Sandalwood (Santalum album) has been part of Indian culture and heritage for thousands of years, and was one of the first items traded with other countries. The heartwood yields fragrant oil, which is used mainly in the perfume industry but also has medicinal properties. The wood is used for carving and manufacturing incense. Generally S. album is found in the dry deciduous forests of Deccan Plateau, mostly in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Sandalwood oil is mainly used in the perfume industry. The oil is an excellent base and fixative for other high-grade perfumes. Most top-grade perfumes have sandalwood oil as their base. In itself, it is an excellent, mild, long-lasting, and sweet perfume, yet the industry finds that it can blend very well with other perfumes and does not impart its fragrance when used as a base. It can also fix the better perfumes, which are volatile, for longer hours. Several chemicals have been tried in this role, yet sandalwood oil has retained its place of pride. From perfumery to joss sticks, there are several hundred products that use sandalwood oil. It is also used in the soap industry.