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  1. #1

    Default Oud lovers who love sandalwood...

    Ok. Sandalwood thoughts, anyone?

  2. #2

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    I think if you cross post your 'challenge' post about finding good sandalwood nowadays it will make for a good thread starter.
    Personally I'd like to know where one can currently source good sandalwood. It seems like finding a genuine article is as hard if not harder to find than good oud.
    I've never bought any sandalwood and I don't think I'd know where to start.
    Good suppliers and reviews would also add to this thread.

  3. #3
    It's all about the wood
    ListensClosely's Avatar
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    Don't know if this will be of interest to anybody but my friend has found a partial solution to the problem:

    He loves the smell of high quality sandalwood, so much so that he wishes his house smelt of it at all times.
    I bought him some packets of fine-chipped Mysore heartwood from Shoyeido, which he uses in a Volcano Vaporiser to efficiently evaporate the oil out of the wood chips and pump it into the room. The device is thermostatically controlled so he's been able to tune the temperature just right. Just a pinch of sandalwood fills the room!

    The experience is monumental:2vrolijk_08:


    LC

  4. #4

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    All right a place to talk sandalwood!! After some pm's with Fungusamongus and Littlecrowgirl I think I need to aquire some vintage Mysore!

    What is the oldest sandalwood oil that any of you sandalwood collectors own?!

  5. #5
    Basenotes Member Thomas S.'s Avatar
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    Thanks fungusamongus, for starting this thread.

    I have bought a very nice Mysore Sandalwood oil form Oudiferous, the man behind oudimpressions.com. That was about a year ago. It seems he still carries oils but right now he apparently is not putting much effort in maintainig his site, unfortunately. I loved reading his reviews, excellent pieces of information, very well written

    And a friend from Sudan once gave me a piece of white sandalwood of abbout finger length which I am too cautious to burn... even though this piece weighs about 7 grams, I am still afraid I would spend it too fast. Only once in a while I will treat myself to a splinter on my Kodo cup.

  6. #6
    Super Member littlecrowgirl's Avatar
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    Hello, my name is Chelsea, and I love sandalwood :smiley:

    My oldest bottle is a Mysore from 1999 (back when it was about 32 dollars for 1/2 an ounce!), and I've steadily been collecting ever since. Though I only buy Santalum Album, most of it is not from the Mysore region. It's from Tamil Nadu, Indonesia, Sri Lanka. A couple years ago, I did purchase some "Santal oil" capsules from the early 1900s, and the oil really smelled almost identical to the early stuff in my collection... which was encouraging!

  7. #7
    Super Member littlecrowgirl's Avatar
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    ListensClosely, I want my house to smell like sandalwood all the time too! That is a great way to do it! I will occasionally put a drop onto my Aromastone (a very gentle heat ceramic "stone", that doesn't need water. it doesn't burn the oils because it is such a low heat), and it will make my very small bedroom smell beautiful for a couple days.

  8. #8
    Super Member littlecrowgirl's Avatar
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    Oh, and thanks Fungus, for starting this thread!

  9. #9

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    I have a bottle of Karnataka (Mysore) sandalwood oil I purchased from Alluwah some years ago. It's actually my second bottle as I used the first up very quickly! The oil is so buttery smooth with great projection and full sandalwood spectrum - an incredible oil. I am pretty sure Taha procured a fair bit of this oil when it was available, and that is one of the ingredients that makes his Attars so awesome. Unfortunately I doubt there would be any of the oil left now for purchase :(

  10. #10

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    Great thread. I have some 15 year old sandalwood (mysore) that a fella aromatherapist brought back for me from India. I'm ever hopeful that we will experience a day again when we can smell the multi leveled, buttery stuff from back in the day.

  11. #11

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    That alluwah oil was nice and I believe the seller truly thought it was the real thing, but to me it smelled like a mix of different species - not at all like straight mysore. Sorry if this is an insult to anyone but I think it is important if we are trying to figure out what is real and what is not. i would guess that oil was a blend of Indonesian oil and maybe the New Caledonian stuff. If you get a chance to get pure New Caledonian oil you will see what I mean. No way was that a classic mysore oil. :(

  12. #12
    Basenotes Member Thomas S.'s Avatar
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    Another VERY interesting sandal oil is Dabur´s "Chandan Ka Tail". It is actually an ayurvedic medicine. Sandalwood oil is used in Ayurveda for treating kidney and urinary tract problems, as Sandalwood has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties.
    Dabur is an Indian brand or company producing all kinds of ayurvedic treatments and medicines.

    I once have bought the Chandan Ka Tail frm an yaurvedic shop runa by an ayurvedic indian family, the man of the household being a teacher and ayurvedic doctor.
    Since it is a medicine, it is so pure you are supposed to take the oil internally, on a teaspoon of sugar, followed by a glass of fresh water.
    Rest assured, I tried this and it tastes horribly bitter; but I could also feel the medicinal effects, the coolness spreading from my stonach into the whole body. It was like swiping an oud oil on your tongue, almost... ;-)

    The oil had the most pleasant sandalwoody smell. I have at certain occasions put a drop on my forehead before sitting down for meditation or prayer. It is really good stuff, I can attest to it.

    Unfortunately, I do currently not have a source for this oil, as the Indian store where I bought it has gone out of business.
    I guess the scarcity of white sandalwood makes it also difficult to produce this special preparation.
    But if you should get a chance to get a bottle, you should definitely try it.

    It comes in little glass bottles, in a yellow/ orange cardboard box. If I remember correctly, the bottles had a content of 10 ml. The bottleneck is sealed with a grey rubber stopper over which a layer of thin aluminum is attached, and the whole composition looks like a bottle of some injection medicine - hardly the look of a perfume bottle.

  13. #13

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    I've heard good things about the dabur oil... 5ml bottles, not sure if/where you could find this though. There was a little discussion on basenotes a while back about the Australian plantations of Santalum album. I am not sure what that oil is like but that might be the only reliable source of that species of oil for all I know...

  14. #14
    Super Member littlecrowgirl's Avatar
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    A couple years ago, my parents (who know I love sandalwood) bought me a 5 ml bottle of Santalum album oil that came from Australia, and while the dry down is certainly sandalwoody, the initial burst has a kind of acrid, extra lemony scent. I don't mind a bit of an initial sharp "hit" in my sandalwood, but I find this one to be a little unpleasant. Hopefully, Australia can get it "right" (according to my desires, haha!) when it comes to sandalwood. It would be awesome to have a long term source!

  15. #15

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    Fung - the sandal from Aluwwah is not mixed, it is pure karnatakah. there are no added new calidonia for sure, that smells like piss to me. remember new sandal is not like old sandal as the trees now are young and an aged sandal may or most likely be from older trees. I can say this about Aluwwahs for sure.

  16. #16

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    mysore is area with in karnatakah. i havnt come across new sandal good as karnatakah. IMO

  17. #17

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    I had the darbur bottle it was very nice. a little on the heavy side but nice.

  18. #18

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    From what I have heard about you, I truly believe that you would never deliberately mislead anyone on a product abubakr. I also feel that sandalwood is an oil that is often cut or altered as it passes from source to market. I stand by my statement in terms of how it smelled to me but I don't have any doubt about your sincerity when you say you honestly believe it to be pure santalum album. Of more concern is the fact that it seems like people are no longer able to access authentic material to enable them to develop a sense of what this oil should smell like.

  19. #19

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    Littlecrow - I think it is likely that the lemony hit you noticed is an indicator that what they gave you is santalum spicatum and not santalum album. I don't think they were harvesting santalum album in Australia until just this past year. Maybe I'm wrong...

    Here's one seller's description: "Santalum spicatum essential oil’s truly captivating scent has a central woody base, with a touch of spice, complemented by ascending, lighter, fruit and citrus notes."

  20. #20

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    Abubakr: the wood itself is often adulterated with imported species prior to distillation. Detecting this can require DNA fingerprinting. It is possible the person distilling that oil was sold wood, chips, or billets of mixed origin. I believe most sandalwood in India these days originates in Australia and other places like Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. To me the smell of these other species is easy to recognize when you compare the scent to that of pure santalum album. There are these strange sweet, almost candy-like notes... I don't know how to describe it.

    Here's an article taking about the difficulty of knowing what really is in a particular lot of wood... I believe adulteration of the wood itself is a common problem so wood bought and distilled in Karnataka may not be pure santalum album.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10....595-013-0354-0

  21. #21

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    Another article about the problem of mixed wood ending up being sold in India:

    http://www.sapub.org/global/showpape...af.20120204.03


    I realize these articles don't prove anything. I guess I'm just trying to say it's possible for you to be speaking the truth about the oil being distilled in Karnataka (with good intentions, etc. from wood procured locally) and yet for the oil not to be pure. I won't say any more on the issue since my opinion about an oil not even available is kind of irrelevant to anyone here so I should shut up at this point. Sorry if this is irritating but I am trying to share what I believe and what I think I know.

  22. #22

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    Yeh I get that sandalwood is just as a problem as oud or musk or what ever. All I can say is having a trustworthy source is important AND and a good relationship with them means everything. I remember these exact same discussions we had here years ago about oud, then ambergris, then musk. Dosnt mean Im right do to that buuuut…now because of all those doubting authentic oud, know we have available some of the purest and best choice oud from some of the artisinal oud companies. We now have acsess to real ambergris and real musk, sandalwood naturally has or will fall into this category as well. if one doubts a scent by their nose i trust it more than I trust reports only because reports are general and the smelling of an oil is authentic and in the now. My only thing is these doubts cannot refute a claim till the doubt is proven, and I only say that because of the the mixture of the seller, the provider and the customer give me more evidence than a doubt based on generality. In our group i think smelling is believing, just as a scholar truly knows who another scholar is, an agreed upon scent amongst enthusiasts seems strong IMO

  23. #23

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    I know aluwwah challenged and grilled his distiller on this very subject. just remembered that so i wanted to post it. :-)

  24. #24

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    Great! I love the idea that frank discussions of authenticity and quality helped spawn the emergence of true high quality artisanal products - now THAT is a wonderful and optimiatic sentiment. If our community here could somehow result in access to a new generation of mindfully sourced and produced sandalwood oil - well that would be amazing and give me a little more hope for humanity. Thanks abubakr

    I checked an Australian vendor (Mt. Romance) and they now sell santalum album logs and chips and oil from plantations in Australia.

  25. #25
    Super Member littlecrowgirl's Avatar
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    Fungusamongus, I used that sandalwood again last night (I don't usually touch it, 'cause I don't like it much), just to test it, and now I think you're totally right about it being spicatum (or maybe a mix, because there is a bit of an album scent to it, later on)! Hahaha. So, the story is that my parents had visited another country a few years back, and they wanted to bring me a gift. In this town they were visiting, there was a nice shop that sold oils. So my parents called and asked if I'd like sandalwood. I told my them to ask what kind of oil it was. The lady kept assuring them that it was Album, but that it was from Australia. I looked online, and sure enough, there were some plantations growing album there. So, even though I was leery, I was like, "okay". Anyway, I've always thought it smelled more like spicatum, and I avoided using it... but still, I just kept thinking that maybe Australian plants just can't smell like Indian wood, even if they're album. So it's actually encouraging to me to realize it probably is spicatum... because that means that I can hope that Australian plantation trees might smell like the real deal!

  26. #26

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    Spicatum is a great oil. Not the same as album but nice in itself. I love it and would be very unhappy if I couldnt get it. There are a variety of grades out there... Some smells better than others but I generally like this oil. My experience with oil from new caledonia and Vanuatu is less consistent - the bad stuff from those regions is really really bad

  27. #27

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    Any of you guys tried some amyris?

  28. #28

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    So some of you already know I was in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago...

    I've been working with a veteran sandalwood wood supplier + distiller from the Sri Lankan sandalwood 'golden age'. The guy made a fortune back then, but nowadays aside from strict government regulations there's also the issue of scarcity so he's started focusing on agarwood, due to the abundance of wild old-growth agarwood trees there. Its difficult to get sandalwood trees that are over 40 years of age, and as many of you may know: just like agarwood, sandalwood from older trees is superior.

    At the moment his focus is mostly on red sandalwood, which to me is not even really 'sandalwood'. Its more like Amyris, Buddha wood or Siam wood. (To me) it has a nauseating quality... there's a very remote similarity to the aroma of white sandalwood / santalum album, but to me they're worlds apart.

    Although it is difficult to get old-growth white sandalwood in Sri Lanka these days, given his reach/status/reputation in the Sri Lankan sandalwood scene, he's still able to get old trees. Its the same species as Mysore sandalwood, and to me Mysore, Tamil and Sri Lankan sandalwood are leagues ahead of all other types of sandalwood.

    I've been training the guy to do artisanal distillations of agarwood, and he's doing a great job following all the guidelines. To give you an example, instead of smelling like horse piss (yes, horse piss.. not cat, nor dog, nor any other animal's urine) which is what most black market Sri Lankan oils smell like (distilled by Indian smugglers, foolishly applying Indian distillation techniques to Sri Lankan Walla species agarwood, which is the worst thing you can do for this species), when my wife smelled the Walla agarwood oil this guy distilled, her reaction was 'whoa, this smells like candy!'

    So I'm very curious and excited to see what sandalwood distilled by this guy would smell like. The distillation setup, although designed for agarwood extraction, is ideal for extracting sandalwood oil as well. Its a hybrid glass+copper+stainless steel setup, and I think it would be perfect for capturing the various facets of the aroma of sandalwood. I know many of you are dying to smell artisanally extracted sandalwood oil, so I'll see what I can do to help..
    I'm not going to be selling any sandalwood oil as a product of my own, but at the same time the distiller wants to maintain anonymity due to the atmosphere in Sri Lanka. Its a fine line I'd have to tread, so I'll see what I can do to get this oil to folks who want some, without breaking any forum rules.

  29. #29
    Recluse
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    Indonesian Sandalwood(Santalum macgregorii) anyone ever happen to try some?

  30. #30

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    Yes. Some indonesian oil is very nice. I have yet to smell one I'd mistake for Indian oil but I would be very happy to find a high quality indonesian oil for a reasonable price.

    Speaking of which, what are you seeing / expecting to pay for sandlwood oil these days where you live? I see prices all over the place... The Australian plantation oil is I think about $40 for 5ml. I have recently seen vintage Tamil Nadu oil for about $25 per ml... I purchased some indonesian oil of ok quality and unspecified age in the U.S. for about $10 per ml.




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