Monica Miller of the Perfume Pharmer and Skye Botanicals put 13 perfumers to the test. The challenge was to create a natural perfume using a minimum of 25% patchouli in the essential oil base. Now if that idea doesn’t shoot me right back to Saturday Market in Eugene, OR. I don’t know what does.
All thirteen perfumers rose to the challenge and created interesting and compelling patchouli based perfumes. We participating bloggers were asked to choose our top three which was no small task, but I happily obliged of course! Each perfume was labeled only with a number so as to avoid bias towards a name or perfumer. I chose #5, #10, and #11. The full list of perfumes and a giveaway is at the end. It should also be noted that there were no strict guidelines as to the definition of “natural” for this project, so please contact the individual perfumers if you have any concerns regarding their palette.
#5- Bohemian Spice by April Aromatics. This is a patchouli fragrance for even the most ardent patchouli-phobes. It’s soft and soothing and does not exude any of the overbearing qualities one might anticipate from a 25% concentration patchouli perfume. It begins with a gentle vitality provided by welcoming citrus notes of the orange variety. Sandalwood and patchouli are immediately recognizable, with patchouli being the quieter of the two. Sandalwood (along with some cedar I imagine) is at the forefront of Bohemian Spice and it’s the kind I really like. Bohemian Spice is not a dry sandalwood like 10 Corso Como or Diptyque’s Tam Dao, it’s creamy and full-bodied and becomes even more voluminous thanks to patchouli’s herbal and balsamic qualities. The best part though, is the cuddly vanilla-benzoin drydown. What begins as a lush sandalwood/patchouli pairing, ends with sweet smooth woods.
#10- Têtu by JoAnne Bassett. I had to wear Têtu several times before I chose it as one of my top three. Right away I found it fascinating and wanted to understand its complexity. After being drawn to it again and again, I knew it held a special place among the contestants. It’s boldly rich, saturated with heady textures of resins, leather, rose and smoky amber. For me, Têtu has patchouli infused oud written all over it. An oud that exudes a fleshy tang, smoke and mystery. Yet, the intrigue doesn’t end there. While Têtu feels almost larger than life at the outset, it morphs into something quite pillowy and yes, wearable. The patchouli and oud recede peacefully into the background allowing the amber to take on a powdery glow.
#11- Bodhi Sativa by DSH Perfumes. I love the play on words for Dawn’s patchouli brew. Bodhisattva, a being who is able to attain nirvana but puts it off to help the rest of us achieve enlightenment. Sativa, an entirely direct reference to cannabis. Quite apropos since this fragrance event has been dubbed “PLAP,” Peace Love and Patchouli. And man, if you love the kind vintage patchouli, Bodhi Sativa is speaking your language. For me it doesn’t conjure up smoke filled VW buses, but its leathery and slightly animalic aspect combined with a rich and minty aged patchouli certainly alludes to the herbal smoke. I love that Bodhi Sativa is an unabashedly patchouli fragrance. It begins and ends with the tenacious essence, but because it is harmonized with some fruity-floral nuances- I’m guessing osmanthus and rose otto- it’s never one-dimensional and wears nicely as a summer scent. And all you patchouli-lovin’ peaceniks are in luck! Dawn is giving away a generous 10ml bottle of Bodhi Sativa to a Scent Hive reader. Please leave a comment to be entered.
Update: Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics has offered to giveaway a bottle of Bohemian Spice, so we’ll have two winners! Leave a comment to have a chance at winning either Bodhi Sativa or Bohemian Spice. Drawing closed, winners announced.
1 Dupetit, Indienne
2 Liz Zorn, River Walk
3 Shelley Waddington, Go Ask Alice
4 Jane Cate, Haight and Ashbury
5 April Aromatics, Bohemian Spice
6 Happiness, Perfume by Nature/Ambrosia Jones
7 Providence Perfume Company, Rose Boheme
8 Lyn Ayre, Patchouli Paisley
9 no one, to save confusion with 6
10 JoAnne Bassett, Tetu
11 DSH, Bodhi Sativa
12 Amanda Feeley, Queen of Punk
13 Opus Oils, Wild Child
14 Therapeutate, Rodney Hughes, Royal Water
Thank you so much to Monica Miller for asking me to be a part of this event! Please visit her blog, the Perfume Pharmer for more PLAP info and links to participating bloggers as well as posts by the perfumers themselves!