What does patchouli smell like?

The birth of Patchouli: from Indonesia to Coty's chypre scents!

Patchouli is a tropical plant cultivated in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The plant has long stems that can reach up to a meter in height. However, do not look for an odor there because it is the drying and then the treatment of its leaves that will create the fabulous fragrance of Patchouli. After distillation, the essence of Patchouli obtained will release the earthy and humid scent of its Asian roots but also an airy camphor freshness. For some, Patchouli gives off the delicious smells of a wine cork. For others, those of an overripe apple!

Patchouli was used for a long time as a raw material in perfumery for its incredible virtues of stability and binding material. It was put in the spotlight thanks to the fashion for chypre perfumes relaunched by Coty in 1917 thanks to its famous Cyprus.

Indeed, the range of contemporary chypre perfumes (20th-century chypres) is essentially composed of bergamot, jasmine, oakmoss, rose, labdanum, and of course, Patchouli!

Even when we had not yet mastered molecular distillation, and despite its hints of moldy mushroom, we never did without Patchouli, explains Jean-Michel Duriez, exclusive perfumer of the Maison Patou.

From Patchouli from the hippie years to modern fragrances

Patchouli is, of course, for many of us, the symbol of the 70s peace and love. A fragrance adopted purely for its vegetal and Asian roots by many hippies in search of exoticism! So much so that its massive use even ends up tiring lovers of this yet so delicate scent.

It was also born from this love story between supporters of peace and Patchouli, a 1970 perfume now cult of the Reminiscence brand, simply called Patchouli.

A few years later, we found Patchouli in new chords that were much less heady than the essences used before. We discovered by the same that Patchouli goes divinely well with many different chords. Patchouli is particularly suited to oriental, woody, or even leathery notes.

The first fragrance to once again put Patchouli in the spotlight was, of course, the famous Angel by Thierry Mugler in 1993. The innovative and cult fragrance of the house of Mugler alone contains 30% pure patchouli essence! No one could therefore ignore it! It will appear thereafter in many great perfumes for women, of course, but also men.

One might think that Patchouli is exclusively reserved for feminine fragrances. While its undeniable advantage lies in that its power and its scent exhale as well on a woman's skin as on a man's skin. Patchouli is a familiar note in male fragrances, such as Paco Rabanne's Black XS, Ralph Lauren's Polo Black, and Daniel Hechter's Midnight, where citron and sandalwood are prominently included.


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