Dear Readers: Looking for Testimonials on The Scent of Patchouli + Free Sample for Your Efforts (Updated)


Dear Readers,

I am planning to write a piece on popular perceptions of patchouli and patchouli-based fragrances and would love to hear your personal thoughts on the scent.  I am looking for testimonials from people who relate to that ingredient in one way or another. I will reproduce exerpts of your testimonials as part of the piece and have a separate appendix with the full texts. You can elect to disclose your names or not...

PS: I'm in no hurry so if any memory, experience crosses your mind that you would like to share later on, please don't hesitate to do so in the future at the address below. You can email me your testimonials or post them, as you prefer. 

I will plan to send a sample of Réminiscence Patchouli to those who love patchouli and something else to those who do not share such tender feelings for it as opinions about patchouli often tend to be polarized, but then again maybe not.



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  1. I dislike patchouli when it is used in large doses, as in Angel. Yves Rocher Cocoon uses a rather dusky patchouli which can overwhelm. Yet it can also be a very comforting scent, and maybe calming (?) hence, in part, the popularity of scents like Angel and Cocoon! I like it when it's a minor part of a drydown, but when it is dominant, it actually makes me cough a bit. And of course, cheaper patchouli oils say, "Hippi Dude Headshop!"

  2. Helene-

    Do I qualify in this regard- ought I to venture opinion?

    I'll email you, and if it's ok, then use it...

    No problem either way...

    Enjoy the w/e-

  3. Patchouli is irresponsibility, the fragrance of ignoring bills and forsaking pledges to pursue a scraping-by sort of indolence, bereft of a true creative impulse or any other higher motivation. It could have been loved but scent memory is a strong and looming thing. Memories of responsibility, of balancing books on a wire, and moods on a strand of spider silk; whilst below roiled a thick purplish swirling into swamp-green forever-drop of indolence and very poorly spiced tofu and brown rice casseroles with a dash of brewers-yeast for good measure.

    I would have said it was her, the herbalist cum aromatherapist cum “I could never work a straight job” we gave home to when she wanted to leave the place she was for someplace else. I could have said it was him. She made up the patchouli oil for him who took more care to see that the rooms we were letting her were in good shape, than he did to see to occasionally mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges so no nosy neighbor would call the city on us all. I would have said it was both, neither of whom seemed able to comprehend the 9 to 5. I could blame "magickal" patchouli.

    But instead I embraced my blended soul and all things in their place. Too much patchouli makes an ill wrought thing. A little, knife-cut with something preferably sharp, dry, and created by men in laboratory coats who live in McMansions , and further overlain with cultivars of carefully tended flowers upon which no weeds intrude, may make it acceptable. Pure, it is a memory best forgot. It is a satisfying thing to put aside perfumes of too much patchouli; almost as satisfying as the day I packed my bags and walked away and began again.

    Lisa S
  4. Lisa S.-
    Thank you, thank you...

    We've lived it, and we know it well.

    So lyrically put...

  5. Patchouli was the very first "perfume" or personal scent I was ever aware of. Certainly I'd smelled perfume before- but never one singular scent that made me sit up and take notice, or one that caused me to ask myself, "What the *@$#%* was that?" But the first time I smelled patchouli, I had an overt emotional reaction to it- I was strongly attracted to it, but it scared me a little, too. I knew instinctively that this odor had something to do with sex. I also knew it smelled of trouble- I think I was all of 11 or 12- very innocent, back then. It was a smell that reframed things for me. It made me question the world and it made me question myself- I guess I thought I knew what life was about up until then. But then- after patchouli, I mean- all bets were off. Suddenly the world shifted-it was big and wild and wide open and I was really very small. And that was one of the first times I realized that- I guess it marked the beginning of my journey into adulthood. Of course, it was actually not until several years later that I actually learned what that smell was. And as enchanting as it was I wasn't able to wear it, try as I might. It continued to be the essence of everything forbidden, everything my parents tried and ultimately failed to protect me from. But now as I reflect back on these memories, and on all of the wide and rich life experiences I have managed to tuck up under my belt, I am happy to say, I find I am able to wear anything (well, almost anything...) And happily the patchouli no longer wears me.
    Sign me,
    Le lapin d'eau

  6. chayaruchama,

    Thank you so much for you words. It's the hope of every would-be writer (such as myself) that their words resonate with another person. Your praise is as good as gold to this writer's soul.

    Lisa S
  7. Hi Froufrou, I like patchouli very much, however I have to say it have to be well mixed, i.e. with correct ingrediences ´cos sometimes it is very loud. I would like to try your sample. Thanks

  8. I'm not from the US, so I don't know whether I qualify, but here are my patchouli impressions nevertheless: Like most people I know, my first contact with patchouli was via obscure Indian oils, and I wore them because it was the thing to do if you weren't hopelessly bourgeois - can't say I either liked or disliked patchouli, it was just there, and that's the way it smelled. It meant you were as young and independent and "with it" as a small town in a small country would let you be, it opened a window into the big, wide, a little terrifying world and let you be part of it whilst enveloping you in a safe little cocoon.
    And then, at some crafts market or other, I bought a packet of patchouli herbs to be drunk as tea. I loved my patchouli tea, even though it ruined a favourite mug forever, since there was no way you could ever get the smell out of it again. The tea smelled of a walk in the forest in late February or early March: wet, dark earth, fungus, rotting leaves, moss dripping with just-melted snow... and something which to me was the smell of the first stirrings of young growth, the promise of spring. It smelled rich and fecund, not necessarily pleasant, but like you'd imagine Mother Earth or the earth mother would smell. The taste was a bit earthy, but it played second fiddle to the smell anyway. And patchouli the tea stripped the big, wide world of its romance and gave it depth and coherence and bound it together and told you it didn't matter whether you lived here or in some more glamorous country, because everywhere you had to be rooted in dark, fecund earth with a promise of life. Or maybe it just smelled and tasted earthy and rooted and made me feel good. I wish I knew where to get a packet.....

  9. Hello Masha, Chaya, Lisa S, Camilla, Alica, and Dinazad,

    Thanks a lot for your responses, it's already starting to make me think along certain lines. I decided to broaden the scope of the inquest in order to have more people feel comfortable about sharing their experiences and memories.

    Have a great long weekend!

  10. Here is specific memory rather than abstract commentary. I remember very well the smell of my friends' moms in the beach houses of Southern (particularly Venice Beach) California in the late 70s. The moms wore tie-dyed loose dresses, long, wild, sometimes sunbleached hair, no makeup, and probably smoked things they shouldn't have. They had interesting names and they all smelled of patchouli. And I remember them quite fondly....

  11. Thanks Masha. I am wondering now if you all of you have the impresssion there was a peak for patchouli use in the 1970s followed by its falling out of fashion in the succeeding years?

  12. Thanks Helene. And thank you for the reciprocal link. That bumps you to the top spot on Spoofume's list of links.

    Lisa S
  13. I'd say patchouli certainly fell out of fashion after the 70ies for those who wore it then - and for those whose parents wore it then...

  14. I think that you've nailed it, Helene and Dinazad...

    Although, in a subcontinental sense, patchouli still evokes the memory of woolens, and cloth scented to discourage moths...

    BTW, Dinazad-
    I'm in love with your prose...

  15. Well, I'd say it fell out of fashion, then took a more subdued spot in the orchestra. It's a major part of Angel, and that seems to be all I smell when I'm around American women my age (Gen Xers) these days! Perhaps it is subconsciously comforting to us...?

  16. hallo

    its very interesting topic love pachouli plant can u give some information of that plant

  17. Chaya, you silver-tongued she-devil: thank you!

  18. I am using sort of a clichée here, but can't help. It is the first picture that came to my mind, hence it might be rigth for me...Patchouli. It is the scent of an indian tiger, hiding behind woody bushes, dirt on its fur, an oriental-woody-earthy-animalic scent that gets better and better with ageing. Good patchouli smells incredibley complex and has a forbidden sexual quality in it, a love elixir. I am sure: It is no chance that love and peace and patchouli go together. It is difficult to work with; like training this indian tiger. It is difficult to get, in really good quality, like the Indian tiger who is about to become extinct. In perfumes, you eventually do not want to get too much of it: Keeping the right distance from the tiger, watching it from a safe distance. What other scents work with it? Other indian delights for sure, like vetiver, sandalwood, jasmine, other woods, bergamote, oakmoss, ...the tiger seems to be somewhat flexible there ;-)

  19. I was born in 1965, so was pretty young when patchouli was all the rage and subsequently became known as a "hippy" scent. Having no prior bias for or against it, I have always loved it. In fact, I bought the plant itself, Pogostemon cablin, for my garden and can't help but rub the leaves and smell my hands whenever I'm near the plant.

  20. oh my, the smell of anything with patchouli brings back life in the late 60's. All the girls wore patchouli oil, on the hot summer nights at the ole drive in every car smelled like it, or something like it. I buy perfume today with the magic of the oil. Just wanted to share that.

  21. oh my, the smell of anything with patchouli brings back life in the late 60's. All the girls wore patchouli oil, on the hot summer nights at the ole drive in every car smelled like it, or something like it. I buy perfume today with the magic of the oil. Just wanted to share that.

  22. I love the smell of patchouli, romance in the air! I love the oil to mix with a non frangance lotion.

    paula sites
  23. Used to cover smell of death in the Vietnam war. Worn as a protest to remind the shallow unconcerned majority of the growing body count.

  24. I have loved patchouli for about 11 years now and haven't found one for this year, yet. I usually grow them in winter in the house. I just love the fragrance, and have to touch the leaves anytime I go near the plant! The fragrance is delightful, and cannot be compared to anything else in the world. The best "upper" I can find and it is a beautiful addition to any garden. I wish I could grow it year round.

  25. This sounds like such a great idea! I hope you find your patchouli this year.

  26. it's lovely to hear from other patchouli lovers. in my own experiences, i have not found patchouli to be popular in any sense of the word "popular." also, aside from the vast resources on the internet, i have found it increasingly difficult to find pure oils here in the US. i have a wonderful and increasing patchouli collection that includes varieties from about a dozen countries, including russia, singapore, and every other country i have ever visited (finding local patchoulis is one of my missions upon visiting a new place.) a really great friend gave me my first bottle (the body shop) when i was 16, and i have never gone without since (15 years.) i am particularly fond of the essential-oil-type vs. the eau d' parfum, but there has never been one yet that didn't comfort me, soothe me, or reassure me of being happy to be alive. i think that one of the most gratifying experiences of being a patchouli-wearer is that friends, family (and by-standers) are affected by it's presence. it has a profoundly calming and arousing influence, and creates a scent-memory that will always bring to those who love me, the memory, familiarity, and comfort of a close friend, good companion, and connected soul. i love that it is distinctive enough to cause that type of emotional reaction. i love to have heard on numerous occasions... "i smelled you (or: your perfume) the other day, and felt like you were right here with me...." and through this powerful scent and their association of it to me, i can be right there with them, they can be comforted by me. amazing how that works!

  27. Dear Helene:
    Found this page by chance while searching for images of the source of my ultimate favorite scent. I am naturally drawn to it, and no matter how strong it may be I find it very awakening. But I don't like it when it's mixed with other scents such as fruits, it ruins the beauty of it. In my room I have different kinds of soap bars, lotions and incense, but since the best brand in the world(AIRS) stopped selling their oil I no longer purchase any. Never owned a patchouli plant but now is the right time to do so, I hope the weather allows me to keep it around for the rest of my life.

  28. i'm a huge fan of patchouli. i have been my whole life. i've come to believe that it has incredible properties for healing both physically and emotionally.

  29. I have just found Patchouli dispite being a teen in the 60's, (not cool enough I guess) But it's never too late to enjoy this wonderful fragrance. I'm also enjoying the reactions of other people. I too believe that it has healing properties and can change moods


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