what does patchouli smell like

What Does Patchouli Smell Like? (8 Perfumes You Will Love)

By Amy Derungs

April 4, 2021

Patchouli smells like:

The scent of patchouli is described as a strong, slightly sweet, intoxicating scent with a dark, musky-earthy aroma profile; it can smell like wet soil, or slightly overripe apple or a cork of wine.

Perfumers wouldn’t be without patchouli essential oil for the richness that it gives to fragrances. Patchouli makes its way into many chypre and powdery fragrances, swirling exotically alongside lavender, sandalwood, labdanum and bergamot, clove, clary sage, as well as vetiver. 

The oil has an intense aroma, and is mixed with other essential oils, such as sandalwood oil, jasmine oil, rose oil, vanilla, and citrus oil to produce various fragrances. The oil is extracted from the patchouli leaves, twigs, seeds, and flowers of the plant. patchouli oil mixes well with other essential oils to make various fragrances.

Perfumes and Colognes often use pure patchouli oil as a base note because it provides for long-lasting and deep fragrances.

In the article "What Does Patchouli Smell Like?" we look at Patchouli in perfumery, and then we discuss 8 patchouli fragrances you will absolutely love.

1. What Is Patchouli?

The patchouli plant (pogostemon cablin) is an aromatic flowering plant with frilly green-leafed, purple flowers. It is a member of the Lamiaceae family, or mint family (evergreen perennial herb native to Southeast Asia). The name is derived from the Tamil words “patchai” for green and “ellai” for leaf.

What does Patchouli smell like

Field of patchouli flowers

2. The Origin

The use of herbs in perfumes dates back thousands of years in Egyptian culture. Aromatic herbs were also used in Chinese, Indian and other cultures; the Chinese used it in medicine and the Indians used it as insect repellent. 

Patchouli was introduced into China for medicinal uses during AD 420–589. Contrary to some believes the Patchouli plant is not indigenous to India.

The French perfume manufacturers at last discovered the secret smell of the Indian shawls was due to the association of the Pogostemon species. Later, they learned to perfume their homespun shawls and other articles with the imported patchouli leaves.

3. What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

So what does patchouli smell like? Patchouli is today at the heart of the “chypre” family of fragrances, that are most often described as warm, sweet and mossy-woody, sometimes like wet soil.

Perfumers wouldn’t be without this precious essential oil, for the richness that it gives to fragrances. Patchouli makes its way into many chypre and powdery fragrances, swirling exotically alongside lavender, sandalwood, labdanum and bergamot, clove, clary sage, as well as vetiver. Patchouli smells like wet soil, or slightly overripe apple or a cork of wine. It is described as having a strong, slightly sweet, intense scent with a dark, musky-earthy aroma profile.

Patchouli made a big comeback at the beginning of the 90s.

5. Patchouli Perfumes

5.1 Guilty Love pour Femme EDP By Gucci

Guilty Love Edition pour Femme, Gucci

Guilty Love Edition pour Femme

Guilty Love Pour Femme by Gucci debuted in 2020. This new fragrance is a chypre floral.

The opening notes are breezy and slightly aquatic. Violet, raspberry and flowery accords shine through to form a feminine scent. Amber and patchouli give depth to the ensemble.

This romantic Patchouli perfume feels like an early morning walk through a garden of fresh violets. 

Sweet fruity notes and heady musk frame this perfume. When used appropriately, this scent can be sexy and seductive. 

Guilty Love Edition Pour Femme makes a name for itself with slightly aromatic, sweet scents. This perfume is ideal for daytime. Most suitable in warmer weather. The longevity is moderate, and the sillage quite strong.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Aquatic notes

Middle Notes: Narcissus, Raspberry, Violet, Jasmine sambac

Base Notes: Musk, Patchouli, Mineral amber

5.2 Black Orchid Parfum By Tom Ford

Patchouli smells like - Black Orchid Parfum, Tom Ford

Black Orchid

Black Orchid Perfume is a new unisex perfume by Tom Ford released in 2020

As with most Tom Ford perfumes, this fragrance is strong in character, memorable, opulent and unmistakably unique.

This scent is well-formed and brilliantly harmonized. Dark orchid is underscored with the spiciness of patchouli, as well as the pleasantness of ylang-ylang and plums. Rum adds a delicious irresistible booziness. The result is an extraordinarily deep and sensuous blend.

This intriguing perfume is bound to make a statement. If you’re a fan of the original EDP you’re guaranteed to love this charming fragrance. It is very long lasting, and the sillage is enormous. 

Tom Ford's Black Orchid will complement your evening look. It is appropriate for seasons across the board. You're sure to leave an impression with this distinct perfume!

Tom Ford is known for his patchouli fragrances. Read about more of these fabulous fragrances in our article on the Best Tom Ford Perfumes For Women 2021

Top Notes: Black truffle, Black orchid, Truffle, Patchouli, Black plum, Plum, Crème blanche accord, Ylang-ylang, Rum absolute

Middle Notes: Ylang-ylang, Rum, Akigalawood, Black orchid

Base Note: Patchouli

5.3 Coco Mademoiselle Intense EDP By Chanel

Coco Mademoiselle Intense Eau de Parfum

Coco Mademoiselle Intense

Coco Mademoiselle Parfum by Chanel is a predominantly floral perfume. This is a classic fragrance dedicated to brave, modern women.

The fragrance begins with sweet citrus scents. Floral and woody fragrance ingredient accords add a powdery aspect. The initial scent is light, elegant and luxurious.

The base is pure magic combines patchouli, white musk and hints of vanilla. Patchouli is discreetly present here along with other lingering floral notes. Coco Mademoiselle makes for the perfect feminine fragrance. You can’t go wrong with this romantic scent on a summer's day. It is very long lasting, and the sillage is strong.

Mademoiselle by Chanel is a beguiling fragrance that gently envelops you and is not intrusive. If you’re looking for a romantic perfume that smells honest, seductive and floral, this patchouli scent is your go to.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin orange, Orange, Orange blossom

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Mimosa, Rose, Ylang-ylang

Base Note: Opoponax, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Vetiver, White musk

5.4 Issey Miyake Fusion d'Issey EDT

Issey Miyake Fusion d'Issey Eau De Toilette

Fusion d'Issey

Fusion d'Issey is a new aromatic fougere fragrance for men that was launched in 2020.

It gently opens with citrus, herbal and exotic notes. It's fresh, slightly aquatic and from the beginning the fragrance is charmingly aromatic.

Fig nectar and coconut milk add some subtle nuances here in an unexpected way. They remain during the development of the scent, when soft floral and woody notes appear merging with rosemary and cardamom, which continue to be present throughout the dry down.

In the final stage patchouli and sandalwood take center stage.

Fusion d'Issey can be worn all year round although it really is best suited to warm spring and summer days. The longevity is moderate, and the sillage quite strong.

This stylish scent is modern but fine, subtle and sophisticated.

Top Notes: Coconut milk, Fig nectar, Lemon

Middle Notes: Sandalwood, Rosemary, Geranium, Cardamom

Base Notes: Ambroxan, Woody notes, Patchouli

5.5 Reminiscence Patchouli Homme EDT

What does Patchouli smell like - Reminiscence Patchouli Pour Homme Eau De Toilette

Patchouli Pour Homme

Reminiscence Patchouli is a woody spicy fragrance for men.

The opening is fresh, aromatic, well balanced and quite brief. The citrus notes are blended in such a way that they each stand out. The tonka bean provides a touch of sweetness.

The heart of the fragrance is woody and floral with hints of spices in a velvety, dry and clean patchouli background. Don't expect the bold, oily, hippy like kind of patchouli we all know. This is a gentleman's patchouli - well mannered, masculine and easy to wear. The base is warm, balmy and moderately sweet.

This beautifully warm, smooth and relaxing fragrance is best for cold fall and winter days and evenings. Reminiscence Patchouli is very long lasting. and the sillage is moderate to strong.

Top Notes: Mandarin orange, Lime

Middle Notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Geranium

Base Notes: Benzoin, Tonka bean, French labdanum, Tolu balsam, Musk

5.6 Tempo EDP by Diptyque

Diptyque Tempo Eau de Parfum


Tempo is an aromatic spicy fragrance for women and men. It was launched in 2018.

This is a lovely earthy herbal patchouli, and not too sweet. Superbly balanced! The mate note is very present together with the clary sage. The pink pepper and bergamot in the opening give it a a sparkling feel. 

The patchouli and sage remain as the main notes in the dry down. The violet adds a bit of a powdery aspect that keeps the patchouli from being too earthy. Very smooth and relaxing.

You could wear this perfume anytime, any season, anywhere. An all occasion fragrance that will please everybody. Tempo seems to lean more towards a men's fragrance, but could definitely be pulled off by women. This fragrance is very long lasting, and the sillage is moderate.

Main Notes: Patchouli, Mate, Clary sage, Pink pepper, Violet leaf, Bergamot

5.7 Acqua Di Gio Absolu EDP By Giorio Armani

Acqua Di Gio Absolu

Acqua Di Gio

Acqua Di Gio Absolu is a sensual and refined woody aromatic fragrance for men. It mixes fresh aquatics with warm woody vibes. 

The fragrance opens with a moderate projection of sweet, fruity, citrusy, spicy and woody notes. The opening is intense, fresh, and very pleasant. The sharp citrusy notes mix well with the pear and apple creating a bright fruity note. The sea notes add a slightly salty, airy quality. Rosemary adds a noticeable but delicate aromatic, slightly minty touch. 

Geranium and lavender provide a soft floral note in the background. As the fragrance commences to dry-down, the patchouli adds a sharp green note that seems to connect with the freshness initially opened by the citruses. The tonka bean is a base note but its sweetness is present throughout.

The woody and amberwood add a fresh wood and light resinous touch. The featured notes come up as soon as the fragrance is applied and they continue into the dry-down. 

Acqua Di Gio Absolu is extremely long lasting (more than 10 hours), and the sillage is moderate. 

Top Notes: Sea notes, Bergamot, Pear, Grapefruit, Apple, Lemon

Middle Notes: Lavender, Rosemary, Geranium

Base Notes: Woody notes, Tonka bean, Patchouli, Amberwood, Labdanum

5.8 Habit Rouge EDP by Guerlain

Habit Rouge Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

Habit Rouge

Habit Rouge is an amber woody fragrance for men. This classic perfume was first launched in 1965. 

The fragrance opens with powdery soft notes, and then lots of citrus, mostly lemon. The powdery quality continues as the sandalwood comes to the fore. Then a beautiful suede tone comes through with just a hint of lemon - not as sharp as in the opening - just enough to make everything else pop.

The floral notes of carnation and rose, jasmine and aromatic patchouli make their appearance. The patchouli heart is a lovely green scent. But it blends very well with the benzoin, amber and labdanum. The spicy touches of cinnamon are very nice, as are the oakmoss and the hint of vanilla.

Habit Rouge smells somewhat mysterious and dark, yet it maintains a freshness and delicacy all at the same time.

This fragrance is very long lasting, and the sillage is moderate. Habit Rouge is easy to wear and could become your all season signature scent. 

Top Notes: Lemon, Brazilian redwood, Orange, Bergamot, Lime, Tangerine, Basil

Middle Notes: Rose, Carnation, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Cedar, Cinnamon, Jasmine

Base Notes: Vanilla, Leather, Benzoin, Amber, Oakmoss, Labdanum

We have a number of interesting articles about scents and how they are used in perfumes - take a look!