal trade sprang up and flourished, resulting in widespread corruption, numerous murders of forestry and customs officials and the rise of "bandit king" Veerappan whose greed and ruthlessness were legendary.
Santalum Album plays an integral role in rituals and ceremonies of the Hindu religion and domestic demand for sandalwood and sandalwood oil is so great that all sandalwood stocks and products were theoretically reserved for domestic consumption and it became illegal to export.
Money is a great motivator, however, and there are numerous unscrupulous producers willing to sell something alleged to be sandalwood oil to the unwary buyer, although it is still possible to buy reasonable quality sandalwood oil inside India itself - although comparatively the quality is vastly inferior to the export grade oils of the distant past.
In fact, as anyone who has been there can tell you, sandalwood oil and all sandalwood products manufactured by the government factory in Karnataka have artificial perfume oils added to them to standardise the scent profile since there is simply no quality aged heartwood availabl any more, and what there is is bought by agents representing extremely wealthy Indian buyers, as well buyers in Japan and the Middle East.
Apparently "Westerners" are largely seen as marks to be easily ripped off, unable to detect adulterated and synthetic oils.
Connoisseurs know that nowadays the centre of trade in quality sandalwood products is Singapore, since wild, old growth forests are still plentiful in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, and the oils imported from these areas is infinitely superior to anything found in India.
A few years ago, perfumeries were once again able to source bulk Santalum Album oil after production of oil from the first harvest of ten year old plantation-growth Santalum Album from Kunnanurra in Western Australia, which now boasts more Santalum Album trees than anywhere else in the world.
Anyhow, if you want to buy real "Mysore Sandalwood" you won't find any pure authentic Santalum Album in Mysore/Karnataka and you'd be very lucky to find anything in India that hasn't had synthetic perfume oils or aroma chemicals added to it.
Thanks for the information Rowan,
Could you recommend a decent sandalwood oil like the Indian oil of lore then??