The End of Sandalwood

We were in for quite a shock recently.

We distilled Santal Royale four years ago. Since then some things have changed. To distill the same caliber oil from our 70’s granules today will now cost us double what it did in 2013.

Now that our bangles (carved from the same wood) are sold out and the granules continue to move, we’re in a real pickle. For the same money we were able to distill Santal Royale, we can now only distill oil from recently harvested twigs and much paler wood than the solid 1970’s red heartwood we used in 2013. Not only that, the paler harvests of today don’t even originate in Mysore. They’re harvested around Assam and the Burmese border of India.

Basically, the cost has shot through the roof and there’s nothing we can do about it. Looking back now, it shouldn’t have been such a surprise – good vintage Mysore heartwood is just as rare as some prized batches of kinam and Nha Trang Agarwood. That’s why you see artisanal Mysore oils now selling for $170 per gram.

Many people don’t realize how many grades of sandalwood are out there, or just how hard it is to find a good batch. They hear it’s from India and automatically assume it must be good. But that’s not so. Our 70’s Mysore is proper mature heartwood granules harvested in the 1970s from centennial mother trees, while much of the stuff you come across today is from random young twigs and branches hauled together in Myanmar and Assam. There’s a big difference.

Here’s an example:

On the left you see what is sold as ‘the finest’ Mysore powder (sent to us for review), with ground-up 70’s Mysore granules on the right. If this were agarwood, you’d be looking at grade C on the left and AAA on the right.

No doubt, the batch on the left is Indian and it’s decent for our day and age… just in no way comparable to vintage 70’s Mysore. The density, the duration of the burn, the depth of the scent, all way more intense in the red Mysore heartwood harvested over 30 years ago.

(NOW, take the very same 70’s Mysore granules and distill them… and you get an oil [i.e. Santal Royale] with such tenacity and depth it makes other ‘Mysores’ smell diluted.)

So, the cost has doubled. Now what?

Nothing. We won’t hike up our prices even one penny, so you’re already saving right there. But, after this, I doubt we’ll be running any more kyara-style Mysore distillations of this caliber.

That’s bad news for everyone. But I do have some good news…

In addition to oil cooked from 30-40 year-old Mysore heartwood, between an 18 year-old Tanzanian distill and the just-released Santal Sultan, what you’ve got access to in our Olde Santal collection is actually ‘the finest’ sandalwood jewels in existence, full stop.

It’s happening, just like it happened with agarwood. Old-school Mysore Santal is either gone or those who have it demand a pretty penny. And believe me, it’s not gonna get cheaper. Fast forward another four years, and Santal Royale will be worth $1,000+. Now’s the time to act.

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