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Discovering Patchouli: What It Smells Like & How To Wear It? [2024]

Our 2024 Guide to Patchouli

In the ever-evolving world of fragrances, patchouli stands out as a timeless and intriguing essence. But what exactly is the scent of patchouli, and how has it become a staple in both perfumery and personal style in 2024? Let's embark on a sensory journey to discover the allure.

About Us: The Aromi has been a trusted part of the fragrance world since 2019. Built by fragrance enthusiasts, our mission is to help demystify and democratize the world of scent.

What Does Patchouli Smell Like?

The enigmatic aroma can be described as a blend of earthiness, slight sweetness, and a musky depth.  Often described as “woody, smoky, and with a touch of damp forest floor”, patchouli embodies a rich, almost mysterious quality. Each batch of patchouli can vary slightly in its scent profile due to differences in cultivation, harvesting, and processing methods.

Where Does Patchouli Come From?

Patchouli is derived from the leaves of the patchouli plant, which is a member of the mint family. Originating in Southeast Asia, patchouli was used for centuries in traditional medicine. By the 1960s, in the United States, patchouli had become a symbol of the counterculture, representing peace and love.

Givaudan, a global leader in fragrance production, is actively working to  strengthen sustainable patchouli oi sourcing in Indonesia.  This project includes training over 1,000 producers and their families in good agricultural and distillation processes.  The project is also focused on reducing the use of firewood as part of the fragrance oil production process.

Why Is Patchouli Making a Comeback?

Fast forward to 2024, and patchouli has undergone a renaissance.  No longer just a nostalgic note, it has been reimagined in contemporary perfumery and lifestyle products.  It's nature and grounding qualities resonate with today's eco-conscious and wellness-oriented consumers.  The scent note has found its way into the fragrance collections of many contemporary brands including: Tom Ford, Jo Malone London, Guerlain, Diptyque, Le Labo, Chanel, Byredo, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian.

How To Wear Patchouli

1. Sophisticated Elegant Look

The sophistication of patchouli comes from its earthy, mysterious qualities, so it should be used in a way that adds an element of intrigue to your presence without dominating it.

  1. Choose the Right Fragrance: Select a  scent that blends well with other notes like citrus, florals, or spices to create a refined, balanced scent. High-quality fragrances that use patchouli as a complementary note can add depth without being overwhelming.
  2. Infuse Accessories: Infuse small accessories like scarves with a light scent. This will provide a subtle hint of fragrance as you move.

Picture of women wearing professional clothing

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel is well-known for its sophisticated and elegant scent profile, where patchouli is blended seamlessly with other notes to create a modern yet timeliness aroma suitable for the professional setting.


The scent opens with top notes of orange, orange blossom, and bergamot.  It eventually settles into a nice blend of tonka bean, vanilla, vetiver, and patchouli. The lightness of the fragrance makes it suitable for younger audiences as well.


Also noteworthy are the Tonka/Vanilla notes which we predict will continue to take center stage in 2024

Picture of Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

2. A Night Out

Wearing patchouli on a night out can add an intriguing and sophisticated edge to your presence.  Here's how to wear it effectively:

  1. Choose the Right Concentration: For a night out, opt for an Eau de Parfum or Parfum as they have a higher concentration of fragrance oils that last longer. This is especially important in the evening.
  2. Apply to Pulse Points: Apply to pulse points such as wrists, beck, behind your ears and even behind your knees. These areas emit warmth, which helps to naturally diffuse the fragrance.
A woman is dressed for a night out wearing patchouli fragrance

Rumored to be one of the “go-to” fragrances for Taylor Swift, this perfume is a modern classic, known for its addictive and opulent floral scent. It masterfully combines patchouli, with notes of jasmine, freesia, and rose. The fragrance is both bold and elegant, making it a great choice for an evening where you want to make a statement.  

This scent has been a consistent bestseller for years and has spawned several variations. Known for its strong projection and presence, this fragrance is the epitome of a “night fragrance”

3. Casual Beauty

  1. Select a Light Fragrance: Choose a perfume where patchouli is blended with lighter citrus, florals, or fruits.
  2. Dress for Comfort and Style: Pair your fragrance with a casual outfit. Think of flowy dresses, comfortable jeans a chic top, or a casual jumpsuit. This scent complements natural fabrics like cotton and linen.
  3. Accessorize Thoughtfully: Add accessories like a simple necklace or a pair of elegant earrings.  The earthiness of the scent pairs well with natural materials like leather, wood, or stone.
A beautiful woman in casual clothing looking over her shoulder

Chloe Eau De Parfum is known for its versatility.  it's light enough for daytime wear and casual settings but also has a element of refinement that makes it suitable for more formal occasions. Rumored to be a favorite of Cameron Diaz who is the embodiment of chic/casual.

As a blend of floral notes with a hint of patchouli, Chloe creates a graceful and timeless fragrance, ideal for women seeking a casual yet chic scent for everyday wear.


While raw and unpaired patchouli oil certainly can draw a polarizing response, the uniqueness of the scent profile and the historical connotation give contextual depth to the note that is a bit of a rarity. Given the common association to the  natural/sustainable ethos make patchouli an fantastic note addition in comporary fragrances.  The ability to push the original boundaries of this note into multiple stylistic interpretations is one of the reasons why we are seeing this note step back into the limelight for 2024.

Picture of fragrance blogger Nicole Barrett

Nicole Barrett

Nicole is a frequent contributor to TheAromi fragrance blogs.  When not writing about fragrance, Nicole can be found spending time with her family and two dogs.  Nicole is passionate about the mind-body connection, especially as it relates to the power of scent.