You can view the page at http://www.basenotes.net/content/189...-Dreams-Part-8
You can view the page at http://www.basenotes.net/content/189...-Dreams-Part-8
I am loving this website more and more. I heard horrible stories about sandalwood and how it harvest and sol so I am glad to read the following
"After blending and pouring into large drums or small flacons a Certificate of Analysis is logged to the batch number. This means that the final analysis of the oil is traceable back to each plantation. A legal, traceable and transparent supply chain from soil to oil."
Happy holidays all
This was an excellent crash course in understanding sandalwood production. I was particularly awestruck reading that even the stumps are ripped from the ground, for their yield of oil!
I've been following the bits and pieces of information about Australian Santalum album, so your series was timely and topical. Such a wealth of information you have provided.
I heard that Santalum album may have been indiginous to the Australian continent and that these plantations in the tropical north are a sort of home coming for the species. I love the native Australian spicatum and have an assortment of Mysore sandalwoods including several antique examples I've collected as well as tiny samples from the late 90's before the crisis. I would love to see how this recent extraction compares. I'm sure aging will help the oil mellow.
I really enjoyed learning about the process of extraction. The low yield, 3.7% is not surprising and will probably increase as the trees mature into their 3rd decade. I also appreciate the effort Tropical Forestry Services is making to eliminate waste in all aspects of production and offer a product that is traceable to the plantation, from soil to oil. That is setting a new standard for world production of key perfumery ingredients.
Thank you for this great series!
I was surprised to learn that the trees are ready to begin harvesting. I thought it would take more years of growth. Thanks for the draw.
Interesting that different batches of oils are blended together for a more consistent odour profile. I thought they'd just blend everything together. Does this mean that some amount of oil is left behind?
Also, I wonder if any of the Australian Santalum Album trees will be allowed to reach their full maturity before being harvested? Maybe this way they could offer a superior grade of oil in addition to the regular one (assuming an older tree would give a superior oil - maybe not?).
As for harvesting; a good question which I have commented on in the comment before your one. Furthermore, In Part 4 it does say that a 50-year old tree would only yield slightly more than 3 to 3.7% oil but presumably this would also effect the oil quality. Still I think these very organised people would have optimized the quality to age of tree when they made the date-of-harvest decision. O, and you are so in the draw Renegade!
Santalum album or in this case Australian album oil is very stable - eg. its composition does not vary significantly from batch to batch however as a natural product, some variation does occur. The blending allows TFS to match a customers' previous order as closely as possible. The blending also achieves a more consistent product like champagne etc. If an oil was "out of whack' then it would be blended up or down for consistency.
I was very interested to learn that the spot price of Australian album was higher than it's Mysore counterpart, but I would suppose that it being a new crop the demand would ultimately be much higher. compared though to the options I find it surprising that Album still commands such high prices especially with austrocaledonicum having more of the sandal woody constituents such as a-santalol which is what gives the it, it's creamyness.
Santalum austrocaledonicum is more woody than Mysore but yes it still has the sought-after creaminess and is much much smoother than Santalum spicatum which is the native Australian variety. However as the S austocaledonicum does have have vast plantations on the level of this new enterprise I would imagine that has an effect on price or maybe the demand from perfumers varies. You can let us know if you win the draw that you are now in.
I'm really surprised by the cost of Sandalwood and that, "Over the past 15 years the price has increased on a compound basis by 16 % per annum."
I would like to see more efforts at sustainability and even highlighting a few locations that are getting it right like this:
I learned so many things from this series. I would say that I was most surprised by the fact that nothing is wasted in production. Also, that Italian stump and root pulling machine was something I've never seen before!
I highly doubted that the genetics of Santalum Album would prove sufficient to yield the 'Mysore' aromatic profile from Australian soil, water, light...
Thanks to the Australians for proving me wrong.
And thanks to Jordan and TFS for the draw!
Last edited by grabuge; 18th December 2013 at 06:24 PM.
Thank you for this very interesting series on Australian santalum album Mr. Jordan.
Reading my way through, I could not help but notice the similarities between the plight of Sandalwood - Santalum album out of the mysore area of India and Agarwood/Oud - Aquilaria malaccensis out of India and southeast Asia.
Would you know (and be able to share) whether TFS has entertained the cultivation/inoculation of agarwood/oud for commercial harvesting in anyway similar to its efforts with Santalum Album in Australia?
Mr DuNezDeBuzier, a good comparison. I have just written a draft of a 14 part Oud series covering the plight, plantations and outputs from this wood. I like your question but I cannot answer it. I will though when I have an answer. As far as I know Aquilaria trees do not grow in Australia. Maybe no one has tried? Or maybe further research will reveal 7600 hectares ready for harvesting next year after successful inoculation some years ago? There are successful plantations of Agarwood but there are far more unsuccessful ones due to the inconsistent results from the inoculation process. You can cultivate the trees in pretty rows but they do not all produce the resin that is Oud. Back on topic: you are in the draw. Simplex Sigillum Veri to you.
Last edited by Jordan88888888; 19th December 2013 at 08:52 PM.
This is great and very educative series of articles. There are many interesting facts I've learned. The most important part for me is the one about the smell, part 7. I'm very happy to read positive opinions of those who have a huge experience with perfumes (Clayton, Portia, Suzanne). As the situation with Mysore sandalwood in India is rather bad, it sounds optimistic to have such a great alternative enriched with the virtues of Australian ground ("...a note of the Australian bush in it – but just a hint"-Suzanne R Banks, "...a fresh version of the Mysore, still rich and lavish but different."- Portia.) It would be interesting to make the same perfume with Mysore and Santalum Album just to see the particular differences. I think that there are perfumers who have already done this experiment in their laboratories. All in all, it seems encouraging.
Reading this series of installments about TFS's success in reestablishing santalum album as a sustainable species is truly a dream come true! "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!" Thank you for sharing this wonderful news, and a chance to sample the results!
I have learnt, rather superficially, that Australian album sandalwood smells similar to Mysore sandalwood, only stronger, although I'd have to smell it for myself to decide! Great series, Jordan :)
Last edited by Jordan88888888; 19th December 2013 at 08:49 PM.
I've been fiddling around with the replacement arochemicals (ebanol, javanol, santaliff, sandella) for ages trying to find something I like. I'm excited to get a sniff of this new supply!!! I'm thrilled to hear the santalol levels are so high!
A very interesting set of articles ! I imagine that TFS is anxious to get on with their harvest, as 14 years is a long time to wait. In time, perhaps they will be growing even older trees ?
I was particularly impressed by their greenhouses, and the number of seedlings they are producing every year !
I learned that the traditional method of sandalwood oil production is burying the cut logs in the ground so that white ants eat the outside wood leaving the oil carrying heartwood uneaten. I also learned that the fragrance of sandalwood is a natural repellant to those ants. I would have thought the yield from the sandalwood would be much higher than 3.7%. This was a great series Jordan, thanks for doing it and thanks for the draw!
Really interesting. I have always liked Sandalwood and sought it out in fragrances, but never realized how/where it came from. The idea that the stumps are ripped out to obtain the oil was eye opening to say the least. :)
I found it interesting that Santalum album requires 3 different trees in order to grow.
I also like how transparent TFS is being with the whole process, from picking through distillation, even being so careful about each batch. It's so nice that there is finally a completely legal source for the oil from this species. Hopefully it will decrease demand for its Indian counterpart and help curb the poaching of an already depleted terroir.
I am interested to know how this compares with the native spicatum in its profile and how it blends.
I had used the original sandalwood prayer beads from India and can"t wait to smell this"new genre" of sandalwood .
A very enlightening and informative series
As a sandalwood lover, it's great to read that the Australian santalum album is now being planted and harvested sustainably and that it can rival the Mysore sandalwood in terms of fragrance profile.
These have been very informative articles. Thank you for sharing.
The most inspiring thing I learned was about the Buddha's scent hut. I have been experimenting with the release of fragrances in contained spaces and the description of the disciples bringing their santal to burn in his presence gave me a sense of spiritual deja doppelganger. So far I am using my own little fumigation tent with my electric incense burner for safety's sake. I would love to put this Australian santal in a diffuser and annoint myself with its healing magick.
I for one am glad to see a viable replacement on the verge. The synthetic takes on sandalwood just do not compare. This gives me hope that current houses can have some of their scents return close to or to their former glory. This entire series has been quite refreshing and has made me aware that there is an effort to find a viable replacement. I cannot wait to see what the future stores!
Last edited by Jordan88888888; 19th December 2013 at 07:22 PM.
This whole series has been highly educational--thank you!
I especially liked the Buddhist stories earlier, about the perfumed chamber of Buddha and the transmutation of his hut to crystal through incense smoke. Also the stories about the first highly successful sandalwood merchant who bought a poor man's wood and made a killing selling it to the king. I wonder how that ancient pricing compares to the 16 % compound increase of the past few years?
From this section, I thought it was interesting to hear that its medicinal uses include a wart remover. Useful but not at all glamorous.
Possibly my favorite was all of section 7 wherein I lived vicariously and smelled Australian album through their noses and descriptions. Lovely! I have smelled some kind of non-Mysore 'sandalwood' oil which was very very sharp and not buttery/nutty or even very woody. I was sad to think that was it for naturals, and am very very glad to hear that was wrong.
Please count me in
I found it very interesting that Germany was the principle buyer of raw mysore sandalwood in the 1900s. Not the first country that would come to mind! The series was concise and nicely written; well done Jordan.
Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
Last edited by Jordan88888888; 19th December 2013 at 08:54 PM.
So many of the natural elements that make perfumery great have taken a beating, I'm very encouraged that someone had the foresight (and business sense) to work on establishing a sustainable source for albam sandalwood. Now, if we can just be sure nobody reports an allergy so that IRFA bans the stuff..............Great set of articles!
I love sandalwood, but I didn't know anything about how sandalwood is harvested, so this series was very interesting and educational for me. I was especially struck by how incredibly low yielding the whole process is (2-3%???). I would love to compare the different kinds of sandalwood oil side by side some day.
Fascinating reporting, Jordan. Ever since you told me about the new Australian sandalwood, I've wanted to know more, so this was great! I have a couple of thoughts:
I wonder what is done to the soil after a harvest. Is it left fallow for a while or...? Being that it is a mono-culture, I imagine certain nutrients need replenishing. (For comparison, the lyptus plantations of Brazil are said to drain the soil of nutrients.) Is there a companion plant that can be grown together with the trees to replenish as they go?
Also, I was astounded to see the variation in trunk shape (based on the cross section of the logs. I imagine it is quite a craft to be able to use a machine of that size and power to reveal the heartwood without damaging too much of it. Those white ants probably took a lot longer, but I can see why that would have worked.
I love the fact that the oil is traceable back to its growing location. I wish we did better with the tropical woods we get from other countries. Sadly, there seem to be some notable holes in that supply chain. Not to mention the added confusion with renaming woods into trade names and brand names.
Finally - I always love a good legend! This was a great read. Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to put it all together into such a comprehensive presentation. Love it!
Before I continue this research I will plant your good name into the green hat for this draw.
Haha - yes! I am dreadfully predictable... I would love to know the names of those host plants. What a fascinating symbiosis - no wonder the oil is precious!
Annamadeit has already voiced part of what I was going to say.
I am beyond pleased that a sustainable source of good quality sandalwood is being cultivated.
But I, too, must raise questions of wider sustainability.
There is usually little that is ecologically sustainable about plantation monocultures, especially over large tracts of land. Ecological diversity is certainly lost - not just of the flora of that region. However, I'm sure a tree plantation is better than, say, cutting down rainforest to plant GM soy.
Nonetheless monocultures tend to be green deserts. And what about pesticide use? It would be interesting to hear TFS's views on such issues.
Then there is the question of social sustainability. Is the work generated benefitting the local population or does it rely on staff who have been brought in from outside? Is it displacing traditional livelihoods? Does the company try to maximize employment or is the bottom line the only thing that matters - ie greater use of machinery to minimize numbers employed?
Maybe these are unfair questions but they belong in the larger picture of sustainability.
I'm not sure my post qualifies for the draw - but no matter. I have greatly enjoyed reading the articles.
Sure you are in the draw based on your second sentence.
Last edited by Jordan88888888; 22nd December 2013 at 07:36 AM.
All great, big, relevant questions, for sure, Gimmegreen. I always think of sustainability (or anything else, for that matter) as rings on the water. Everything we do causes a definite ripple effect. But I'm afraid that as long as the sheer number of humans and their many actions on this earth so dramatically skews the fragile balance that true sustainability requires, no effort is ever going to be perfectly sustainable. I once worked on a Living Building Challenge, which has very strict rules about what is permissible. It was hugely challenging, and although everyone did the best they could, and in the end it was as good as we could get it, it still wasn't perfect. A humbling experience indeed. I think we just all have to highlight and cherish those that are trying, and realize that we can always do better. And most importantly - don't ever stop asking the difficult questions! :)