Sandalwood 1936 E.O

Adam Michael has this to say “As I type it is 18th April 2021 and once more I have teamed up with an artisan sandalwood producer in India, who in the truest sense of the word is a genius on the subject on everything sandalwood. His obsession to find and distil the best sandalwoods is truly admirable and the end results are mind blowing.

I spoke with him late last year. I got straight to the point, I want your best ever work and you have one attempt regardless of your reputation. Simple no nonsense bravado speech over, he got to work and about a month later I received a sample of the batch he had produced. And, wow, he absolutely nailed it.

What we have here, is without question the greatest sandalwood essential oil, I have personally ever offered through Hermitage, and in a few years when I retire and muse upon what was the greatest aromatic I ever offered was, well, this will be a serious contender for the coveted number one spot, as will India Gold, another aromatic I introduced on Christmas Day 2019, and a sandalwood I will forever love and cherish.

Sandalwood 1936 E.O is of a slightly thick but pourable viscosity, steam distilled and of a rich vibrant dark ambery orange colour profile (see photo). On my skin type I get approximately 7 hours of wear and applied to the strip this is detectable for a week and counting as I type.

Now note the name, sandalwood 1936, the reason behind this is because the tree that has been distilled is estimated to be at least 85 years of age. And for the record, this tree was purchased in auction via the forest department – they do not harvest or cut down trees, instead they collect what has fallen on its own. Every step of the way is carefully monitored by Indian Government Officials from the Department of Forestry, making the process painstakingly slow. It was very well worth the wait though, as the total santalols content also stands at slightly over 90% – so holy grail territory for those that base everything sandalwood on its santalols content.

To give the above paragraph some further context, if we look within Grasse/France, the single most important European country regarding the production and especially the resale for natural aromatics, you will find all and sundry there offering sandalwood oils hailing from India. Yet what they obtain and offer will generally be from trees between the ages of 30-40 years old and the santalols content (highly prized) will be in the 60%-70% ballpark all being well. Despite the history of Grasse, and all the razzamatazz that accompanies it, written respectfully, all Indian sandalwoods sourced from the usual players within Grasse are soulless tragedies, rookie stuff, and simply below par at the time of writing.

Aromatically, layered on a smell strip and allowed the time it needs to breathe (think of this like a fine wine), this sandalwood 1936 E.O, is somehow so obviously brighter than the usual e.o sandalwood productions commonly found, yes ultimately still engineered in the same fashion, yes still a classic sandalwood base note within its development, but albeit of an almost bygone era as this sandalwood is like something from the mid-eighties when sandalwood still had some va va voom, some oomph about it, a sandalwood that left you drooling over its unsurpassed creamy woody beautifulness. Don’t get me wrong, again, this material does require time before it is powering on all cylinders. But by god when this experience gets underway this sandalwood goes on to display very thick, substantive, weighty, mighty, indulgent, creamy-woody tonalities and complemented with sweet spiced bourbon vanillic and dusty dry soft cedar nuances dancing harmoniously in the background.

Simple, yet so astonishingly beautiful, so emotionally driven, an aroma profile that really commands and holds ones attention with such love and joy. A work of aromatic art absolutely, no question about it, and a material to truly respect and cherish because I promise sandalwood e.o of this caliber is becoming harder and harder to source, and when you do find it, it is never ever offered at this price point.

One area I have struggled with, the area that has made me muse like no other, is trying to put into words how profoundly this sandalwood can and does positively impact upon the emotions. Spend time inhaling this aromatic, as there is something very zen about the experience, and ultimately nourishing for your soul. And before people scoff at such commentary, I ask you to try yourself. Because whilst it is borderline logic defying, you know something is taking place, something important and of deep meaning, like when we realise we have fallen in love with another. In a heartbeat, we are consumed and must follow our heart, if not, more times than most, we live a life of wondering what could have been. I truly feel the significance is that great regarding this specific aromatic.

Regarding uses, within perfumery, a must for creating masterpiece natural or mixed media sandalwood bases, works like a dream with amber type aromatics, dances beautifully with an array of florals from the heavenly rose through to the heady and soapy delights that jasmines bring us. Citruses such as cedrat, mandarins, especially folded, even the cheap and cheerful single fold oranges and legit bergamots can pair so well with this sandalwood. Look at resinous aromatics such as benzoins, opoponax, myrrh and frankincenses and once more they are designed for this sandalwood and of course ouds, plantation or wild, skanky or clean, they too can partner with sandalwood with ease. Animalics, no problem, civets, musks, ambergris, castoreum, they can all work with sandalwoods generally and this 1936 offering more so. From floral creations (where it creates a beautiful base without overpowering the delicate floral notes), but also oriental designs, incense rich accords, spiced creations even with cloves and carnations, sandalwood is a magnificent friend to so many natural aromatics. In other words, there are very few other natural aromatics that can be added to almost any blend without being difficult. It instead just adds beauty, volume, substantivity, and is simply one of the best base note aromatics ever and a true gift from mother nature. Enjoy, respect, and cherish this sandalwood 1936 e.o. 10 out of 10.“

Botanical Name: Santalum album

Origin: India

Alcohol soluble: Yes

Oil Soluble: Yes