Australian Sandalwood Profile

Some specific information on the organoleptic quality, aroma assessment and therapeutic uses of Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum.

Australian Sandalwood

By Jeanne Rose


West Australian Sandalwood Oil, Santalum spicatum, can be a good substitute for Indian Sandalwood. In this era, where we know that Sandalwood oil from India, Santalum album, is an endangered species; it may be time to switch to a new essential oil. West Australian Sandalwood has a similar woody odor, physically a similar effect to Indian Sandalwood oil and can be used in perfumery. It would also help the Australian economy.

For more information on Sandalwood in general, please see the previous blog post at


Organoleptic Qualities: It is colorless to pale yellow, clear, semi-viscous oil with a low intensity and a bitter taste. When used in perfumery it has a lovely woody tenacity that holds the perfume together for an extended time.

 Aroma Assessment: I have had the opportunity to smell Australian Sandalwood, S. spicatum from several sources as well as assessing the odor of S. album grown in Australia. These oils are the same with some slight differences. If you look at the Figure 2 you will note that this oil has a Predominant note of Wood with Subsidiary notes of Floral and sweet Hay and the Back notes include Green, Leather, Oily/Fatty, Honey, Amber, and Caramel. The unctuous scent is described as Oily/Fatty. This EO has a bit of a different scent than other S. spicatum.

Another oil I sampled, had a Predominant note of Wood, Subsidiary note of Floral while lacking the slightly sweetness of Hay, with Back notes that included a slight Citrus, Green again, Oily/Fatty and this time a slight Civet scent with Caramel.

Both are the same but slightly different. If you have an opportunity, try to smell several Sandalwoods from trustworthy sources (and all are not trustworthy) and then choose your favorite from these and for the purpose that you want. [p.s.. I only mention EO’s from a company that I personally trust].

Inhalation for emotional release might be a different EO than the one to use as a deodorant or a perfume ingredient. So try them and choose your favorite.

 Growth: Sandalwood trees are a hemi-parasite, entwining their roots with the roots of a host and deriving nourishment in this way. In Australia, S. spicatum main host is Acacia acuminata which will sustain the Sandalwood tree from 15-30 years. It grows in semi-arid areas but land clearing for agriculture and over cultivation, since the 1880s, has greatly reduced the range of the species.

The EO concentration and quality depends on the age of the tree and where on the tree the heartwood is collected. Heartwood percentage, oil concentration and oil quality were all lower further up the tree. Studies are being done continuously and often the concentration of santalol is lower in S. spicatum than other species but this is changing due to the collection of seeds from stands that have a higher percentage of santalol.

Commercial Australian sandalwood oil produced from Santalum spicatum (R. Br.) A. DC. roots were analyzed using GC and GC/MS. Seventy constituents were identified: four monoterpenes, 64 sesquiterpenes and two others were found to our knowledge for the first time in nature.4.

            Constituents of Santalum spicatum (R.Br.) A. BC. wood oil Article in Journal of Essential Oil Research 3(6):381-385 · November 1991. DOI: 10.1080/10412905.1991.9697970

            Abstract The chemical composition of the steam-distilled wood oil of Santalum spicatum was investigated by means of GC/MS. The major constituents of the entirely sesquiterpenoid oil were trans, trans-farnesol (31.6%), epi-α-bisabolol (anymol?) (10.7%), α-santalol (9.1%), Z-nuciferol (6.5%), cis-β-santalol (5.4%), cis-lanceol (3.9%) and epi-β-santalol (2.9%).5.

Commercial Uses:
The tree is grown as a source of essential oil, much of which is exported, the nuts which are a food crop and timber used to make furniture and boxes and in incense.

Therapeutic Uses:
The common name is fragrant Sandalwood Tree, Santalum spicatum. In a test of many essential oils, Australian Sandalwood Oil demonstrated the greatest degree of anti-microbial efficacy. The bacteriostatic effect of Australian Sandalwood Oil, in relation to Staphylococcus aureus, was 25 times greater than that of Tea Tree Oil and demonstrated the greatest degree of bacteriostatic activity against the yeast Candida albicans. European research confirms that Australian Sandalwood Oil kills bacteria, in vitro, against many gram-positive organisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, (and MRSA or ‘Golden Staph’) and many species of Streptococcus, in addition to the organisms that are responsible for acne, thrush, tinea, Athletes Foot and ringworm. The concentration of oil required to inhibit the growth of all bacteria (except Escherichia coli) was very low, confirming a significant bacteriostatic effect. So it is an excellent ingredient in all skin care formulas where it will also add a fine woody scent.

The organism that is apparent in human body odor, Corynebacterium xerosis is strongly inhibited by  Australian Sandalwood and thus would be useful in deodorant formulas. With all bacteria except the enterobacteria, Sandalwood oil demonstrated significantly greater antimicrobial efficacy than terpinene-4-ol, the main component of Tea tree oil.

I have experimented with this oil and found a simple and easy Deodorant formula. First, I add 5% Blue Cypress to the Sandalwood oil. This deepens the scent and gives it an invisible deeper woody odor. Then I add 95% neutral grape spirits to 5-8% of the essential oils. And don’t worry about the alcohol in the formula. You only use a short spray under each pit (less than a drop), this kills the odor causing bacteria.


In a 100 ml bottle with a spray top
190 drops of Sandalwood oil
10 drops of Blue Cypress
This is about 6 ml. total

Fill the bottle with 95% neutral grape spirits (do not use vodka unless it is 150°, do not use rubbing alcohol, use only real neutral grain or grape spirits (Everclear works also).
The essential oils are at 6% and may need to be increased up to 10% depending on the level of scent that you want. At 6%, this formula kills the human body odor, leaving little to no odor behind.

1.Aromatic Plant Project Articles.

Source to purchase oil:

Eden Botanicals

                                                                                  Sandalwood spicatum-EB-odor


Figure 2. Odor Assessment of S. spicatum ~ EB


Fig. 1.spicatumFigure 1

For more information on Sandalwood in general, please see the previous blog post at


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