Summer of Love, Patchouli Style.


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!


84 thoughts on “Summer of Love, Patchouli Style.

  1. Hi Trish! Wasn’t PLAP heaps of fun? I definitely thought so. I loved Bodhi Sativa and Bohemian Spice too, they were both very close to making my top three. I also enjoyed reading about Dawn’s three perfumes she made for the project that she had to whittle down to one. She really took to the project with a lot of enthusiasm and a whole lot of love, as well. It was cool to be a part of it!

    1. Just read your ode to Liz Zorn’s Riverwalk for the PLAP project. I’m going to have to revisit that one. So many gems were created for this, amazing! 😀


  2. It’s been much fun following PLAP and learning more about patchouli.
    It certainly showed that there are many creative perfumers out there, and that the possibilities for one note are practically limitless.
    I would love a chance to try Dawn’s creation. 🙂

  3. Yes, after wearing Queen of Punk yesterday and feeling totally bi***y ( that happened before the perfume but my courage to BE bit*** was increased by it I think)…then my attention in the wee hours favored Liz Zorn’s River Walk. Liz is the eternal 17 year old after all, the musician rebel punk! An interesting sophisticated rebel girl. hehe but enough about ME- great review Trish! LOVE it!

  4. Thanks for writing about your three faves. I appreciate the descriptions, as I want to get some of these, but may not be able to get all 13. PLAP on!

    1. You are so welcome, and thanks for reading. If you do get one or two of these, you’ll have to let me know!

  5. Thank you so much for this wonderful review. You got all the notes spot on…(there a few more hidden ones)…..but I like the way you described it and the play of your words of Bohemain Spice. Anytime you need a refill, just let me know….:-)

    1. I’d love to know more about the hidden notes 😉
      Thanks for creating such a gorgeous perfume, I really really love it!

  6. I enjoyed reading reviews and especially this concept of not knowing who is behind scent. Very interesting! Thanks for the draw!

    1. I love the concept as well. It kept me focused on the scents rather than the perfumers or why they picked a certain name.

  7. Great reviews of the patchouli summer of love! They all sound wonderful. I would love to try Bodhi Sativa, so count me in! Thanks!

  8. I’m not reallly familiar with patchouli perfumes, but I have been following the project with interest and would love to try the perfume. Please enter me in the draw. Thanks.

    1. I certainly will Maureen! So glad you you have been enjoying the PLAP Project 🙂

  9. I have loved this project, and every new revew makes me hungry to try the perfumes. Your description of Tetu especially makes it sound like something I have to experience. That said, don’t enter me in the draw. Not that I don’t want to try Bodhi Sativa! I do! But I was lucky enough to win one of the other draws–Patchouli Paisley–and I want to spread the patchouli love.

  10. Thanks for these great reviews! I enjoy patchouli way more than I first did when I got into scent, so I definitely need to track down some of the scents from this project. And thanks for the giveaway!

    1. We have Dawn to thank for the giveaway, she’s such a sweetheart to do this!

  11. I was following the patchouli challenge through EauMG – great to read your opinions as well.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  12. I love patchouli- so have been enjoying reading about this event on various perfumes..You make these sound gorgeous!! (I’d love to be entered in the draw!)

    1. If you are a patchouli lover, you must try Dawn’s creation! I’m rooting for you 🙂

  13. I love all things patchouli, and would love the chance to try Bodhi Sativa. Thank you for the drawing!

    1. Sounds like Bodhi Sativa was made for you! Thanks for your comment and best of luck in the drawing.

  14. I have really enjoyed following this project on the various blogs. They all sound wonderful, but I am a fan of so many of Dawn’s perfumes, so I would especially love to see her take on patchoulli.

    1. Dawn’s one of my faves as well, and she did patchouli justice 🙂
      Good luck!

  15. This review brought back good memories of patchouli. This scent you described from Dawn’s stash sounds lovely. Really like the vintage aspect too. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you.

    1. So happy to hear that Nancy. And yes, vintage is the only way to go with patchouli 🙂

  16. Thank you Trish for a great review. l loved reading of your impressions of Tetu…she is complex and the drydown is quite the journey.

    Did you notice the cocoa absolute and the vanilla absolute?

    1. I definitely noticed the vanilla in the drydown! Is there by chance oud in there? 😉

  17. I’ve been a closet patchouli lover for years! These all sound like great fragrances and I’m excited to check them out! Would love to be entered in the drawing!

  18. I’m one of those folks that love the smell of patchouli 🙂 Please enter me in the drawing!

  19. Please enter me in your contest! I love patchouli blends and make them myself. I was just at the Oregon Country Fair in Eugene which you must be familiar with since you mentioned Eugene Saturday Markets! Thank you! 🙂

    1. I hope you had a terrific time at the OCF Kelly! I haven’t been in years, but have many amazing memories from those weekends 🙂 Long live patchouli!!

  20. Awesome review Trish, I so appreciate your mindfulness. Super happy that you’ve discovered Tanja, she’s a sweetheart. I’d love to win a sample of Bohemian Spice, sounds like heaven.

    1. Thanks so much for reading Roxana! I love that you know Tanja, Bohemian Spice is really beautiful. Her giveaway is actually for a full bottle, best of luck in the draw 🙂

  21. These all sound lovely and intriguing! I love scents with patchouli, but I’ve never tried one with patchouli as the star ingredient. Please enter me!

  22. Trish, every time I read the reviews for the PLAP; I get so excited to use Patchouli in new and interesting ways. Very fun and I, honestly, want to try all the perfumers creations. Your reviews are always so wonderful. Thank you so much and looking forward to getting to sniff some somehow some way!

  23. Oh so exciting! Would love to win. Patchouli is one of those notes that I thought I would hate when I first got into perfume, but found that I kept falling in love with over and over.

  24. How fascinating it is that all the “Bunnies” got such different impressions! I could not abide No. 10 myself, but I think No. 11 is wonderful. I enjoyed your take on these very much!

    1. #10 will not be for everyone, that’s true! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in draw!

  25. I love experimenting with scents and patchouli is one of my favorites. Your descriptions are lovely. Please enter my name in the draw!

  26. Oh thank u for this opportunity….I love patchouly ,it’s so meditative…. and when it goes together with roses and spices it becomes simply stunning…….I would love to have the chance to have my name entered in the draw !!! (even if I live in Italy ???!!!!!! )..and it would be great to be lucky enough to test such perfumed brands very hard to find in my country !!!
    Thank You

    1. As far as I know, the perfumers are willing to send internationally, so you’re in! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂
      Good Luck!

  27. I was thorougly interested in reading all the reviews that were given. Patchouli is my favorite scent, helping me to relax no matter what is going on. I would love to try them all… is there a way for samples for a fee? I would consider myself greatly honored to be able to be entered into the drawing… Great work!

    1. Hi Cathy,
      I know that Monica did have sample packs available, and I have just contacted her to ask if they are still available. I will let you know ASAP!!

  28. This was a fun project to follow and see all the diverse responses to the entries! I too look forward to trying a few out myself over the next few months, they all sound so fun!

    Thanks for the generous draws!


    1. Thanks for keeping up on the “PLAP” project Michael. I am so glad you have been enjoying it.

  29. As I have been on my honeymoon I have not had enough time to follow the project, unfortunately. But now I’m back and I can have a look at all the entries and articles. Patchouli has grown on me and today it’s one of my favorite notes.
    I would love to be entered in the draw. Thanks to Tanja and Dawn for the prizes!

    1. Isa, Congrats!! A honeymoon is a great time to get away from the computer and just enjoy….
      I wish you luck in the drawing, Tanja and Dawn are certainly very generous to offer up their beautiful scents for the giveaway!!

  30. Hi Trish! I adore anything patchouli! Please enter me in the drawing for DSH Bodhi Sativa. Thank you!! Michelle 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle! So good to “see” you here 🙂
      You would definitely adore DSH’s creation, it’s got your name written all over it!
      Good luck!

  31. Hi, Trish! 🙂

    Thank you so very much for your wonderful kind words for Bodhi Sativa and for hosting this magical drawing. I am honored to be hosted at Scent Hive and and thrilled to see so much love for patchouli through this project. You are doing fabulous work here!!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment Dawn. It is my pleasure to host this giveaway and I am grateful I had the opportunity to participate in the PLAP project.

  32. Yt does not have a fave patch scent currently – think all the fruitchouli out there got my senses going – OH, NO!! 🙂 Must rectify this! I miss Pauline Trigere`s signature scent; I have a 1/4 oz perfumed oil that I take the cap off, whiff!!, and place the cap on again! 🙂

  33. I enjoyed reading everybody’s takes on those unknown perfumes. I think it was a great idea. Now I’ll need to choose “best of the best” picks of those reviewers whose tastes I notice to share and start testing myself.

  34. Wonderful reviews Trish for what sounds like some stunning perfumes. Would love to give either of these perfumes a try. Thank you fo the draw opppertunity!!

  35. You are so welcome Angie, I am glad you enjoyed the reviews. I think you would really love the DSH and April Aromatics creations.
    Best of luck!

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