What Does Patchouli Smell Like? [All You Need to Know]

Written By Nabila Lisha

Patchouli is the most notable ingredient in perfumes that not only increases longevity but also gives a seductive vibe.

But do you know how it starts its aromatic journey in the fragrance realm and which patchouli composition is more captivating?what-does-patchouli-smell-like

As a die-hard patchouli lover, I conducted thorough research about patchouli and found some interesting facts and history about this opulent gem.

So stick till the end and explore patchouli in detail.

Patchouli & Its Origin

Patchouli is a different type of flowering plant obtained from the mint family Lamiaceae. Basically, the leaves of this herb are used for producing essential oils, fragrances, skincare, and incense. Due to its uncountable benefits, it become popular in perfumery for centuries.

It is a tropical, bushy herb that often grows in native South Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.

Usually, patchouli flower seeds are used for harvesting the next batch during blooming in the late autumn. By using steam distillation or fermentation processes the patchouli essential oils are extracted from the leaf.

After collecting the dried patchouli manufacturers sent them to various European countries back in the 18th to 19th centuries.

Initially, it was used in packing and preserving luxurious clothes from insects. With time, patchouli has become one of the renowned names in Europe and America because of its magnificent earthy-musky smell.

This aromatic herb has a fascinating history in aromatherapy and the overall fragrance world. However, it has had a variety of uses in the past, from culinary to packing luxurious fabrics to keeping insects away.

Despite its unique and distinctive scent, patchouli has remained popular over the years and continues to be a well-regarded ingredient.

What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

Patchouli exudes a harmonious fusion of earthy, woody smell layered with some sweet, musky undertone. The pure patchouli extract appears with a strong aroma with subtle spicy touches. Its prominent dewy earthy effect offers an intoxicated sensual aura.what-does-patchouli-smell-like

In a word, you can say that patchouli has multifaceted accords and acts uniquely in different compositions.

To get a clear concept of the overall smelling tone, I’m gonna describe its scented formulation in detail. Let’s check out:

Aromatic Profile of Patchouli

Deep Earthy: The most iconic and prominent smell of patchouli is its deep earthiness. It brings a dewy, damp effect of soil, reminiscent of an after-rain smell.

Bold Woody: Patchouli has identifiable mixed woody notes that we usually find in cedar or sandalwood. This woodsy boldness gives a structured and refined form to a fragrance.

Herby & Spicy: Along with the other essence, patchouli also carries a soft, green-leafy smell and a mild spicy edge. As the fragrance evolves on the skin, this herbal, spicy combo presents a fresh, stimulating vibe.

Sweet Musky: Over the initial application of patchouli, it reveals a sweet, creamy smell of musk with a sensual animalic undertone. The smooth, sweet-resinous texture adds a deep and rich tone to the perfume.

Slightly Therapeutic: As the patchouli scent grows over time, it feels slightly medicinal and gives a cool minty aura, much like the camphor.

Ultimately, patchouli offers a complete blend of several marvelous notes. And its rich, exotic combination elevates the scent together and brings a cozy, passionate ambiance to you.

Despite all the amazing accords, an interesting aspect of patchouli is that it’s not a scent that everyone enjoys. There are many people who cannot really stand such a strong musky and earthy combination.

In fact, back in the mid-1960s, the aroma of patchouli was often associated with hippies due to its earthy quality. Hippies often use this strong aroma to hide their hookah and marijuana smell.


However, in modern times, patchouli’s intoxicating aroma is widely used in expensive designer and niche fragrances. And stand out as a renowned and opulent ingredient in perfumery and aromatherapy.

Which Role Does Patchouli Play in Fragrances?

Basically, patchouli works uniquely in different compositions. Most of the time this tremendous, woody, earthy smell appears in base notes and leaves a deep sensuality on the skin.

For the first time when Olivier Crisp composed Thierry Mugler in 1992, patchouli arrived in the limelight.

Due to its immense craze after this one fusion, several designers also produced multiple perfumes similar to Angel Mugler and tried to capture the rich aroma.

Since its first arrival, patchouli has often been used in the perfumery world.

So let’s take a look at the role of patchouli in the fragrance industry:

  • Increasing Longevity– Patchouli has a strong and dense woody, earthy composition that effortlessly enhances its lasting power. For this vital reason, patchouli is commonly used in fragrances as a fixative.
  • Addictive Closing– Often patchouli is used as base notes that leave an amazing erotic trail during dry-down. The addictive aura of this ingredient offers a warm, cozy vibe for you.
  • Binding Material– Patchouli is also famous in perfumery as a blending element. Its versatile nature not only easily blends with every ingredient but also helps to combine them together and shine on different occasions perfectly.

These are the main sections where patchouli performs at the center stage and make the overall composition appealing.

What Are The Uses & Benefits Of Patchouli?

After years, patchouli has become an inseparable element in perfume, and among 10 perfumes we can sense its presence in 5 or more.

This iconic note easily blends with other components and elevates the aura more passionately. Apart from these categories, this opulent ingredient is also used widely in aromatherapy & other aspects.


Well, to better understand the patchouli formulation, let’s take a quick glimpse at the following table:

Concentration Uses Benefits
Patchouli’s Essential OilSkincare products and cosmetics.Skin moisturizes and tightens pores.
Soaps, bath gel, and shampoo.Reduce dandruff, conditioning hairs, eczema, and skin infections.
Perfumes & deodorantUplift the soul & ambiance, addictive presence, and increase romanticism.
Patchouli AromaIncenseReduces anxiety, improves cholesterol, and reduces high blood pressure.
CandlesImprove sleeping quality, and libido boosts for both genders.
Patchouli ExtractsPreservation & CleaningMoth and insect repellent from luxurious clothing.
Patchouli LeafHerbal teaStimulates minds and improves the digestion process.

So, there you have it – the benefits of patchouli are extraordinary and because of this reason in modern fragrance patchouli is the shining star in every perfume and cosmetics.

Besides these, in the past, patchouli has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including skin irritation, digestive issues, and respiratory problems.

What Other Accord Blends Beautifully with Patchouli Scent?

As I have said before, patchouli usually appears at the base note to enhance the lasting power and leaves an alluring trail on the skin.

But do you know which other notes complemented patchouli the most?

Well, in this context, I’ve found some popular accords that combine with patchouli amazingly and uplift the total aroma.

Here are the best notes patchouli blends perfectly:

Vetiver: The warm, dry-grassy aroma of vetiver, is easily composed with the woody, earthy tone of vetiver and offers a bold earthy smell. This scented duo presents a calming and relaxing vibe for you.

Sandalwood: Patchouli’s dense woodsy tone becomes bolder and masculine after twining with the solid timbery effect of sandalwood. This combo usually arrives in gents cologne and makes the fragrance more structured.

Frankincense: The multifaceted sweet, soft yet woody, balsamic smell of frankincense blends impressively with the polarizing fragrance of patchouli and adds depth to the scents.

Because of frankincense smoothness, this combo is always visible in feminine perfumes.


Vanilla: Vanilla’s sweetness and patchouli’s earthiness provide a warm, cozy vibe, making the portion more attractive and alluring.

Roses: Patchouli’s deep woody aroma is infused with the exotic rosy tint and creates a sensual composition. In ladies’ perfumes, we usually sense this formulation where the sweet, rosy tint directly complements the rich, earthy-musky patchouli essence.

Bergamot: The bright, citrusy smell of bergamot softens the bold nuance of patchouli and makes the fragrance refreshing and uplifting.

Patchouli’s multidimensional, versatile aura blends perfectly with these accords and presents an inviting, cozy vibe.

What Are The Best Patchouli-Based Fragrances?

In recent times, patchouli has become a popular base note in many of the world’s most high-end and sophisticated fragrances.

The unique and distinctive scent of patchouli adds a touch of earthiness and muskiness to these luxurious perfumes, making them more desirable.

Whether it is a high-end designer fragrance or a niche perfume, patchouli is always found in some of the world’s most renowned scents.


I can’t include all the fragrances that highlight the patchouli essence, but, I’ll add some top-rated perfumes with the potent patchouli accord.

Here are the best three patchouli-based scents:

Coco Mademoiselle By Chanel

Patchouli is a significant component in the renowned fragrance Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.

This ingredient blends the floral and citrus notes in the perfume with its earthy and musky scent, resulting in a unique and luxurious aroma. The patchouli extract not only binds the accords together but also increases its longevity.

The presence of patchouli in this perfume by Jacques Polge has contributed to its popularity and recognition as a symbol of sophistication and luxury.

Its warm, inviting scent makes it a popular fragrance in the massive industry. And users always ask for affordable alternatives to Coco Mademoiselle so that they can enjoy the magnificent smell of patchouli within their budget.

Velvet Haze By Byredo

Patchouli is an integral part of the luxurious fragrance Velvet Haze by Byredo. Created by Jérôme Epinette, it’s a unisex fragrance that is sophisticated and stylish equally.

This essential oil provides a warm, earthy, and musky tone that perfectly balances the sweet and floral notes in the unisex piece.

Thanks to the additional patchouli smell, the rich and complex scent profile of Velvet Haze, appeals to those who appreciate a multi-layered fragrance experience.

Whether you’re looking for a special occasion scent or just a casual fragrance for everyday wear, this patchouli-based, sweet, floral composition of Velvet Haze is a perfect choice. And this perfume shines amazingly in chilly & bracing weather.

Patchouli Absolu By Tom Ford

This one is different from the last two fragrances because even though they have patchouli as one of their grounding notes, it is the key accord in this Tom Ford cologne.

Patchouli Absolu by Tom Ford demonstrates the versatility and sophistication of patchouli as a fragrance ingredient.

The perfume focuses on the rich and earthy smell of patchouli, making it a phenomenal option in the fragrance realm.

Patchouli acts as a main ingredient that gives an earthy, warm vibe to this perfume and makes it the perfect choice for those who appreciate a strong and distinctive scent.

The addition of subtle spicy and floral notes further enhances the fragrance, making it a unique and complex scent that provides noticeable projection & sillage.


Is patchouli a male or female scent?

Patchouli is a pure unisex scent that complements both perfumes and colognes equally. Where the woody boldness shows masculinity, the sweet softness expresses delicate femininity.

What smells similar to patchouli?

Patchouli has slightly similar accords to frankincense. However, patchouli has a more pine-like aroma with a dense resinous undertone.

Does patchouli attract bugs?

No, bugs can’t bear the bold earthy tone. Patchouli oil is massively used as an insect repellent. It repulses mosquitoes, ants, flies, and other pests actively.

Why is patchouli oil popular among hippies?

Because of patchouli’s calming earthy aroma, it becomes popular among free-spirited hippies during the 60s and 70s. Hippies use this bold, addictive nuance to hide the marijuana’s skunky scents.

What does the scent of patchouli mean spiritually?

Patchouli has been famous in spiritual practice and ritual over centuries because of its powerful and grounding aroma. Its soothing aura offers a serene vibe that expresses stability, safety & security.


Patchouli essential oil is much more than just a fragrance!

Whether you’re looking to improve your skin, relax your mind, or simply enjoy the benefits of a natural fragrance, patchouli essence is an excellent choice.

So, if you really adore the herby, earthy, woody, musky fusion of patchouli add the aroma to your daily fragrance and elevate your moods opulently.

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About The Author
Hello, I’m Nabila Lisha, an avid perfume enthusiast, and a devoted fragrance reviewer. I’m trying to pen content about branded perfumes on a regular basis because I’m fascinated by fragrances. I don’t write for perfumes as a hobby, they are something I’m truly passionate about.

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