Originating in Asia and Oceania, Patchouli, a tropical and herbaceous perennial, belongs to the Lamiacee family renowned for its aromatic plants. It possesses all the necessary characteristics, such as opposite leaves, square stem and flowers with a well-developed interior petal that enables pollinating insects to land. Its leaves and flowers also have a pleasant perfume that attract insects. This perfume is concentrated in the Patchouli leaves as they dry…and the secrets of this essence bring joy to perfumers.
The Patchouli used by Yves Rocher is grown in Indonesia, by a myriad of local producers often working in families. Patchouli is planted during the rainy season interspersed with manioc, banana trees, cocoa trees or coffee trees. This technique, combining different plants, enables Patchouli to be grown in semi-shade which is ideal for its growth, but also limits soil depletion and encourages the biodiversity. Moreover, it prevents the plant from taking over agricultural land required for subsistence crops! The first harvest is carried out 6 months after planting then every 3 to 4 months over 1 to 2 years. The cut plant is dried for several days in the sun then shade to activate a controlled fermentation enabling the leaves to maximize their olfactory qualities.
Once the leaves have been dried and separated from their stems, local producers produce the Patchouli essence themselves by distillation using steam in artisanal stills. The steam releases Patchouli’s volatile, perfumed components. This steam, cooled down after distillation, contains the water from the distillation and the essential oil, that are separated by condensation and collected in a Florentine vase. Only the essential oil is used in perfumery. Patchouli essence is collected at the surface and left to mature for 3 months to stabilize the note. This essence, the result of traditional, local know-how, is a rough diamond. However, its radiance and secret beauty is revealed by the work of the perfumer. Its woody, balsamic, suave, herbaceous, subtly earthy and coppery notes reveal their olfactory treasure as the fragrance develops. In the Comme une Evidence range, patchouli brings a profound sensation of plenitude like being in the soothing shade. In our So Elixir range, combined with Vanilla or the Tonka bean, it gives an addictive depth.