Sunday, September 11, 2011

Patchouli Fragrances

Patchouli Impérial is the newest fragrance by Dior ( La Collection Privée) developed by perfumer François Demachy. According to the French perfumer, patchouli is an essential ingredient for the House of Dior. A legendary oriental note, sensual, sultry and the most animal of all plant's notes. Essential to Dior, essential to me, as it is is my second beloved note (as you know it by now, iris is my favorite one).
I think what I love the most in it is that patchouli to me is a perfume by itself, with aromatic top notes, with green-y camphorate nuances; powdery, honeyed and slightly tobacco alike middle notes with an animal stroke; and a woody earthy mossy smell for base notes. Indeed a perfume!
I am not really fond of Woodstock hangover fragrances, nor I was a flower child or a pothead, but there is something about this scent that attracts me very much. 
Did you know that patchouli was very hip during the hippie era because it was said to disguise the smell of Marijuana? (really??? I don't think so...)
I have a small flacon with patchouli absolute hidden in my bedroom that I open EVERYDAY, just to start the day with a smile. My patchouli starts with a fast aromatic note that has something of wild oregano scent in it and soil. Than it develops a minty cool facet that reminds me of Colgate toothpaste diluted in water (I checked, that is how I know). Lasting for 05 to 10 minutes, it turns into a manilla envelope note (cartons and papers) and than it becomes very creamy and almost edible. Heavenly, a potion of the Gods. The velvety powdery slightly honeyed patchouli notes are my favorite. 

I call patchouli the "Pep le Pew" note. Some people find in patchouli L'Amour"; some cannot stand it and find it very funky skunky malodorous. Fact is that patchouli can be verri verri diiirti (French accent here).
If you are a patchouli lover, you know where to find them. But in case you haven't given patchouli too much attention, you can start exploring it here. I put together a list of some of the fragrances that in my opinion, have amazing patchouli accords. It may be the center of the fragrance, the inspiration for the perfumer, like Noir Patchouli by HdP and Patchouli Patch by L'Artisan, or just a glorious touch that made all the difference in the composition, like Idylle by Guerlain, Coromandel by Chanel or pure Coffee by Mugler. In all cases, the fragrances are very complexed and very rich, and I simple love them.

NOIR PATCHOULI EDP by Histoires de Parfums - A five stars rated perfume - A woody-chypre patchouli fragrance that has a exquisite French aura. Patchouli is found from the very first whiff, the top notes, till dry down. Combined with coriander, cardamom, flowers, berries, musks, leather and vanilla, Noir Patchouli has a dark and mysterious aura. If you wonder why the bottle is not is because it contains a certain freshness that reminds me of Colgate, but somehow it stays noir and very chic. Worth buying a full bottle! You will find this fragrance at HdP website by clicking HERE

1969 EDP by HISTOIRES DE PARFUMS - A five stars rated perfume - A oriental gourmand fragrance with carnal peaches and sinful roses. Here patchouli is found in the base, in a very gourmet accord, with coffee, chocolate and white musks. Patchouli and chocolate is a very dangerous combo - it can be beautiful, it can stink of dirty laundry or dirty linens, but Histoires de Parfums knows exactly how to blend their raw materials, so it is kinda dirty, but not stinky! The inspiration is the revolutionary and sensual period of French history. It is indeed a very sensual perfume, and patchouli has an animal connotation that is simple a killer note here. If you love roses and patchouli you will probably love this fragrance. If you don't like the "dirtiness", go to Idylle by Guerlain - a rose patchouli combo to die for.
Totally worth many bottles of 1969 EDP intense pleasure, get yours by clicking HERE

PATCHOULI PATCH EDP by L'Artisan Parfumeur - A four stars rated perfume - Pure patchouli delight. That said, if L'Artisan would indeed make a patch of it, I would run to buy because I am totally addicted to this fragrance. It contains a disguised sour-anise note that it is not my favorite, but a rather difficult combination to find. Once the sourness fades away, it becomes very beautiful. It is animal, creamy and very sensual, and somehow attracts the masculine world a lot. I picture a velvety glove caressing my skin when I wear it. Find L'Artisan at their website by clicking HERE. Please notice that like all L'Artisan fragrances, this one is no exception, it does not last long. If you mind your pocket - forget this fragrance and go to Le Labo's.

COROMANDEL EDT BY Chanel - A five stars rated perfume - An oriental fragrance that is more satisfying than any of the above mentioned! This is one of my favorite comforting fragrances of all times. Click here for a review - The white chocolate velvety fragrance is simple a gourmandise experience that you can't miss. The fragrance is creamy,  and patchouli is combined with rich notes of amber, frankincense, benzoin and woods. If you expect the hippie aura - you won't find in it. Chanel manages to give to this patchouli the most hip and elegant aspect of all of the above mentioned. Find Coromandel at Chanel's website by clicking HERE.

EAU DE CARTIER ESSENCE D'ORANGE EDT - Five stars rated perfume. Here patchouli is combined with citrusy joyful notes of oranges and bergamots. Juicy peaches are also conspiring for this sensational fragrance that also brings comfort and happiness. Click on the same like above to read about this fragrance and Coromandel. If I would have to choose between them, Coromandel would be my choice for comforting patchoulis. If you are looking for vibrance, joy de vivre, Cartier is your fragrance of choice! Click HERE to purchase that smile.

HINDU GRASS EDP by Nasomatto - Four stars rated perfume. The most aromatic and green patchouli fragrance of my list of favorites. It is a classy mix of tobacco, musk, amber and vetiver. Once the aromatic nuances  fade away, it becomes powdery. Click HERE for a full review. I have changed my opinion a bit about this fragrance - I think (today) it is kinda loud, back than I didn't. But it is still nice, but not my favorite. It is also for guys only. 

IDYLLE EDT by Guerlain - 05 stars rated perfume. Click HERE for one article about all the Idylle versions already launched. This is a fantastic fragrance by the brand that has a beautiful combination of Patchouli and roses. Idylle Duet puts more emphasis on this combo, but my favorite is still Idylle EDT. A beautiful chypre perfume that has a velvety silky effect with a very elegant aura. Patchouli here is not the center of the inspiration, but it is worth exploring this note when it is perfectly blended. Worth many many bottles.

A*MAN PURE COFFEE EDT by Thierry Mugler - Five stars rated perfume. Click HERE for a complete review. Here patchouli is combined with coffee, caramel, chocolate, lavander, vetiver, cedar, musk and moss. Here it also adds the velvet - ness for the coffee treat. It adds more cream to it. This is a fantastic fragrance for men, and also very sensual. Although patchouli is combined with chocolate and coffee - you won't find the dirtiness in it, just pure A*MAN sensuality. It should be called OH*MAN! Worth a bottle indeed.

PLATINUM J FRAGRANCES by  Jacqueline Clemens - The brand explores patchouli notes in many perfumes of their collection. It is a rather new company, where all fragrances are crafted by perfumer Jacqueline Clemens. She have invested a lot of her personal life experience and soul into this project, and the result are fragrances promising a journey of self search, of giving yourself permission to be what you wish to be. 
Mix 11 has a combination of patchouli, amber and vetiver. Very earthy, very deep and very  sensual. The one that I really enjoyed. Click HERE to find out more about it
Mix 13 mixes patchouli with amber and vanilla. It has an alcoholic twist in it that brings the warmth of sitting with friends in a campfire in the 70's. Slightly gourmand, slightly creamy. Not my favorite amber note thou...
Mix 17 mixes patchouli with bergamot, geranium, amber and frankincense. More smoky than the other compositions.
Mix 10 combines patchouli with amber and sandalwood. Mix 10 is very hippie. Once you smell it you you find yourself in a journey to the flower child in you. 
The interesting thing about Jacqueline fragrances is that you need time to really enjoy them. It is an experience, not a way to smell good. Do take your time, order the samples and check if you are willing to embrace this journey.

INOUBLIABLE ELIXIR DE PATCHOULI EDP by Reminiscense - A 03 stars rated perfume. Notes of sandalwood, vetiver, cedar and patchouli brings you right back to a flower power, no showering, no eating, just spacing out kind of mood. Earthy and moist y, you have to be seriously in love with patchouli to dare to wear this one. It goes well with batik and leather sandals...I am KIDDING YOU. The original was like that. This one has received a lecture form its parents, got a shower, got a job, looks more chic, but is dreaming of its wild past! To sample it before buying (recommended) click HERE. If you don't like the fragrance, at least you will love the music of the website! :-)

PATCHOULI 24 EDP by Le Labo - Five stars rated perfume. Here patchouli is combined with leather to bring the ultimate joy to all perfume connoisseurs, like Luca Turin, who gave this fragrance a 5 stars rating. Birch, styrax and vanilla, brings manilla envelope scents to a whole different level. Very animal and carnal, very powdery and comforting, this fragrance is a real teaching class for beginners who wish to understand patchouli. Reformulations were made, so I frankly don't know if there was any impact in its olfactive quality. I haven't tried the new version yet.
All I know is that when I layer Patchouli 24 with Iris 39 of the same brand I get a very exclusive scent, that makes my days happier and more beautiful. Totally worth ordering the samples and try layering. Iris and patchouli is the ultimate treat, specially because the leathery quality of the perfume makes it elegantly sensual. Click HERE to sample.

WHITE PATCHOULI & CEDAR WOOD EDP by RItuals - A 4 stars rated perfume - It is very delicate, very powdery and also very dry due to the Lebanese Cedar notes. Images of white scented powder comes to my mind at the very first whiff of the perfume. Aquatic and dewy notes are combined with patchouli, cedar, frangipani, musks and spices. You will find this perfume by clicking HERE. Although said to be watery, I didn't find the moisture implied, but a rather delicacy of watery notes. Which was a bonus in this case. Coriander is very intense although not listed as a note in the composition. Developed by Catherine Selig (ISIPCA/Firmenich), the granddaughter of a glove maker-perfumer, she crafted a very German speaking style fragrance.

SANDALWOOD & PATCHOULI EDP by Rituals - A 4 stars rated perfume. Woody, sensual, modern and bohemian, this fragrance is indeed a magnet for ladies. Patchouli here is combined with sandalwood, nutmeg, oregano, cardamom, cedar, guaiac wood, bark and vetiver. Perfect to wear after a good bath and even better to use to work. Although it is sensual, it is a very close to the skin kind of perfume. It is very animal, very musky.

More patchouli fragrances for you to explore:

Intrigant Patchouli by PG 
Karma by Lush
Patchouli Intense by Parfums de Nicolai
Patchouly by Profumum Roma
Patchouli Leaves by Montale
Patchouli by Mazzolari
Patchouli by M. Micallef
Patchouli Noir by Il Profumo
Patchouly Indonesiano by Farmacia Annunziata
Patchouli by Comme de Garçons LUXE
Real Patchouly by Bois 1920
Patchoulissime by Keiko Micheri
Untitled Nº6 by Susanne Lang
Patchouli by Jalaine
Patchouli by Byblos
Nuits de Noho by Bond Nº9
Patchouli Antique by Les Nereides
Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens
White Patchouli by Tom Ford
Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
Patchouly by Etro
Patchouli by Santa Maria Novella
Patchouli by Lorenzo Villoresi
Le Senteurs Patchouli by Mollinard
A Taste of Heaven by Killian
Harem by LR
Neonatura Coccon by Yves Rocher
Amber & Patchouli by Jo Malone
Patchouli by Demeter Naturals
Purple Patchouli by Tom Ford
Gentleman by Givenchy
Aromatics Elixir by Clinique (1975)
Eau Sauvage Extreme by Dior
Patchouli Odissey by Jean Marc Chaillan
Index Patchouli Free by Fresh
Fresh Bushukan splash by Molton Brown

To read about the Natural Patchoulis project - Summer of Patchouli Love - click HERE

So you have now many patchouli paths to explore. My advice is the following: if you have the bucks - Coromandel, Noir Patchouli and A*Man Pure Coffee. If you haven't, choose only one - Guerlain Idylle EDT. Always wise to sample the fragrances first, before purchasing. If you were never a patchouli fan, maybe it is because you had the hippie image related to it, but this noble raw material can offer you much more than that!

To me, if patchouli were to be personified, it would be definitely Jim Morrison! Wild, iconic, charismatic, sensual, edgy.


Sharon Freeman said...

Wow, what a comprehensive round up. I like patchouli when it is good but I love it when it is verri verri diirti, (that is brilliant). My favourite is Le Labo Patchouli 24, but I haven't tried a lot of those on your list. I have the Summer of Love project to try this summer. Jim Morrison perfect choice. I also get a Stones - Exile in Main Street vibe..

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dearest Sharryn, thank you so much for sharing your opinion here. Indeed Patchouli 24 is very interesting. Try to layer with iris, just to check if I am the only one in this craziness.
Love Simone

M said...

Dear simone -- Yet another well-written, inspiring post! I must admit i've always found patchouli by itself to be an olfactory turn-off. But it can be magical in combination with softer notes that are capable of reigning in all that characteristic astringency. Case in point: Just sampled 'coromandel' yestersday for the first time in over a year; it's truly the most successful patchouli frag i know of -- it just doesn't get much more luxurious! (It starts out almost identical to 'musc ravageur', but the drydown possesses that soft, 'white chocolate' quality you described; truly edible. Would be divine on a guy or a girl!
XOXO, michael

+Q Perfume Blog said...

Dear Michael, you are back!
So many trips, so many beautiful postings. I wish to sit one day in Mikonos with you guys and chat about lifestyle. I love your taste!
Indeed patchouli is very versatile - I found so many aspects of this raw material simply by smelling it everyday with a new perspective.
Coromandel is amazing and probably you got a lot of compliments wearing it.
You have this amazing persona that you deserve only to wear fragrances embracing this calm, relaxing, happy and extremely charming side of you!


Henrique said...

Patchouli is a dear note to me in general. Altough i don't like patchouli fragrances like Chanel Coromandel, that contrast it with loud amber notes and excess of powder, transforming the experience into a mess.
From HDP i like one of their patchouli fragrances that extract a subtle powdery and earthiness aroma from the note, the 1826. Another patchouli composition that i love is Xerjoff Richwood. Too bad is soo expensive :(

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