A little bit rock n’ roll and a whole lot of spicy, sensual warmth, we couldn’t love patchouli more even if we tried. Discover a modern and unexpected facet of patchouli’s grounding aroma.
Join us on a crash course on one of the most widely used fragrance notes in perfumery. We cover its origins, what it smells like, explore notes similar to patchouli and discuss which scents showcase it best.
Table of Contents
What IS Patchouli?
Patchouli is a fragrant woody herb that is a member of the mint family, native of tropical Asia. The name of the plant is actually a coin from two old Tamil words, “patchai”, which means green, and “ellai”, which means leaf.
Top brands such as Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace are all adding its dark, sensual note to their latest compositions, but they are not the first ones to recognize its value.
During the excavation of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb, the archaeologists found 40 litres of patchouli oil, while in the 14th century early European traders valued it as highly as gold.
Patchouli oil produced from the dried leaves through steam distillation changes its scent with age – freshly distilled oil is earthier and sharper than an aged oil that will develop to sweet, fruity-like richness.
How Patchouli Displays in a Fragrance:
The fragrant profile of patchouli depends on its age and distillation technique, but as a single note it has a herbaceous, earthy aroma with rich minty undertones, while some more fermented varieties are sweeter, but nevertheless rich and bold.
Here we’ve compiled our favourite patchouli-scented perfumes. With the note as the heart of the fragrance or hidden in the undertones of the bottle, these are our top three patchouli picks:
If you’ve yet to experience a perfectly blended patchouli themed fragrance, start here. A marriage of rich, distinctly aromatic tobacco, delicate jasmine and dry patchouli is a smooth never rugged combo. An intriguing balance of leather notes with piquant sweet interest by way of cardamom and tonka, Rebecca Minkoff never veers into ordinary or heavy territory. Pairs well with late fall evenings, city lights and a bomber jacket. Catch you outside!
To add this perfume to your queue, click here: https://www.scentbird.com/perfume/rebecca-minkoff-rebecca-minkoff
Unequivocally sensuous, Love Deluxe spotlights magnolia blooms layered over patchouli to create a fresh yet decadent fragrance.
The patchouli in this composition stays true to the theme: it’s raw and sensuous, acting like a magnet for the magnolia note, drawing it close and hoaxing it to open some more, to “corrupt” its gentle femininity.
Of course there’s rose and iris mix in it, to loosen up the muskiness of ambrette. In short, this is the high-end rooftop party you always wanted to attend, but couldn’t manage to get an invitation to outside of your fantasies.
To add this perfume to your queue, click here: https://www.scentbird.com/perfume/derek-lam-10-crosby-love-deluxe
Super fresh and zesty mandarin leaf is the hero note in this one, but it’s not trying to get the accolades for doing everything by itself. Pear, vanilla and forest-like woody mix push the patchouli and night blooming jasmine to their outer limits.
Citrus, woody and oh-so perfect, this one is reserved only for those who deserve to smell this gorgeous.
To add this perfume to your queue, click here: https://www.scentbird.com/perfume/badgley-mischka-forest-noir
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