Patchouli, baby: The new “it” scent?

patchouliLooking over a recent post on the Now Smell This blog, I noticed two items, right on top of each other, announcing new patchouli scents. One was from Tom Ford, Patchouli Absolu, and listed just after it, Patchouliful, from Laboratorio Olfattivo. As these things go, can a third be far behind? In my mind’s eye (ear?), I can picture Mike Myers in “Austin Powers” dabbing some on and saying, “Patchouli, baby — it’s where it’s at!”

No way to try the LO yet, but on a trip to the big city last week, I did dab on a bit o’ the Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu. It started out rather nicely and I was thinking, “Hey, this could be a winner.” But not two minutes in, a plume of something harsh and chemical, definitely channeling oud, popped out on my skin, took over, and that was all she wrote. The oud onslaught never really faded, but thankfully, I’d only applied a dab and it was muted enough without grabbing for the heavy-duty liquid Tide for scrubbers.

I was most disappointed, however, because I really like guaic wood, amber and tonka bean, so I thought the scent might have had more to say, but obviously not to me and my oud-hating skin. I’m hoping that some of you have experienced better luck with this.

Oddly enough, oud is not listed among its notes, but perhaps some alchemy among the players created that effect. So methinks I’ll let my DH try a little. Hopefully his skin won’t conjure oud like mine did. And if it does, into the perfume graveyard it goes.

Notes per Luckyscent: Bay leaf, rosemary, moss, patchouli oil, patchouli coeur, patchouli Clearwood, guaic wood, cypriol, violet wood, cashmere woods, tonka bean, amber, musks, leather

It’s still a little early to be wearing patchouli (for me at least, with 85-degree temps still hovering), but this did give me pause to think of my favorite patch scents for when chilly temps descend for good.

At the top of my list is the fabulous Chanel Coromandel, so luscious, near-edible and elegant that I doubt anything could topple it from its patchouli pedestal. Right behind, ready for a bit more playfulness, is its sort-of little sister, Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights. Atelier Cologne’s Mistral Patchouli is quite nice as well. And if memory serves, I remember liking Tom Ford’s now-discontinued Purple Patchouli back in the day.

So do share: What are your favorite patchouli fragrances? Or what patchoulis are you looking forward to trying?

  • Neva says:

    I can have patchouli only combined with the rose like in Lady Vengeance or Vengeance Extreme, or in Heeley’s Hippie Rose. Otherwise it’s way too strong for my taste.

  • Jim says:


    Love Italian Cypress! Also love patchouli…especially Mazzolari patch.

  • Ann says:

    Thanks, everyone! Love all the patchouli suggestions and comments — you guys are great! Alas,we are having a mini middle school crisis and I won’t be able to comment on everyone’s posts like normal, but please know that I read them all and do so appreciate all of you on here. Hugs. Ann

  • Musette says:

    Hi, sweetie! I admit to not giving patch very much thought – though I do have a little patchouli plant! When it’s plump and fresh it doesn’t smell very patch-y; when the leaves dry out is when it gets that hippie-dippy thing! 😀 xoxoxoA

  • Gwenyth says:

    I love, love, love Patchouli, but I like my Patchouli to be a little bit “tamed”. To my nose, and on my skin, Tom Ford’s Patchouli Absolue is a little harsh. It doesn’t drydown well….with my chemistry, at least. Others may love it.

    My favorite patchouli-centric scent is the glorious Coromandel.
    Other loves are Reminiscence Patchouli, Molinard Patchouli Intense, Mazzolari Patchouli, Bois 1920 Real Patchouly, Prada by Prada, Montale Patchouli Leaves, M. Micallef Patchouli, L’Artisan Voleur de Roses and Les Néréides Patchouli Antique.

    I would dearly love to find some S. Lutens Borneo 1834 —- but it seems to have vanished. I can’t find it anywhere online 🙁

    • Julie L says:

      Hello! Could you give me some insight about the Molinard?? I’ve read the notes on all of the Molinard scents with patch, trying to decide which one I’ll like best. I love all patchouli and crave ’em 🙂

  • Julie L says:

    Patchouli always HAS been “the note” for me! 🙂 Anyone wanting to get rid of their patch stash just give me a ring!! Lol! Next on my list is Molinard’s patchouli’s. I’ve heard they’re very nice and right up my alley, price wise.

  • JanLast says:

    Agonist Arctic Jade’s patchouli is most evident after the first rush of tart fruit, very nice indeed. Andrea Maack does some amazing feats with her scents. Coal is a leather patchouli heaven. Balmain also gives the combination of leather & patchouli a good run.
    I think I like patchouli in combination, but, as a child of the sixties, perhaps the scents with patchouli are not in my got to haves.

  • calypso9999 says:

    Luxe Patchouli by Comme des Garcons: potent, dark, mysterious, sweet, smokey, incense-y–adds really powerful patchouli plus fenugreek and resins–fabulous. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it scent, I adore it.

  • maneki says:

    I’m not very fond of patchouli, in fact I now often try to avoid it if I see it listed as a prominent note in a perfume. Despite that I’ve managed to get three samples of patchouli fragrances — Le Labo’s and two from Molinard — in my small stash of perfume samples (I’m new to niche perfume so I haven’t sniffed my way through that many samples yet). One of these days I’ll have to try and find a new home for them, it’d be nice to get to swap them for something I’d enjoy more.

    I don’t doubt my attitude towards patchouli might change one day because that’s how taste works, it changes and evolves, but right now it’s not for me at all.

  • Well, judging from the number of positive comments, I think I will have to get a sample of Coromandel. I love patch and have a lot of different ones; my faves are Patchouli Antique and DSH Vintage Patchouli. I also love Borneo 1834. Just yesterday, I sampled the much-admired Santa Maria Novella Patchouli, but it was so camphorous for me, and had so little of what I consider the patchouli leaf that I veered away from it. Wish I had some TF Purple Patch to try.

  • rosarita says:

    I love patchouli in all forms and Coromandel, Fancy Nights, Patchouli Antique, Montale Patchouli Leaves are some favorites among many others. This summer I discovered En Voyage Go Ask Alice which features green patchouli, it’s great.

  • solanace says:

    Coromandel, baby!

  • katrin says:

    Hi Ann! I’m not that fond of patchouli, but I love the way it’s peeking through in Guerlain’s Philtre d’Amour. There is no patchouli listed in the somewhat heavier, but delicious Poudre d’Epices from Sinfonia di Note, but I can smell it there too!

  • Jennifer Smith says:

    I think my most off the wall patch scent is Ka’ Ati by Amazongreen. I also have Demeter ‘s and Fancy Nights,Angel EDP mini, and A*men. Prada Amber and A Scent by Costume National are good too. And Un Rose by F. Malle is downright GORGEOUS!

  • Maya says:

    I am a lover of florals but patchouli is a very very close second. Right now I’m happy with Heeley – Hippie Rose. Atelier Cologne – Mistral Patchouli, and Nobile 1942 – Patchouli Nobile. Oops, almost forgot, Lush – Karma. Does rubbing a leaf from a patchouli houseplant and then smelling your fingers count?

  • So far of the 18 samples I’ve gotten (as I delve into the world of perfume), only 6 have patchouli listed as a note: L’artisan’s Aedes de Venustas, L’Eau de Ambre Extreme, Fou d’Absinthe, Timbuktu; Atelier’s Blanche Immortelle, and Hermes L’amber des Merveilles. Coincidentally those are all my 6 least favorite (Fou d’Absinthe and Timbuktu are okay…) I assumed it was the Amber – but perhaps it’s the patchouli. I’m not quite sure what that note smells like. I’ll have to keep trying more things and see if this trend continues!

  • Portia says:

    Hey there Ann,
    I really love Coromandel, Fancy nights and Borneo 1834. Have you ever spent time with Patchouli Intense by PdN? I like that one too.
    Something tells me Tom Ford is not as involved with his line of fragrance anymore. It’s all feeling a bit rushed and slapdash.
    Portia x

  • stina says:

    I got a small sample of Patchouli Absolu this weekend, and had almost the same experience you did. The top notes were gorgeous – a beautiful rich brown patchouli – but then something harsh and pungent leaped out and the whole thing fell apart. On me it smelled like wickedly strong cheap hairspray.

    After a couple of hours it modulated into a not-so-bad oud, and the drydown was pleasant enough. That middle section was enough to cauterize sinuses within a ten-foot radius, though!

    My skin doesn’t usually have a problem with oud; I have a small decant of Mona di Orio Oud that I’m doling out drop by drop, and the Kilian ouds work well for me.

  • poodle says:

    Patchouli Antique, Patchouli Imperiale, Fancy Nights, and a bunch of others. I had trouble with patchouli for a while but my nose has learned to appreciate it I guess. There are still a few that smell moldy on me but for the most part I’ve made friends with the note.

  • Kismet429 says:

    Love patchouli! i profumi di Firenze Dolce Patchouly is one of my faves, as is SL Borneo 1834. My current go-to that I wore all summer is Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli, which to my nose doesn’t really smell like patch at all. It might be a great place to start if you’re patchouli-phobic.

  • Caroline says:

    Can’t handle Coromandel, it’s like a big patchouli hammer bashing me over the head. I like the note as a supporting player only. Spritzed on some Profumo this autumnal afternoon–pretty sure patch (and everything but the kitchen sink) is in this one!

  • carole says:

    I was spooled by Suzanne-she gave me April Aromatics Bohemian Spice, which is a whole new take on patch. Rich, deep, satisfying-it’s just mind blowing. Totally recommend trying it-blame Suzanne for your credit card bill 🙂

  • Diana says:

    I call Ambre Fetiche my hippy amber because it has some patchouli going on. Its one of my favorite winter scents.

  • tati says:

    I love, love, love patchouli. My favorite is Reminiscence, which I’ve been wearing for ten years, but it is a powerful, night-time scent, IMO. So I’ve been looking for lighter versions to wear more informally. Two that I like are Patchouly Rosso by i profumi di Firenze and Etro Patchouli. I’ve used up my Coromandel sample and will be getting a FB this month.

    • Julie L says:

      Ahhh yes! Rem patchouli is the bomb!…right behind the QUEEN_Coromandel! Umm….I have a giant bottle of Fancy Nights and use that for regular daytime use so as to spare the Good Stuff 🙂

  • wefadetogray says:

    I don’t know much about patchouli. It is one of those notes I want to explore this winter so I can learn about it. One perfume I love that has patchouli is L’ombre Fauve by PG which smells like wet sweet furry earthy goodness if that makes any sense. I tried Coromandel last year and it had this dusty powdery chocolate dryness I couldn’t tolerate.

    • Ann says:

      Must try that one — thanks! It’s funny that the “dusty, powdery, chocolate dryness” of Coromandel that bugs you, on my skin, turns into something I love.