Sandalwood oil is loved for its warm, sweet and woody aroma. A reassuring and grounding scent that is purchased from several sustainable sources in West Timor, Indonesia.
Sandalwood is an umbrella name for many scented trees, all belonging to the Santalum genus. These evergreen trees can grow up to 50 feet tall and have to be at least 25 years old before the wood is ready for distillation. Depending on the variety of sandalwood, the resulting oils will have a slightly different scent, even though it needs a trained nose to really smell these subtleties.
Because of its popular fragrance and importance in many rites and folk medicine around the globe, sandalwood has been overexploited and the harvesting badly managed for centuries, leaving some species endangered. Although some regulations have been made by governments, the high value of the wood still leads to smuggling, counterfeits and corruption, making it very difficult to find sustainable sources and a good oil quality.
After long investigations and adventures, Lush buyers found reliable sources in New Caledonia and Australia and are now involved in an exciting project in West Timor, Indonesia. There, the precious wood is collected from sustainable sources located in 5 villages involving 500 sandalwood custodians, all involved in the protection and replanting of the trees.
To ensure the sustainable management of the trees, seedlings need to be cultivated and planted for future harvests. This is why two nurseries have been created with Lush’s help. One of them is dedicated to the production of 1000 seedlings which will become "mother trees" (these will never be cut but will be used to produce more seeds to replant more trees), while the other nursery is for 20,000 high-quality sandalwood seedlings which, when big enough, will be distributed to the villages, replanted locally on common lands and looked after by the villagers. Finally, as the Komodo dragon is native to the area where the trees grow, an Indonesian conservation group called WALHI has been included in the project. Their aim is to educate the local population on preserving the habitat of this endangered reptile.