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code: 11347


Latin Binomial: Santalum austrocaledonicum
Plant Part: Wood
Extraction: Steam Distilled
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: New Caledonia
Odor Type: WOODY


Odor Characteristic: New Caledonian sandalwood oil is long-lasting, has little or no particular top note and smells soft, sweet-woody, nutty, animalic-balsamic, but is weaker and less radiant than its East Indian counterpart.

Refractive Index: 1.502 to 1.509
Specific Gravity: 0.968 too 0.983
Appearance: colorless to pale yellow liquid
BioChemical Class: Sesquiterpenol

Chemical Profile of New Caledonian Sandalwood Oil (Typical) from Braun et al, 2005

(Z)-α-santalol %38.2
(Z)-β-santalol %18.2%
(Z)-trans-α-bergamotol %9.9
(Z)-lanceol %9.1
epi-β-santalol 3.8
(Z)-β-curcumen-12-ol %1.1
(Z)-γ-curcumen-12-ol %0.6

CAS No: 8006-87-9
Flash Point °F: +212°F

About the Plant

Sandalwood NC is extracted from the heartwood of the New Caledonia Sandalwood tree (Santalum austrocaledonicum) of Family Santalaceae, indigenous to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, islands in the Western Pacific. The evergreen tree grows to a height of 18-36 feet in about 40-50 years, but may live to 100 years of age. Sandalwood parasitises the roots of other tree species without major detriment to its hosts. Sandalwood has a pale green to white heartwood, with thin, opposite, ovate to lanceolate shaped leaves. The oil is distilled from the heartwood of the tree, which takes at least 30 years to grow to the size necessary to produce sufficient oil (the heartwood must be at least 3" in diameter, while the mature tree may be 12-18" in diameter).

Because the sandalwood plant must grow in an environment surrounded by the roots of other trees which it can parasitize, it must be propagated by seed planted directly in the growing location. Traditionally this occurred by birds dropping the seeds from the fruit they had eaten; those that landed where conditions were appropriate would grow.

Conventionally, steam distillation is the primary method for recovering sandalwood oil, which yields 3.8% oil after 24 hours of distillation.


Sandalwood has been traditionally used in India for a variety of ceremonial and aromatic uses. Incense is made from the sawdust and chips. It is a traditional perfume material. Guenther (1952) claims that Sandalwood Oil has been distilled "from very ancient times" in India using water or hydrodistillation. Steam distillation is now the principal method used.

Santalum album is currently a threatened species because of its limited native range, high desirability for wood and oil production, the necessity to kill the mature plant to harvest the oil, and the long lead time (>50 years) to develop plantations. Overexploitation in India led to attempts to obtain it from the Western Pacific islands and slaughtering of the native populations. In recent years Indian sandalwood production has been decimated by the "ravages of spike disease" and over-exploitation by illegal distillation, smugglers and corrupt officials. Traditionally it was grown in India, and production and use are strictly controlled by the Mysore government, although in other states the control is less strict. This has led to the use of alternative oils (see Sandalwood, Western Australia and Sandalwood NC) from different Santalum species, and now to the development of S. album plantations in north Australia. However, Cropwatch has serious reservations about the quality and sustainability of those sources.

Santalum austrocaledonicum has been greatly overharvested in its traditional habitat and is now grown sustainably in small plots under strict control by the country's forest service.

References: Guenther (Vol V, 1952); Laurence (1981-87) and (1991); Cropwatch Files;(1) Mahindru, 1992c; (2) Mamata Mukhopadhyay; Lis-Balchin (2006)

Perfumery: Sandalwood has good fixative properties and is often a blender fixative with florals (rose, tuberose, neroli) and in classic orientals with clove and lavender oils. Because it is lighter in color than other fixatives alleviating the fear of skin coloration, it is preferred over other base note fixatives. Because of its delicate odor, it can be blended in small quantities without altering the dominant fragrance.(2)

Aromatherapy: Sandalwood oil uses include calming, antidepressant, sedation, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, decongestant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, emmollient, and insecticidal. Before the development of sulfa drugs, it was used as a treatment for gonorrhea.

Sandalwood oil is considered to be safe and non-toxic. No sensitization was noted at 10% dilution, however, rare dermatitis and allergic reactions may occur in hypersensitive individuals.

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep aromatic extracts tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. Never ingest aromatic extracts. Always dilute aromatic extracts when applying topically and avoid areas around eyes or mucous membranes. If redness or irritation occurs, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.