Sandalwood from the Loyalty Islands
Some historical facts
Sandalwood has been known and used for at least 4000 years. Although it is usually associated with Asian countries and Far East craftsmanship, sandalwood doesn’t only grow in Asia! It actually thrives in the Indo-Pacific. Melanesians have long identified and nurtured the precious wood.
The intensive use of sandalwood by countries that did not grow it led to a massive trafficking activity in the Pacific Region. In New Caledonia, the precious wood was quickly spotted by European explorers as early as 1841. Sandalwood trading drove sailors to actively seek out the aromatic wood throughout the Pacific islands. In counterpart, Melanesians were given tools, tobacco and fabric.
How the Serei No Nengone project came about
Santalum Album, Indian sandalwood, is a world reference when it comes to high-end perfume manufacturing. However, over the past few years, India has been experiencing difficulties in maintaining its production. As of yet, neither the Indian Government nor the local private actors have come up with a viable solution. As a result, perfume manufacturers find the situation worrisome and struggle to consolidate their industrial strategies. Robertet SA, a world-leading company that produces flavors and perfume ingredients, was therefore approached by its biggest clients in order to find new sandalwood suppliers. Robertet SA naturally turned to New Caledonia and its high-quality sandalwood production. The manufacturer contacted Jean Waikedre, who is well-known for its work and research on sandalwood at IRD (New Caledonia’s Research Institute). This led to the creation of the Serei No Nengone project in late 2007.