Friday, February 10, 2012

Indonesian Sandalwood

I never knew Sandalwood trees grew in Indonesia, nor that Sandalwood Essential Oil was distilled there.

It is.  And apparently if you know the right people,  essential oil distilled from roots and heartwood.

A month or more I was sent a wee sample, and it was love at first sniff.  Deep and mysterious.   So much Sandalwood these days is sweet and smooth but light. This is deep, mysterious, evocative, the ultimate masculine oil. 

In the early '90's, when we could still procure Mysore Sandalwood with some confidence that it was "the real thing" a friend in the industry sent me a dram of Mysore Sandalwood distilled in 1942.    It was magnificent.  Deep, mysterious, magical.  Amazing stuff.  That small sample has, forever after, been the benchmark to which I compared all other Sandalwood specimens.  Some I received measured up.  Our almost legendary Tamil 2002;  the Tamil 2006 was not close, but obviously from the same family.

This amazing new Indonesian oil is if not a direct decendant, then a very close cousin of that so well aged Mysore, close to 70 years old.

I have read that Indonesia was the origin of the Sandalwood trees grown in India for the past 2000 years, that they originated in Timor, and were taken to India in hopes that they would flourish.  How did I not learn this years ago?  How did I never experience Sandalwood from Timor, from Eastern Indonesia? I've led a deprived life!


The Indonesian Government/Forest Service is responsible for the islands' Sandalwood trees.  The people of Timor believe that those who cut the Sandalwood tree illegally will not have a peaceful life.  We hope that these measures will be sufficient to preserve these beautiful trees, and prevent the poaching and black market activities that have made true Mysore Sandalwood unavailable.

Santalum album  Hydrodistilled from roots and heartwood in Spring, 2011.  What this amazing oil will mature into remains to be seen.  It may be the aromatic investment of a lifetime.  Coming soon to a website near you. (We have to pour and label it first.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my! That sounds wonderful - Please keep us posted!!

Roger McLennan said...

I bought a historic pharmacy in the early 80s which had a few older oils . amongst them was some Mysore Sandal which was between 50 and 100 years old. It was incredible - thick and perfect fragrance. I relate to the comments about the older oil being the yardstick. No other sandal oil came remotely near. I visited the government Sandalwood factory in Mysore in the early 90s but it had already been closed for some years. Incredible 19th century factory with fabulous stainless steel stills.

Marge said...

Roger, that sounds like a treasure trove. envying you you the experience!