There’s this unfortunate thing about patchouli: she has baggage. In fact patchouli has a past and the said past is not the sort you come by in front offices or middle class living rooms. Patchouli used to live on a commune at some unspecified period in her existence (she’s fuzzy on dates) and she now operates strictly within the territories bounded by the Dew Drop Inn and the tat parlor.
Nowadays some perfumers would like to clean up patchouli and see if she can adapt to the high life. They have a far harder job on their hands than Henry Higgins did with Eliza Doolittle, because, as we’ve already mentioned, Patchouli is not a good girl. I don’t think realistically that she can do any better than an appearance at the Burning Man Festival and you can just forget about Embassy balls.
Can Patchouli live down her seedy, not to say counter-cultural past? I worry about that.
Actually, I worry so much that I never wear patchouli myself, on the theory that, like a bra strap, she may be showing even when you don’t want her to. Some people even claim that they’ve been caught with their patchouli down while wearing Chanel’s Coromandel, which is about as high end as it gets. Is anyone really up for this kind of exposure? Do you want to spend all day worrying if your patchouli is clean in case you get hit by a bus? I can tell you right now, it isn’t.
Rather than give in to this kind of paranoia I suggest that you embrace the skank. It’s your only option really since there’s no way you can sneak this note past anyone. There is always Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 which smells like patchouli and brown sugar-cured bacon. Seriously, it does. Bacon is generally the all time favorite scent of men, so it may prove to be a magnet. It might even smell like your boyfriend after he’s been on a BLT binge, and that is, at least, an interesting thing.
If you want marginally more refinement you can try Chantecaille’s Kallimantan. It is quite similar to Coromandel but to my mind sweeter and rather less complex. Patchouli is in there all right, and she’s not coming out no matter how much you may bang on the door and tell her it’s urgent.
But then, I told you the refinement was marginal at best. Brazen is the way to go with this note. No one should ever have to ask if you’re wearing patchouli.