Patchouli is an exotic bush from the mint family with pinkish-white flowers. It grows mainly in India and has a very strong aroma. It’s been used for its scent since antiquity in perfumery, in incense, and in insect repellents. The essential oil is extracted from the plant through steam distillation of its leaves. Apart from perfumery, patchouli oil is also used for its health benefits – it is used as an antidepressant, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, sedative, etc.
An interesting fact about patchouli is that it was brought to Europe thanks to the famous conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte. He brought to France a few cashmere shawls that were patchouli-scented. During the hippie era in Europe and America (1960s and 1970s) patchouli got its bad reputation as hippies were great admirers of the scent, but they wore very bad synthetic formulations of the fragrance. Another fact worth mentioning is that (like wine) patchouli oil gets better with aging.
Patchouli note is widely used in modern perfumery as a fixative and as a base note for its rich, sweet, earthy aroma. Its profile, however, highly depends on the cultivation process, the harvest time, the drying process, the distillation techniques, and the skills of the grower. Patchouli blends well with vetiver, sandalwood, cedar wood, clove, lavender,rose,labdanum, etc.