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What Does Patchouli Smell Like? | Learn More About Patchouli Oil, Its Scent & Various Uses

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog, including any linked materials herein, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. For accurate and personalized recommendations, please consult with your specialists.

With its distinct and captivating fragrance, Patchouli oil has long held a special place in the world of aromatics. It is native to tropical Southeast Asian countries. Patchouli is often known for its popularity in perfumery and aromatherapy. Its unique scent profile and is one of the most sought-after ingredients, and its allure continues to grow.

Its deep, complex and powerful scent is described as exotic and captivating, making it a favorite among perfumers and enthusiasts.

Patchouli is a star ingredient in perfumery, often serving as a base note in a wide range of fragrances. Its rich and enduring aroma acts as a fixative, enhancing the longevity and complexity of perfumes. In recent years, the popularity of patchouli has risen, it is driven by a renewed interest in natural and botanical scents. As consumers seek authentic and environmentally conscious products, patchouli's appeal continues to rise.

The Origins of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli has been used since ancient times in Southeast Asia, where this aromatic plant has been cultivated and cherished for centuries. It has its Origins in Southeast Asia.

Patchouli is native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It thrives in countries with warm, humid climates, where it has been cultivated for generations.

The patchouli plant is characterized by its lush, bushy appearance, vibrant green leaves, and delicate, aromatic flowers. It is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and is known for its ability to reach heights of up to three feet.

What is Patchouli Oil? 

Patchouli oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves of the patchouli plant, scientifically known as Pogostemon cablin. This aromatic oil is renowned for its unique fragrance and versatile uses in various applications, from perfumery to aromatherapy. Patchouli essential oil blends well with many different scents, it can be used as a base with a sweet woody fragrance. 

Patchouli extract is primarily composed of diverse chemical compounds, with the critical component being patchouli alcohol. The smell of patchouli is due to the presence of the following compounds: 

  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Sesquiterpene alcohols and other aromatic compounds. 

The sweet scent of patchouli and its precise composition can vary depending on the plant's origin and the distillation process.

What Does Patchouli Smell Like : Ingredients, Patchouli Scent | Fragrance

Let's delve into the key ingredients that give patchouli oil its unique character and the enchanting aroma that has captivated generations.

Key Ingredients

  • Patchouli Alcohol: The primary component responsible for patchouli oil's aroma is patchouli alcohol. It contributes to the oil's rich, earthy scent and is crucial to its therapeutic properties.

  • Sesquiterpenes: These are a group of aromatic compounds found in patchouli oil. They contribute to the oil's depth and complexity, enhancing its fragrance and therapeutic effects.
  • Sesquiterpene Alcohols: These alcohols are derived from sesquiterpenes and are another critical group of compounds in patchouli oil. They add to the oil's earthy, woody, and musky notes.
  • Other Aromatic Compounds: Patchouli oil contains various aromatic compounds contributing to its scent profile. Patchouli may blend well with many other organic compounds, these compounds create a harmonious blend of earthiness, woodiness, muskiness, which are slightly sweet with fragrant notes. 

Patchouli Oil Aroma

Patchouli oil's aroma is a symphony of olfactory sensations, evoking a sense of mystery and sensuality. Here's a closer look at its aromatic characteristics:

  • Earthy: Patchouli oil is renowned for its deep earthiness, akin to the scent of freshly turned soil or the forest floor after a rain shower. This earthy quality is its hallmark.
  • Woody: It carries woody undertones that transport the senses to a serene and ancient forest. This woodiness adds to its grounding and calming properties.
  • Musky: A subtle muskiness adds depth and intrigue to the aroma, making it sensual and captivating.
  • Sweet: Amidst its earthiness and woodiness, patchouli oil has a gentle sweetness that rounds out the scent profile, giving it a balanced and harmonious quality.

Use Patchouli Oil for our own DIY Recipes 

Recipe #1 - Patchouli Oil Hair Mask for Shiny Hair


  • 2-3 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey


  • Mix the coconut oil and honey in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Add 2-3 drops of patchouli essential oil and mix again.
  • Apply the mixture to your hair, focusing on the tips and dry areas.
  • Leave the mask on for 30-60 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner. Enjoy the shiny and nourished hair.

Recipe #2 - Patchouli Oil Skin Soothing Cream


  • 5-6 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil


  • Melt the shea butter quickly in a microwave-safe bowl until it becomes liquid.
  • Add jojoba oil and patchouli essential oil to the melted shea butter.
  • Stir well and let it cool until it starts to solidify.
  • Whip the mixture until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  • Transfer the cream to a clean container.
  • Apply to dry or irritated skin as needed for soothing relief.

Recipe #3 - DIY Patchouli Perfume Oil


  • 10-15 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 5-7 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5-7 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • Jojoba oil (as a carrier)


  • In a small glass rollerball bottle, add the essential oils.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with jojoba oil, leaving a little space at the top.
  • Close the bottle and shake gently to mix the oils.
  • Roll the perfume oil onto your wrists, neck, or pulse points for a natural and alluring fragrance.

Recipe #4 - Patchouli Aromatherapy Diffuser Blend for Relaxation


  • 3 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of bergamot essential oil


  • Add the essential oil drops to your aromatherapy diffuser.
  • Fill the diffuser with water according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Turn on the diffuser and enjoy your space's calming and relaxing aroma.

Patchouli Oil in Perfumery

Patchouli oil is a versatile essential oil used in various applications due to its unique fragrance and potential therapeutic benefits.

Uses of Patchouli Oil in Perfumery



Base Note

Patchouli oil is often classified as a base note in perfumery, which means it provides a lasting foundation to a fragrance.

Base notes are the scents that linger the longest, serving as a fixative that helps slow down the evaporation of the more volatile top and middle notes. 

Fragrance Fixative

Patchouli oil's fixative properties are highly valued in perfumery. 

It helps to hold the more volatile top and middle notes in a fragrance composition, ensuring that the perfume maintains its scent profile over time.

Blending Component

Perfumers use patchouli oil as a blending component to harmonize and balance the overall fragrance composition. 

It can bridge the gap between different scent notes and create a seamless blend.

Chypre Fragrances

Patchouli is a key ingredient in the chypre fragrance family, which typically includes citrus top notes, floral middle notes, and a woody or mossy base. 

Patchouli contributes to the woody and earthy aspects of chypre fragrances.

Patchouli Oil in Skincare

Patchouli oil has a variety of potential benefits for skin care due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and skin-regenerating properties. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 154, Issue 2014, Patchouli oil also acts as a shield under the effect of UV radiation [1]. 

Uses of Patchouli Oil in Skincare



Acne Treatment

Patchouli oil is often used to treat acne and blemishes. It has antiseptic properties that help prevent infection and control the growth of acne-causing bacteria. 

You can dilute patchouli oil with a carrier oil and apply it to affected areas for targeted treatment.

Scar Fading

Some people use patchouli oil to reduce the appearance of scars, including acne scars and stretch marks. 

Its properties may help promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells.


Patchouli oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated and inflamed skin. 

It may be used to alleviate the discomfort associated with conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Wound Healing

Due to its antiseptic properties, patchouli oil can be applied to minor wounds, cuts, and insect bites to prevent infection and promote healing. 

However, it should not be used on open wounds or deep cuts.

Patchouli Oil in Hair Care

Patchouli oil can offer several benefits when incorporated into hair care routines. Its aromatic and therapeutic properties make it a valuable addition to various hair care products and practices. According to the Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal . Jul2013, Vol. 15 Issue 2, Patchouli oil has antifungal properties which helps not only in treating physical injuries but also dandruff and some other scalp related issues [2]. 

Patchouli Oil in Hair Care



Dandruff Treatment

Patchouli oil's antifungal and antiseptic properties can help combat dandruff and flaky scalp conditions. 

You can add a few drops of patchouli oil to your regular shampoo or a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) and massage it into your scalp.

Scalp Health

Massaging patchouli oil into the scalp can help improve overall scalp health. 

It may promote blood circulation, soothe irritation, and reduce itchiness, creating a more comfortable and balanced scalp environment.

Hair Fragrance

Patchouli oil's earthy and musky scent makes it a popular choice for adding a long-lasting fragrance to hair. 

You can dilute it with a carrier oil and apply a small amount to the hair for a pleasant aroma.

Hair Strength and Shine

Some people use patchouli oil to enhance hair strength and shine. 

It can be added to homemade hair masks or conditioners to nourish the hair and promote a healthy, glossy appearance.

Natural Hair Care Products

Patchouli oil is a popular ingredient in natural and organic hair care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Its natural and earthy scent aligns well with the ethos of clean beauty.

Patchouli Oil in Aromatherapy

Patchouli oil is a popular choice in aromatherapy due to its unique and complex aroma, as well as its potential therapeutic benefits. Aromatherapists often use patchouli oil to promote emotional well-being, relaxation, and balance.

Patchouli Oil in Aromatherapy



For Relaxation 

Patchouli oil is known for its calming and grounding properties.
Aromatherapists often recommend it as a natural remedy for relaxation and calmness. 

Confidence Booster 

Some individuals find that the aroma of patchouli oil helps boost self-confidence and self-assuredness. 

It can be used as a supportive element in aromatherapy blends for enhancing self-esteem.

Grounding and Centering

Patchouli oil is often associated with root chakra balancing in aromatherapy practices. It is believed to help ground and center individuals, providing a sense of stability and security.

Aromatherapy Blends

Aromatherapists frequently incorporate patchouli oil into essential oil blends to enhance their therapeutic effects. 

It complements a wider range of other essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, ylang-ylang, and citrus oils.

Benefits of Patchouli Oil 

The following are the benefits of Patchouli Oil:

  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation: Patchouli oil is renowned for its calming and grounding properties. Inhaling its earthy aroma is believed to reduce stress, anxiety, and nervous tension. It promotes relaxation and emotional balance, making it a valuable tool for managing the demands of modern life.

  • Skin Health: Patchouli oil offers various benefits for the skin. Its antiseptic & anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated skin, reduce redness, and alleviate conditions like acne, eczema, and dermatitis. It may also promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells, aiding in scar healing and regeneration.

  • Antimicrobial and Insect Repellent: Patchouli oil exhibits natural antimicrobial properties, which can help protect against infections. It is also used as a natural insect repellent, helping to ward off mosquitoes and other pests.

  • Aromatherapy for Well-being: In aromatherapy, patchouli oil is employed to balance emotions and enhance mood.

  • Hair and Scalp Health: Adding patchouli oil to hair care products or scalp treatments may help with dandruff control, scalp health improvement, and overall hair shine and strength.

  • Grounding and Spiritual Practices: Patchouli oil is often used in grounding and spiritual practices. It is associated with the root chakra, fostering a sense of stability and connection to the earth. Meditating with patchouli oil can enhance mindfulness and spiritual awareness.

  • Deodorant and Perfumery: Its long-lasting fragrance makes patchouli oil a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and perfumes. It provides a pleasant and lasting scent while avoiding synthetic chemicals.

Safety and Precautions

The following are the safety and precautions to be taken care of before using patchouli oil: 

  • Dilution: Patchouli oil should always be diluted with a suitable carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba, or sweet almond oil) before applying it to the skin. The typical dilution ratio is about 2-3 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.

  • Patch Test: Perform a patch test before applying patchouli oil or any essential oil to a larger area of your skin. Apply a diluted solution to a small patch of skin and wait for 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions, such as redness, itching, or irritation.

  • Sensitive Skin: Individuals with sensitive skin or skin conditions should use patchouli oil with caution. Consider consulting a dermatologist or aromatherapist for personalized advice.

  • Avoid Contact with Eyes: Keep patchouli oil away from your eyes and sensitive areas. If accidental contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with a carrier oil and seek medical attention if irritation persists.

  • Pregnancy and Nursing: Pregnant and nursing women should consult a healthcare professional before using patchouli oil.

  • Allergies: If you have a known allergy to patchouli or any other essential oils, avoid using it.

  • Photosensitivity: Patchouli oil is not known to be phototoxic, but it's still a good practice to avoid direct sunlight or UV exposure for several hours after applying it to the skin.

  • Internal Use: Never ingest patchouli oil. It is meant for external use only and can be toxic if ingested.


Despite its earthiness and woodiness, patchouli oil has a gentle sweetness that harmonizes the overall fragrance, creating a balanced and intriguing profile. Resembling the scent of damp soil or the forest floor after a rain shower, patchouli oil has a strong earthy quality.

Patchouli oil's aroma is often associated with relaxation, sensuality, and a deep connection to nature. It has a long-lasting and powerful fragrance, making it a popular choice in perfumery, aromatherapy, and various other applications. However, it should always be used with caution, following proper dilution and safety guidelines.

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