The sandalwood is a tree that can reach 9 to 18 meters high. It forms part of the Santalaceae family, which includes around 400 species. Three species are principally used, the most sought being the Santalum album L, and particularly the one from the Mysore region in India reputed to be the one that gives the best quality of essential oil.
This “hemiparasite” uses these roots to find food on the roots of the trees that surrounds it. After approximately 30 years, the tree reaches fully maturity. We can then proceed to an extraction of essential oil. But in some cases, to get higher quality oil, we will wait until 60 years before being able to cut down the tree.
Sandalwood has an important place in religious rituals. In Hinduism for example, it serves for the burial of bodies. Sandalwood is also one of the main ingredients of incense used in Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean temples.
It is equally used in traditional Indian or Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, expectorant and soothing properties.
The essential oil of sandalwood is obtained by steam distillation of trunk and powdered roots. An operation that takes between 40 and 70 hours for a yield of 5 to 6%.
The essential oil has the same color as the wood from which it is extracted. Clear and of a slightly yellow color (hence the nickname of liquid gold), sandalwood oil gives off warm, woody, waxy and smoky notes and depending on the quality, milky and unctuous facets.
Its use is very common in oriental perfumery because its low volatility makes it a base note that sets the volatile top or middle notes.