Blog post by Gwen

Patchouli 24 – smoky and leathery and smooth

I keep a fragrance journal where I make notes on the fragrances I discover – the ones I want to try and those I want to buy. Recently, I came across a list I made a while ago of the fragrances I think every perfumista should try; when I saw Patchouli 24 by New York-based niche perfume house Le Labo on the list, I smiled to myself. Beside the words Patchouli 24, I scribbled: Annick Ménardo! In case you’ve forgotten, Annick Ménardo is the creator of the iconic Black by Bulgari, which is also on the list.

I have been rolled back on my heels by many a patchouli fragrance – the dirty yet refined Patchouli Impérial, the stylish and sophisticated Patchouli Intense, the resinous and deep Elixir Patchouli and that dirty, dirty Patchouli from Santa Maria Novella. Still, Patchouli 24 is like a lover that won’t be denied.

It opens with the smell of smoke from birch tar. That swirling smoke, snaking, is captivating and evocative. It’s the smoke from smouldering embers – not a campfire as in Lonestar Memories, and it lingers and lingers, the way smoke lingers on clothes for days. On me, the patchouli is hanging back, barely detectable, but I feel it there, dark and a little sweet.  Then comes the irresistible smell of worn leather, and I suddenly feel like I’m sitting in a library in an old leather armchair by a fire. Oh, baby, keep pulling me in! And it does when a whiff of balsam breaks through the smokiness. Then a note of creamy, custardy vanilla rises from my skin and balances the smoke, the leather and the darkness.

The drydown on me has a slight smokiness, but it really is about that vanilla/patchouli accord. The patchouli here is smooth, and some of the characteristics it’s known (and loved for), the dirtiness, the rootiness and the earthiness, don’t stand out here. This is patchouli reimagined by the master of smoke, Annick Ménardo. 

Smelling it again, I realize now that Patchouli 24 should be at the top of the list of perfumes every perfumista should try.

Check out Patchouli 24 in our Shop.