Blog post by Gwen

Psychédélique - dark and amber and modern


It's winter where I am, but I'm ready for it since I brought my favourite cold weather fragrances to the front of the shelf at the end of autumn. By the middle of winter, I notice that the perfume I've been wearing most is Psychédélique from Parisian niche house Jovoy Parfumeur Parisien.

Jovoy was started by Blanche Arvoy in 1923. The shop on Rue de la Paix catered to perfume lovers looking for rich, luxurious scents. But times and tastes change, and by the early 1960s, the line had disappeared. Enter François Hénin. A genial, amiable man, he revived the line and used it to anchor Jovoy, a multi-brand perfume store at 4 Rue de Castiglione in Paris that he opened in 2006. It wasn't long before this spacious, inviting shop became the Paris destination for perfumistas worldwide.

I have little resistance to the scent of patchouli any time of year, but the heavy, dark, sweet, earthy, woody aroma of that bushy herb from the mint family, really has me swooning in cold weather.

For some people, patchouli is forever associated with head shops and a hippie vibe they find challenging to wear. I get it, but patchouli is a complex ingredient, and in the right hands, a patchouli fragrance can defy that tired cliché. Psychédélique is one such fragrance.

Of Psychédélique, the Jovoy website says: 'This 'revival' perfume pays homage to the '70s, the decade that transformed patchouli into the legendary scent of the counterculture. At all the festivals, from Wight to Woodstock, patchouli's woody and mysterious richness sang the backup vocals for the rock mindset of a new generation of rebellious youth. Today, it has made its comeback, more hippie chic than ever and the boho-glam idol par excellence. It is a classic in its own right, with all of its audacity intact. Retro-nostalgia has never been so modern'.

M. Hénin knows about patchouli. Previously, he worked exploring and distilling raw ingredients for the perfume trade in places like Vietnam, where patchouli is extensively cultivated. Of Psychédélique he says: "Psychedelic: my great patchouli fragrance, dark and smoky, ambered, generous and opulent…Even the rain and mud of Woodstock won't wash it away."

Psychédélique opens fresh and tart with a note of nose-tingling citrus followed by a punch of ambery labdanum. As it quietens, the citrus fruits become jammy and sweeter as a potent note of patchouli appears dark and smoky. The patchouli slowly softens, and its leathery, woody, earthy, spicy, sweet and camphourous nuances come forward. This stage is fabulous! Then, the patchouli blends with sweet amber, which coaxes up an almost edible delicious chocolate facet - a softly murmured OMG leaves my lips. At the next stage, the patchouli is lightened and rounded by rose and geranium before settling into a smoky, warm, earthy hum, sweetened by creamy vanilla and softened by musk at the base.

At the drydown, Psychédélique becomes more of a skin scent on me - refined, sophisticated, and beautifully seductive with a come-close siren call. This is a modern patchouli that defies a tired cliché.

Check out Psychédélique in our Shop.