I gain comfort from violet. And the best violet I have ever owned is undoubtedly L’Occitane’s Patchouli, a disappeared extrait from the 1990’s (also gorgeous in the more radiant edp which I would kill to have a bottle of again), that is now virtually impossible to find anywhere.
An immediately poignant blend, one that somehow imbued whatever you were feeling at the time with sad longing, this was a violet/rose/clove/patchouli heartrending syrup that I saw a miniature bottle of on ebay the other day for ¥33,000 – eleven others were watching closely.
Friday night, after the conversation on here with Gabrielle and Catherine about how much we missed the old, pre-everywhere mainstream iteration of L’Occitane (when there were little bottles of extrait like Mûre
-which I picked out from the collection to try again the other night, marvelling at how alive it is; ‘just’ a blackberry little number, but something lovely about it; as though it were telling a story. Simple. A very short formula. But scintillating), I found myself wanting to attempt to recreate Patchouli. Impossible. Because I am not a perfumer, and don’t know all of the notes. But I began with a rich patchouli essential oil, blended in some rose, and some Klito by Marko Buffini, a very violety scent; added some of my strange clove/rose/hinoki/patchouli desolate Autumn perfume, which I made many years ago while watching John Cassavetes’ Opening Night in my old house’s tatami room, and still keep in the original L’Occitane Patchouli bottle, in the top picture; now so intense; based on the dregs of what was left of the patchouli; some Ungaro Diva extrait, and then years of added essential oils; I am not even entirely sure which other ones I have added over the decades; I sometimes wear a little on cold winter days, as it lingers. The addition of this private perfume started to veer the blend away from what I was looking for – a little too smoky – but then I remembered a dessicated bottle of L’Erbario Toscano’s Violetta Nobile that was somewhere in the kitchen; mainly dried up for some unknown reason but now very concentrated in the nozzle and spray tube. Pouring my blend into this bottle, the initial exhalations from the re-awoken bottle were very nice; super violetty, as the scent from beneath joined the powdered upper notes and created an enjoyable, rich, even potentially noble patchouli violet. Nice. But not Patchouli L’Occitane.