Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Seven Days of Sandalwood

Sandalwood is one of my favourite notes in perfumes. Over the next seven days, the theme is going to be Sandalwood. One sandalwood perfume reviewed everyday! I am really excited! Just before that, I'd like to share my thoughts on sandalwood in general.

Sandalwood is sourced from many places but the rarest is Mysore Sandalwood (santalum album), an endangered species due to over harvesting, illegal harvesting and lack of a real sustainable plantations. It is widely used in perfumery, skin care and art.

Beautifully carved
sandalwood box
Sandalwood means a lot to me, it has a special place in my heart. I was born and brought up in Bangalore that is just a drive away from Mysore, India. Sandalwood is very iconic there. Funnily enough the local film industry is called Sandalwood (along the same lines as Hollywood, Bollywood!)

Needless to say, I have grown up with a lot of sandalwood around me. Though I was lucky enough to learn to identify the tree (thanks to my botanist dad) and visit an exclusive sustainable reserve (thanks to my mum) I wasn't literally surrounded by sandalwood trees. They are really rare but sandalwood used in some form everyday. Back at home, we have a little piece of hard sandalwood that has been in the family for more than a century! It has gotten harder and richer with age. A paste is made by gently rubbing the wood on a smooth stone. This is sandalwood in its purest form. It feels amazingly cool on the skin, kind of endothermic and so pleasant!

The smell of sandalwood is just heavenly. It is light, fresh and woody (of course!) very soft, slightly sweet and creamy. It is mostly a base note. It is considered masculine (beautiful on a man when combined with Vetiver and spices) but it can be creamy, light and alluringly sensual on a female as well. I just love to wear sandalwood perfumes.

Mysore Sandal Soap has a long and interesting history, Wikipedia's article says it all. It made using pure sandalwood oil that is legally harvested from sustainable reserves.

It is the best soap, EVER! I have been using this soap since I was a kid and still keep buying it from Indian grocers. You can pick up a bar of Mysore Sandal Soap at any Indian grocers for about $5.
I enjoy a shower with it, not only for the smell factor, which by the way is just fabulous but also for how good it feels on my skin. Being blessed with dry skin, I can't use any soap at all. Mysore Sandal Soap is absolutely non drying and makes my skin feel nice!

It is an iconic soap and was very famous among people of my parents generation. The production and availability has decreased significantly over the past decade, in front of my eyes! It is most definitely not due to the declining popularity but sadly due to declining forest reserves. There is another variation of the soap called Mysore Sandal Gold that is aimed at a younger demographics (I feel so old!) It is nice but I much prefer the original because it 'feels' more like sandalwood!
Mysore Sandal Soap
Kora Organic Rich Body Lotion
Another nice sandalwood product that I have found is Kora Organics (By Miranda Kerr): Rich Body Lotion. Although it did nothing nourishing for my skin, it smells beautiful, of light sandalwood!

So, starting tomorrow, wait for my "Seven Days of Sandalwood"!


  1. I've been wanting to try Kora Organics!

    Think this is a great post/series idea :)

  2. The rich body lotion is the only thing that I have tried from Kora. It is ok, nothing flash! I am interested in the Rosehip Oil.

  3. I love Kora Organics. I use the cream cleanser (smells like roses), exfoliating cream, soothing day and night cream and the body lotion. My skin is super soft and glowing. They're expensive but so worth. I will certainly by them again. I also use A'kin certified organic rose hip oil and Babies Only mums rose facial spritzer. I love all my products and won't ever use any chemical ones ever again.
    On another note, I love the smell of the body lotion and was wondering if what I'm smelling is just sandalwood. I bought some sandalwood essential oil (waiting for it to be delivered) and am hoping it will smell like the body lotion.

  4. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment :)
    I really appreciate your commitment to organic products. Kora is a great organic brand. So is A'kin, I just love their rose hip oil and Alchemy hair products!

    Kora Body Lotion certainly smells like sandalwood, a light version. Sandalwood essential oil would be slightly denser and more soothing. I am sure you'll enjoy it! x

  5. Thank you so much for your help. Can't wait to try the oil. I use Al'chemy hair products too. Ylang ylang shampoo and calendula and avocado conditioner. I love the natural smell of these products.

  6. Su thanks so much for sharing. Sandlewood is a scent I really enjoy in perfumes. :)

  7. How exciting! I love sandalwood too. Wow, you are lucky to be from the place famous for sandalwood!

  8. Find the great deals on pure sandalwood oil at The Perfumist in USA.