Sandalwood: The Story of Western Australia's Santalum spicatum
Sandalwood: The story of Western Australia's Santalum spicatum
Sandalwood, genus Santalum, is one of the most exotic and unforgettable woods in the world. It is a yellowish timber with an elusive fragrance that is a combination of floral, spicy and earthy aromas. The oil has been used as a perfume for centuries and is used now as a base by many iconic perfumes, such as Lanvin's Arpege and YSL's Yvresse.
Cosmetic demand, however, pales in comparison with spiritual needs. Many religions, especially Hindus and Buddhists, believe that sandalwood smoke creates a link between heaven and earth, and powdered sandalwood has been used as incense for at least 4,000 years, both in temples and personal offerings.
The highest quality trees in the genus Santalum are album or (alba) trees, which grow in tropical countries such as India, New Calendonia, Fiji and other Pacific islands, and Indonesia - but in these countries, domestic demand takes up all the timber harvested.
Western Australia has the only native, non-tropical sandalwood in the world, spicatum, and is the only country today with a consistent surplus for export.
This book tells the story of Santalum spicatum.