Givaudan The Journey of Patchouli The Journey of Patchouli


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The Journey of Patchouli


Presented by


Presented by


Presented by


French and German consumer perception of patchouli











If I tell you Patchouli ?

Study held by The Perfume Club, a Givaudan global proprietary consumer community and source of olfactive insights.

Patchouli colours for French and German consumers

A rich universe perceived, combining opposites.


Story of this olfactive family

Chypre, Cyprus, birth place of Aphrodite the goddess of love, was a trade centre for both leather and perfumery ingredients. Oak moss was one of them and it was used to perfume leather for gloves. It is also believed that the oak moss/labdanum accord of a powder used to perfume hair, wigs and other fashion and beauty items -known as "Poudre de Chypre"- was first used in Cyprus.

In 1917 Coty created the first eponymous Chypre fragrance with its instantly recognisable structure; woody/moss/ labdanum contrasted with bergamot freshness on top. After its success, Chypre de Coty became to describe this whole fragrance genre and inspired others. Robert Piguet created Bandit by adding a leather twist. With an extreme dilution and an overdose of citruses, Chanel conceived Pour Monsieur.

Pierre François Guerlain would dispute the origin of the Chypre accord as first created by Coty; he had created an Eau de Chypre as early as 1850 that had the same nascent structure of oak moss and citrus. Taking this, Coty made it lighter and added an overdose of jasmine to create the character we know as Chypre de Coty.

This beautiful accord was later perfected by Jacques Guerlain when, in 1919, he added a large dose of peach lactone and Mitsouko was born. Charlie Chaplin was a heavy user of Mitsouko and Diaghilev couldn't travel without it, insisting that his sheets be sprayed with it.

When Paul Vacher and Jean Carles were asked by Christian Dior to create his first fragrance in 1947, they had the idea to combine the chypre structure of Chypre de Coty, loved by Christian Dior, with the green note of Galbanum from Vent Vert. The iconic Miss Dior was the avant-garde result.

With a strong Rose and Patchouli association, the Chypre accord was given a new lineage in Aromatic Elixir by Clinique and Coriandre by Jean Couturier.

Today the accord continues to evolve; more perfumistic and feminine, but still distinctly there, as you can smell it in Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel and Narciso for Her by Narciso Rodriguez. Patchouli replaces oak moss in formulations nowadays, and, by automatic olfactive association, the patchouli/amber/rose (and or) Jasmine accord now defines a Chypre.



First harvest happens about 7 months after planting. Farmers “top” the plant, collecting leaves and twigs in order to produce further growth. Depending on the plant and soil condition, the plant will be cropped another once or twice after a period of four months. After 1-1,5 years a new patchouli cutting is planted.


Patchouli essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dried leaves and twigs. In the alembic, steam passes through the patchouli leaves and twigs at atmospheric pressure. It carries the odorous compounds into a condensation flask, where the oil is collected.

200 kg of fresh patchouli > 50 kg of dried patchouli ~ 8 hours of distillation 50 kg of dried patchouli > 1 kg of essential oil

From leaves to the essential oil.

Patchouli, Pogostemon patchouli, is a small plant originating in the Philippine Islands and Indonesia. Today, world production is around 1000 tons: of which 90% from Indonesia (Java / Sumatra / Sulawesi) and the remaining 10% from India, China and Brazil.


Patchouli cuttings stay 4 weeks in the nursery before being planted in fields. After 6 months they are fully mature and almost ready to be harvested.


Fresh patchouli leaves and twigs have little smell. It is after 4 to 5 days of drying, that the characteristic odour appears. After drying, the leaves and twigs are chopped before steam distillation.

Oil quality

In the warehouse the patchouli oil is collected and evaluated to ensure an optimum quality.

model #1

At Sulawesi

Throughout the year Givaudan buyers are present on the island of Sulawesi and guarantee a regular outlet for small producers of patchouli. They offer advice and support to ensure that the harvesting, preparing and distilling produces quality patchouli oil. They are also equipped with a mobile solution developed by Givaudan, called I-Source, on a tablet computer. In the field, they enter data such as the volume of essential oil purchased, the location of the field, the yield of the crop. Once analysed, the information makes it possible to monitor activity in real time and increase our knowledge of the market.

Lita Ginting

Givaudan sourcing manager

model #2

At Borneo

To complete its Indonesian collections network, Givaudan also initiated an innovative model in the northeast of the Borneo Island in Malaysia. This initiative was finalized through a local, exclusive partnership agreement with GaiaOne Sdn Bhd and Gaya Naturals Sdn Bhd on one 100 hectare patchouli farm and its own distillery all in one. With one farm and one distillation site, this open-air laboratory enables Givaudan to develop unique, totally traceable, qualities of essential oil especially for our perfumers.

Marinah Embiricos

Givaudan President Gaia One Sdn Bhd


Perfumers testimonial

HeeSoon Oh

I really smell that the Patchouli is just a complete whole fragrance.

Mimi Halim

Patchouli is not trendy but essential.


Photos. Memories.

The invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that will spark the inspiration and imagination forfuture fragrance creations.


Patchouli Flotté

We told her fabrics coming from holds of ships. She had thought long voyages, tumultuous, waves pounding the hull, the squeak and creak of wood, seasickness, fear perhaps. She was seen hanging from the foremast, watching the shiny black backs of whales. Heart pounding, she put her face in the colorful shawls and breathed deeply, her childhood dreams.

Creative Intentions Stories

Overview of the fragrance collection around Patchouli created by our perfumers.

Black Tobacco

This mysterious man, could be a parent just returned from travelling, a missing friend or a stranger who has appeared by chance in the photo. His hair is black, like the wings of a raven, his face sharp, like an eagle and he wears gloves and flippantly pulls on a cigarette holder, looking bored. We both hope and fear, to meet him.


The rain had surprised them with its brutality. They took refuge in a carriage door, the door opened into a garden; steps in the wet grass had tipped the time. The rain poured on the porch, his crash forced them to silence. She rocked the head to the sky, her long hair streaming over her forehead, cheeks, neck. He never forgot her face, though he had to, thereafter, never again.