Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Patchouli Problem

I admitted recently that I’ve given up trying to like vetiver and leather fragrances (aside from Tom Ford Tuscan Leather and some old classics that don’t register as Leather with a capital L on me like Bandit and Cabochard). You can add cedar to that list, too. Cedar is the reason I’m not enthused about a number of Serge Lutens fragrances which are considered among his very best (Bois de Violette, Feminite de Bois). But these notes; vetiver, leather and cedar I just do not like. They don’t blend with my body chemistry; they stick out, smell awful and bother me.

One note I have a strange conundrum with is patchouli. I love the scent of patchouli. I crave patchouli, almost like I crave chocolate. I find patchouli to be warm, earthy, resinous, sweet, balsamic, multi-layered and just plain amazing. I could wear straight-up patchouli oil, if my mind would let me. In fact, I used to wear patchouli oils way back in the early 90’s when I was a kid going through a hippie phase. It was about ’90 or ’91 and I was, rather typical of a 19-20 year old, trying to figure myself by putting on various personae’s; so I dove into the whole hippie/love your mother/Grateful Dead scene for about 1 year. I wore a patchouli-rose oil purchased from Arsenic & OId Lace in Porter Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sometimes I wore straight patchouli oil and other times I mixed it with myrrh and frankincense. After about 10 months of being a hippie; wearing anklets and jewelry that jingled, long flowy bright skirts and not shaving my legs, I was quickly over the whole scene. The hippie thing was not for me. First of all, I couldn’t stand The Grateful Dead, it was a combination of the music and their scene (their followers) that drove me nuts. All those people living out of VW vans, following The Dead from show to show, cooking falafel, speaking with accents that were a mixture of California and Vermont (a unique twang all its own) and reeking of the obligatory patchouli and pot combination just got under my skin and made me want to don a conservative suit and go to Harvard B School.

So...to this day, when I smell patchouli I think of hippies and pot. My conundrum is that I love patchouli and so many patchouli prominent fragrances are fantastic. A few years ago, I think it was 2007; I was traveling with a colleague in his car to an offsite meeting. After being alone together in the car for about 5 minutes he asked if I was wearing patchouli. I was, indeed, wearing a patchouli-rich scent, it was Chanel Coromandel. This comment ruined Coromandel for me. I still absolutely love it to pieces, but I feel conspicuous when I wear it, like it signifies I’m hiding a grow room in the basement of my home. Since 2007 I don’t think I have worn any of my favorite patchouli scents in public. No more Coromandel, no Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, no il Profumo Patchouli Noir, no Keiko Mecheri Patchoulissime, no Tom Ford Purple Patchouli and no Prada (in the pink box).

I ask you: what’s a gal to do? If you like patchouli as much as I do, do you wear it often? Do you have any hang-ups about it? Do you think the public at large smells patchouli and thinks of hippies and pot? I would love to begin wearing all my favorite patchouli scents in public again, but I need some reassurance...or perhaps you agree and don’t wear patchouli to the office or in mixed company either. I love patchouli and I'm stumped.


Tamara*J said...

Hey baby!
Ahhh the patch' problem.
I love it too and struggle with kinda the same mindf***. Everytime I wear something patch' based my hubby says "You smell like surfer Dave." Surfer Dave is a old aging construction worker hippie that he works with and smokes with.
And apparently I stink like him. Which makes me feel unattractive when I wear it around him cause I don't want to smell like surfer Dave. I too think patchouli is earthy, resinous and seductive and I still love to wear scents that are patch-based but yes it bugs me that people think it's dirty and stinky.It sucks.
I still need to find my patch HG but there are many I've yet to try but I will continue to search cause I refuse to not wear it.
You should still wear what you find pleasing , no matter what people think, even if what they think is "Surfer Dave" LOL
I adore Borneo but need to try Coromandel and Purple Patchouli and Patchouli Noir!
Darn it, should I have gotten Patchoulissime??
Ahhh the lemmings.;)


Josephine said...

Abigail, I, too, love patchouli. I've burnt through a bottle of Borneo, but can't bring myself to buy another. Patchouli phases come in waves for me. I wore Spiritual Sky patchouli oil in the 70's and 80's, hoping I would smell like a hippy druggy because I grew up in such a conservative environment. Olfactory rebellion, I guess you could say.

Patchouli is such a love or hate scent that I now choose carefully where I wear it. And it's nostalgic, too, so I have to be in exactly the right mood.

Know there's a lot of us patchouli geeks our here.

Abigail said...

Hey T,

Well, I'm happy for the reassurance but smelling like Surfer Dave doesn't sound great! That is exactly what I think when I'm wearing patchy scents - that everyone around me thinks I'm surfer Dave. Arghghgh. Why did the stinky hippies have to overtake such a glorious aroma? WHY?!

In my mind I think that I should do as you say -- to wear what pleases me and not worry about it, but I feel too conspicuous with my little patchy gems. I overspritz patchy stuff around the house on occasion, to make up for my no-patch-zone public personae... but I would love it if the Surfer Dave/Hippie vibe would suddenly be removed from everyone's subconscious ((poof, gone!))

Abigail said...

Oh, and PS: yes, you should try KM Patchoulissime. It's very straight forward patch, but it's also airy and sheer in it's own way. I LOVE it. L'Artisan Patchouli Patch is similar but I like the KM more.
il Profumo Patchouli Noir and Prada edp (pink box) are quite similar. They are like candied patchouli to my nose.
Coromandel is a masterpiece. It is, like all the Chanel Exclusifs, fairly sheer, but it's probably the most tenacious of the whole line. Coromandel has more than patchouli going on but overall the main thrust is patch. But also chocolate and vanilla...yummmm...it's so good (but not gourmand, it's your basic oriental).

Abigail said...

Well, thanks for your thoughts. I imagine there are loads of us who love patchouli because it's simply amazing - the depth and complexity - oh, so good. Funny that you chose to wear it as a form of rebellion :)

I'm too old for rebellion now so that's why I wear my patch scents in secret. It's a sad state of affairs :(

brian said...

I guess I feel the same way. Patch is one of the few things besides a straight up white floral I feel kind of self-conscious wearing in unknown public terrain. I love the patch you sent me, is it il profumo? So chocolatey thick and tasty. But I wear it in secret.

FruitDiet said...

Abigail, you need to wear your patchouli shamelessly. There are very few people that ACTUALLY dislike the smell of it- everyone's just TRAINED to. People are TRAINED to associate the smell of patchouli with these supposed "dirty hippies", but in my observation "dirty hippies" long ago quit wearing it. All the "dirty hippies" I know are just as apt to complain about the smell of patchouli as anyone else. I just find a big cloud of patchouli so sexy, even when it's just the oil- especially in Texas summer heat. I started wearing patchouli oil at fifteen, so very early on I became immune to the comments of boring people. Everybody interesting told me I smelled good. And if you call people out for only disliking patchouli because there are, like, jokes about it smelling bad on television, it kind of freaks them out and makes them reconsider it. Angel is half patchouli, and I get effusive compliments on that whenever I wear it (and no one ever suspects that it might be a women's fragrance, either). The key to not conveying a hippie image with patchouli is having a sort of forceful personality with it. If you're sharp as a dagger with it, then it's very becoming- if you convey the dirty hippie stereotype of "I'm just this chill laid back person" then it's bad news.

I dunno, I just consider that whole "patchouli=bad" thing to be so completely over. It's true that people feel entitled to complain loudly whenever they detect patchouli. In these situations you just have to explain to them that patchouli hatred is so 20 years ago and they're really behind the times, and that it smells good and everyone who isn't an uptight control freak likes it and that they should consider it outside of its hippie associations. Also remind them that head shops are the GREATEST SMELLING PLACES ON EARTH so why the hell would you not want to smell like one?

Angela Cox said...

I used to wear it and still do , I don't care if anyone thinks I'm an old hippy . I won't say it's my favourite but it is dark, woody and deep .Then I like cedar too , my daughter left her Karisma pencils by the computer and I just inhaled ..lovely.

Ines said...

I love patchouli and wear fragrances containing it without any worries.
Although, I think I'm lucky in that regard as I live in Europe and just don't seem to be having the hippy problem hovering in the back of my mind. And besides, no one really comments much on perfume around me, one way or the other so I never feel self-conscious regarding it but I do try and not wear sillage monsters to work. :)

Junelady (Marie) said...

Wear patchouli and be proud!

I think it's all a matter of perspective, really. You probably pay way more attention to the patch comments you get and to all the comments that you don't get, if that makes sense. Many - myself included - will have no or few hippie associations connected with patchouli - or they won't care. Focus on those and the next time you wear Coromandel and someone asks you if you're wearing pacthouli, just answer, "No, it's Coromandel" or "yes, thank you" assuming it's a compliment, as fits your mood.

Personally, I'm only know learning 1) to identify patchouli and 2) to like it. Didn't appreciate too much at first because of the sweet, earth-like qualities - but I'm getting there and I will continue in that direction. Everything in moderation, but patchouli should not be kept in the closet.

waftbyCarol said...

I too love patchouli , and I am much older than you are . I lived as a teen in the sixties , yet never wore patchouli then !
Now I proudly wear patchouli , especially DSH Vintage Patchouly and also all the others you mention .
One day I went to the bank and the loan officer commented as I walked by ' oh I smell patchouli , it smells great "
I was startled , cuz I didn't think it had much throw...
Anyway , wear what you love .
BTW , I dislike all the notes you mention too , and for the same reasons...LOL !!

Isa said...

As I didn't have a hippie phase, I don't relate patchouli with all that, but I know many people do.
But some years ago I had my own problem with patchouli because I didn't like it. I hated Aromatics Elixir and now I think it's lovely!

I'm wearing État libre d'Orange Nombril Immense right now. Have you tried it? This is the perfume that changed my mind about patchouli, because it's very light.

And now I'm craving some Reminiscence Patchouli! LOL

Karin said...

Hey, for some people (i.e., those who comment when you walk by), that patchouli throwback may be a good thing! A nostalgic tie to the past. I bet the guy who commented on your Coromandel did so because he liked it. IMO, there's a difference between straight on patchouli oil (dark and pungent) and a very beautiful and masterfully blended Coromandel. I say, wear what you like, and who cares what everyone else thinks? :-)

To FruitDiet - take a trip to Vermont, Santa Cruz, or Berkeley if you want to find patchouli-wearing hippies. They're still there! Though, I wouldn't call them "dirty".

Olfacta said...

I lived in California, hung out in Laurel Canyon, etc, during the early 70's. People were still hippies, but it was all beginning to disintergrate and, let's face it, there just isn't anything peace 'n love about L.A. But that was where I encountered patchouli oil. I think it was popular because it was sold in head shops alongside the flavored rolling papers and bongs. I guess it isn't a bad-memories scent, it just seemed a little dated. Of course now lots of girls the age I was then wear it, which is amusing to me. The patchoulis used in perfumes are different from that old oil, but still register "patchouli." In mixes, I love it, like Rose d'Homme from Rosine, but understand your not wanting to wear it in public. I wear those perfumes (there are many, the civety skank monsters, super-strong tuberoses) to sleep or when working by myself. Coromandel is definitely one of those.

Spiritual Sky! I used to buy their incense.

Natasha said...

I feel exactly the same way. I went to school in Greenwich Village and the "head shops" (I am dating myself) all reeked of patch. I like many many scents that contain a large dose of patch and I like wearing them, but after a while all I can think of is "head shop" which ruins the entire experience for me. And I certainly don't want to smel like a head shop or flower child.

I really really wish I did not have this unpleasant association because I adore Boreno, but almost never wear it.

Zanne said...

Hey, A! Oy, kindred spirit, surf the patchouli waves like a Bandit! When scent-questing, I hunt-all-hungry for patchouli in the base notes because, like it does for you, this stuff just MAGICS the juice it invades and straight up sets my mind on FIRE - Oh endless ODES to frantic patchouli-drunk inhales!! It's the elemental Essence of earth & sex & gluttonous breath.

All that said, I think that confident skin tames and wields it, & that's You - in spades! :)

So, fellow Patchouli-Whisperer, here's to indulging those cravings with Abandon!


Z :)

Abigail said...

Hey everyone,

You are making me feel better in that I'm definitely not the only one with this problem!

The hippie/head shop associations with patchouli are simply a SHAME.

And, I don't think enough time has passed, plus there are plenty of these stinky-hippie-pot-smoking types still wearing patch oil to this very day. If anyone has one of those food co-ops in their town, go there and just take a whiff!

I will try to wear my patchy scents proudly. I love them dearly. It's so sad to keep them in the closet :( I will try....

Elisa said...

Patchouli is one of my favorite perfume notes. I must have at least 10-15 perfumes where patchouli is a big component (though none of them have "patchouli" in the name). I have no hippie associations with it at all -- I did have some hippie wannabe friends in jr high and high school but I guess by then (the 90s) the patchouli thing was completely over.

This is very timely for me because I just figured out today that my coworker is hyperosmic to patchouli. She doesn't give me a hard time about it or anything, but she asked if I was wearing something with patchouli this morning, and I'm wearing Rossy de Palma, which has patchouli but is hardly a heavy-hitter like Angel. I asked her if it also smelled rosy and she was like, Nope, all I get is patchouli. Poor thing, half the stuff I wear probably smells like that to her, when I go to so much trouble to change it up. But whatever, I gotsta wear what I gotsta wear.

odonata9 said...

Wear it proudly! Angel is one of the top sellers of all time, so tons and tons of people everywhere are wearing patchouli all the time! I had the "dirty hippie" association too and when I first started getting into perfume, thought I didn't like patchouli. But then as I tried more and more scents with patchouli in them and realized I do like patchouli - not by itself and not too much of it, but it adds so much depth to a scent. My husband is super-sensitive to perfume of all types due to migraines (lucky me!) and will always notice when I'm wearing Coromandel and scrunch up his nose. I don't wear it that often, but it's perfect on chilly days.

RH said...

Hi, lurker here leaving a comment for the first time. While I don't love Patchouli as much as you do (though I like it ok, and don't have the hippie/headshop association as I was raised in Asia), I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments regarding leather and cedar and the Lutens... Everyone seems to go "mmmm" at leather and obviously it smells like luxury to them- but to me it's just straight nausea. I blame it on the fact that the cars I rode as a child had either leather/faux-leather seats and I hated how they smelled with the air fresheners and made me utterly carsick. *shudders* I can wear scents with very little of it... but anything that screams leather I will run away from.
Cedar just sours on me and it smells gross. Bleh.

Abigail said...

Ms. Zanne,
Patchouli really is the Ultimate in sexy-goodness, ain't it? Aside from the fact that patchouli oil is very strong and covers all other odors (ex. drugs :) I can see why those who lean toward the hippie persuasion adore the sexy-earthy aura it creates. It's intoxicating!

Thanks for de-lurking :)
To me, Leather scents smell like DEATH -- like dead animal pelts. I actually enjoy the smell of leather jackets and leather car seats but to wear the scent of death as a fragrance is simply impossible for me. Vetiver, on the other hand, always smells like a sour weedy disaster. Even the *good* vetivers - the one's which are considered the best like Sycomore and Lalique Encre Noir are a no-can-do for moi :)
Yeah, and cedar is for lining closets and drawers to ward off moths, not for fragrance (!) I love other woods -- such as sandalwood and just about all other woody scents -- but never cedar.

Ahhh! That sucks about your co-worker. I wouldn't imagine Rossy to register as "patchouli" to an innocent bystander so she much be hypersensitive.

You da bomb (dating myself, do you even remember this 90's expression?!)
I certainly CAN wear patchouli because I do have an assertive personality coupled with a very non-hippie flower child clothing style...but I still cringe...that those smelling it will think I have a GROW ROOM in my house! But you know, that whole hippie/Grateful Dead/patchouli connection if very much alive and well. Mostly because there are still loads of these people (even though Jerry died in mid 90's) milling around in San Francisco, Vermont, Santa Fe, NM, Boulder, CO and many other places. OH, man, they are alive and well and continuing to ruin the reputation of my beloved patchouli-elixirs.

Odonata9: I can wear Angel even though most consider it a patchy-bomb. On me it registers as so much more than patchouli - it's above all else a crAZY oriental with doses of patch but I can wear that one without anyone thinking I am covering the scent of marijuana :)

*jen said...

Abigail, put the daggone patch on and let loose! It smells AMAZING, as we all concur.

Hippie patchouli was usually mixed with musks, and cheap. How far is that from Coromandel, I ask? Decades. It's time to let the 60's go (I'm talking to all of the folks who smell us and think of hippies, here). :)

You weren't totally clear: did your coworker merely recognize your Coromandel as patch, or did he wrinkle his nose and roll down the window and call you Moonbeam all day? Because maybe he adored it. Or possibly you "fixed" him and now HE wears patchouli because he didn't know how amazing it could be before that fateful day!

But what do I know? I love vetiver and leather, too. :D


PS: surfer Dave smells awesome.

Abigail said...

Hey *jen,

I might not like leather and vetiver personaly but neither of those have *any* negative connotations -- so you lucked! :)

The colleague, back in '07, seemed a little amused that I would be wearing something patchouli-esque. He didn't wrinkle his nose exactly, but gave me the impression that he suddenly thought I had "another side" which no one in the office knew about, and he suddenly put a different label on me. Perhaps I imagined it all, perhaps I'm PARANOID!!! Totally possible.

EauMG said...

Wear it. I'm team patchouli. It's my favorite note. And sometimes I do wear it by its lonesome. And I hate hippies :)
My clean shaven legs/pits, J.Crew, and Diana Ross (in the Supremes) haircut keep people from mistaking me as a Grateful Dead or Hemp Fest fan.
I'm also on the West Coast and I sweat I'm the only non-pot smoker. So I guess I'm not paranoid that my co-workers, post man, barista think that I may have a grow lab. That would only make me cooler :)

queen_cupcake said...

I love patchouli and wear it often. FruitDiet said it very well: patchouli hate is over. I think of the Victorians who opened crates of lovely Indian fabrics to find patchouli leaves interspersed to keep moths away. Patchouli is a relative of mint, a renewable plant that cannot be endangered like sandalwood and others. I am not saying this to make you feel better; you can do that for yourself. Sorry, but the whole knock on hippies & patch really gets under my skin. And by the way, I knew real hippies, not Harvard Square posers from the 1990s.

brian said...

I'm sorry but I love any conversation where grow room gets bandied about--and with a link to a picture!

Tamara*J said...

Abigail, me and Surfer Dave will meet you in the grow room.


oytserfarblondjet said...

A country-girl (never a hippie although she has heard of hippies) thought my Yatagan was pa-too-lie. I guess it is broadly similar. Thoughts?

Abigail said...


I would never call Yatagan a prominently patchouli scent. It definitely has patchouli in the background, more or less as a basenote, but there's so much else going on in that one. I'm surprised your country girl friend picked up on the patch. Maybe she's a perfumista in disguise?

odonata9 said...

And I thought of a few more things after reading the comments. While I used to have the patchouli (straight up only) = hippie association, I never took it any further, thinking that it meant they had a grow room or were trying to cover up the smell of weed. I had never even thought of that until it was mentioned here, but I guess it does make sense since it is kinda strong. And I don't think most people do either - I think it's just a "patchouli equals hippie" thing, and just if it's super strong. I know a whole lot of people that smoke weed and not a single one of them wears patchouli. And I wear patchouli, along with so many other lovers of Coromandel, Borneo, etc. who don't!

Milou said...

Another old lurker here, team patchouli:
A paranoia-scenario is worth considering. Plenty of people claim hate for patchouli, because of the hippie-association. But then some of the very same people have complimented me for my choice of perfume - and I was wearing my favorite PG Intrigant Patchouli. Made me thinking the whole "hate-patchouli"-thing might be more fictional than real. I bet plenty of people claiming this wouldn't recognize it on you. Or is this because we don't have enough of surfer-Daves here in Sweden?
Im with you on the cedar and Lutens-thing, can't wear it.

greenlily61 said...

My sister works in Tucson, AZ, as a Hospice Nurse. In the course of her days she interacts with many people, from very old folks at the end of life,to grieving family members, etc. She always wears plain patchouli oil from the health food store, and she constantly receives compliments on it! Little old ladies ask her what that lovely fresh, soothing scent is that she wears. On her people perceive it as being professional, lovely and clean-smelling. Must be skin chemistry!

Flora said...

Abigail - Just wear vintage chypres where the patch is folded seamlessly into the mix while still contributing its character to the perfume without sticking out in any way. Rochas Femme or Houbigant Demi-Jour, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand the patchouli "dillemma". I personally can't stand the smell. It makes me nauseous. I know a lot of other people like me, as well. If I wore something that I knew was so love/hate, I would just refrain from wearing it in public. Patchouli up your home, but please don't impose it upon others!

For me, it's not even the association with hippies, it's just a truly repulsive scent. It's sort of like old people and mothballs, but much stronger.

I think of it the same way as I think of people using the word "gay" to mean "lame". No matter what your intentions, if it offends, you probably shouldn't do it.

This post is selfish on my behalf, because I would really appreciate some consideration as a sufferer of patchouli, but take it as you wish!

karen said...

Love the smell, love it in candles and on people, but on me, even just a bit in a multi layered scent, and I smell like the bottom of a hamster cage.
Alas, not for me.

queen_cupcake said...

Patchouli haters, please go away.

Joya Gabriel said...

Abigail, Wow! Patchouli... I bought a bottle of Patchouli Reminiscence while in Paris last November 2011. Patchouli is very distinctive - great depth, complex yet straight forward. It embodies strenght, elegance, and is erotically sophistocated. Patchouli is loved by those that are sophiscated and those that want to be sophistocated. Wear your Patch because there are many people who are unknowingly awaiting to experience something that's provocative and coveted. I love me some Patchouli.

Anonymous said...

I have always gravitated toward patchouli scents before I knew what patchouli was. My mother who was young in the 70's HATES it, and I have never understood why. Reading these comments, it looks like it's not so much the smell of patchouli that people are repelled by but the memories that are connected to it. Explains so much. I dont think people think it "stinks" but they just dont like the experience and memories it conjures for them.

Pauly said...

I work in retail and had a lot of people say "Are you wearing Patchouli? It smells good!" Same with concerts. Been to a lot of concerts and loved the smell, but never figured out what it exactly was untill I was driven in a taxu in the Florida Keys. Bashing hippies for the trademark smell is out right ignorant. It's a wonderful smell (personally), if worn in correct dosages, which can very easily overdo. The best thing to do is buy it aged,no less than 5 years. It's like Pink Floyd, you either like it or not.

Anonymous said...

'Arghghgh. Why did the stinky hippies have to overtake such a glorious aroma? WHY?!'

What a stinky comment.

JuJu Bean said...

Patchouli is the most GOD AWFUL smells in the world to me.... stench so awful it makes me want to retch! I can smell the tiniest amount in any fragrance that carries it and I refuse to ever buy or wear it. I don't know or care about the hippy factor and I am not influenced by any person or opinion in this matter. Why anyone at all would actually want to smell like this poison is beyond me... no, I don't get it, never have and never will. I could go on for much much longer about my passionate dislike for this but I'll save the space, because you get the idea.

jimj said...

I am a guy.I have always loved the scent of Patchouli on women.From back in the 70's as a teenager right up until now as a 52 year old.It's a very sexy scent.I M O.Can anyone tell me some of the popular perfumes from the 70's that contained Patchouli oil.There was one that was very popular,but I can't remember the name.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have discovered that I really adore the smell of patchouli. I was too young to be a hippie and don't care would people may or may not associate it with. I think of it as the scent which is so richly earthy and reminds me of forests in Europe. Beautiful stuff, but you tend to either like it or loathe it.

Donna note said...

Hi Greetings from London UK.
I first wore patchouli back in the early 70s...and some 30+ years later I am STILL wearing this perfume. It's my favourite, and i don't mind it when everyone in the room stares because they can smell it! I've had similar comments about 'hippies and dope' but the scent reminds me so much of my childhood/teen years and all the (much older) people i liked to hang out with back then. It takes me back to incredible times, like being at gigs and festivals. So, i wear it with pride, and i love it neat, but having read on here about mixing it with other perfume oils i think i might experiment!

Anonymous said...

i am pretty sure patch must smell different to different people. I didn't have any preconceived notions when i first ran into it as a teen, and it smelled like bo meets mildew. That is what it smells like to me, no joke. If I loved it, as you do, I would wear it when it didn't matter if my lover was repulsed, or my business associates likewise. Sort of like being political about our opinion...

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of patchouli, but also apart from these nasty looking antihistamine tablets it is the only thing that works well on my ezcema

Anonymous said...

I'm a 50 yr young bloke, and love the scent of patchouli. Am I strange in wearing it myself as a light scent? Or is it mainly considered a female scent?

Anonymous said...

"Patchouli" says, "I am 70+, was not a hippie "in the day" but with todays political climate I have come to subscribe to many of the hippie philosophies. I am a male and do use patchouli every day, and do draw attention because of it, not that I am starved for attention, just love the patch. So, you uptight secret patch users, wear it proudly and perhaps someday you will convince others of its wondrous character.

BonniBling said...

Afraid I have to agree with JuJu Bean; patchouli is one of the worst, if not THE worst fragrances there is. And as JJB said, "I can smell the tiniest amount in any fragrance that carries it and I refuse to ever buy or wear it". It absolutely overpowers and ruins anything it's combined with. I have no associations with the hippie thing, and couldn't care less about that. It's such an awful, stale, indelible smell, that I find it difficult to be around anyone wearing it. I know there's different strokes for different folks, but I find it SO intolerable that I am incredulous that so many people don't just like it, but love it! :-/

Anonymous said...

You have GOT to be kidding. People aren't trained to hate patchouli. Most don't even know the name of what they're smelling - they just hate it cuz it smells horrible to them. I'm one of those people - to me, most females' natural body odor smells 10 times better than patch perfume. And furthermore , who the hell likes the smell of a head shop? Pot smokers smoke pot despite the smell, not because of it!

kargold said...

I love reading all of your comments! I started wearing patchouli in 1964, my first year in college; I have worn it ever since. I smell like it even when I don't wear it. The only negative comments I have ever gotten have been from my kids, one of whom called it "dirt oil" and the other one accused me of adding it to the family laundry. I don't pour it on, just a bit on my wrists and the Vet's assistant comes out of the back when she smells me come in! Friends hug me and tell me I smell delicious. My friend's otherwise stand-offish cat meows and nibbles at my fingers. Patchouli smells different on some people. It belongs to you or it doesn't. Not everyone can wear it well, but if you can, it's like it chooses you or it doesn't. If it does, you should wear it proudly and lovingly. And yes, I was and still am, a hippie, although never have been "dirty".

Francisco Kehn said...

I love it and will wear it until the day I die. I've run into so many people that have been downright rude to me because of my scent :/ I have now come to the point to where I don't give a sh@# what people think anymore. I am so much more than what I smell like and if people are judging based upon how you smell.....well then, they can go on with their bad selves ;)

Anonymous said...

I was in high school in the actual 'Seventies, when there was nothing yet nostalgic about head shops and patchouli.

To this day, when I smell patchouli, I can clearly see the long haired, delicious, gorgeous girls I knew who wore it then. I can remember the very clothing they were wearing, the sound of their voices and also their smiles.

When I smell patchouli on a woman, I instantly know that that there will be be more about her that I will also find enchanting.

Anonymous said...

I went through that hippie stage when I was in my teens too but I never grew out of it. I'm in my 30s now and a married mother with hairy legs/plenty of peasant shirts. I still wear my patchouli. Thankfully now I can afford the better quality stuff.

Tracy Xbenson said...

I wear straight patchouli oil. Everywhere I go people say i smell so good. My children smells like but don't wear it because i dip my nag champa inscents in some raw patchouli and burn it so my whole smells like it. I love it I never had not one negative comment from people that smells it on me in public. I put it on my body as soon as I get out the shower only and it lasts all day. When I burn it, I'm instantly relaxed. Never give up on patchouli. I get raw patchouli from a lovely store called Enchanted FOREST which I call "my spiritual Store". I sometimes mix it with my nag champa oil and where that and people just melt loving the smell. I'm forever a patchouli Queen. I even told my daughter that when i die burn patchouli dipped inscents.

kathmandu said...

I can't find in commerce the old real Patchouli as I remember it was in the sixties. Now I find the oil too sweet. Maybe it is true that it was mixed with musk oil. It was more hard, like mildew ... Anybody agrees?

Anonymous said...

Speaking from a male patch addict POV, I find patchouli to be one of the most unisex as well as sexy fragrances in existence. I agree with what karagold said in the sense that it either works with your skin chemistry or it doesn't.

I wear patchouli oil, and patchouli based frags almost everyday since I first smelled it in high school. The warmer the weather the less I apply. I find the oriental woody type the most unisex.

Patchouli seems to shine on an individual during the dry down as opposed to the opening. I feel as though I'm stating the obvious but here it goes. I've found the opening in Patchouli based Frags to be the most, love/hate, take it or leave it part of Patchouli. That's were you're going to get the most offensive/dirty looks from hypersensitive noses especially in milder weather.

When I wear Patchouli, in a work setting, I apply it sparingly at least 30-40 minutes before jumping in the car, and rolling up the windows, so to speak.

I've received the most compliments during the dry down versus the opening when the Patchouli and other notes mix with my own skin scent which seem to refine and balance it out to become arousing, mood setting, and intoxicating.

By the way, that guy asking you if you were wearing Patchouli was a total compliment. If he didn't like it you would probably would here it from someone else... Trust me!

Some of my favorite Patch Frags I own and recommend sampling:

Patchouli Imperial by Dior, Psychedelique by Jovoy Paris, Patchouli by M. Micallef, Real Patchouli by Bois 1920, Essence De Patchouli by Perris Monte Carlo, Patchouli Intense by Parfums De Nicolaï formally Patchouli Homme, Patchouli by Nobile 1942, Sand Aoud by Mancera.

Audrey said...

I just decided to say, "F*** the coworkers," and wore my scent that has patchouli in it. I absolutely love it and it helps keep me calm and wake me up while at work. But most (of a certain age) started walking around asking where the patchouli smell was coming from with their noses wrinkled up, and assumed it was a dirty client that was in the office a few moments before. So me, the one younger, and two other women, the two MUCH older, loved it so much they put some more on themselves. If all you can think about is dirty, stinky, hippies, and not the wonderfully nuanced smell of this patchouli, then I don't care what you think about one of my favorite smells, and you'll just have to get used to it and move on.

Anonymous said...

I wear patchouli and I don't think it smells like hippies. To me it smells exotic, like linen on a cool veranda in India or a jacket and 18k gold jewelry. I think that a lot of the association with patchouli is the synthetic or low quality oils that were ubiquitous in the US. Buy the best quality oil pure organic that you can find & blend it with a drop of another oil to take the "edge" off - you can use an exotic floral like ylang ylang or a spice like cardamom. Add your oil to unscented lotion or mix into grain alcohol in a spritzer (makes a great non-staining natural deodorant).

As for the comments, you can just say "no, it's perfume;" tacky of anyone to ask and tackier yet if they stereotype - You can leave that at their doorstep and go on being a wonderfully fragrant you!

Judy Adams said...

I just smelled a bar of soap labeled patchouli. My reaction was, this smells like BO! memorable enough that I remembered to google it when I got home. Never smoked or been a hippie or hung out with hippies. So this is just some honest feedback fwiw.