04-06-2016, 03:35 PM
#1
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I have become interested in the terms used in defining and describing fragrances  of colognes, eau de toilettes, and aftershaves, and I thought I would do a little research and post now and then what I find out about some of the terms.  I am by no means an expert or even very knowledgeable about any of this.

Today, to start the process, I will briefly discuss sillage.  Feel free to comment, including talking about your own personal experiences with various scents.
Sillage (pronounced as see-yawj) is a term for the scent trail left by a fragrance wearer, describing a scent's ability to emanate from the wearer and penetrate a surrounding area or room.  In other words, it defines how close a fragrance stays to the skin.  It is derived from the French word for "wake," as in the trail left on water by a moving boat.  Sillage is most often used in discussing perfumes or colognes but can also be applied to aftershaves.  It describes how much a scent diffuses around the wearer, and strong sillage means that a fragrance projects well.  It has nothing to do with the complexity or richness of the fragrance composition, but rather with the diffusive character of its materials.  And that character is influenced by factors such as weather, the temperature and humidity of the wearer's skin, the amount of alcohol in the fragrance, the weights of the various molecules (the lower the weight, the greater the diffusion), and the relative aroma perceptibility of the molecules (the minimum parts per million noticed by most human noses).
 
Minimal sillage fragrances are ones that stay close to the skin and create a more intimate scent aura, called a "skin scent."  Generally, but definitely not always, scents with strong sillage tend to be complimented more highly by other people; but in some environments (offices, theaters, restaurants, etc.) it is wiser to keep the fragrance trail more understated and discreet.  Strong sillage in a closed space can be overwhelming.

Sillage is often misunderstood.  Many people associate strong sillage with hard-hitting, intrusive fragrances, but it actually is something entirely different.  "Sillage is the projection or the bloom of a fragrance," says Sophie Labbe, an expert behind scents from Calvin Klein, Bulgari and Givenchy.  "It is different from the intensity or power of a scent; sillage is more of an aura.  You feel it, but you aren't overwhelmed by it."  Sometimes referred to as "lift," sillage represents the lingering magical quality that is detected after someone has passed by.  And while affected by some of the same factors, sillage is not the same thing as longevity or how long a scent persists after application. 
While scent strength influences sillage, a higher total concentration of scent does not necessarily imply a more potent sillage.  So a perfume, for example, will not always have a stronger sillage than a cologne or eau de toilette or even an aftershave.

The overall character of a scent with relatively strong or weak sillage can be light or dark, floral, fruity, woody, sweet, or spicy.  It is possible for its projection to come primarily from the dry-down, which is where heavy base notes such as patchouli, vanilla, or amber are typically found, but it more often is due to the top or heart notes (especially the fruits, herbs, and florals), which tend to be smaller, lighter molecules that diffuse more easily.  Sillage is the result of evaporation rate, influenced by the chemical natures and interactions of the ingredients, which in turn can be manipulated by scent experts.  A commonly used ratio of top-heart-base notes is 60-25-15, but when greater projection and sillage is desired, it sometimes is changed to 70-20-10 to emphasize the top notes.  And of course the amount of the fragrance that is applied is a big factor in sillage as well as other scent qualities.

Fragrance wearers sometimes arbitrarily and generally define low or weak sillage as less than arm's length projection, often representing "quieter" scents.  Moderate sillage is that of a scent you are wearing that you and those near you can smell, and strong sillage is that of a fragrance that lingers appreciably behind you as you walk away.  But a fragrance can also smell different depending upon where one stands in the sillage, with sometimes dramatic character changes with increasing distance.

A question sometimes asked is whether or not you can detect the sillage strength of a particular fragrance on yourself.  One test that has been suggested is the following: spray the back of your hand once with the fragrance.  Immediately leave the place where you sprayed (e.g. move to another room), trying to avoid smelling the scent as much as possible while you leave the area.  Then stand with your hand down at your side; if you can smell the fragrance, the sillage is strong.  If not, bring your hand just a few inches toward your face; if you can smell it, then the sillage is moderate.  Keep moving your hand slowly closer to your nose until you can smell the fragrance.  If you must have your hand close to your nose to detect the smell, then it is a weak or skin scent sillage.  However, clearly the best approach is to consult with someone else, using a full strength application of the fragrance as you normally would wear it and waiting 15-30 minutes before the consultation.

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 04-07-2016, 11:30 AM
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Great info, thanks for sharing! Very helpful..I've seen this word used frequently and never took the time to look into it further, and now I know Biggrin

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 04-07-2016, 12:10 PM
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[Image: 05pBWhP.jpg]Merci beaucoup! France's tall ship l'Hermionne  demonstrating Sillage on that most desired Beaufort Scale condition of 'sea like a mirror'.
I just walked back from Trader Joe's. My cashier Lily leaned over to catch the Guerlaine Imperiale and  the name. She's wearing Chanel
#5 And we both say Tres Magnifique! en d'accord. I say 'Catamia! you're speaking french'. She extends her hand I begin kissing the wrist....
Elderly jewish lady behind me in line turns to her husband ' You used to be that romantic Maury'. He kisses her and asks us to write down the two scents.

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 04-07-2016, 01:27 PM
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(04-07-2016, 12:10 PM)kav Wrote: Merci beaucoup! France's tall ship l'Hermionne  demonstrating Sillage on that most desired Beaufort Scale condition of 'sea like a mirror'.

Beautiful image!

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 04-10-2016, 09:40 AM
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Very informative!  Thanks for the time to share with us, John!

Kav....Ronald Reagan's signature scent was Guerlain Imperiale......one of my personal favorites as well.  Just wish it lasted more than an hour on my Mediterranean skin.

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 04-13-2016, 08:15 AM
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Absolute

An absolute, also known as an essence, is a natural fragrance material extracted from plant parts.  Basically it is the strongest aromatic material that can be obtained from a plant or flower.  Similar to essential oils but more concentrated, absolutes are highly aromatic, oily mixtures used in perfumery and aromatherapy.  They contain a higher density of coloring, waxes, and other natural constituents from the plant than do essential oils.  Traditionally absolutes were produced through enfleurage, the use of odorless fats to capture compounds exuded by botanical matter, but more commonly now they are the product of solvent extraction.  In this process, first an organic solvent such as hexane is added to the plant material to extract the non-polar compounds. This solution is then filtered and concentrated by distillation or evaporation to produce a waxy mass called concrete. The more polar, fragrant compounds are extracted from the concrete into ethanol.  When the ethyl alcohol evaporates, an oil — the absolute, typically still containing 1-5% ethanol — is left behind.  Because certain absolutes, such as vanilla used in aromatherapy, require more purity, a proprietary procedure involving only natural, food-grade, grain alcohol with no hexane is sometimes used for the entire extraction process. 

Because the aromatic compounds have not undergone processes with high temperatures, absolutes can be produced with aromas closer to the original plant product than is possible with essential oils produced through steam distillation.  Examples of this difference are rose otto (steam-distilled rose oil) vs. rose absolute and neroli (steam-distilled oil from the bitter orange tree blossom) vs. orange blossom absolute.  In addition, some plant materials, such as jasmine, tuberose, and mimosa, are either too delicate or too inert to be steam-distilled but can be obtained by solvent extraction.
Unlike essential oils, absolute oils are volatile and evaporate when exposed to air.  Absolute oils must be stored in dark, air-tight glass bottles and kept away from heat.  If stored properly, they can last for more than five years.  Because of the high quality and low yield of their production, absolutes are quite expensive.  Absolute oils are extremely concentrated and must never be applied directly to the skin or taken internally.

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 04-13-2016, 05:12 PM
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I personally define sillage as the scent trail I leave behind me, when I exit a room/car/you get the point.

If the scent trail is strong and potent, the fragrance has a strong sillage.

When I'm present in a room and people can smell/sense my fragrance, it's the projection of the fragrance, that makes them smell me.

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 03-29-2020, 06:06 PM
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Fougère


I noticed recently that some of my fougère shaving products were getting low or close to being finished, and that got me thinking about this family of fragrances, their character and variations, and their history.  So I researched them a bit.

The name for this type of scent comes from the French word for fern, and the profile typically has a primary note reminiscent of a shadowy rainforest's flora.  The name originated with Houbigant Parfum's Fougère Royale, created in 1882 by owner and perfumer Paul Parquet.  Houbigant is an old and renowned French perfume house, established in 1775 and famous for creating fragrances for members of royal families; it was said to be a favorite of Queen Marie Antoinette.  The association of the fougère scent with ferns often has been called an imaginary one, since fern plants supposedly have no scent.  However, a few people have claimed that damp ferns actually do have a smell somewhat like loamy earth and hay and suggesting the presence of pine balsam and other wet foliage, and that the smell varies depending upon the species of fern.

Fougère Royale was the first fragrance that included a synthetic component, the chemical compound coumarin, which was created from coal tar.  Coumarin had been discovered in 1868 by the English chemist Henry Perkion.  Blended with lavender and oakmoss, it creates the woody base for fougère fragrances.  Coumarin can be found in nature in some plants such as sweet clover, bison grass, woodruff, lavender, and South American tonka bean.  Its name comes from the French word 'coumaru,' which means 'Tonka bean.'  Perfumers claim that it is present in concentrations exceeding 1% in about half of the world's fragrances and appears in 90% of them.  

Parquet at first devoted the Fougère Royale fragrance to women; but since it subsequently was primarily purchased and used by men, especially the dandies of the time, his classification and marketing of it changed.  It had an overall note that captured at the time the imagination of Western Europeans who were in search of pathways for recalling nature in an increasingly urbanized and industrial landscape.  Since that time the majority of fragrances in the category have been for men, with the Chypre family its feminine counterpart.  Because it included for the first time a synthetic factor, Fougère Royale set a precedent that opened up the world of scents, previously consisting of simple 'natural' products, to the creative imaginations of perfumers.  Production of Fougère Royale was stopped in 1950, although unsuccessful attempts to recreate and update it were undertaken in 1959 and 1988.  Under the ownership of the Dana Company, Houbigant re-introduced the fragrance in 2010, changed somewhat due to decreased ingredient availability and health regulations.

The fougère family usually is included in the broad green category of scents.  These products are usually based for the most part on 'natural themes' that smell like plants, leaves, and grasses.  The green factors provide bright, strong accents that can be found as top or middle notes in compositions.  Fougère perfumes almost invariably feature lavender as a sweet top note, along with geranium, bergamot (for brightness), oakmoss (for woodiness and further sweetness), and coumarin (for freshness).  Although the family has evolved dramatically over the past century, it has maintained its basic accord and multifaceted quality.  Modern fougère creations often have various citrus, herbaceous, floral, and animalic notes added.  Common additions include vetiver, galbanum, amber, sandalwood, guaiac wood, rosemary, sage, and other herbs.  Fougère subclasses, building upon the same basic skeleton, include Citrus, Woody, Leather, Aquatic, Green, Fruity, Spicy, and Aromatic Fougères.  Over time fougère fragrances fell out of favor, but more recently they have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, with modern perfumers adding new twists to the classic combination.  Generally they remain herbacious and are characterized by a tobacco-like warmth, a fierce aromatic intensity with an almost 'bitter' character, and a dry, grassy and hay-like drydown.  Clean and fresh, they are quite versatile and can be worn on a wide variety of occasions.

Examples of men's fragrances which fall into the fougère class include Brut by Fabergé, Paco Rabanne pour Homme, Azzaro pour Homme, Boss by Hugo Boss, Prada for Men, Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein, Canoe for Men by Dana, Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche, Tabac for Men, Michael for Men by Michael Kors, Davidoff Cool Water,  Penhaligon's Sartorial, Clubman Pinaud and Special Reserve, Polo Blue and Chaps by Ralph Lauren, and Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent.

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 03-29-2020, 06:15 PM
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(03-29-2020, 06:06 PM)churchilllafemme Wrote: Fougère


I noticed recently that some of my fougère shaving products were getting low or close to being finished, and that got me thinking about this family of fragrances, their character and variations, and their history.  So I researched them a bit.

The name for this type of scent comes from the French word for fern, and the profile typically has a primary note reminiscent of a shadowy rainforest's flora.  The name originated with Houbigant Parfum's Fougère Royale, created in 1882 by owner and perfumer Paul Parquet.  Houbigant is an old and renowned French perfume house, established in 1775 and famous for creating fragrances for members of royal families; it was said to be a favorite of Queen Marie Antoinette.  The association of the fougère scent with ferns often has been called an imaginary one, since fern plants supposedly have no scent.  However, a few people have claimed that damp ferns actually do have a smell somewhat like loamy earth and hay and suggesting the presence of pine balsam and other wet foliage, and that the smell varies depending upon the species of fern.

Fougère Royale was the first fragrance that included a synthetic component, the chemical compound coumarin, which was created from coal tar.  Coumarin had been discovered in 1868 by the English chemist Henry Perkion.  Blended with lavender and oakmoss, it creates the woody base for fougère fragrances.  Coumarin can be found in nature in some plants such as sweet clover, bison grass, woodruff, lavender, and South American tonka bean.  Its name comes from the French word 'coumaru,' which means 'Tonka bean.'  Perfumers claim that it is present in concentrations exceeding 1% in about half of the world's fragrances and appears in 90% of them.  

Parquet at first devoted the Fougère Royale fragrance to women; but since it subsequently was primarily purchased and used by men, especially the dandies of the time, his classification and marketing of it changed.  It had an overall note that captured at the time the imagination of Western Europeans who were in search of pathways for recalling nature in an increasingly urbanized and industrial landscape.  Since that time the majority of fragrances in the category have been for men, with the Chypre family its feminine counterpart.  Because it included for the first time a synthetic factor, Fougère Royale set a precedent that opened up the world of scents, previously consisting of simple 'natural' products, to the creative imaginations of perfumers.  Production of Fougère Royale was stopped in 1950, although unsuccessful attempts to recreate and update it were undertaken in 1959 and 1988.  Under the ownership of the Dana Company, Houbigant re-introduced the fragrance in 2010, changed somewhat due to decreased ingredient availability and health regulations.

The fougère family usually is included in the broad green category of scents.  These products are usually based for the most part on 'natural themes' that smell like plants, leaves, and grasses.  The green factors provide bright, strong accents that can be found as top or middle notes in compositions.  Fougère perfumes almost invariably feature lavender as a sweet top note, along with geranium, bergamot (for brightness), oakmoss (for woodiness and further sweetness), and coumarin (for freshness).  Although the family has evolved dramatically over the past century, it has maintained its basic accord and multifaceted quality.  Modern fougère creations often have various citrus, herbaceous, floral, and animalic notes added.  Common additions include vetiver, galbanum, amber, sandalwood, guaiac wood, rosemary, sage, and other herbs.  Fougère subclasses, building upon the same basic skeleton, include Citrus, Woody, Leather, Aquatic, Green, Fruity, Spicy, and Aromatic Fougères.  Over time fougère fragrances fell out of favor, but more recently they have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, with modern perfumers adding new twists to the classic combination.  Generally they remain herbacious and are characterized by a tobacco-like warmth, a fierce aromatic intensity with an almost 'bitter' character, and a dry, grassy and hay-like drydown.  Clean and fresh, they are quite versatile and can be worn on a wide variety of occasions.

Examples of men's fragrances which fall into the fougère class include Brut by Fabergé, Paco Rabanne pour Homme, Azzaro pour Homme, Boss by Hugo Boss, Prada for Men, Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein, Canoe for Men by Dana, Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche, Tabac for Men, Michael for Men by Michael Kors, Davidoff Cool Water,  Penhaligon's Sartorial, Clubman Pinaud and Special Reserve, Polo Blue and Chaps by Ralph Lauren, and Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent.


Nice reading.

As a fraghead I’ve been into fougere fragrances for years.

My favourite still is Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and in my view it has stayed almost 100% true to the original formulation I used in the mid 80’s.

Azzaro pour Homme is my 2.nd favourite and my 200 ml bottle from 2011 is quite close to the original.

My third pick is YSL Rive Gauche.
Still own 2 of the original versions.

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 03-30-2020, 03:08 AM
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Excellent thread John!

I think I have confused sillage with projection, or maybe longevity.

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 03-30-2020, 11:29 AM
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(04-10-2016, 09:40 AM)Steelman Wrote: Very informative!  Thanks for the time to share with us, John!

Kav....Ronald Reagan's signature scent was Guerlain Imperiale......one of my personal favorites as well.  Just wish it lasted more than an hour on my Mediterranean skin.

Ronald Reagan’s favorite was Royal Briar Cologne.  

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 04-01-2020, 05:50 AM
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(03-30-2020, 11:29 AM)PATRIOT Wrote:
(04-10-2016, 09:40 AM)Steelman Wrote: Very informative!  Thanks for the time to share with us, John!

Kav....Ronald Reagan's signature scent was Guerlain Imperiale......one of my personal favorites as well.  Just wish it lasted more than an hour on my Mediterranean skin.

Ronald Reagan’s favorite was Royal Briar Cologne.  

Signature scent refers to the scent you wear just about every day. A favorite scent is usually reserved for an occasion or that special someone.

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 04-01-2020, 07:21 AM
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(04-01-2020, 05:50 AM)RyznRio Wrote:
(03-30-2020, 11:29 AM)PATRIOT Wrote:
(04-10-2016, 09:40 AM)Steelman Wrote: Very informative!  Thanks for the time to share with us, John!

Kav....Ronald Reagan's signature scent was Guerlain Imperiale......one of my personal favorites as well.  Just wish it lasted more than an hour on my Mediterranean skin.

Ronald Reagan’s favorite was Royal Briar Cologne.  

Signature scent refers to the scent you wear just about every day. A favorite scent is usually reserved for an occasion or that special someone.


If I ever had to find a signature scent, I can guarantee you it would also be my favourite for daily wear.

I have favourite scents for different situations, occasions and also for different seasons.

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 05-02-2020, 05:48 PM
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Patchouli


Back in my hippie days in the late 1960s, when I was completely ignorant about fragrances, I thought that patchouli was some type of herb and spice blend, sort of like a potpourri.  For many people my age who grew up in the sixties, it was the smell of headshops, where it apparently was used sometimes to mask the smell of marijuana.  It was supposed to have been brought to Western markets by backpackers on the 'Hippie Trail' through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.  Its distinctive earthy scent appealed to the back-to-the-earthers of the time.  In the movie High Fidelity, John Cusack yells, "Get your patchouli stink out of my store!" at the bohemian Tim Robbins.  Patchouli really was ubiquitous then, and because of its strong, overwhelming scent seemingly everywhere, I eventually grew to dislike it.  (In addition, a lot of the patchouli used in the 1960s was low quality.)  However, more recently I have begun to really appreciate its presence in shaving and cosmetic products.

Patchouli (from the Tamil pachai, pachilai, or pacculi, meaning 'green leaf;' or Hindi pacholi, 'to scent') is a species of the aromatic family Lamiaceae, commonly called the mint or deadnettle family.  It grows as a perennial bushy shrub, with strong upright stems reaching a height of around 3 feet and bearing soft, hairy leaves and small, pale, pink-purple to white flowers.  It grows well in warm to tropical climates, thriving in hot weather but not direct sunlight.  The flowers produce seeds, but the plants are commonly propagated from cuttings.  The seed-producing flowers are quite fragrant and blossom in late fall.
[Image: D6FsmyG.jpg][Image: uiGT3Lr.jpg]  

It grows wild in Sumatra and Java at higher elevations (3,000-6,000 feet).  Pogostemon cablin and other pogostemons are all cultivated for their essential oil.  Patchouli is generally considered a Bengali Indian herb, but it also is native to Malaysia and possibly the Phillippines.  Today about 90% of patchouli oil comes from Indonesia, with significant amounts also coming from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and West Africa. Smaller crops are grown in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and Pakistan, and in areas of South America and the Caribbean.
[Image: Dct36Kq.jpg]

As with many plants, traditional uses of patchouli date back thousands of years.  Egypt's King Tutankhamun is reputed to have had 10 gallons of patchouli oil buried with him in his tomb, and the Romans used it as an appetite stimulant.  It is recorded as being grown in China by the 5th century BCE, although this may have been different but similar plant.  It was introduced to commercial Indian growth in 1834, and it eventually arrived in the Middle East along the silk trading routes, and then subsequently in Europe and England.  During the Victorian era the leaves were folded into cashmere shawls and packed along with spices, silks, carpets, and other treasures shipped from British-colonized India and Malaysia, in order for its insect-repellant properties to protect the items from moths and other pests.  The scent of patchouli permeated the fabrics during transport, adding a layer of exotic allure.  Eventually the scent became a sign of 'Oriental' authenticity, and customers sometimes refused to buy unscented shawls; unscrupulous producers of unauthentic shawls layered them with patchouli leaves, allowing them to be passed off as genuine.  Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was among the first in 19th century Europe to favor shawls for their protection against chills without the beauty of her gowns.  Soon patchouli-scented shawls became fashionable in France, paralleling the rise of patchouli as a Western fragrance ingredient.  Its use in perfumery has increased since that time, although recently it has fallen out of favor somewhat.

The leaves of the patchouli plant produce the essential oil in hair-like glanduar trichomes.  The leaves are harvested by hand two or three times per year, with the best oil derived from leaves harvested in the wet season.  A few sources have claimed that the highest quality patchouli oil is produced from fresh, undried leaves distilled immediately and close to where they are harvested, like the leaves of other aromatic plants such as mint or eucalyptus.  But traditionally, patchouli leaves have been fermented/dried first.  They are bundled or baled and allowed to dry partially and ferment for a few days in the shade to soften the cell walls before being dried further.  The topmost mature leaves are then placed on bamboo mats in direct sunlight, with the leaves not touching one another.  They are frequently checked, turned over, and moved slightly to prevent molding or drying too quickly and becoming crumbly.  Once they are determined by observation to be ready, they are placed in a still for steam distillation, with a volume yield of about 3.5%.  When first extracted, the essential oil is slightly viscous and has an orange hue.  The oil often is aged, with the color and viscosity deepening and the olfactory profile changing so that the earthier, darker notes emerge.  Patchouli oil also is now becoming available as a CO2 extract in limited quantities.
[Image: cqPzpli.jpg][Image: w69mw8L.jpg]

The two main natural chemical components of patcholi oil are patchoulol (25-35%), a sesquiterpene alcohol, and norpatchoulenol, a tricyclic terpenoid.  Despite the ease and low cost of its production, agricultural methods result in unreliable, inconsistent, or unsustainable quality and supply, and there are synthetic patchoulis now being developed and produced.  The synthetic biology pioneer Amyris and Firmenich, the largest flavor and fragrance company, have developed a novel bioprocess for making large volumes of quality patchouli oil from yeast.  The synthetically altered microorganisms produce patchoulol, patchouli's key component, at a facility in Brotas, Brazil.  The agricultural approach takes 6 months from planting to harvest, not including drying and extraction, while the manufacturing process results in high-quality oil in about 2 weeks.  Supply chain problems are mitigated, but small farmers in the agricultural countries inevitably will be affected.

Patchouli is sweet and spicy, with an intense, musty, woody aroma that is reminiscent of wet soil.  It contains the same dark, rich, earthy tone element that is present in vetiver.  Its structure consists of sweet herbaceous top notes, a rich winey heart, and a balsamic woody base.  Because of its association with dirt and drug use, and the contemporary preference for 'fresh,' simpler compounds, modern patchouli often is altered molecularly to remove the less desirable musty components.  The oil still is very popular in perfume blends, especially the contemporary woody floral musks.  It is especially complementary to vanilla and other sweet scents, and it mixes well with other essential oils, including vetiver, sandalwood, frankincense, bergamot, cedarwood, jasmine, rose, and citrus oils.  Patchouli often is used as a base note in chypre, oriental, and powdery fragrances, pairing with the sweetness of bergamot, lavender, and rose and the smoothness of sandalwood.  It is present in nearly all blends bearing a reference of any kind to India.  It is sometimes thought to be too overwhelmingly earthy and heavy for haute perfumerie, but it actually is a basic building block of many of the genres.  It also is valuable as a fixative, slowing the evaporation of other more volatile oils and thus extending the fragrance life of other perfume ingredients.

In addition to its use in perfumery, patchouli is widely added as an ingredient in modern scented industrial products, including paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners.  More traditionally, patchouli has been used in East Indian incense, in insect repellants, and as a medicinal ingredient to treat skin disease (inflammation, eczema, acne, chapping, dandruff, and scars), headaches, colic, muscle spasms, infections, insect and snake bites, and anxiety and depression.  The leaves have been used to make herbal tea, and in some cultures they are eaten as a vegetable or used as a seasoning.  The Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs have believed it to possess aphrodisiac properties.  

In aromatherapy, patchouli is considered a grounding and balancing element, soothing and relaxing yet stimulating, and particularly relevant for conditions of weak immunity or other weakened states.  It is said to bring the three principal forces within the body - Creative at the navel, the Heart center, and transcendental Wisdom at the crown - into harmony.  The aroma of the oil is thought to relieve the strain of those with excessive mental activity, who feel 'out of touch' with their body, and is reputed to be helpful for impotence, frigidity, and lack of sensuality.

And in probably its least traditional use, Mattel employed patchouli oil in 1985 in the plastic used to produce the action figure Stinkor in the Masters of the Universe line of toys.

Well know fragrances dominated by patchouli:
Byblos Patchouly
Caswell-Massey Aura of Patchouli
Etro Patchouly
Gobin Daudé Jardins Ottomans
Jalaine Patchouli
L'Artisan Voleur de Roses
Lorenzo Villoresi Novella Patchouli
Lush Karma
Mazzolari Patchouly
Molinard Patchouli
Montale Patchouli Leaves
Santa Maria Novella Patchouli
Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Fragrances with a patchouli component:
Arquiste Misfit
Azzaro pour Homme
Balenciaga Homme 
Bath House Patchouli & Black Pepper
Bond No. 9 Bleecker Street
Byredo Velvet Haze
Christian Dior Patchouli Impérial
Crabtree & Evelyn Patchouli
D.S. & Durga Amber Kiso
Diptyque Tempo
Fragonard Zizanie
Frederic M Une Vie en Or pour Homme
Givenchy Gentleman
Givenchy Patchouli de Minuit
Guerlain L'Instant pour Homme
Henry Rose Dark is Night
Hugo Boss Cashmere & Patchouli
Lalique Eau de Lalique
Miller Harris Terre de Bois
Paul Sebastian Kinetic Male
Rochas Lui
Roger & Gallet L'Homme Patchouli
Saint Charles Shave Patchouli
Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
Serge Lutens Un Bois Sepia
Thierry Mugler A*Men
Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu
Yves St. Laurent Rive Gauche pour Homme
Yves St. Laurent Kouros

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 05-02-2020, 06:04 PM
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John, this is an excellent thread.  Thank you for bringing it back from 2016.

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 05-02-2020, 08:03 PM
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Thank you, Ricardo.  I think I'll keep it revived.

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 05-03-2020, 06:57 PM
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(05-02-2020, 05:48 PM)churchilllafemme Wrote: Patchouli


Back in my hippie days in the late 1960s, when I was completely ignorant about fragrances, I thought that patchouli was some type of herb and spice blend, sort of like a potpourri.  For many people my age who grew up in the sixties, it was the smell of headshops, where it apparently was used sometimes to mask the smell of marijuana.  It was supposed to have been brought to Western markets by backpackers on the 'Hippie Trail' through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.  Its distinctive earthy scent appealed to the back-to-the-earthers of the time.  In the movie High Fidelity, John Cusack yells, "Get your patchouli stink out of my store!" at the bohemian Tim Robbins.  Patchouli really was ubiquitous then, and because of its strong, overwhelming scent seemingly everywhere, I eventually grew to dislike it.  (In addition, a lot of the patchouli used in the 1960s was low quality.)  However, more recently I have begun to really appreciate its presence in shaving and cosmetic products.

Patchouli (from the Tamil pachai, pachilai, or pacculi, meaning 'green leaf;' or Hindi pacholi, 'to scent') is a species of the aromatic family Lamiaceae, commonly called the mint or deadnettle family.  It grows as a perennial bushy shrub, with strong upright stems reaching a height of around 3 feet and bearing soft, hairy leaves and small, pale, pink-purple to white flowers.  It grows well in warm to tropical climates, thriving in hot weather but not direct sunlight.  The flowers produce seeds, but the plants are commonly propagated from cuttings.  The seed-producing flowers are quite fragrant and blossom in late fall.
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It grows wild in Sumatra and Java at higher elevations (3,000-6,000 feet).  Pogostemon cablin and other pogostemons are all cultivated for their essential oil.  Patchouli is generally considered a Bengali Indian herb, but it also is native to Malaysia and possibly the Phillippines.  Today about 90% of patchouli oil comes from Indonesia, with significant amounts also coming from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and West Africa. Smaller crops are grown in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and Pakistan, and in areas of South America and the Caribbean.
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As with many plants, traditional uses of patchouli date back thousands of years.  Egypt's King Tutankhamun is reputed to have had 10 gallons of patchouli oil buried with him in his tomb, and the Romans used it as an appetite stimulant.  It is recorded as being grown in China by the 5th century BCE, although this may have been different but similar plant.  It was introduced to commercial Indian growth in 1834, and it eventually arrived in the Middle East along the silk trading routes, and then subsequently in Europe and England.  During the Victorian era the leaves were folded into cashmere shawls and packed along with spices, silks, carpets, and other treasures shipped from British-colonized India and Malaysia, in order for its insect-repellant properties to protect the items from moths and other pests.  The scent of patchouli permeated the fabrics during transport, adding a layer of exotic allure.  Eventually the scent became a sign of 'Oriental' authenticity, and customers sometimes refused to buy unscented shawls; unscrupulous producers of unauthentic shawls layered them with patchouli leaves, allowing them to be passed off as genuine.  Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was among the first in 19th century Europe to favor shawls for their protection against chills without the beauty of her gowns.  Soon patchouli-scented shawls became fashionable in France, paralleling the rise of patchouli as a Western fragrance ingredient.  Its use in perfumery has increased since that time, although recently it has fallen out of favor somewhat.

The leaves of the patchouli plant produce the essential oil in hair-like glanduar trichomes.  The leaves are harvested by hand two or three times per year, with the best oil derived from leaves harvested in the wet season.  A few sources have claimed that the highest quality patchouli oil is produced from fresh, undried leaves distilled immediately and close to where they are harvested, like the leaves of other aromatic plants such as mint or eucalyptus.  But traditionally, patchouli leaves have been fermented/dried first.  They are bundled or baled and allowed to dry partially and ferment for a few days in the shade to soften the cell walls before being dried further.  The topmost mature leaves are then placed on bamboo mats in direct sunlight, with the leaves not touching one another.  They are frequently checked, turned over, and moved slightly to prevent molding or drying too quickly and becoming crumbly.  Once they are determined by observation to be ready, they are placed in a still for steam distillation, with a volume yield of about 3.5%.  When first extracted, the essential oil is slightly viscous and has an orange hue.  The oil often is aged, with the color and viscosity deepening and the olfactory profile changing so that the earthier, darker notes emerge.  Patchouli oil also is now becoming available as a CO2 extract in limited quantities.
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The two main natural chemical components of patcholi oil are patchoulol (25-35%), a sesquiterpene alcohol, and norpatchoulenol, a tricyclic terpenoid.  Despite the ease and low cost of its production, agricultural methods result in unreliable, inconsistent, or unsustainable quality and supply, and there are synthetic patchoulis now being developed and produced.  The synthetic biology pioneer Amyris and Firmenich, the largest flavor and fragrance company, have developed a novel bioprocess for making large volumes of quality patchouli oil from yeast.  The synthetically altered microorganisms produce patchoulol, patchouli's key component, at a facility in Brotas, Brazil.  The agricultural approach takes 6 months from planting to harvest, not including drying and extraction, while the manufacturing process results in high-quality oil in about 2 weeks.  Supply chain problems are mitigated, but small farmers in the agricultural countries inevitably will be affected.

Patchouli is sweet and spicy, with an intense, musty, woody aroma that is reminiscent of wet soil.  It contains the same dark, rich, earthy tone element that is present in vetiver.  Its structure consists of sweet herbaceous top notes, a rich winey heart, and a balsamic woody base.  Because of its association with dirt and drug use, and the contemporary preference for 'fresh,' simpler compounds, modern patchouli often is altered molecularly to remove the less desirable musty components.  The oil still is very popular in perfume blends, especially the contemporary woody floral musks.  It is especially complementary to vanilla and other sweet scents, and it mixes well with other essential oils, including vetiver, sandalwood, frankincense, bergamot, cedarwood, jasmine, rose, and citrus oils.  Patchouli often is used as a base note in chypre, oriental, and powdery fragrances, pairing with the sweetness of bergamot, lavender, and rose and the smoothness of sandalwood.  It is present in nearly all blends bearing a reference of any kind to India.  It is sometimes thought to be too overwhelmingly earthy and heavy for haute perfumerie, but it actually is a basic building block of many of the genres.  It also is valuable as a fixative, slowing the evaporation of other more volatile oils and thus extending the fragrance life of other perfume ingredients.

In addition to its use in perfumery, patchouli is widely added as an ingredient in modern scented industrial products, including paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners.  More traditionally, patchouli has been used in East Indian incense, in insect repellants, and as a medicinal ingredient to treat skin disease (inflammation, eczema, acne, chapping, dandruff, and scars), headaches, colic, muscle spasms, infections, insect and snake bites, and anxiety and depression.  The leaves have been used to make herbal tea, and in some cultures they are eaten as a vegetable or used as a seasoning.  The Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs have believed it to possess aphrodisiac properties.  

In aromatherapy, patchouli is considered a grounding and balancing element, soothing and relaxing yet stimulating, and particularly relevant for conditions of weak immunity or other weakened states.  It is said to bring the three principal forces within the body - Creative at the navel, the Heart center, and transcendental Wisdom at the crown - into harmony.  The aroma of the oil is thought to relieve the strain of those with excessive mental activity, who feel 'out of touch' with their body, and is reputed to be helpful for impotence, frigidity, and lack of sensuality.

And in probably its least traditional use, Mattel employed patchouli oil in 1985 in the plastic used to produce the action figure Stinkor in the Masters of the Universe line of toys.

Well know fragrances dominated by patchouli:
Byblos Patchouly
Caswell-Massey Aura of Patchouli
Etro Patchouly
Gobin Daudé Jardins Ottomans
Jalaine Patchouli
L'Artisan Voleur de Roses
Lorenzo Villoresi Novella Patchouli
Lush Karma
Mazzolari Patchouly
Molinard Patchouli
Montale Patchouli Leaves
Santa Maria Novella Patchouli
Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Fragrances with a patchouli component:
Arquiste Misfit
Azzaro pour Homme
Balenciaga Homme 
Bath House Patchouli & Black Pepper
Bond No. 9 Bleecker Street
Byredo Velvet Haze
Christian Dior Patchouli Impérial
Crabtree & Evelyn Patchouli
D.S. & Durga Amber Kiso
Diptyque Tempo
Fragonard Zizanie
Frederic M Une Vie en Or pour Homme
Givenchy Gentleman
Givenchy Patchouli de Minuit
Guerlain L'Instant pour Homme
Henry Rose Dark is Night
Hugo Boss Cashmere & Patchouli
Lalique Eau de Lalique
Miller Harris Terre de Bois
Paul Sebastian Kinetic Male
Rochas Lui
Roger & Gallet L'Homme Patchouli
Saint Charles Shave Patchouli
Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
Serge Lutens Un Bois Sepia
Thierry Mugler A*Men
Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu
Yves St. Laurent Rive Gauche pour Homme
Yves St. Laurent Kouros

John, I find this fascinating. Growing up in Boulder, where there was a huge cloud of patchouli hanging over my upbringing 50 years ago, I just thought that was what people and businesses smelled like. Including my barbershop. My barber was my assistant scoutmaster who worked in a shop on the Hill, where all the "hippies" hung out. My mom would drop me off on Broadway, let me walk to the barbershop, and walk home when I was done. I was an 11- or 12-year old when I was solicited a dozen times to buy heroin on the long block walk from my mom's drop-off to John's barbershop. And I sported a very obsolete buzz cut.

John's barbershop doubled as a head shop, and the omnipresent patchouli incense permeated my entire barbershop experience. Which is why I'm always confused by discussions about "barbershop scents." To me, it's patchouli.

Today's patchouli scents, however, are much more subtle and sophisticated than the Boulder scent from the '60s and early '70s. In fact, I find it difficult these days to even connect modern patchouli scents with the scent I recall from my youth.

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 05-03-2020, 10:37 PM
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(05-03-2020, 06:57 PM)pbrmhl Wrote:
(05-02-2020, 05:48 PM)churchilllafemme Wrote: Patchouli
John, I find this fascinating. Growing up in Boulder, where there was a huge cloud of patchouli hanging over my upbringing 50 years ago, I just thought that was what people and businesses smelled like. Including my barbershop. My barber was my assistant scoutmaster who worked in a shop on the Hill, where all the "hippies" hung out. My mom would drop me off on Broadway, let me walk to the barbershop, and walk home when I was done. I was an 11- or 12-year old when I was solicited a dozen times to buy heroin on the long block walk from my mom's drop-off to John's barbershop. And I sported a very obsolete buzz cut.

John's barbershop doubled as a head shop, and the omnipresent patchouli incense permeated my entire barbershop experience. Which is why I'm always confused by discussions about "barbershop scents." To me, it's patchouli.

Today's patchouli scents, however, are much more subtle and sophisticated than the Boulder scent from the '60s and early '70s. In fact, I find it difficult these days to even connect modern patchouli scents with the scent I recall from my youth.

Those hazy days.  I was exposed to clouds of patchouli incense smoke and smothering patchouli splashed on some of the women while in college in the SF Bay area in the late 60s.  But I think my heaviest exposure to it was in 1969 in Amsterdam dope dens where I ended up sometimes with friends, pretty much accidentally.

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 05-04-2020, 01:27 AM
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(04-07-2016, 12:10 PM)kav Wrote: [Image: 05pBWhP.jpg]Merci beaucoup! France's tall ship l'Hermionne  demonstrating Sillage on that most desired Beaufort Scale condition of 'sea like a mirror'.
I just walked back from Trader Joe's. My cashier Lily leaned over to catch the Guerlaine Imperiale and  the name. She's wearing Chanel
#5 And we both say Tres Magnifique! en d'accord. I say 'Catamia! you're speaking french'. She extends her hand I begin kissing the wrist....
Elderly jewish lady behind me in line turns to her husband ' You used to be that romantic Maury'. He kisses her and asks us to write down the two scents.

Nice contribution!

Dammit. 
Yes, administration does not comment on things like banned members and why.
No, I do not know much about this banned gentleman. 
He appeared here 2016 the last time.


I do feel like starting a petition to bring him back!
Smile

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 05-04-2020, 03:20 AM
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(05-04-2020, 01:27 AM)apogee. Wrote:
(04-07-2016, 12:10 PM)kav Wrote: [Image: 05pBWhP.jpg]Merci beaucoup! France's tall ship l'Hermionne  demonstrating Sillage on that most desired Beaufort Scale condition of 'sea like a mirror'.
I just walked back from Trader Joe's. My cashier Lily leaned over to catch the Guerlaine Imperiale and  the name. She's wearing Chanel
#5 And we both say Tres Magnifique! en d'accord. I say 'Catamia! you're speaking french'. She extends her hand I begin kissing the wrist....
Elderly jewish lady behind me in line turns to her husband ' You used to be that romantic Maury'. He kisses her and asks us to write down the two scents.

Nice contribution!

Dammit. 
Yes, administration does not comment on things like banned members and why.
No, I do not know much about this banned gentleman. 
He appeared here 2016 the last time.


I do feel like starting a petition to bring him back!
Smile


Kav was really a character here and probably in real life too.

I miss him sometimes.

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