What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

By Barrett Shepherd

What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

Despite the fact we’re literally in the year 2020 and the 60s are a distant memory for most of us, patchouli still has a bit of a bad reputation. The first thing people associate with the scent is instantly (and inevitably) hippies. Or, rather, hippies and dirt. However, these aren’t the most positive or accurate associations ever.

There’s a lot more to patchouli than the rap it’s received over time. Rather than just smelling like soil and Woodstock, it’s an intense and complex fragrance that’s a fantastic addition to just about any product. Unconvinced? Here’s a little bit more about patchouli and what it smells like.

What is Patchouli?

Patchouli might be well known, but very few people know much about what it actually is. Patchouli comes from a flowering plant called Pogostemon cablin, which is a bushy, evergreen herb related to mint and native to Southeast Asia. The plant can also flourish in other tropical areas such as the Philippines, India, and Malaysia, and can grow up to around 3 feet tall with big, fragrant leaves that are the key to getting patchouli oil.

After the plant has matured for a while, its leaves are dried and made to go through a steam distillation process. This is how the fragrance is produced. Afterwards, the patchouli oil is then added to all sorts of different products like incense, perfumes, colognes, bodywashes, and more. The scent of patchouli is also frequently used in candles since it serves as a perfect base for other scents.

How Does Patchouli Smell?

Patchouli’s smell is often difficult to describe. The scent profile is rich and earthy, which is why it often gets compared to dirt, soil, and mud. While it does have notes of these, they’re also far from the only ones. Patchouli is a rather complicated mix of earthy and musky, but it doesn’t smell quite as bitter as you’d expect. Perhaps because of Pogostemon cablin’s close relation to mint, patchouli also has a touch of sweetness. It doesn’t have the same freshness or coolness attached, though, instead tempered with a little bit of warmth and spice.

The dark, complex smell can be intoxicating, although it can be incredibly overpowering for some people. Patchouli oil is one that is intense and heavy, which means it needs to be heavily diluted for it to be enjoyed. When it is, it transforms into an inviting but mysterious fragrance that’s sure to receive plenty of compliments.

And for those who still aren’t big fans? They might be won over when the scent is combined with something else. Patchouli smells fantastic when paired with others scents like sandalwood, bergamot, and vetiver. It even goes well with sweet, floral, or citrus ones such as vanilla, jasmine, and orange, making it a surprisingly flexible fragrance to work with, wear, or use.

Check out our variety of natural scented candles here.


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