15 of the best patchouli scents
Normally, at this time of year, we're talking about our favourite rose perfumes, or the best citrusy fragrances for the warmer months. However, if you want to change things up, there's another scent we could be paying some more attention to: patchouli.
It sounds odd. It's not like we see glossy ads telling us to spritz patchouli all the time. But it's in a lot of well-known fragrances. Chances are, you even own one that features notes of it...
What is patchouli?
Patchouli is a fragrant, bushy plant that is a member of the mint family and found in Asia. Patchouli oil is extracted from the dried leaves of the plant through steam distillation for various reasons, one of them being perfume.
What does it smell like?
Patchouli has an earthy, musky, sweet and spicy scent. Fragrances which feature a lot of it are considered woody oriental perfumes. It is very powerful, so is normally used as a long-lasting base note in perfumes.
The effects of patchouli
Patchouli oil is an essential oil that is said to soothe inflammation and repel insects. In 2009, researchers at the Nara University of Education in Japan also looked into the psychological effects. They measured levels of cortisol (a hormone released by the body in times of stress) and found that patchouli has anti-stress effects in men and women. What a bonus!
It sounds familiar...
If you know of patchouli, it is probably because of its widespread association with hippie culture in the 1960s. Given that the oil was strong and all-natural, it was favoured over more commercial perfumes during the Environmental Movement of the time. And as writer Kathryn Hindess described in an article for Lush, the ‘love generation’ enjoyed it for another reaon. "Not only is it endorsed for its ability to relieve stress, but also for its potency when it comes to increasing libido, “ she wrote.
Patchouli often gets a bad rap because of its associaton with this 60s counterculture. It was extremely popular then, but there are still plenty of patchouli perfumes around now!
If you love patchouli, we’ve gathered up a selection of some of the best. (And if you don’t fancy it as much, we’ve mixed in a few that are blended with other notes - so aren’t quite as overwhelming!)
Maybe you'll find one you like...