Patchouly Bohème is for me a special fragrance. First, the name. Boheme is French for bohemian, meaning a lifestyle outside the mainstream, unconventional, literary, artistic. The name is perfect because this Patchouly is light-years apart from any patchouli ever spritzed out of a perfume bottle.
The opening is a shock. Wood smoke from a barbecue, thick with patchouli and cedar resins, medicinal, green, rubbery, dense. Smoky. Dry. Not at all perfumey. Then after a minute or so, from the depths of this puzzling scent, this singed, blackened, bitter patchouli, curls a waft of caramelized vanilla-amber with just enough sweetness and creamy softness to make me dismiss the initial shock and keep my nose glued to my wrist.
Patchouly Bohème was created by the late perfumeur Mona di Orio for her close friend fashion designer Laurent Mazzone, as one of the seven fragrances in his 2011 launch of LM Parfums. Patchouly Bohème is in fact, a great big Oriental in the classic French style, but writ large with Mona’s very modern and unconventional genius.
So what happens in the dry-down? After about an hour, the smoked caramel-vanilla accord deepens and the smoke subsides, leaving a light woodiness, and the patchouli note recedes into the background, replaced with soft supple leather and sweet tobacco accord. This is aromatic, a sensual accord which seems to shine a golden ambery light through the heart of the fragrance, moving the scent into a lighter more feminine feel.
After three hours or so, Patchouly Bohème offers another surprise as the base notes segue into another accord, this time an ultra-smooth creamy custard of rich soothing notes such as tonka, tolu balsam, vanilla, and musk, presented on a bed of dry patchouli. Faint wisps of smoke, intertwined with leather and tobacco, weave through this last accord, controlling the sweetness.
A smoky, intense, powerfully dark fragrance in the beginning, aromatic and sensual in its golden heart, rich creamy and shadowy-sweet in the base, Patchouly Bohème will change your perceptions about patchouli, whether you’re male or female. The scent is never the patchouli note on its own, but is patchouli paired with unconventional partners, seamlessly, brilliantly, and in perfect balance.
Notes: Geranium leaves, precious wood, Indonesian patchouli, Virginia tobacco, leather, musk, tolu balm, and tonka bean.
Parfumeur: Mona di Orio