With the virtual elimenation of natural sandalwood as a "go-to" for perfumes, patchouli and vetiver have become more and more important as basic fixatives and base notes for all kinds of creations in the field of perfumery. Clearly, they are currently two of the most important substances for perfuming, especially as regards natural substances.
If you read about them as a combination, you will universally see expressed that they are a classic accord. Indeed, many Chypre and fougere formulations have contained both.
Here is a confession: I have very little experience with this basic accord, despite some good number of years behind me, working with essential oils.
When I have used these together, it has been typically in modest amounts in floral accords, where there is a lot of room for error. The point was to enhance aspects of the flowers, not really the P/V accord itself. Or, I have used only trace amounts of one or the other.
But I've not often sat down, just with these two, to find an accord between them, until just recently. I've reached a point where a formula turns on their relationship, and I have been split -- sometimes wanting to use mostly one, sometimes mostly the other. Now I want to try using them both in significant amounts.
Here's the first problem you encounter. Patchouli and vetiver, at first smell, are kind of obnoxious together. Even when both oils are aged a little bit. But their combination creates a top note that is very noisy, dusty, and harsh. If you put them on your body together, people in the world will tend to respond harshly, until hours later perhaps.
Either oil seems to amplify the strength of the other. It's an edgy accord.
I realize many or most base notes are like this on top, as Carles pointed out. Logically, of course, it is easy to think of any number of solutions and ways around this issue, such as dilution, allowing the top notes to evaporate before evaluation, and/or bringing a third element into play. with these methods, eventually, one would figure it out. But as far as combining the oils neat and directly, in comparable amounts (Patchouli is 3-4x stronger for me.), I don't find them "immediately cooperative."
But I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this accord as a puzzling one at first; and whether anyone had any general thoughts on the combination; or a curious thing or two they noticed.
I will be sharing a few more observations as I find time to experiment with this combination.