One of the most expensive woods on the planet, Sandalwood has been prized for its unique fragrance for thousands of years. Early uses were primarily medicinal or religious, and many of these uses continue today.
Sandalwood is a hemiparasitic plant, which means sandalwood trees must be grown among other plant species in order to survive. While poorly cared for trees can take up to 20 or even 30 years to mature, well-maintained trees can reach maturity in approximately 15 years.
Even without processing, logs from mature trees can fetch a high price in international markets. The outer sapwood must be chipped away in order to access the heartwood, which is processed into a powder before being distilled into the coveted sandalwood oil.
Once distilled, sandalwood oil is used in a number of luxury products, including cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes, as well as in medicines and aromatherapy products. After the oil is extracted, the powder that remains can be pressed into incense.
Sandalwood and its products continue to be highly sought-after commodities. The price of sandalwood oil has doubled since 2017, and prices for both the raw wood and its downstream products are expected to continue to rise.
We also grow Santalum album, which is considered the benchmark variety in the sandalwood industry. Santalum album is known for its high volume of santalol, the main component in sandalwood oil.
Hybrid varieties, which have sprouted between our austrocaledonicum and album specimens, give us great hope for the future, as naturally occurring plants tend to be even more versatile than their planted counterparts.
Santal Valley currently boasts over 10,000 planted sandalwood trees expected to reach maturity in three to five years. Each of these trees currently weighs 150kg, with 10% heartwood. In three to five years, these trees can be expected to weigh upwards of 300kg each, with 15-20% heartwood. We also have an additional 5,000 younger trees of varying ages, which means our valuable harvests can continue as these new trees mature. We plant 300 new seedlings each month, taking a slow and steady approach to planting that enriches the forest as a whole.