Out of the vaguely familial group of ambery, vanillic patchoulis, I find Patchouli Leaves to be the most satisfying and comforting. The marketing copy for this boasts that the patchouli leaves for this fragrance were first soaked in vanilla extract and then left to macerate for two whole years in an oak barrel. The top notes, consisting of insanely rich but dry patchouli that has a raisin-like booziness to it, like aged cognac, suggest that this might in fact be true.
The dark, boozy patchouli is joined very quickly by a buttery, warm vanilla and amber that serve to sweeten the mix. All in all, the impression is of a warm, golden river of almost drinkable, spiced brown patchouli, boozy vanilla, and thick amber. In fact, Patchouli Leaves is easily the friendliest patchouli fragrance out there. It is mouth-wateringly good; almost gourmand in a way. The amber is slightly resinous, adding at parts a slight roughness to break up the smooth vanillic undertow and a touch of powder towards the end. This is not for people who like their patchoulis raw or as they might say, Ďauthenticí, since the patchouli here has been shorn of its claws and stripped of its menace. But my God, it is sexy and rich and as comfortable as putting on a great big woolly sweater over your work clothes when you come in from the rain.
Patchouli and amber. Amber and patchouli. Patchouli Leaves is sweet, dark, rich, and sensuous. The amber and patchouli sit on a base of viscous vanilla, and the whole composition unfolds in a gratifyingly warm, smooth manner. I consider this a simple fragrance, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. It fills the same role for me as several other thick amber and patchouli scents, including Mazzolari Patchouli, Profumum's Patchouly, and Les Nereides Patchouli Antique, being a bit sweeter than most, and leaning more heavily on the amber as well. Interestingly, it is less tenacious on my skin than other heavy patchouli fragrances.
A decent patchouli featuring Montale's signature dull and unsubstantial plasticity: nuances ranging from rubbery, balsamic, dusty to salty and nutty, a woody base powdered with vanillin and that's it. You can hardly make a "soliflore" of patchouli smell bad, and in fact Patchouli Leaves it's not bad: if you like the note, patchouli smells always good, and here it is all about that Ė a full, dry patchouli. Nonetheless, "not smelling wrong" is obviously not enough to stand out from the crowd or however, does not turn into smelling good or great: and in fact, this is quite dull Ė decent, but dull. Not because of the fact it's basically a mono-note scent, but because of its quality Ė it's synthetic, pale, plain and mute like a school exercise. I would personally place this next to other low-quality patchouli's like Reminescence and that market segment, miles below the great ones like Etro and the very good ones like Patchouli Nobile. I'd define it unassuming and unpretentious, if it wasn't for the annoying and unjustified "niche look" (and pricing) of Montale.
10th March, 2014 (last edited: 23rd August, 2014)
Best patchouli ever made. Sorry Borneo and Coromandel, but you're a step below of Patchouli Leaves. Opening is raw and earthy, then join the vanilla and make it creamy and sexy. Projection is huge, same with lasting power (over 12hs).
The earthy aspect of patchouli, and the warm stone-scent aspects of cistus labdanum are the thread that joins these two key players in Patchouli Leaves. Sweetness isnít hidden, but certainly isnít pushed to the front. I find the patch that is there exactly the viscous, hippy patch that I was looking for. But itís perfectly matched by amber, vanilla, and musk, which might make it sound candy sweet, but it isn't. They serve to add a rounded, cushioned feel. The whole fragrance reads like patchouli on a stack of pillows.
03rd May, 2012 (last edited: 22nd July, 2012)