Dear to the history of perfumery, the patchouli has been honored in our Collection since its inception. This plant from Indonesia has fascinated and inspired noses for several decades. A symbol of freedom, the perfume of patchouli is revealed in a thousand and one ways. Discover the origin of this iconic ingredient and our best fragrances with patchouli…
What is patchouli?
Profile of a perfume plant: patchouli from Indonesia
Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, patchouli is a shrub about one meter high. Carried by a hairy stem, this plant produces white flowers with purple shades. It also has large downy leaves that resemble those of the mint. In its natural state, patchouli has no odor. It is necessary to proceed to the drying of the leaves to begin to smell its so characteristic perfume. Patchouli is used for medicinal purposes, in cooking and even in magic to promote financial success or love! Still today, it is grown in Indonesia but also in China and the Philippines.
The essential oil of patchouli
The perfume of patchouli still inspires as its essence is one of the most used natural raw materials in the fragrance industry. Each year, the world production of patchouli essential oil is around 1500 tons, 90% of which comes directly from Indonesia. To obtain it, the first step is to dry the leaves of the plant for a few days in the shade, taking care that they do not ferment. Then, the leaves are treated by steam distillation for several hours. This proceed allows the perfumer to obtain the precious essence of essence, rich in facets.
Did you know that? It takes 250 kg of fresh leaves to obtain 50 kg of dry patchouli, from which we can extract 1 kg of essential oil.
What is the fragrance of patchouli?
The oil extracted from the patchouli leaf is concentrated to about 40% of an odorant molecule: patchoulol. This molecule contains a woody note, as well as resinous, earthy and humid emanations drawn from its roots. Patchouli can evoke musty nuances reminiscent of overripe apples or wine corks. For the perfumer, it’s all a question of dosage and association to bring out its different facets in a composition.
The appearance of patchouli in perfumery
From mothballs to home perfume
The origin of patchouli in perfumery is quite surprising. Thanks to their anti-moth and anti-vermin properties, patchouli leaves were introduced to Europe via the Silk Road. During the Second Empire, the demand for silk exploded in France. Fabrics from India and Indonesia began to be imported. To protect them from moths during their travel by boat, the shawls were wrapped in patchouli leaves. They were then displayed in the stores of the beautiful Parisian districts. Some scarves are more successful than others… Women choose them not for their patterns, but for their smell. They would choose fabrics impregnated with the scent of patchouli!
The origins of patchouli perfume
Patchouli then entered the perfume industry. It was quickly associated with the « demi-mondaines », these women called “cocottes” and who were looked after by wealthy Parisians. Sometimes too heavily dosed, but above all very daring, patchouli will remain for a long time associated with the expression “ça cocotte” in French, to denigrate its olfactory power, but above all the women who wore it!
Patchouli perfume became synonymous with seduction thanks to its bewitching smell. Noses use it as a fixative for more volatile notes, thanks to its power of stability. For fear of weighing down compositions too much, it is still shy. It was not until 1917 that François Coty gave it pride of place in Chypre, which opened the way to a new olfactory family. Patchouli is found alongside bergamot and oakmoss in particular.
The essence of patchouli: the birth of a symbol
It was in the 1960s and 1970s that the perfume of patchouli became iconic. The entire hippie generation bought small vials filled with patchouli essence. It is often of poor quality and usually very (very) powerful! If it embodies a new spirituality from the East and sexual liberation, its extract is often used to cover the emanations of another well-known herb of the time… Subversive, it becomes the emblem of a protesting youth who advocates peace, freedom and travel. Men and women were perfumed with patchouli.
Overdosed, the woody scents of this patchouli too powerful will eventually tire. It almost disappeared from the compositions to give way to fresher and marine scents in the 80s. The tropical plant made a comeback in the early 90s. This time, the ingredient is associated with more gourmand notes. Since then, patchouli scent has inspired designers who have made it the central accord of magnificent perfumes for women but also for men. Still today the patchouli perfume does not leave anyone indifferent.
What will be your patchouli perfume?
The perfume of patchouli has inspired us since the creation of Carrément Belle. So much so that there are 3 fragrances based on this addictive ingredient…
Ippi patchouli, a timeless fragrance
The eau de parfum ippi patchouli is our first creation, and it’s still our customers’ favorite since 1988. The earthy, woody notes of patchouli essence illuminate a sweet tuberose. It then blends with the warm and musky scent of labdanum in a mesmerizing fragrance!
Kilim: the oriental patchouli perfume
Kilim, our second patchouli fragrance, unveils a more oriental formula. The sweet zest of an orange makes the resinous notes of patchouli sparkle and warms up in the camphorated and spicy scent of clove leaves. Bursting with sunshine, patchouli is more fruity than earthy… Let’s escape!
Ippi patchouli clair: gourmand and sunny
A few years ago, we created ippi patchouli clair. In homage to its elder brother, its heart is still woody and raw. But it starts out fresher with citrus and solar notes. The raw nuances of patchouli then melt deliciously into a more gourmand wake thanks to praline.
A set of patchouli perfumes: we say YES!
Want to find the best patchouli perfume but too difficult to choose between these 3 essences? La Patchouli Addict‘s box is for you! In its pretty colored wrapper, this patchouli perfumed set contains the bottles of ippi patchouli, ippi patchouli clair and kilim in a 100ml format.
Create your own gourmand patchouli fragrance
Our little tip for creating a unique, woody and gourmand wake: mix the vanille and ippi patchouli eaux de parfum directly on your skin. And to learn more about perfume layering, check out our dedicated article.
What is the best patchouli fragrance in your opinion?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article