Patchouli Patch, “the Patch-haters patch,” came to me in a multi-swap all the way from Italy (hello Philipp!). I’ve begun to tolerate, nay, even enjoy, patchouli in a well-blended fragrance composition; but as star of the show? I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of leap. Patchouli still brings to mind the Oregon Country Fair, Eugene’s Saturday Market, and other hippie-attractants. I bravely tested Reminiscence Paris Patchouli Elixir… which caused me to promptly bury my sample with an incantation intended to protect me from zombie-patch-monsters.
L’Artisan’s Patch is not, in my opinion, the patch to win over patchouli haters. But this 2002 Bertrand Duchaufour creation is very pretty. It doesn’t bring to mind the un-washed hoards, but instead, stacks of sun-warmed colorful silks. It smells of fine things carefully packed for a long and arduous journey, of dimly lit shops curated by small men with fine hands. Elegant and sophisticated, it is the smell that Elizabeth Darcy will recognize simply as “her closet.”
During the 18th and 19th century silk traders from China traveling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth. Many historians speculate that this association with opulent eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. It is said that patchouli was used in the linen chests of Queen Victoria in this way.
Fragrance notes: osmanthus, patchouli, white musk, anise, spices
Image still from Pride & Prejudice