What I’ve got here is a tin can of sandalwood oil that looks old and rusty. It was issued by the Indian Government back in the early 1980s (circa 1984 according to my source), and contains an oil that is ultra pale, almost perfectly transparent, which smells like just about the finest Mysore I’ve smelled.
Many sandalwood oils feature strong wood notes. Others can be strong on butter & cream. I just smelled a recent find that opens up herbaceous and almost reminds me of rosemary or thyme.
But the very best vintage Mysores I’ve smelled were sparkling bright. White glowing light that hits you the minute the oil touches your skin, and rather than layers of wood or cream hiding underneath what you get is more whiteness that keeps unfolding around that same mantra of serenely spoken brilliance. That’s Mysore 1984.
I sure shot myself in the foot back in the day when I put every last penny I had into agarwood, because that was when some super fine Mysores were available from Essential Oil University (RIP) for just a couple of thousand a kilogram.
Then came the great drought… We saw some ‘Mysores’ emerge that seemed to be distilled from twigs, or very young saplings at best, but they bore no resemblance to the great Mysores we used to neglect, assuming they’d always be there.
Next thing you know, I was swapping Sheikh’s Borneo for Mysore in order to sustain my sandalwood addiction. I practically cleaned out everything I could get – in exchange for oud oil that would later command thousands per bottle!
Mysore 1984 is right up there with the best Mysores you’ll ever lay your nose on. As such, it will set the record straight about what you should be looking for, and more importantly, what you can expect to pay in our day and age for top shelf aged Mysore.
I had to fly across the Far East in order to inspect the ugly tin the oil came in. This wasn’t an eBay deal or something I scored over the internet. It was acquired from a venerable incense expert of the China Market who kept it as a rare fossil in his collection.
Seeing my motivation of flying in with a Chinese translator, the least he could do is be a gracious host and take our money in exchange for the Mysore. I doubt he distilled it himself, or that he had any videos of the distillation process.
In the sandal realm, I’ve sampled around quite a bit and found some good stuff here and there, some really interesting distillations, as well as some very ‘meh’ sandal. Some of it is quite excellent, but I’ve yet to find anything that is as close to perfection for my tastes as Mysore 1984 is – that’s some real benchmark sandal as far as I’m concerned. The term ‘grail’ implies permanence to me, and since my hunt for a perfect sandal (or oud, or fragrance) is a moving target, I prefer not to use the word grail too liberally, but if one can have a ‘grail for now’, Mysore 1984 is 100% that. The complex, intense spiciness of Santal Sultan is quite something, but my preferences are with the pure, straightforward, bright/clean, mint-topped buttery wood goodness of the stuff like M84. I have experienced a handful of other sandal oils that smell similar to it in the first few minutes of application, but none have the pulsing volume and rock-solid structure that M84 has, which goes on for hours, by the way.
I’m not up on the exactitudes of the santalol chemistry, but I understand something about them allows for sandal oil to somehow ‘gain’ from the aging process. If I had to guess, I’d wager that M84 was initially distilled from excellent mature stock, distilled exactly as it should have been, and when sealed in whatever container, was sealed under and then stored in near-perfect conditions, because this stuff just shouts, ‘You wish you could age this well.’ It smells like time was on its side and like it was born to be aged. It makes my third eye roll into the back of my head. My other two might as well not exist. There isn’t a single person I’ve let swipe this that hasn’t had a genuinely positive reaction, and that includes some people who don’t give a hoot about perfumery nor single-source oils. Lots of sniff-pause-sniff – raise eyebrows – ‘wow’ reactions.
Anyway, you guys house a boatload of great oud oils, but I’m honestly a little surprised I don’t see more gushing about Mysore 1984 – I’m by no means a sandal expert but I get around, so to speak, and this remains the single best sandal oil I’ve had the pleasure of trying.
Geez, so I meant to just write to ask a simple question about an order and that all happened… can you guess what I’m wearing?! Yes, Mysore 1984! :) – Ben, USA
So, the 1984 Mysore,
Wet, it is an inviting embrace of sun-warmed, wet stones, white gas/petrol (good)
Then toast, hazelnut or almond cream, cinnamon bun.
And then later 4 hrs on skin
Warm beach sand! Baby talcum.
morning sunshine ray
Mom Baking sugar cookies
Childhood dog – Doug, USA
I must say that your description is spot on! It does feel much brighter and evokes the colour white to me. I find the woody aspect has a sort of steamed, vaporous feeling that elevats the milky creaminess and brings in the unusual luminous quality. – Stella Diver Flynn, USA
Received the package! ‘Awesome’ is a very small word to start with. This Mysore 1984 is epic! Ensar’s find has been super… This oil is the Epitome of Sandalwood, if one wants to understand why Mysore! The color itself proves the highest degree of quality of wood used to produce it, that is from the lower trunk and roots. Transparent and colorless to palest tint of yellow. I applied just a dab and my room was filled with Mysore 1984’s woodsy sharpness in beginning, very potent & musky and NO dry down. Even after 12 hours I smell woody, musky, sweet, powderish absolute Mysore! Lingering all the way… – Zakir, India
The Mysore arrived. Deeply, deeply, deeply delicious; honeyed and singing of something far far away calling one to come closer. So beautiful. – Jackie, USA
I haven’t smelled sandalwood like that for literally decades. – MI, USA
Wow, this has exceeded my expectations, it’s so brilliantly white and sparkling. I am astounded at how an almost colourless liquid can pack such an olfactory punch. I can smell all the notes I wanted, the butter, the ghee, the cream, but what I did not expect was how clean the overall fragrance is! Great oil and very welcome addition to my growing collection. – Naveed, UK
Got the package today. The Mysore chips and oil are outstanding. I can’t write a review right now because when DHL knocked on my door I was burning a stick of Shoyeido’s Nan-Kun. Needless to say, I can’t be sure whether the ensuing “Best Mysore Experience Ever!” was due to that combination of two forms of deliciousness. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. – Larry, USA
The 1984 is similar to the incredible santalum oils I remember smelling as a kid. – Zayn, UK
I am so pleased with the Mysore 1984. Now I know for sure how to rate all other sandalwood oils. – Alexander, Italy
One word to sum it up: brilliance. The oil has a bright (but not sharp) tartness with a tint of spicy sweetness that is well balanced with a warm woody sensuous note in the background. Very delicately balanced scent profile with no overwhelming odd notes. – Melvin, Singapore
Although I’ve only tried it once I did have the pleasure of smelling your sandalwood this afternoon. It is the woodiest of the other 2 oils with which I compared it. It started off being the softest but very quickly the scent crescendoed as it melded with my skin. It smells woody, clean, clear and dry, like freshly cut, mighty, uncompromising, saturated wood. To me it doesn’t have a lot of layers but it has a steady, earthy richness, and reminds me of the heated chips though without the creaminess of my powders. It smells wholesome and hearty and I very much enjoyed this first introduction. – Marian, USA
Among the many Mysore oils I have collected, I have several small vintage lots of excellent pharmacy Mysore sandalwood oils from Dodge & Olcott, MMR, and Fritzsche Bros. I even have a 1911 vintage from Eli Lilly Co. They are all excellent in their own way. Your Mysore 1984 has a certain shining, almost sparkling quality that I haven’t seen in any other sandalwood oil. It’s become the new favorite in my collection. – Dan, USA
What can I say? It is the most sublime sweet white smell… simultaneously calming and elevating. I feel waves of healing wash over me as I smell pure bright sweetness. I would not be surprised at all if this is the scent of angels. It is archetypical Purity to me. – Raaid, UK
I jumped for the sandalwood first and I can already say this is the best sandalwood oil I have ever smelt and I do have quite a few oils. I am really glad this oil stood up to the hype and it is my official benchmark to compare all other sandalwood. I was even more pleasantly surprised to burn the wood and see how perfectly complementary it is to the oil. – Taher, UAE
I’ve been sampling sandalwood oils for many years and this is one of my favorites. It’s calming, sensuous and an absolute pleasure to wear. Just lovely. – Ian, Canada
I have other Vintage Mysore heavyweights from reputed vendors but EO Mysore ‘84 is by far & I mean by FAR the most superior of all. The only ‘ONE’. – Zakir, India