Patchouli is one of those scents that has a lot of misconceptions—and, to some extent, stigma—associated with it. Once thought of as a pungently sweet fragrance worn by joint-smoking flower children in the 1960s, patchouli is in some of the world's loveliest perfumes
Patchouli, as a plant, is actually a member of the mint family: Lamiaceae, to be specific. It best grows in tropical areas, having originated in Southeast Asia. Due to its widespread use as a personal fragrance, it's now cultivated all over the world. Of course, the perfume industry isn't the only one that's capitalizing on the scent; it's used in spiritual practice and as a bug repellent, as well as in various alternative medicinal practices.
Musky, sweet, and dark, patchouli has been used in countless men's colognes to powerful (maybe too powerful) effect. But as these patchouli perfumes show, there's more than one dimension to patchouli.
Here are 20 patchouli perfumes you've got to try.
Lancôme La Vie Est Belle
If you're looking for a floral take on the musky note, you've found it in this fragrance from Lancôme. Iris, patchouli, and vanilla blend together to make for a soft, round scent that's as fresh as it is warm.
Nest Midnight Fleur Eau De Parfum
The quest for your signature date night scent ends here. It'll be love at first smell with this fragrance from Nest, which expertly marries exotic woods, black amber, and patchouli with the sweetness of vanilla orchid.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
A cult classic (and for good reason), Flowerbomb embodies everything you'd expect to find at a summer garden party: sweet vanilla, fresh orange blossom, and rich jasmine. It's the perfect balance of floral and spiciness, with the slightest hint of patchouli for some spice.
Mizensir Mythique Vetyver
Masculine notes of patchouli and vetiver at the base, Italian citrus fruits at the top, and middle notes of bourbon geranium make for a well-rounded fragrance that's as smokey as it is refined. We're fans of the simple, unassuming bottle, too.
The 7 Virtues Patchouli Citrus Eau de Parfum
We're always into fragrances with a story behind it, like this one from The 7 Virtues. It was formulated on the principle of helping farmers grow organic, sustainable, fair trade essential oils in an effort to help rebuild communities affected by war. This particular scent highlights the freshness of sweet peony and and rose geranium along with ethically sourced patchouli essential oil from Rwanda.
Bond No. 9 New York Greenwich Village Eau de Parfum
Bond No. 9's perfume is a sweet Oriental floral that contains the faintest whisper of patchouli for body. Notes of vanilla, cassis, lychee, and mandarin mingle with animalistic jasmine, peach musk, and ambrox for a fragrance that's feminine, bright, and inviting.
Dossier Gourmand Patchouli
Your favorite campfire dessert in fragrance form, this scent from Dossier gives us all the camping feels. A base note of patchouli mixes with notes of cacao, marshmallow, cotton candy, and grilled almonds for a layered, intricate, wildly delicious scent.
Malin + Goetz Cannabis Eau de Parfum
Perhaps not coincidentally, patchouli has many olfactory similarities to cannabis—musky, sweet, and dark—that make it an intoxicating base note for fragrances, as evidenced by this one from Malin + Goetz.
Vilhelm Parfumerie Stockholm 1978 Eau de Parfum
Made with notes of lemon zest, almond, and patchouli, this sweet musk has a tangy citrus twist that will get you in that summer mood, even when it's too cold to feel your face. Not to mention, the textured bottle makes it a top shelf-worthy staple.
The Nue Co Forest Lungs
Feeling stressed? The people behind The Nue Co have it all sorted out with Forest Lungs, a smoky, woody scent that delivers the healing effects of nature on the body—all with patchouli at the heart of it.
Byredo Bibliothèque Eau de Parfum
Initially released as a candle, fans of Byredo's Bibliothèque begged for it to be released as an eau de parfum. They got their wish, making it one of the brand's most popular perfumes. Leather and patchouli base notes add robustness and body, while fruity top notes of peach and plum and floral middle notes of peony and violet add balance.
Maison Margiela Music Festival
If everyone wore this to music festivals, we wouldn't mind having our personal space invaded by strangers. Playing into the hippie stereotype with its name, this scent is a surprisingly calming mix of patchouli, cedarwood, cypress, and tobacco that we can't stop sniffing.
Ex Nihilo Sweet Morphine Eau de Parfum
Ex Nihilo's Sweet Morphine is aptly named—seductive and surprising. It takes breezy top notes of lilac and bergamot and blends them with iris, mimosa, vetiver, patchouli, and vanilla. It's a wild sensory trip, making this perfume more than worth a spot on your shelf.
Dior Patchouli Impérial
We love borrowing scents from the boys (although, TBH, we strongly believe any scent can be worn by anyone). This woody oriental fragrance is intended for true patchouli lovers—it's strong. But if you're obsessed with the note, this potent scent is the ultimate expression of patchouli.
Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia
Sometimes fruit and floral notes are simply too cloying when combined. Luckily for us, Jo Malone London always gets that balance just right. This fragrance features notes of King William pear and white freesia grounded by base notes of patchouli and amber.
Parfums de Marly Sedbury
We're true believers that a scent can transport you to another time or place. Named after the Sedbury Royal Mare, a legendary thoroughbred horse from the 18th century, Sedbury has an old-world feel. With a tuberose heart and notes of amber, jasmine, and mandarin, this fragrance will send you away to the French countryside,
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
If the classic Chanel No. 5 isn't your jam, we say give this a try. It's made with orange for a tangy twist that's modern but still holds the warm blend of rose and patchouli at the heart of it.
Modern Vanilla Le Petit Skunk Parfum
Don't be alarmed by the name—Le Petit Skunk promises to deliver a skunk-like pungency of the star of the show: patchouli. Apart from the really cool minimalistic aesthetic, this fragrance emits a spicy scent that mixes with organic essential oils like jojoba and sunflower seed.
Sisley Paris Izia La Nuit
Romantic and woody, this scent from Sisley Paris is a tribute to the mysterious rose that grows in founder Isabelle d’Ornano's garden and only blooms fleetingly once a year. Sweet and fruity top notes of bergamot, mandarin, and juicy blackcurrant mesh with sparkling middle notes of Izia rose, freesia, and magnolia. Finally, bottom notes of patchouli and labdanum combine with a hint of woody, milky vanilla.
Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia
If you love summery, berry-filled scents, this Gucci perfume is for you. The gardenia and red berries are brought back to earth by the patchouli, making it the perfect scent for someone who wants a secret-garden type feel to their perfume.
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