Patchouli is probably one of the most misunderstood scents out there. When you hear or think about the fragrance, “earthy” might come to mind (and possibly not in the most positive light) or perhaps you associate it with the hippie era due to its popularity in the ’60s. But patchouli, which is native to tropical regions in Asia, has been used for centuries as an essential oil.
The scent is musky, a little sweet, and spicy all at once. It’s a strong, statement fragrance that’s not exactly for people who want to fly under the radar. And although it’s gotten an iffy rap in the past, that’s definitely changed in recent years. Now, you’ll find patchouli in many “sophisticated” and “chic” fragrances.
And it’s a fashion-girl favorite. We’ve seen it on the vanities of many influencers, and even our own editor in chief, Kat Collings, is a fan. “I remember when I selected Le Labo’s Patchouli scent over its more popular perfumes like Thé Noir and Santal 33, the shopkeeper gave me a nod approval, saying it was a special and rare choice,” Collings says. “I, of course, let this go straight to my head, but it truly is an exceptional perfume. I find it to be a rather androgynous scent with notes of leather, smoke, and vanilla. The actual patchouli is very subtle too, nothing like the stereotypical patchouli scent associated with hippies.”
Want to give a patchouli fragrance a try? These are some of our favorites: