Patchouli Coeur (Hermitage)

Common name: Patchouli Coeur (a Patchouli essential oil fraction)

Botanical name: pogostemon cablin

Supplier: Hermitage (but they no longer sell this version)

Odour Note: Woody

Pyramid Note: Base

Diffusion: Medium

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: agarwood eo, amyris eo, ambret seed eo., benzoin siam abs., benzyl benzoate, benzyl salicylate, bergamot eo, cedryl methyl ether, cistus, clary sage, copaiba balsam, costus root, cypress eo, elemi eo, eugenol, fir balsam, galbanum, ginger, guaiac wood, hay abs., helichrysum eo., jumper berry eo., lavandin eo., lavender abs., etc. (TGSC)

blends beautifully with labdanum, vetiver, sandalwood, cedarwood derivatives, oakmoss, geranium, clove oils, lavender, rose, bergamot, neroli, orris… cassia, myrrh, opoponax, sage clary absolute, borneol, pine needle oils. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Patchouli blends well with vetiver, which contains the same earthy olfactory profile, sandalwood, cedarwood, clove, lavender, rose, labdanum, and so on. (Fragrantica)

Chemical components: b-patchoulene, a-guaiene, caryophyllene, a-patchoulene, seychellene, a-bulnesene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol and pogostol (Esoteric Oils)

Interesting bits: It is a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet (about 0.75 metre) in height and bearing small, pale pink-white flowers. The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, South America and the Caribbean. (Wikipedia)

Patchouli, an evergreen subshrub, is a tropical aromatic plant that thrives in the rich, shady soil of its native land of Indonesia. Along its upright stems are large, velvety green leaves containing the precious fragrance of patchouli. The name even honors the foliage: “patchouli” comes from the Tamil patch which means “green” and ilai which means “leaf.” The essential oil accumulates in the leaves’ secretory glands, principally in the young leaves, meaning that only the more recent above-ground portions of the plant are harvested for extraction, providing better yield during distillation and letting the plants regenerate faster. Patchouli heart is obtained after traditional patchouli essential oil has undergone rectification. This method is used to enrich the extract’s patchoulol content, the molecule responsible for the characteristic patchouli odor. This scent of the heart is therefore more powerfully woody and earthy, as well as nobler. (Albert Vieille via TGSC)

 Patchouli Heart is a “Fractionation of patchouli oil in order to blend the very noble part of the heart patchoulol notes.” (Robertet via TGSC)

… is a large perennial that is a member of the labiatae family, which includes lavender, mint and sage. (Eden Botanicals)

Properly matured leaves that have been distilled in stainless steel vessels in particular display very soft, subtle, precious woods-herbaceous notes that few associate with this plant. Those oils are also very light in color as compared to the darker colored oils that come from crude iron distilling vessels….”The art of distilling patchouly involves considerable experience and is of paramount importance for producing a high grade of oil. Each lot of leaves requires special distillation methods, according to its condition. A lot containing much stalk material must be treated differentlh from consisting mostly of leaves. A lot containing much dust resulting from too brittle leaves again requires a different treatment.. There exists no general and fixed rules by which a high-grade oil of patchouly can be obtained, the working methods depending upon the type of still employed and upon the condition of the plant material. It can only be said that too short a distillation gives oil of low specific gravity ; whereas too high steam pressure or to long distillation may yield oils that contain resins of disagreeable odor. The difficulty lies in finding the optiumum and the proper point at which distillation should be stopped. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Their nose: woody old wood dry earthy weedy balsamic spicy minty (TGSC)

more powerfully woody and earthy, as well as nobler  (Albert Vieille via TGSC)

Patchouli heart is very clean, ambery, earthy, woody, patchoulol, oriental (Robertet via TGSC)

… possessing an extremely rich, sweet herbaceous, aromatic spicy and woody-balasmic odor. An almost wine-like ethereal floral sweetnessin the initial notes is charcteristic of good oils although this topnote can be absent of masked in freshly distilled, otherwise good oils. The odor should remain sweet through all stages of evaporation. Patchouli will remain perceptible on the perfume blotter for weeks or even months.* Dry or tarlike notes should not be perceptible throughout the first hours of study of the oil on a blotter, and cade-like, dry cedarwood like odor which may appear in the topnote should rapidly vanish and give way to the rich sweetness…Many perfumers have never-or rarely- have ever smelled other types than the dry,phenolic, cade-like type(*Obviously Arctander is describing a patchouli oil that is well aged and well distilled and this type of oil is not very common. It is rare in the first place to encounter an oil that is aged for two years) This type may be their standard of evaluation or they may actually like to use this type. In both cases it can be said that the bodynotes of patchouli should display an outstanding richness, a root-like note with a delicate earthiness which should not include “mold like” or musty dry notes… Tenacity in odor is one of the typical virtues of patchouli oil and is one of the reasons for its versatile use. (Stephen Arctander via WLA)

Patchouli oil is obtained by steam distillation or CO2-extraction of the dried leaves. The oil has a rich, balsamic and herbaceous flavor with a minty-woody undertone. Patchouli absolute is a dark green liquid obtained by the solvent extraction of dried leaves. The absolute has a rich, pronouncedly sweet and herbaceous aroma with woody-balsamic undertone.  (Fragrantica)

The scent of patchouli contains the same earthy element that is also present in vetiver, making it a dark and rich scent. It has an interesting structure, comprised of sweet herbaceous top notes, rich winey heart and balsamic woodsy base.  (Bois de Jasmin)

My nose: OMG! I love this note! Its opening is warm and inviting, cozy with a hint of smokiness, fans out immediately with a medium projection, lighter than Patchouli essential oil and moves with a sure-footedness around me. There is also a balmy quality about it, too. 15min and this is a light-hearted Patchouli, there are tendrils of softness that waft around the room producing a thought-provoking mood. It swells like a round wave and challenges my senses with its sultry seductiveness. There is a texture present that I can’t quite identify. 30min and there is an airy quality, like it has room to breath, less tight than the other Patchouli, unburdened, less cluttered somehow. It is truly mesmerising now, a nuzzle to my nose. 45min and now there’s a dusty facet emerging. I smell a tobacco blend, smoky. It’s as if a beautiful dialogue with someone close; it’s an elegant note, captivating, lush and languid. Ahhh! Did I mention I love Patchouli? 1hr into it’s evolution and the smell is like dry, warm, embers. It’s the feeling of shade, tranquility. Something else I’ve noticed is that it’s a tranquil, deliberate note. It’s ponderous, that’s it, Patchouli does not rush, it’s heavy, sure and firm. After 2hrs it moves from dry to wet, rainy, soaked, and still the heaviness and tobacco thing continues to strike me…it’s mellow and rich. 3hrs on and Patchouli Coeur is thick, and velvety warm. I feel it in full expression now as it fills my nostrils. This is a classy note, woodsy and lush, I could also describe it as one long drawn out moan. That wetness I picked up at 2hrs led me down a curious path but for a moment, but it was just that, a moment. At 7hrs I found this note doubling back and reassuming the much drier character that seems to be it’s dominant expression but now with much stronger, it seems to be simmering with sensuality. There is a primitive manner to this particular material and I am now able to pick up a green twist. After 10hrs it remains dry, warm and now sharing much more in common with Vetiver. It’s a lingering note, lush, perhaps a bit more insistent than the Vetiver. Leafy and secluded, protective even. The final evaluation at 24hrs I get a hint of camphor, and it’s much, much drier and significantly lighter, brighter and with quite a bit more subtlety about it.

Exploring Patchouli is always a trip for me and I love to let it lead me wherever it wishes to go. I chose three Coeurs to explore this week, Patchouli, Vetiver and Elemi Coeur, could be an unconscious desire to get to the “heart” of things. But I wanted to shed a bit of light on what the term Coeur could mean in the world of perfumery. So what is Coeur? Most obviously it is meant to infer “heart” the core of an natural raw material, but I also found some interesting thoughts on the Basenotes DIY Forum that expand further and provide food for thought as we envision our formula taking form:

  • “Take an Essential oil and distill out the bits you don’t want, keeping the bits that you do. That is the Coeur.”, – member of Basenotes Perfume DIY Forum
  • “The truth is adding Coeur to a material name is just marketing – it doesn’t mean anything consistent – except that the starting material was natural and something has been done to it. Some suppliers routinely use this term for what another supplier would call MD (for molecular distilled) or Rectified: so with any given material you’re going to have to look at the technical specification and smell it to know what you’re dealing with.” – Member of Basenotes Perfume DIY Forum
  • “It can mean the smoothed refined version, with some effort being spent upon removal of the original natural’s harsh parts, or undesired molecules, call it a fractionated natural.” – Member of Basenotes Perfume DIY Forum

That’s all for today, have a good one!

MC

Advertisements