Perfume Directory

Real Patchouly (2005)
by Bois 1920


Real Patchouly information

Year of Launch2005
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 87 votes)

People and companies

HouseBois 1920
PerfumerEnzo Galardi
Parent CompanyArnoway
Parent Company at launchSireta

About Real Patchouly

Real Patchouly is a shared / unisex perfume by Bois 1920. The scent was launched in 2005 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Enzo Galardi

Real Patchouly fragrance notes

Reviews of Real Patchouly

Bois 1920’s Real Patchouly (with a “y”) is a complex, interesting, paper-dry patchouli soli...folium (patchouli is distilled from its leaves, not its flowers), with a comforting chocolate accent in its profile that satisfies my personal love of unusual gourmands, with quirky but easygoing personalities. It reminds me of a cross between Lutens’ massive Borneo 1834, only more austere, with no apparent floral ingredients, and Comme des Garçons’ Luxe Patchouli, a dry, spicy, greenish, perfume with a very dusty patchouli base, only less dark and weird. It used to, also,
be a real bargain, with Bois 1920’s standard 3.3 ounce bottles going for around $50-$60, but prices for Bois 1920’s line-up have increased in the last year, or two, and gray market prices have risen to about $150 or more, still better than retail. I am glad I got my bottle when it was very cost-effective, but, I think, it is still worth discussing, as it is a powerful, high-quality perfume, from a house that I like and respect, for their interesting and sometimes even daring creations, including the gorgeous Realtivamente Rosso.

The perfume moves through several stages before it settles on its final patchouli base. Despite my wearing it for a couple of years, at least, I had to look at the notes, today, to, not only determine if they are accurate, but also to understand what I am smelling, in its opening. Sometimes perfume notes are useless, but Bois 1920’s are usually accurate, and, looking at them, I understand what makes Real Patchouly’s opening so intriguing, occasionally polarizing, and a little strange—celery, a scent with crisp bitterness, that I, personally, love, but find that some people, inexplicably, dislike. Real Patchouly’s celery accord is almost anisic (another scent that some people hate, but is typically beloved by Italians, and Bois 1920 is a very Italian house), with a strong aromatic signature, that lingers over the perfume, well past its opening stage. More outdoors-y garden scents follow, notably, an herbal waft of thyme, that contribute to this perfume’s relaxed, yet poised, character. There is also some cedar, an ingredient that I sometimes love, and sometimes hate; in the opening accord, it contributes to the perfume’s dry, but not desiccated, atomsphere, without adding cedar’s sometimes overpowering scent of sawdust.

Real Patchouly’s forest/garden theme continues with more green aromatic ingredients, including subtle eucalyptus that matches patchouli’s camphoric profile. Black frankincense wafts and weaves into its heart, as dry patchouli moves from a background hum, to a mid-volume rumble, with a pipe-shop tobacco accord, bringing cozy humidity to the opening and middle grassy-woody accord of dry herbs and middle phase woods. I don’t smell sandalwood, unless it is part of the perfume’s cedar accord (many perfumes that claim to include sandalwood “notes” usually have more cedar than detectable milky-rosey santal, not an unusual thing, with sandalwood in extremely limited supply these days). The perfume’s feeling of moisture grows, as it warms and melds with skin, leading to the perfume’s final stages, as its amber base emerges.

I think Real Patchouly’s base is especially appealing, but then, I have met few ambers that I don’t like. It is soft, in that it feels like a warm blanket, yet muscular, built on an incense accord, with frankincense blending with earthy myrrh, not a listed ingredient, but definitely detectable, another forest-y scent in the mix, and a benzoin/labdanum purr that probably contributes to the perfume’s tobacco accord, as well as laying out the amber elements of the perfume’s later stages. It reminds me of opening a fresh can of rolling tobacco, a scent that always makes this former self-roller’s spine tingle a little. Then its patchouli darkens, and deepens, its chocolate tones showing an almost fluffy, diffused quality, that reminds me of the intoxicating scent of cocoa powder, a lovely place for the perfume to land, as it shifts between benzoin-inflected tobacco, and patchouli cocoa dust, through its final, long-lasting end stages.

Lovers of both fresh and dry spicy Orientals will, probably, love this perfume, as it starts dry but finishes rich and damp. I do not put it, exactly, in the “patchouli and only patchouli” box, but, it has enough dank, weedy, swampy patchouli to please patch lovers, and it has enough extra trimmings to keep its patchouli interesting. It smells, and behaves, like a golden-to-shadowy-dark-brown olfactory rendering, of a Mark Rothko painting, or Brian Eno and David Bowie’s elegiac “Warzsawa” from the gorgeous ambient side of their groundbreaking first collaboration on Bowie’s Low—smoothly shifting gears between the two, a dark lullaby that makes wearing this perfume especially pleasant at bedtime.

Bois 1920’s nomenclature is sometimes confusing to me (what, exactly, does “Sushi Imperial” even mean? I love that perfume, but I am glad it doesn’t smell like fish—some things that smell and taste delicious wouldn’t make very appealing perfumes), and I am not sure what the “real” in “Real Patchouly” signifies, as the name suggests a simpler perfume than this is. As I wrote in the opening of this review, it lives in the same space as Lutens’ great Borneo, with some obvious references to Chergui, especially its judicious use of benzoin, a material in which I could drink, bathe, or, quite happily drown, like a bug in brandy in a big bronze cup, to paraphrase the great Andy Partridge, although Chergui is sweeter, and has nubbly hay absolute in its herbal accord. It also reminds me of 19-69’s Chinese Tobacco, one of Chergui’s many perfume progeny that I just tried, and really enjoyed.

I prefer Real Patchouly for day wear in cooler months, as its sepia tones suit gloomy days like the late January afternoon on which I am writing this, especially well. It is also one of my favorite bedtime perfumes, year-round, its
cocoa and benzoin make it an excellent comfort scent. Its versatility is one of the best reasons I believe it delivers excellent value-for-money, along with its performance, as it has outstanding longevity, 24 hours and then some, and good projection, that isn’t overpowering, but is noticeable at a distance of at least six feet. My bottle is aging well, I think the opening has grown smoother, and it is displaying more complexity, the longer I have owned, worn, it. I love this perfume, and I hope this review will lead some readers to giving it a try. Four solid stars, hovering on an extra half, as I am finding something new nearly every time I wear it, and two coppery-bronze thumbs up.
29th January, 2021
I don't like this patchouly at all. It smells very bitter and it doesn't even smell like real patchouly at all to my nose.
18th October, 2018
One of the dullest patchouli's I've ever tried, at least if we refer to niche market. Initially it smells of, well, patchouli (in the palest, most conventional, most artificial and static meaning ever) with smoky, woody and ambery nuances: pleasant, if it lasted for more than 10 minutes. Then it mutates into an ambery scent with some Iso E to provide woodiness and possibly a faint vague feel of incense. Basically anything a designer scent could do at a fraction of this price (I recall Vento di fiori by this same house which was hilariously identical to Terre d'Hermès, they seem secretly fond of designers' mainstream market).

05th October, 2014 (last edited: 06th October, 2014)
Although this is in the same general family as Mazzolari's Patchouly, that is, an amber-patchouli combination, I find Real Patchouly to be quite different on several points. First of all, Real Patchouly opens with a bit of a surprise - a lemony, astringent edge akin to the snapped stalk of raw rhubarb. This citric, stalky note provides a much-needed freshness and lift to the clay-like patchouli that follows on its heels. It also projects that feeling of freshness for a good stretch until it is met in the middle by a handful of green spices and herbs that carry the scent all the way to the end - celery seeds and artemsia are most notable.

Patchouli is joined almost immediately by a thick, resinous amber that feels almost dopey in its sensuality. The ever present undercurrent of spicy/herbal accents bubbling underneath brings the amber within touching distance of Ambre Sultan, but this is gentler. The dry down of the perfume is a protracted dance between the amber, patchouli, and herbal accents, but there is a touch or two of dry, unsmoked tobacco leaves too. The far dry down is a far more mundane affair, the usual amber resins left high and dry on the skin and all - but to be fair, it does take a long time to get to the far dry down and I enjoy the ride thoroughly.

This is a great alternative to Ambre Sultan, because Ambre Sultan dies away after only four hours, and this has pretty much the same great smell for longer. I have a slight preference for Real Patchouly over Mazzolari's Patchouly too - they are similar to a point, but I find the herbal and spice accents add more interest. It has an almost hot, herbal, incense feel that is more austere than Mazzolari's Patchouly, which is unremittingly toffee-like, sweet and rich all the way through. But they are both great.
11th August, 2014
Genre: Woods

Real Patchouly doesn't bother much with the typical citrus topnotes. Instead, it goes right on as a surprisingly tart, brisk, and maybe even "salty" patchouli that rests on a warm, yeasty base. There are a good deal of dry amber and some prickly herbs in the mix too, but the resulting accord is much less thick and dark than the patchouli heavyweights from Mazzolari, Profumum or the Comme des Garcons Luxe line. Real Patchouli is also lighter and more woody than the sweet, viscous amber and patchouli blend that grounds, say, Ambre Sultan.

Real Patchouli remains fairly linear over the first couple hours of wear, after which point the amber moves forward and sweetens, then finally becomes dominant in the extended drydown. While it's certainly sensual, this is not one of the more animalic or earthy patchoulis on the market. On the contrary, Real Patchouli emphasizes the drier, woody aspect of the patchouli note. It strikes me as quite wearable, yet not as timid or apologetic as the polite patchouli in L'Artisan Parfumeur's Patchouli Patch. All told, this is a worthy alternative in the range of patchouli-dominated niche fragrances.

25th June, 2014
I can see why everyone likes this so much. It's a nice patchouli given subtle depth by a chypre arrangement and sweetened into a purple sort of smell by some kind of fruity resin. Then, a strong sawdusty sandalwood note comes in and fuses with both the chypre ingredients and the patchouli to give an old-school woody quality that's quite addictive. In the base, a surprising vanilla comes in, which melds with the resins and woods to create a smoky mossy amber smell that's also quite nice.

Unfortunately, I've got a problem. That sweet resin and the sandalwood that both support the patchouli so well don't really work well together - on me, they combine to create a sweet fish food/hamster cage pet store smell that I usually associate with low-grade natural perfumes. Try as I could to appreciate Real Patchouli despite the pet store smell, I just couldn't get over it, so I found it to be a great perfume ruined by a small but unforgivable misstep. Oh well, more for everyone else...
08th January, 2013

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Bois 1920 Real Patchouly EDT 100 ml

EE • Buy it now: USD 165.00.

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