What does the word patchouli mean?
Patchouli is a plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Its name comes from the Tamil "patchai" meaning "green" and "ilai" meaning "leaf"
In the beginning…
Patchouli was first used in China over 2,000 years ago to treat skin ailments and digestive problems. It was then used in ancient India for its medicinal and spiritual properties. Its leaves were burned to purify the air and improve concentration.
Over the centuries, patchouli became a popular ingredient in perfumery. In the 19th century, Europeans discovered the plant when it was used to protect fabrics and clothing from insects. They then began to use patchouli essential oil for its fragrant properties.
In the 1960s-1970s, the use of patchouli spread with the hippie movement. The plant was associated with counter-culture and rock music. Today, besides being widely used for its fragrance, patchouli is associated with spirituality and often considered a symbol of an alternative lifestyle.
DID YOU KNOW ? Unlike numerous other ingredients used in perfumery, patchouli tends to improve with age. Its fragrance intensifies and develops further when exposed to air and light, making it a valuable component in aged perfumes.
Over time, the cultivation of patchouli has spread to other Southeast Asian countries, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Vietnam. Each region produces patchouli with slightly different aromatic characteristics due to geographical and climatic variations.
The process of planting, developing and harvesting patchouli begins with the preparation of the soil, which must be well-drained and rich in organic matter. The patchouli cuttings are then planted at an appropriate depth, generally spaced at around 60 centimetres apart to encourage growth and development. Patchouli requires a warm, humid climate and partial exposure to sunlight. During its growing period, weeds are regularly removed and appropriate care, such as irrigation and fertilization, is given to ensure optimum growth. Approximately six months to a year later, when the patchouli leaves reach maturity, harvesting begins. The leaves are cut at the base of the plant, then dried under controlled conditions to preserve their characteristic aroma. Once dried, the patchouli leaves are transformed into patchouli oil for its use in perfumery.
The Different Species of Patchouli
Patchouli is mainly derived from the botanical species Pogostemon cablin, also known as true patchouli. However, there are other species of Pogostemon that are also used in the perfume industry, albeit less commonly. Some of these include :
• Pogostemon hortensis: This species, also known as patchouli java, is grown in Indonesia and has similarities to true patchouli.
• Pogostemon heyneanus: Also known as Chinese patchouli, this species is cultivated in China and has subtle variations from true patchouli.
• Pogostemon patchouly: This variety is often called wild patchouli and grows in the wild in India, Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Although true patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is the variety most commonly used in perfumery, the other types may also provide different olfactory nuances and are suitable for use in specific fragrance compositions.
INTERESTING FACT !
Apart from having an interesting olfactory profile, patchouli also has numerous benefits for health and well-being. The first of these are the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties of its oil. It is therefore regularly used in skin care products to treat acne, skin inflammation, scars and other skin problems. Moreover, patchouli repels insects, relieves anxiety and depression and even has aphrodisiac properties, boosting libido and improving sex life!
What do you know about Patchouli in Perfumery ?
Patchouli leaves are harvested, dried and distilled to produce a rich, earthy essential oil. This oil is used in perfumery to add a sensual, woody note to compositions, creating captivating, bewitching fragrances.
Patchouli is therefore widely used in perfumery to add an earthy, woody note to fragrant compositions. It is mainly used as a base note in perfumes, providing a solid, persistent base that supports and extends the other notes. Its warm scent lends depth and sensuality to the juices that contain it.
In addition to being a base note, patchouli is also used as a fixative in fragrances. It helps stabilize the other ingredients, allowing the fragrance to last longer on the skin. Thanks to its persistent nature, the fragrance remains present and recognizable throughout the day.
Patchouli is very popular in the perfume world because of its unique aromatic profile. Its olfactory family is generally classified as woody and oriental. Its scent evokes damp earth, moss and undergrowth. Its woody nuances recall cedarwood, oakmoss and vetiver, adding a rich warmth to its composition. Patchouli also offers animalic notes, adding sensual depth to the fragrance. A final cocoa note softens the whole. For these reasons, patchouli is highly appreciated in the world of perfumery.
Finally, patchouli is known for its rich, complex olfactory accords. It offers an earthy, woody, dark base that can be combined with a variety of other notes to create unique fragrance compositions:
• Oriental accords, such as vanilla, sandalwood and incense, reinforcing their sensual, mysterious character.
• Floral accords, such as rose or jasmine, to add depth and warmth to floral compositions.
• Fresh or citrus accords, adding depth and sophistication.
Some popular Patchouli perfumes…
Today, many famous perfumes contain patchouli among their ingredients. Among them are :
• Patchouli by Reminiscence is an eau de toilette for men and women launched in 1970, combining patchouli from Java with the woody notes of cedar and the distinctive scent of sandalwood and vetiver from Haiti.
• Femme Rochas by Marcel Rochas is an eau de toilette based on a blend of peach, plum and rose notes. Patchouli is used as a base note, giving it a sensual fragrance.
• Antaeus by Chanel is an eau de toilette for men, a symbol of masculinity based on the alchemy of lavender and a leather accord enhanced by woods and spices. Notes of Indonesian patchouli enrich the scent's torrid, exotic scent trail.
• Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is an epitome of luxury and sensuality. With its warm, spicy notes of vanilla, amber and patchouli, it creates an enchanting aura that captures the essence of bold, mysterious seduction.
• La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain is an elegant, playful fragrance that blends fruity, gourmand accords with delicate floral notes. Its seductive fragrance, combining black cherry, rose and vanilla, evokes a bold, irresistible femininity.
• Mugler Angel Eau de Parfum is an iconic patchouli fragrance with patchouli in the base notes with vanilla, chocolate and caramel.
• Patchouli 24 by Le Labo is known for its rich, intense and smoky scent and is an oriental, woody fragrance.
• Amber & Patchouli by Jo Malone London has patchouli in the main agreements and is also an oriental, woody scent.
Moreover, Flora Gorgeous Gardenia by Gucci is crafted to capture the essence of a blooming garden with patchouli in the base notes.
DID YOU KNOW ? Unlike numerous other ingredients used in perfumery, patchouli tends to improve with age. Its fragrance intensifies and develops further when exposed to air and light, making it a valuable component in aged perfumes
Patchouli X Bon Parfumeur
Bon Parfumeur patchouli fragrances are an excellent option for those looking for responsible, unisex and ethical fragrances. Our brand uses 100% French natural ingredients and offers a number of patchouli fragrances. On our site, you'll find...
• Eau de parfum 602, with pepper, cedar and patchouli, our best patchouli fragrance that is chic, woody and spicy. From the first impression, we sense the spicy freshness of pink berry and black pepper in the top notes, followed by the notes of neroli in the heart. At the base, essences of patchouli, vetiver and benzoin resin give intensity to this powerful fragrance.
• Eau de parfum 803, with sea spray, ginger and patchouli. Patchouli caught in the ice: a real tension between hot and cold. A frosty opening with top notes of pink pepper and ginger, warmed by heart notes of ylang-ylang and sea spray. The power and intensity of warm notes of patchouli in the base.
• Home fragrance diffuser 03, with patchouli, leather and tonka bean. The best friend of your evenings on the couch. With its leathery accents, it makes you want to enjoy the warmth of a fireplace or a good novel. Its leathery note reveals all its character, accompanied by the warm facets of cistus. Sandalwood and vanilla combine with tonka bean for a touch of sensuality.
Patchouli, an iconic element of the hippie aesthetic and lifestyle, will undoubtedly have you buzzing again today, just as it did in the 1970s.