Blog post by Gwen

Patchouli Ardent - patchouli and rose and passion

Photo: Courtesy of Guerlain

A young friend leant me her copy of 'Every Day', a novel by David Levithan. What she liked most about the book, and what she wanted to share with me, were Levithan's thoughts on love and desire and yearning. She had highlighted a few passages for me, among them was a quote by the narrator, 'A':

'We all want everything to be okay. We don't even wish so much for fantastic or marvellous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.'

Book reviews or recommendations aren't really what we do here in the niche, but taken on its own, the quote got me thinking – is okay enough? Sure. Maybe. Sometimes, I guess. But not when it comes to perfume. Never when it comes to perfume. When it comes to fragrances you wear, wear something you love, something that moves you, something that arouses, evokes, reminds, induces, seduces or just plain pleases you. It is a rule I never bend - case in point Patchouli Ardent from Guerlain.

Launched in 2020 as part of Guerlain's Absolus d'Orient Collection, I knew Patchouli Ardent was coming home with me after the very first time I tried it. How? First, it's a fabulous fragrance. Second, it's from Guerlain. Founded in Paris in 1828, it still produces some of the worlds' finest fragrances and is one of niche perfumery's pillars.  

One of the reasons Guerlain is still relevant, apart from creating stunning fragrances, is that they never settle; they keep moving the ball forward with groundbreaking fragrances like Jicky, Après L'ondée, L'Heure Bleue,  Mitsouko, Nahéma and Samsara.  Now, the Gueralin website tells us that with the Absolus d'Orient Collection, Guerlain explores the oriental genre and gives us '…a glimpse of a captivating region that unveils a few of its secrets through woody, ambery or spicy scents.'

So, what about this Patchouli Ardent?

It opens with a bracing note of black pepper along with a burst of pink pepper. The peppers are warm and spicy, and the earthiness of the black pepper plays beautifully off the rosy, green facets of the pink pepper. A note of fig amplifies the green and adds a jammy sweetness to the opening. Now, the stage is set for patchouli. This is not dark, heavy patchouli; this is the fresh, green light and airy aspect. A note of balsamy cedar gives it a headiness as a glorious note of Turkish rose blooms. The rose is rich and floral, sweet and sensuous. The pairing of patchouli and rose is a classic one, but it's made new in Patchouli Ardent because as the fragrance evolves, so too does the patchouli. Where it was green, it now becomes sweeter, a little woody and radiant. This patchouli/rose combo is utterly disarming. At the base, the patchouli changes again as it deepens. A leather accord, smelling very oud-ish, brings out an animalic facet of the herb, while amber adds warmth and depth and hints at its sweet side. A note of musk joins the leather accord to give the fragrance a smooth, elegant finish.

Patchouli Ardent is another stunner from Guerlain. A gorgeous interpretation of the many facets of patchouli - fresh, luminous, animalic – that's unexpected. Every note and nuance is perfectly balanced It making Patchouli Ardent a pleasure to smell and to wear. But for me, the standout is that patchouli/rose combo. The way these two notes connect and affect each other makes this EdP perfect for both men and women.

One of the meanings of the word 'ardent' is passionate. In a world crowded with perfumes, Patchouli Ardent is a reminder that okay is not enough when it comes to fragrance.

Check out Patchouli Ardent in our shop.