Sandalwood Oil and its synthetic substitutes

Sandalwood is a beautiful, creamy essential oil that is not only held in high regard because of the tree it is sourced from, but for both its scent and beneficial aromatic properties for the body and mind.

For centuries, Sandalwood Oil’s rich, sweetly floral yet woody smell has entranced perfumers around the world and offers a multitude of blends for the face to keep it soft and moisturised – perfect for the winter months. It also acts as a base for many perfumes, air fresheners and cosmetics.

Religious ties

Originating from India, Sandalwood has been used as a spiritual incense to aid meditation for Buddhists and chakra work. The incense or burners are said to instil a sense of inner peace and relaxation.

As a result of its calming effects, it has been used in other types of therapies to help manage:

  • Anxiety
  • Alertness
  • Scarring
  • Depression
  • Dry skin

How is it extracted?

Sandalwood oil is extracted from the wood or root chippings of the East Indian Sandalwood tree, or Santalum album which are then steam distilled. Consistency-wise, it possesses the appearance of honey with a clear yellow tinge.

A vulnerable resource

The tree has become a valuable commodity in recent years. Since 2004, Indian Sandalwood has been listed on the IUCN Red List, whereby the government have taken action to enforce a ban on the export of Sandalwood materials.

However, because Sandalwood Oil is in such high demand and to prevent mass deforestation of the Sandalwood trees in India, new natural sources are available from Australian and African Sandalwood plantations.

The use of substitutes within the fragrance world is essential in supporting the sustainability efforts of natural resources. Increasingly, synthetic sandalwood products are used – another driver is the much lower cost.

Here at Zanos we work with the leading producer of sustainable fragrance ingredients, DRT. The following Sandalwood substitutes are produced from turpentine – a natural raw material that is ultimately derived from pine trees where careful forestry management ensures that more trees are planted than felled.


Originally developed by Givaudan, Dersantol/Sandalore’s odour is woody yet it powerfully emits sweet, sandalwood notes to achieve a more well-rounded natural scent.

Sanderol RH/Bacdanol

Most notably used in anti-perspirants, lipsticks, creams and soaps, this cedar smelling synthetic adds sandalwood notes to a lot of fragrances. It is extremely diffusive and cost-effective too.


Suitable for a variety of compositions, Matsunol/Ebanol is incredibly musky alongside the notes of sandalwood it encompasses. It also helps to build fruity accords and brings volume and elegance to Sandalwood Oil.


Florsantol/Osyrol is most effective for blending with floral compounds such as rose and muguet.  It is an ideal contributor towards luxurious toiletries, fragrances and cosmetic creams. Florsantol/Osyrol is probably the closest of the synthetic products in odour profile to the natural oil.

Sandaxol / Sandal Mysore Core

The one Sandalwood synthetic that stands out from the crowd is Sandaxol.  Its scent is very reminiscent of Sandalwood in the form of a top note and can be added to give highlights to the essential oil itself.

If you would like to order any Sandalwood synthetics, contact Zanos today by emailing us at or speak to our Sales Specialists on 01565 755899 and we will be happy to discuss your options.

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