Jonathan Adler’s funky aesthetic is all over this weed-loving Hashish candle. (Provided by Jonathan Adler)

Sativa Style: Give patchouli a chance — 10 top scents to try

This much-maligned earthy fragrance deserves more love. It's not the 1960s anymore.

Let’s face it — patchouli gets a pretty bad rap. Case in point: the many imaginative entries on Urban Dictionary.

1. patchouli oil

–Hippie perfume. 

–An oil worn as perfume by dirty hippies in lieu of showering or bathing in any way. Used to mask the scent of marijuana and week old body odor, but usually it merely mixes with the scent to form a new, BO/Patchouli combo that can repulse even those who are olfactorally challenged, except for hippies, who love it.

–Fred: “I can’t go to the war protest because of all the Patchouli oil. It makes me gag.” 

–Hippie: “Mmmmmmm, mm, mmm , mmmm. Is that sex I smell?”

(Scroll down for more Urban Dictionary patchouli-isms)

Yes, the craze for the scent started in the ’60s along with the hippie movement, but the strong essence has been used in fragrances for centuries. Native to Asia and since cultivated in tropical regions, patchouli is derived from a bushy herb of the mint family.

Part of the patchouli problem from the Flower Power era was that hippies wore synthetic formulations of the oil, resulting in an even more pungent smell. But when concocted correctly, patchouli is an earthy, spicy, woodsy note that pairs most beautifully with rose. It also has the reputation as an aphrodisiac believed to stimulate the senses and awaken sexual energy.

Here are five of my favorite luxe stoner scents and five cannabis candles to light the way:


White Patchouli
White Patchouli (Provided by Tom Ford)

Tom Ford, White Patchouli
$110, Sephora, Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Tom Ford does patchouli proper, perfectly capturing its sensuous core. Sleek wood blends with the essence of elegant white flowers to create this modern take on bohemian beauty.

Fresh, Cannabis Santal & Fresh, Cannabis Rose
$88, Nordstrom, Cherry Creek Shopping Center

I’ve been wearing Fresh Cannabis Santal since 2006 when it was first introduced…for men. There’s now a counterpart for the ladies, which blends white musk, patchouli and oolong tea with raw cannabis, dark chocolate and Bulgarian rose. Both are housed in an artisanal glass bottle.

Cannabis Flower
Cannabis Flower (Provided by Demeter)

Demeter, Cannabis Flower
$39.50, demeterfragrance.com

The Demeter Fragrance Library is know for straight forward singular scents like Landromat, Snow, Basil and Bourbon. Slightly floral, slightly spicy andunmistakably Cannabis, this fragrance is as close as you’re going to get. Their suggestion? “Smell it, don’t smoke it.”

Kiehl’s, Aromatic Blends: Patchouli & Fresh Rose
$75, Kiehl’s, Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Keihl’s has recently introduced a new collection of scented body products pairing two key fragrant ingredients for the purest expression. Made from 100% naturally-derived ingredients, this one is sourced in Brazil and is refreshingly clean for a patchouli-based aroma.

Patchouli 24
Patchouli 24 (Provided by Le Labo)

Le Labo, Patchouli 24
$160, lelabofragrances.com

I seriously love Le Labo. Each of their fragrances is built around a primary natural essence that comes directly from Grasse, France’s “perfume capital.” Patchouli is not easy to detect in this formula, with the smoky, leathery character of birch taking over. And according to them, it’s “a scent filled with danger for those of us who like to walk a tight rope…” Exactly.

Jonathan Adler, Hashish (candle)
$68, Jonathan Adler, Cherry Creek North

Jonathan Adler’s funky aesthetic is all over this weed-loving wick. Black currant, green apple, wormwood, patchouli and moss come together to fill the room, but not overpower it. And when the candle burns out, save the porcelain canister to hide your stash.

Diptyque Paris, Patchouli (candle)
$60, diptyque.com

Straight from a Paris parfumerie, Diptyque candles are a true indulgence. The power is solely in the patchouli with this one, and its neither completely woody, nor completely herbal – just exudes the beauty of the hills of Indonesia.


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Malin + Goetz, cannabis. (candle)
$52, malinandgoetz.com

NYC’s Malin + Goetz’s interpretation of cannabis is in the form of an addictive and sexy scent. The amber-patchouli base brings out top notes of fresh lemon and orange with middle notes of fig and pepper. Pair with their fresh neroli candle. for the perfect sensual experience.

Ombre Patchouli candle
Ombre Patchouli candle (Provided by Hervé Gambs Paris)

Hervé Gambs Paris, Ombre Patchouli (candle)
$65, amara.com

As the authority on home fragrance and couture flowers, Hervé Gambs takes scents seriously. With fragrance notes of patchouli, oak moss and tonka bean, this sleek candle gently disperses an intense fragrance throughout any room. The box is even beautiful.

Voluspa, Pomegranate Patchouli (candle)
$26, Nordstrom, Cherry Creek Shopping Center

This line of handcrafted candles is known for their striking design and complex scents.A ripe pomegranate and spicy patchouli base is poured via a coconut wax blend for clean-burning into a glowing red.



Even more Urban Dictionary patchouli-isms:

2. patchouli

–Hippie perfume … smells like forest, pot and snuggling

–“This summer smelled like cigarettes and patchouli.”

3. patchouli

–A plant that smells like a Grateful Dead concert.

–Not a shower, contrary to San Franciso’s public policy on hygiene.

–Slang term for Filthy Filthy Hippie

–“No hipppie, that’s a bad hippie. Patchouli is not a shower!”