Long before patchouli was adopted as the signature scent of hippies everywhere, the flowering herb, with its warm, woody, musky smell, was a symbol of opulence and prestige – rumour has it that King Tut was buried with gallons of patchouli oil. Centuries later, Madonna put her own spin on the scent by infusing it into pressings of her 1989 album
Like A Prayer, while in 2005, perfumer extraordinaire Serge Lutens launched iconic scent Borneo 1834, which blended patchouli with white flowers, cardamom, cacao and labdanum. Some highly glamorous new fragrances feature this intoxicating plant as their star ingredient. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-roux’s latest creation for Dolce & Gabbana, Velvet Black Patchouli, blends its principle ingredient with notes of Sicilian blood orange, Venezuelan tonka beans and davana oil for a scent that is earthy with an edge of sweetness. Meanwhile, Bulgari’s new Splendida Patchouli Tentation combines a trio of patchouli with white peach and velvety musk for a more powdery interpretation of its top note.