When we updated our website a couple years ago, we started fresh and left our old blogs behind. Missing some of these old stories, we thought we’d republish some of our favorites. Hope you enjoy.
Some people collect wine. Not me, I collect Patchouli.
My introduction to patchouli started in high school. I went to Laguna Beach High School, and it was simply good Karma.
In those days Laguna was a surfing Mecca (still is); a bohemian art colony with stunning white sand beaches, cool blue oceans, deep green canyons and evenings scented with ocean-misted, fragrant eucalyptus.
I spent my afternoons after school with friends at Mystic Arts Bookstore, a center of hippie art culture: books, Buddhas, waterfalls, psychedelic tie-dyed t-shirts, incense, chanting. That year, when he wasn’t running for governor, Timothy Leary could be found most afternoons at Mystic Arts, and like a beaming, beneficent Buddha he would hold court.
He was a silent instigator of action. We would gather and a few deep breathes later, a slithering plume of fragrant white smoke from a bubbling hookah pipe encircled us as if we were the day's catch in a spider’s web.
But if blue water, deep green canyons and smoky, mystical bookstores were the backdrop, it was patchouli that supplied the heavenly exotic scent that would fill the crevices of our days like the thick mortar of an ancient temple – a scent memory of prayers, chants and adolescent friendships that has remained with me for years.
It was only later that I discovered that what I had been sniffing wasn’t the ‘real deal’ at all but a rather toxic brew of synthetic molecules; never the less the die had been cast…
~ ~ ~ Patchouly. Patchouli. No matter how you spell it, people either love it or hate it, there is never any ambivalence. It comes as no surprise to the people who know me (or that might get trapped in a small conference room with me) that I love it. Like a drug addict, I am known to mainline dribbles of the deep chocolatey oil up and down my arms.
My favorite patchouli is the pure essential oil; it is an aged, understated, hypnotic Indonesian.
Steam distilled patchouli - Pogostemon cablin - comes from the cured and fermented leaf and exhibits notes of sweet earthiness with deep chocolatey, amber-like undertones. I describe it as chocolatey because of its utter richness and aromatic complexity – great patchouli contains full, rich heart notes and exhibits an evolution on the skin that keeps you sniffing your wrist for hours. The fragrance of patchouli can soothe the nerves, calm the mind and quiet the heart.
I keep my stash in a dark and cool, brick-walled cellar. I practically have to blow cobwebs and wipe dust from the dark amber bottles as I draw each one out to sample. The longer patchouli ages the better it gets, like fine wine the aroma softens and matures, getting fuller, rounder, richer and more mellow.
Patchouli is absolutely lovely on its own or blends beautifully with other essential oils such as vetiver, sandalwood, oakmoss, labdanum, cacao absolute, neroli, bergamot, clove or myrrh. I also love it with henna leaf, rose, cinnamon, clary sage or jasmine.
Patchouli is soothing and relaxing to the central nervous system and an over-active mind. It is earthy, calming, grounding and is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac. In which case, try it with jasmine, ylang ylang and maybe a droplet of cinnamon and/or clove. Diluted in coconut or jojoba oil and applied to the skin, patchouli has a remarkable wrinkle-smoothing action on chronically stressed skin, its aroma releasing the grip of jaw-clenching tension often held in the face.
My current favorite is to layer our WHIPPED PATCHOULI VANILLA SHEA BUTTER with....more patchouly! Or if I'm feeling exotic, with attars of Saffron, Vetiver, Henna Leaf or Rose. After all, I think to myself as I sashay out the door trailing a fragrant sillage of my own devising... who wants to smell like everyone else?
Experience this intoxicating and grounding in the following sumptuous products.