Patchouli has become something of a cliche in recent times. Overused in its refractionated, ‘patchouli lite’ guise – the familiar bane of candyfloss duty free perfume everywhere you go – or else overloaded with sharp smelling roses and  oudh in countless Eastern inspired niche scents, it has been difficult to find a patchouli-based perfume that captures the peculiar earthiness of this particular aromatic material while taking it simultaneously in new directions.




While Tempo, the latest release from Diptyque in celebration of the house’s fiftieth anniversary (their first release was L’Eau in 1968, a spiced pomander scent based on an Elizabethan recipe that I adore) is nothing revolutionary, it is, at the same time, quite an appealing and alluring take on patchouli. Three different distillates of patchouli leaf oil from the company’s sustainable plantation in Indonesia – all tempered with by the perfumer slightly to accentuate different aspects of the raw material – are blended smoothly and unostentatiously in a very soft, mellow, and almost powdery accord of violet leaf, sage and mate tea that has quite a wistful, melancholy quality : patchouli whispers at the edges of shadows – sensual if somewhat unexpressed – that I find quite enigmatic.






Filed under Flowers

9 responses to “TEMPO by DIPTYQUE (2018)

  1. Looking forward to trying this one.

    • Yes, it is quite nice: subtle ( maybe too subtle?), but I love the powdery patchouli/ violet combination. It has the soft mellow patchouliness of Etat Libre D’Orange’s Nombril Immense with the more violety/patchouli dry down of Annick Goutal’s Mandragore Pourpre. Quite a calming aura.

  2. A short review that manages to pack in all sorts of erudition and charm. I’m able to get a clear idea of what this might smell like without a lot of technical analysis — but just enough. Quietly masterful, my darling N.

  3. Renée Stout

    Literally, two of my favorite words are wistful and melancholy for the images and moods those words evoke. I’ll be sampling this one soon! Thanks for the review.

    • ALTHOUGH I did smell this perfume again in a different store today and thought it was a thicker, more ‘straight’ patchouli than I did initially.

      Later, however, there definitely were some violety moments that separated the perfume a bit from the standard, vanilla musk pack, but Diptyque is ultimately still a commercial brand that rarely creates actual poetry….

      • Renée Stout

        Still sounds like something I may want to try as I like violet when it’s done well (but often isn’t as far as I’m concerned). That’s one perfume note that often evokes that sense of melancholy for me.

      • Me too. It’s somewhat buried under all the choul, but is there resonating in the background.

        I am going to try it again lavishly on skin and fabric and then might consider buying a bottle. I love this kind of scent on black cashmere.

  4. Love the idea of a soft patchouli… I think I’ll seek this one out for a sniff.

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