Sandalwood is harvested from trees within the Santalum genus.

These trees are heavy, yellow in color, and are extremely aromatic.

The wood has been used since ancient times for incense, perfume, jewelry, as well as many other purposes.

There are about 25 species within the Santalum genus, but not all of them are commonly sold.

Varieties of Sandalwood

This guide will explain which varieties of sandalwood are commonly harvested for commercial sale on the global market.

Indian Sandalwood

Indian Sandalwood is often considered to be the highest quality and is typically the most expensive.

In the world of incense, wild Mysore Indian sandalwood is ‘stuff of legends’ and is considered the ‘cream of the crop’.

Unfortunately, these trees have been over-harvested for quite a long time and so the cost of wild material can be quite high nowadays.

It’s IUCN Red List status is currently “vulnerable.” If this is something you are concerned about, then you could always opt for a plantation-grown sandalwood, but be aware that the quality is usually lower than wild-grown sandalwood.

Australian Sandalwood

With the declining availability of wild Indian sandalwood, interest in Australian sandalwood has certainly been increasing.

The scent is typically a bit lighter than it’s Indian counterpart, but if the material is of a reasonable quality, it can still have quite a delectable aroma.

Although this variety is quite expensive, it’s not considered a ‘vulnerable’ species.

Coastal Sandalwood

This variety of sandalwood is endemic to Hawaii and works quite well for aromatherapy and potpourri.