A couple of posts ago I wrote about my visit to the Sandalwood Distillery, the State Sandalwood Distillery. You may recall that I mentioned that the pure sandalwood oil was no longer available at the kiosk next door to that distillery......
Used to be, you could buy 5 ml bottles of it, all certified, agmarked, and stamped by the Karnataka government, guaranteed to be 100% pure and unadulterated Mysore Sandalwood Oil. The largest size bottle you could take out of the country was this 5 ml.
I mentioned that the oil is now available at the Karnataka Kauvery Silk Shops, which are “Arts and Crafts Emporiums” and has “Govt of India” on their receipts, leading one to believe that they are Govt certified. Maybe they are , in which case this is even more disgraceful.
I went in and asked for sandalwood oil. I was prepared to buy as many 5 ml bottle as I could. But when I tried the oil, it smelled weird, with a spiky note that doesn’t belong in sandalwood. The clerk assured me it was the real thing, all pure, blah blah blah, the usual crap. I couldn’t buy a bunch of bottles, since it didn’t smell right, but I figured maybe my nose was having some kind of fit. But it didn’t help that the clerk kept trying to make excuses for the oil, I had to rub it on my arm vigorously, I had to wait a specific amount of time, etc. Like you need to do something special to appreciate sandalwood. It was a very insulting idea.
I couldn’t open the bottle back at my hotel, nor could I open it in Coimbatore or Bombay. It wasn’t until I attacked it with my good scissors here in salalah that I managed to get the cap off. I don’t wonder why. All the bottles felt light to me (remember, I am extremely familiar with bottles of essential oil) and didn’t sound full, but that’s not proof of anything.
But as you can see in the accompanying photo, the bottle was short by 2 ml. That’s a lot to be short! And it wasn’t just this bottle, because, as I just said, I picked up several; they all felt short.
So damning proof 1
the bottle was short 1/5th!!
And damning proof 2
as I’m sure you’ve realized,
it’s not sandalwood.
There may be some sandalwood in it, but I doubt it. It’s a perfume compound and it has some sandaly dry-down, but it’s all soft sickly powder shit and spiky crap, like someone decided that’s what the foreigners like. Maybe someone actually thought they could improve on sandalwood. Insane, but maybe. However, I suspect it’s about money, and maybe the real sandalwood is being sold on the side??
Infuriating? You bet. Yes, I’m speculating criminal intent here. But the fact is that I bought what was represented to me as 10 ml of real, pure, legal, sandalwood oil, and I paid accordingly.
What I was sold is not only short, but it smells like garbage.
It’s pseudo-sandalwood lite.
If you are visiting India, and want to buy sandalwood oil, don’t do it! Better to buy from an illegal still than be duped by a government store.
It’s really unbelievable. Even for India.
So, can you answer this? Does anyone out there have the huevos to answer this accusation?
Can someone really be adulterating the oil and then even shorting the bottles?
This should reflect badly on the distillery, the kauvery, the KSST.....who is doing this? Sandalwood is one on India’s most exquisite treasures, that is already “managed” into disaster. Now this???
Wallah I hope some people get caught for this.