Sandalwoods, Species, Authenticity

Discussion in 'General' started by Mr.P, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    423
    709
    93
    Ok - sandalwood.

    I have one true benchmark oil. WLA sold it back in 2002, with a full GCMS report and lots of information on the methods, source material, etc. It's a pretty cool story and I'd be happy to share some of the details here. Basically an E.O. chemist (Ramakant Harlaka - look him up as he is an advocate of old-school production) ran a traditional copper deg hydrodistillation of a single mature felled tree in Tamil Nadu, the goal being to compare the chemistry of a traditional sandalwood like this to material distilled via steam distillation. I was lucky enough to be able to converse with Ramakant a bit via email back when the project was happening, I can probably dredge up his discussion of sandalwood. I posted this at base notes back when it was active.

    I have many other oils from people whose hearts are in the right place, but with less documentation, and with little actual control over production and provenance. I feel these oils lack something, and I am wondering what exactly I have in my stash.

    One other oil approaches this benchmark - it was Mysore sold by Liberty Natural about 15 years ago (the rest of their sandalwoods have been unimpressive, kind of resembling all the lackluster Sri Lanka and Indonesian oils circulating in the places I have had access to.

    I am wishing I knew more about all these second rate oils. Some of these unimpressive sandalwoods are probably from young plantation trees, I guess? The other stuff distilled from root balls smelled of poor quality - I have yet to smell an oil distilled from roots that really hits the sandalwood spot (the root oils have a lackluster opening and hearth, but a decent dry-down to my nose). I read an article somewhere that root wood is the "best" only in terms of yield, that the best smelling oil is distilled from trunk wood, and wood from a bit higher up the trunk produces the best oil. The article was very interesting as it included names / grades for the woods removed from different portions of the tree: root ball, root branches, lower trunk, mid-trunk, major limbs, minor limbs etc. Does anyone have more information on this or know what I am remembering?

    The others I suspect may include small or large amounts of Papua New Guinea sandalwood. Is that possible? I had a small vial once of Papua oil - it was very sweet in a certain way I don't have a word for. I smell this sweetness in some of my oils to varying degrees, and I wonder if this represents adulteration.

    Do any of you with trade ties know if Papua sandalwood is abundant enough to be a possible adulterant? Mixing in Papua chips with Santalum album maybe? Or blending of distillates after the fact?

    I recall reading somewhere that India imports way more sandalwood than it exports, but that it is not uncommon for wood sold out of India to be from a different origin, or a mixture of Indian wood with wood from Papua, etc..

    I feel like I have a good number of root oils and oils with a little of that PNG sandalwood aroma. But I don't entirely trust my nose. Your perspectives would be appreciated.
     
    Oudamberlove, Shabby and Hamza H like this.
  2. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    423
    709
    93
    So, have any of you smelled pure Papuan sandalwood oil? Santalum macgregorii (or something like that)... maybe mcgregorii?

    It’s interesting - spicy peppery top notes, sweet tangy almost herbal resinous note, some candy like sweetness like a very minuscule amount of carrot seed or something like that. Got a sample vial from white lotus many years ago. Wishing I had picked up a little more of course.
     

Promote Oud!