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What is a Patchouli Scent?

Deep, dark, and completely intoxicating, patchouli is a popular ingredient in the world of perfumery. It’s velvety and rich character is exactly why this woody fragrance has been popular for centuries.

Native to India, Malaysia and many regions in south-east Asia, patchouli’s deep and aromatic fragrance has now travelled around the world. After centuries to the Middle East it first made its way to Europe in Napoleonic times, the emperor is rumoured to have introduced this exotic scent to the Europeans, where it became coveted.


Although the patchouli scent carries a strong woody fragrance, its oils actually come from a leafy-green herb that is part of the mint family. The quality of its oil can vary hugely based on when the leaf was picked and also how close leaves are from the top of the plant. The higher the leaves, the higher the concentration of fragrant oils that can be distilled. The traditional drying process of this leaf is one that requires a lot of time and care. The top 3 – 5 tufts of leaves are carefully picked, placed side by side on bamboo sheets and left in the sun to dry. During this process, the leaves are frequently turned and shifted to ensure they are not touching, become mouldy, ferment or dry too quickly. Once this initial process is complete, the oil is then extracted from the leaves.


Young patchouli oil is amber and opaque in colour and releases a lighter, fruitier fragrance but as the oil matures – just like wine, it gets better. The patchouli scent evolves, deepens and becomes a deep amber colour, releasing woody, exotic and completely intoxicating notes. This is the essence we blend within each one of our Clive Christian patchouli enriched perfumes.