Monday, August 2, 2010

Perfumer's Palette Series - Patchouli

Patchouli ?
"....by far my father's ( Jean Carles ) favorite product . It has an enormous amount of personality...one has to be courageous to use it ....Tabu , my father's creation , had 10% patchouli . Never before had anyone dared use such a high percentage of it . "

-Marcel Carles


If you read my blog you know my love of patchouli . It is , on it's own a complex perfume with top notes that are herbal yet sweet , earthy heart notes and a soft woody drydown . patchouli improves with age , is the strongest plant essnce known . It can be medicinal and green when young , but after aging becomes more powdery and sexy . Considered an aphrodisia , it is also balancing and soothing to the senses , a mild nerve sedative and antidepressant . Externally it is useful for dry , wrinkled skin and is antiseptic and anti- inflammitory . It was used in the Orient to stuff pillows as a protection from infection and as a sleep aid . It is even said to
" sharpen the wit " ( Tisserand ).

Patchouli ( Pogostemon cablin ) is indiginous to India , China and Malaysia , but it is doubtful whether wild patchouli is harvested at all anymore . When cultivated , it can be harvested about 6 months after planting , with successive harvest after that at 6 month intervals . historically it was grown in rows between coffee plants ! After harvest is is dried and baled , then sent to the distillers where it is graded ( high grade being young leaves only , then rougher grades containing stalks )
Steam distilled from the stems and leaves , patchouli is made up of sequesterpenes , monoterpenes and patchoulol .

Napoleon is credited with being the first to bring patchouli scented cashmere shawls to Europe and popularizing the scent . Once patchouli was discoved as being the peculiar scent of these shawls , it became popular as a perfume ingredient and the rest is history . it is effective at repelling wool moths , but in perfumery is an excellent fixative and essential part of the chypre base , and the amber accord .
My favorite patchouli fragrances are :
Dawn spencer Hurwitz Vintage Patchouli - she uses a touch of tobacco that makes this warm , earthy and powdery
Profumum Patchouly - rich , mossy/musty and wonderful
Montale Patchouli Leaves - a little greener , sharper and musty , very realistic to the plant
What are your favorites ? Or do you hate it ?

7 comments:

queen_cupcake said...

Love Love LOVE patchouli! I would grow it in my garden if I thought it was worthwhile...but a 6 month growing season? Not in New England! :-) I have a long wish list of patchouli frags. At the top: a full bottle of Les Nereides Patch Antique. Aveda's Purefume #9 is very nice and patchouli-rich.

waftbyCarol said...

Oh how could I forget the Patchouli Antique !! I also love Reminiscence Patchouli Elixir , I got some of the lotion and it's fab !

kjanicki said...

Not a big fan of the musty/herbal/earthy patchouli, and I really hate it when it gets chocolately. Maybe it will grow on me in time.

StyleSpy said...

Le Labo Patchouli 24. Gorgeous, and a wonderful way to introduce patch to people who reflexively say, "Ew, I HATE patchouli!"

Dixie said...

I absolutely adore patchouli but it does not like me. It causes me to break out in rashes so I have to wear it sparingly. Otherwise I'd wear it everyday. Patck blends so well with other ingredients like oamoss (another favorite), rose, vanilla, chocolate, and berries(sublime balkiss).
My favorite patchouli fragrance is Mazzolari Patchouli. It's so warm, deep and resinous. Then there is Il Profumo Patchouli Noir. Neonatura Cocoon is vanilla chocolate and patchouli which is a big comfort scent. Rose and patch marry well in Paestum Rose and Lumiere Noir Pour Femme. They tie for the sexiest noir rose perfume in my book.

eldora said...

Hmmm, patchouli is a favorite of mine.
1. Coromandel, yep love that big honkin' bottle.
2. CDG Luxe Patchouli, but such a small stinkin' bottle.
3. Borneo, dry and dark choclatey.
4. HdP Noir Patchouli, odd little number but so smooth...

Isa said...

I'm not mad about patchouli but it's growing on me. My favourite so far is État libre d'Orange Nombril Immense. So relaxing scent!