Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patchouli and cigarettes

I've always disliked patchouli. Now, I've not only had a truce with the scent, but have come to love it, though certainly not as a soliflore, though I'm sure there are some good ones out there. I'm not ready for that. I still also hate the smell.


Patchouli is used in 1/3rd of all womens' fragrances and in half of all fragrances for men. If one doesn't come to like the smell, that would seriously limit the fragrances one could enjoy. Thankfully, the scent of patchouli as a note in most perfumes is not the stuff one gets in those sticky little bottles from health food stores.

Last week, I was stuck for hours in a shop with a nice young woman who reeked of patchouli. I felt suffocated, nearing choking on the scent. Scent seems too nice a word for it. Pretending to be warm, I opened the door to breathe some fresh air. Unfortunately, it was too cold out to leave the door ajar (we had our first snow that night).

Whenever I encounter someone who is wearing that much patchouli I wonder how it is that they are so (willfully?) ignorant of the effect the stuff has on many people. I enjoyed this woman's company, but I really wished she had left the premises sooner. Isn't that awful? My ability to interact with her was hampered by her fragrance.

Loud perfumes are a different story. Their wearers are (usually) well aware of how much of a statement their fragrances make. I can't help thinking of women in power suits back in the 80's. They wouldn't have cared if their fragrances were overpowering; being overbearing was the point.

Is something like that going on with the girls who wear layered tattered clothes and patchouli? Perhaps they're trying to say that they don't care what people think of the way they smell. Ah well. It's just too bad that that patchouli gives the stuff such a bad rap.

Meanwhile, as an ex-smoker, I've noticed that sometimes folks bring in knitting that smells of stale cigarettes. Now, with these people, I know for certain that they haven't got a clue. I certainly didn't realize just how lousy I smelled back when I smoked. One quickly becomes anosmic to that wretched odor.

I feel sorry for the knitting. Beautiful yarn, hours of work. . .and it stinks.

Image note: Wow. It's true. No can deny smoking can help keep one thin (especially once you have cancer).


jmcleod76 said...

I may be able to shed light on the patchouli-reekers. I once dated - lived with, actually - a woman who reeked of patchouli. She didn't believe in using anti-perspirant, and so rolled patchouli oil all over her body, particularly in areas that were prone to BO. Since those areas tend to be the warmest parts of the body, it also means they become a virtual patchouli smell factory all day long.

I can't say for certain this is the case with all patchouli wearers, but since most of them seem to be of the granola variety, it seems a likely explanation in many cases.

I actually like the smell of hippie store patchouli, but I'd choose the subtler version that's in Eau d'Orange Verte any day.

TMC said...

I somewhat think folks choose scents based on what they perceive others will perceive about them based on the fragrance. On the flip side, though I'm no fragrance afficionado, fragrance adds something to our perception of ourselves. I feel more grounded and authentic when I wear patchouli.

BitterGrace said...

I think Jaime makes a good point about the straight patch addicts. I'd also say that the kind of folks who rely on a head shop oil for a scent tend NEVER to wear anything else. They really have no idea how strong the smell is, because they've become anosmic to it. A lot of musk fans do the same thing. I happen to love the smell of both patchouli and simple musks, but I often want to tell people to take a break and try something else.

I grew up in a family of heavy smokers, and the smell of stale cigarette smoke is truly sickening. The smell of curing tobacco, however, is wonderful. The air is beginning to fill with it here, as the farmers bring in their crops.I sometimes wonder how much of the bad smell is due to the additives put in during processing.

Larry said...

that's a great old ad for Luckys. No matter how desperate i was for a cigarette, i could never smoke Luckys or Camels -- too strong.

Julie H. Rose said...

Thanks for your input, y'all! Jaime, your input is not a scenario I'd thought of, though now it seems so obvious! And I had thought patchouli wearers become anosmic because they wear the same scent all the time, but I was keeping the post short.

Funny how you're smelling curing tobacco now, Maria, for I was thinking of how I love the smell of good tobacco. I love scents with tobacco notes and bought (and wear) Brosius' Smoky Tobacco accord.

I don't think the additives are what make the stale cigarette smell so offensive. The lingering odor of organic tobacco is just as bad, though different.

TMC, perhaps it's time to try another grounding scent? There's many of them! Want me to send you some samples?

Julie H. Rose said...

Oh, Larry, your comment didn't show up in my reader. Hmm. Well, I loved filterless cigarettes. Before I quit, I was bumming a friend's filtered American Spirits and ripping the filters off. If I didn't feel that burn in the back of my throat, it didn't satisfy. That statement makes me realize just how wretched the addiction is (she says as she chomps on nicotine gum).

Anadæ Effro said...

Hey, Julie, hey. I only just found your engaging web log here, honest! We used to be friends in college, the School for Vivacious Androgynes, wasn't it? LOL! Yugh, patchouli. My gods, the choice fragrance of the unbathed heroin addict & hydrophobe. P-U! If anyone is interested in some genuine essential oils that WON'T make enemies, try the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrance house. I highly recommend them. Many of their fragrance lines are inspired by literary greats & others are occult & magic themed. Purrfect for Hallowe'en, ay, children? Lotsa fun to visit & peruse, too, even if you're not an oil aficianado. Have thy(s)elves a brilliant weekend, y'all.

Making the world a better place to smell,
Anadæ Effro (•8-D}