What does patchouli smell like?



Patchouli is a very divisive perfume; many people either love it or despise it.

It has an earthy, spicy, and somewhat sweet scent that has been linked to the scent of health food shops. Others find it musty or vegetative, while others find it wonderfully rich and unique.

When combined correctly, patchouli produces a great foundation note for refined scents like those found in our famed Ellington and Speakeasy premium candles.

You’ve come to the right spot if you’re unfamiliar with patchouli or want to learn more about its history. This article will describe how patchouli smells and where it originates from.

What exactly is patchouli?

Patchouli is a blooming bush native to Southeast Asian tropical areas. Its scientific name is Pogostemon cablin, although most people call it “patchouli” or “patch” for short.

This spectacular plant may grow up to 3 feet tall with enormous, hairy leaves and gorgeous purple-white blooms exploding from thick, woolly spikes.

Patchouli is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which is odd given that it does not smell like mint — we’ll go over how patchouli smells in further detail below.

Patchouli’s history started with the Tamils of South India, who were the first to discover medicinal, culinary, and insect repellent applications for the plant.

Its aromatic leaves made their way to the Middle East through silk trade routes, wrapped in trunks of silks, carpets, and other valuable goods to keep moths and other insects at bay. Napoleon is thought to have been the first person to bring patchouli to Europe, where it quickly became famous for its strong, exotic smell.

What does patchouli smell like?

Patchouli is perhaps best recognized as a signature scent of the American counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Its calming, earthy scent was popular among free-spirited hippies.

But don’t let patchouli mislead you into thinking it’s just a “hippie” aroma. Patchouli is currently used in some of the world’s most opulent and exquisite perfumes.

What does patchouli smell like?

Patchouli has a deep, earthy aroma that most people connect with woody smells, but it may also be used to create lovely ambery, fougère, and chypre aromas.

According to most people, patchouli smells earthy and musky on its own. Those who like it typically like it because of the delicately spicy, sweet, and woody elements that give this one-of-a-kind perfume refinement and character.

Those who dislike patchouli find its earthiness repulsive, likening it to the fragrance of a chilly cellar, a damp dog, or an unbathed hippy. To be sure, they often smell like cheap or low-quality patchouli.

The fragrance of Patchouli may be characterized objectively as:

  • so earthy
  • Musky
  • woody, peppery, and sweet
  • Herbaceous
  • a little medicated.

A nice patchouli essential oil smells like strolling barefoot through a lush forest after a big rain. The strong smell of the wet dirt under you is followed by the sweet, herbaceous smell of the woods and plants around you.

Patchouli is a versatile foundation note that works well with citrusy notes like bergamot, floral notes like lavender and geranium, and woodsy notes like sandalwood and vetiver.

When used sparingly, it lends elegance, refinement, and depth to many mixes (less is more). Popular patchouli scents that are popular include:

Tom Ford, Patchouli Absolute, A Gentleman

Givenchy Dior Chance Monsieur Eau de Parfum by Frederic Malle

What Gives Patchouli Its Aroma?

Patchouli’s distinctive aroma is derived mostly from its big, fuzzy leaves and stems, which are collected and dried many times each year. Steam distillation is then used to extract patchouli essential oil from these leaves.

Patchouli essential oil contains the active ingredients patchoulol, norpatchoulenol, and germacrene-B.

Patchouli’s unique earthy, sweet, and camphoraceous aroma is mostly due to patchoulol. Norpatchoulenol is also present. However, we were unable to locate any information on how this drug smells.

Lastly, Germacrene-B is a sesquiterpene with a woody smell that makes patchouli work as an insect repellent.


Patchouli aromatherapy may help you relax, enhance your mood, and decrease anxiety.

Some describe it as a grounding and emotionally balanced aroma that aids in both mind and body relaxation. It increases the manufacture of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which aid in the treatment of anxiety, stress, and depression.

The aroma is strongly linked to love and desire. Patchouli has been used as an aphrodisiac for a long time because it makes estrogen and testosterone levels rise, which makes both men and women feel more sexually aroused.