Like many people, I associate patchouli with cool – particularly autumnal – weather. It has a warm, earthy, sometimes dirty aroma which goes well with bonfires and falling leaves. It can have hippy connotations but it can also be refined as exemplified by Chanel’s Coromandel. These days it’s usually cleaned up and paired with sweet fruit in the ubiquitous, youth -friendly “fruitcholi”.
However a cologne-style take on patchouli is not something I’ve come across, until now.
The mistral wind is a strong, cold, north-westerly that blows from the south of France into the Mediterranean.
Can patchouli really take to the sky? Is it possible to transmute earth into air? Apparently so.
Created by Jérôme Epinette and launched in 2013, the notes given for Mistral Patchouli are grapefruit, black pepper, star anise, iris, incense, geranium, fraction of patchouli from Indonesia, benzoin and vetiver.
Some perfumes use coconut to give a beach-y feel as in Bronze Goddess, or are inspired by the ocean like Hermessence Epice Marine. However Mistral Patchouli is the smell of the shoreline, where land meets sea.
The fragrance starts off with sunlight sparkling on the water’s surface. A zesty opening exuding ozone and setting the maritime scene.
I have issues with grapefruit but it’s very fresh and pleasant, not at all sharp or reminiscent of body odour (thank goodness). On the flip-side, pepper has long been a favourite note of mine and here it’s sprinkled over the grapefruit flesh, mingled with just a hint of incense and star anise.
From this point on, the notes blend together to form a vision of the sea shore…
Everyone except for you has left the beach for the day. The sea breeze is whipping up and the tide is out, leaving behind driftwood and seashells. You stand at the water’s edge with the grassy dunes behind you, an old weathered pier to your side and the sea stretching endlessly ahead.
The bracing wind feels good against your over-heated skin. You shut your eyes and inhale that site-specific scent of damp sand, long grass, musty wood and briny air.
You turn and head for home, carrying this coastal cocktail of aromas with you on your skin, after it’s been warmed by the sun and cooled by the wind.
Mistral Patchouli could make a nice alternative to the classic citrus cologne. It’s subtly spicy and sensual whilst still being clean and lightweight. I can imagine it being worn with a white shirt to the office on days when you’d rather be roaming the shore.
If you’re not generally a fan of full-on patchouli, don’t be too put off. It’s very airy and smooth.
You don’t get much sillage but longevity is very good. Anyone could wear it but I find it more masculine than feminine in character.
I’m going to close this post with the story Atelier Cologne has associated with the fragrance because I’m a sucker for a bit of romance:
“Just as they could not stop the winds from blowing, nor could they stay apart any longer. They left everything behind, but they were together, fearless and free. They laughed in the sea salt air and shared a final moment on land before setting sail under the luminous blue sky…”
How do you feel about patchouli perfumes? What type do you prefer?