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  1. #1

    Default what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    would also love to hear what you find the best. also i'm trying to expand my fragrance vocabulary so would also like to know the purest rendition of it. thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    You could try L'Artisan Patchouli Patch it has white musk and is well behaved for your first Patchouli scent though it is linear.

  3. #3

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    the easiest way to sample would be to test Givenchy Gentleman...

  4. #4

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    It smells like hippies.

  5. #5

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Patchouli extract smells overall earthy, dark-cold, slightly sweet. But mainly earthy, think of a cold moist dark basement.

  6. #6

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    The purest accessible version of it you could smell at a natural health food shop or place where they sell aromatherapy oils.

    Patchouli smells like wet soil... dirty, dark, but also with a sharp crisp aspect as well... its a rather unusual contradiction.

    Try Reminiscence Patchouli.
    Last edited by Sorcery of Scent; 24th February 2010 at 03:25 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    The purest accessible version of it you could smell at a natural health food shop or place where they sell aromatherapy oils.[/URL].
    If you're in the US, get thee to a Whole Foods supermarket or the Aveda store at your mall.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 24th February 2010 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    I believe Patchouli is part of the mint family. On my skin at least, it can smell very different from one scent to another, there are varieties grown in asia and the caribbean, so I'm not sure if the variety is what makes it different. At it's best I think it smells earthy, green, a bit sweet. At it's worst it smells like body odor. But I agree wiht the recs, so to a health food store and find the essential oils. Sniffing them is a great way to get acquainted with the various fragrance notes. Etro Patchouly is my favorite straight patch scent, in a blend, I really love YR Neonatura cocoon.

  9. #9

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    I also find that patchouli often has a nutty-sweet, tangy brown aspect.
    odysseusm

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  10. #10

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by odysseusm View Post
    I also find that patchouli often has a nutty-sweet, tangy brown aspect.
    +1. I don't get so much of the soily, damp, sharp side of it, but that could be due to my limited exposure to purer forms of patch.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    It has a strong minty smell in its pure form.

  12. #12

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    The Montale Patchouli is an excellent single note patchouli if you want an affordable EDT rather than an oil.

  13. #13

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    The purest accessible version of it you could smell at a natural health food shop or place where they sell aromatherapy oils.

    Patchouli smells like wet soil... dirty, dark, but also with a sharp crisp aspect as well... its a rather unusual contradiction.

    Try Reminiscence Patchouli.


    Thats a good reference, as is the givenchy example.
    Mzzolari lui also plays a huge patchouli, if you can get hold of it.


    I also want to second the nutty-sweet-sweat character, as well as plain dirt, earthiness and a bit of salt.
    You really might want to try some oil but i believe you hardly get decent patchouly oil inside the bottle even if its labeled as such.
    Furthermore I have smelled very few perfumes using patchouli the way it smells pure.

  14. #14

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    my interpretation of it is close to Dimi's and to an extent Jacona... in that, to me, it smells of fertile, soft mud; deep brown in shade with a tinge of napthalene (mint?) and dried leaves in a forest floor kinda accord.
    Last edited by jenson; 24th February 2010 at 04:30 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    +1 what Jenson said...

    I never thought I'd love single note or patchouli-dominant fragrances but Histoires de Parfums Noir Patchouli changed my mind...

  16. #16

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    When I needed a reference for it, I used my sample of Etro's patchouli frag. Now I use my decant of Borneo 1834 when people ask what patchouli smells like. I tell them to imagine it without the chocolate, and this seems to work well.

  17. #17

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron01 View Post
    It smells like hippies.
    I'm not sure if that's a complement or not. I think I'll take it as one since I was present at Woodstock, that qualifies me as an old hippie. Damn I smell good!
    Last edited by thebeck; 25th February 2010 at 02:46 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by thebeck View Post
    I'm sure if that's a complement or not. I think I'll take it as one since I was present at Woodstock that qualifies me as an old hippie. Damn I smell good!
    I was actually being facetious. I've never found any patchouli heavy scents that I've tried to smell like hippies. Maybe if it was patchouli/incense/marijuana then it would....

  19. #19

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Try TABU from Dana. The composition has a whopping 40% patchouly in it, and it┤s one of my favourite classics......and not expensive !!!

  20. #20

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Other good reference patchouli scents would be Profumum Pathouli and Farmacia Patchouli Indonesiano. Both are outstanding, but they're obscenely expensive so samples are in order. Borneo, while lovely, would not be my first choice for learning what patch smells like; there's much more going on there than patch. BTW, I would add camphor as a component that I expect in a true reference patch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron01 View Post
    I was actually being facetious. I've never found any patchouli heavy scents that I've tried to smell like hippies. Maybe if it was patchouli/incense/marijuana then it would....
    Don't forget body odor...
    Last edited by Snafoo; 24th February 2010 at 08:25 PM.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    One of my favorites, B*Men is all about the smooth rhubarb and spice patchouli, while Ice*Men is all about putting a bright, minty fresh spin on it. Both are very good.

    But for reference, I would go for simple essential oil or Montale's take: Patchouli Leaves.
    Last edited by PorkFat; 25th February 2010 at 02:03 AM.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    smells like the soil on a termite mound..
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  23. #23

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Go and sniff a hippy. You'll know all about patchouli...
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  24. #24

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    I had been wearing Serge Lutens' Borneo 1834 prior to knowing what patchouli smelled like. I later was trying Profumum's Thundra and thought, 'hmmm, this smells quite a bit like Borneo 1834'. As it turns out, it was the patchouli that both share that I was picking up. You'll notice that same type of patchouli in Parfumerie Generale's L'Ombre Fauve as well.

  25. #25

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Sorry I didn't mean to say "Montale" patchouli... I meant to say Molinard Patchouli is a great one if you want an EDT instead of an oil.

  26. #26

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Patchouli smells like wet earth or mud covered with ancient cool air - like what you might find deep in a cave hidden from the light.

    My two favorite semi pure patchouli perfumes are Mazzolari Patchouli and Farmacia Annunziata Patchouly Indonesiano. Mazzolari has a bit of animal sweetness to it, but no too much - it's a perfect patchouli scent. FA Patchouly Indonesiano is very cool and sort of camphorous but has feeling of purity about it.

    A couple of much less expensive summer blended mostly patchouli fragrances I highly recommend are Vintage Naturals Patchouli, Demeter (Sephora womens section) and Mugler Ice•Men (Sephora mens section).

  27. #27

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    Sorry I didn't mean to say "Montale" patchouli... I meant to say Molinard Patchouli is a great one if you want an EDT instead of an oil.
    Glad you clarified that. After I read your post I took a look at the price of Montale's Patchouli Leaves - $95 for a 1.7 (big patchouli fan here). I thought, man, if that was your idea of a cheap fragrance, then I'd love to be a close relative of yours!

    I also agree that sampling Molinard's Patchouli is probably the perfect way of learning what patchouli smells like.
    Last edited by shamu1; 25th February 2010 at 03:58 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    While patchouli oil is very earthy, the sweet facet is very distinctive and carries well, and is instantly recognisable from countless mens fragrances from the '70s. I remember a friend of mine was wearing patchouli oil on a bus one day, and the driver asked her why she was wearing after-shave...

    I bet you'll recognise it when you smell it.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    You could try L'Artisan Patchouli Patch it has white musk and is well behaved for your first Patchouli scent though it is linear.
    +1 for a first patchouli-forward frag
    ointments and perfume delight the heart....

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  30. #30

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    How about Caswell Massy's "aura of Patch" for a starter? Cheap, simple and one of the only frags for me that got complements. (matter of fact, I think I will order a bottle for myself tomorrow.)
    Last edited by richard d; 26th February 2010 at 02:50 AM.

  31. #31

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Hmm. Patchouli smells like earth, some say wet, I think perhaps dusty earth that has just been rained on. There's a spicy edge to it that is... green and red (that is so synesthetic.) I'll try again... like peppers, almost. Like... roots of tomato plants... peppers but not sweet. Rusty, almost. Definitely earthy and "herbal"... with a "pinch" to the scent that is almost pungent.

    (having dumped 5ml+ of Patchouli Empire on myself accidentally tonight I feel qualified to answer.) :-)

    PE smells nearly like the Patchouli Essential Oil I purchased some years ago... pure Patchouli in my opinion.

    (edit: I really think that Patchouli smells like marijuana but more pungent/spicier. Not that I have ever smelled marijuana, mind you!) :-)

    Actually it does quite, with a muskier, spicier smell.
    Last edited by actiasluna; 26th February 2010 at 05:13 AM.
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  32. #32

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Patchoulli too me...smells like Rive Gauche PH...considering that it is accompanied of Patchoulli. It is soothing, green and verdant...like a lemon grass though with added spice!! Quite relaxing!

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  33. #33

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    It's sweet and I saw it was purple when I took LDS with it.
    No wait! That's The Mormon Church. (Latter Day-Saints) I meant LSD--I think.
    Like groovy . . .try musk and civet oils while you're at it, at the local headshop!
    ( Aveda and Wholefoods!--whatever happened to the classics? )

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  34. #34

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    I too have been curious about its smell. So i purchased a sample of some patchouli oil. It smells like ointment with wood shavings, a little bit of pine or cedar, a bit of potting soil, something mildly soapy, and a deep sweetness (deep like cinnamon but not cinnamon). You probably have smelled it in old mens cologne. Not like polo in the green bottle though. It definetely smells like an incense shop, but not as nice as earth bound trading company. It does not smell like weed. I've heard plenty of times that is smells like that, but they are so wrong. Marijuana has a funk that nobody wants to smell like.

    I could see it smelling kinda nice when blended with other scents. On its on it is too strong.

  35. #35

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Patchouli is earthy, spicy, sweet, nutty, warm and quite wonderful IMO. Get some pure oil if you truly want to experience what it smells like. The pure oil can be worn as a fragrance (even if only inside your own house should you fear smelling like a hippy).

  36. #36

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Quote Originally Posted by richard d View Post
    How about Caswell Massy's "aura of Patch" for a starter? Cheap, simple and one of the only frags for me that got complements. (matter of fact, I think I will order a bottle for myself tomorrow.)
    you beat me to it...this is a good one..its linear but patchouli at its finest without smelling like a hippie or head shop
    Current Top 5:

    Tabac, Cardinal, Brookes Brothers, Musc Kublai Khan, Andron

  37. #37

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    The "hippies" have been gone for almost 40 years yet their association with patchouli lingers on forever.

  38. #38

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    Patchouli is what makes A*men and Diesel Fuel For Life unwearable. Patchouli used right can be found in Nasomatto Hindu Grass.

  39. #39

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    To me, a good patchouli smells earthy, slightly "musty/damp" without being offputting (I get the potting soil reference, peat-mossy would be one good description), yes, dark/cool as Mr. G says... and sometimes a little sweet, herbal/green with brown hints... a little spicy and often a little pungent. A little haylike, grassy... nutty. A nature smell. I can see why potsmokers liken the scent to marijuana, but there isn't that fug about the patch. Probably was a good cover for the potsmoke smell. (as if I'd ever? Heh.) anyway... it obviously appealed to the nature boys and girls out there and it's understandable why. Patchouli & musk, sometimes with a hint of cinnamon, was my choice back in the day when I used "natural oils only" for scent. I can see it being used to good effect in fougeres as it does render a fernlike sort of atmosphere, cool damp woods.

    (now that I've posted twice on the subject!)
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  40. #40
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    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    you might want to try patchouli by molinard

  41. #41

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    First step is to get ahold of some good essential oil - Aura Cacia and Aromaforce make high-quality oils from Indonesian patchouli. Keep in mind that simply opening the bottle and sniffing won't tell you much of anything: Essential oils are highly concentrated, and need to be diluted and "opened up" through use of a carrier oil or spirit burner (those glass bowls perched on top of a flame, like a mini fondue pot) in order to get a sense of their character. Smelled in this way (ie. from a few steps back), patchouli has a warm, earthy, damp quality; slightly peppery and musky, but with a hint of floral sweetness and a sharp, herbaceous edge that's less prominent the more it's diluted. It's quite complex and distinctive; nothing else really smells like patchouli, not even its relatives mint or basil. Once you smell it, though, you'll start noticing it in...well, almost every perfume under the sun. I never have a problem detecting a patchouli note in a fragrance, no matter how faded into the background it is. It lends a wonderful warmth and "grounded" character to a frag, and can be manipulated by aromachemists and perfumers in a huge variety of ways.

    As for patch-heavy fragrances, I'm also looking to expand my collection (Montale's Patchouli Leaves and Le Labo's Patch 24 are tops on my to-try list), but two of my favorites right now are Angel and Aromatics Elixir. Both spotlight the warm/musky side of patchouli that I live for, with AE's being slightly more herbal and Angel's slightly more peppery and sweet. I also love the soft sweetness patchouli lends to Dior's Fahrenheit and YSL's Kouros. (Don't laugh at the Angel rec, by the way - that is some hardcore patch bubbling underneath the cotton candy and caramel. Spray it on a shirt and smell it a day or two later, it's downright armpitty.)

  42. #42

    Default Re: what does patchouli smell like and what should i try for reference?

    I think patchouli smells like dirt, i hate it, some frags can get away with it but i do not like it for the most part.

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