What is Patchouli (found in the Carpe Diem candle)?

What is Patchouli (found in the Carpe Diem candle)?


Let’s learn about Patchouli…quite an amazing flowering plant with a very sophisticated aroma.

Patchouli (the word derives from the Tamil patchai (Tamilபச்சை) or paccuḷi, meaning “green"), scientifically known as Pogostemon cablin, belongs to the Lamiaceae family, commonly referred to as the mint or deadnettle family. This species of flowering plant grows as a bushy perennial herb, characterized by erect stems that can reach heights of up to 75 centimeters (2.5 feet). It produces small, pale, pink-white flowers.

Native to the island region of Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Malay Peninsula, New Guinea, and the Philippines, patchouli is also found in various parts of North East India. Renowned for its fragrant essential oil, patchouli has numerous commercial applications and is extensively cultivated in tropical climates worldwide, particularly in Asia, Madagascar, South America, and the Caribbean. Indonesia stands out as the largest producer, accounting for over 90% of the global volume of patchouli oil, which amounts to approximately 1,600 metric tons.

The process of extracting patchouli essential oil involves steam distillation of the dried leaves and twigs. This method requires rupturing the cell walls of the plant material through steam scalding, light fermentation, or drying. The primary chemical component of patchouli oil is patchoulol, a sesquiterpene alcohol.

Several species of the Pogostemon genus, including Pogostemon cablin, P. heyneanus, and P. plectranthoides, are cultivated specifically for their essential oil, commonly referred to as patchouli oil. While there are some sub-varieties, the most prevalent commercial strains are indigenous to the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Harvesting of patchouli leaves and twigs can occur multiple times a year. Some sources suggest that the highest quality oil is obtained from fresh, partially dried biomass that is distilled near the harvesting location. Others advocate for boiling the dried leaves and fermenting them for a certain period to achieve optimal results.

Patchouli's distinct aroma, characterized by its heavy, strong, woody, and earthy notes, has been prized for centuries in perfumery. In addition to perfumes, patchouli is also utilized in various other products, including candles, incense, insect repellents, chewing tobacco, and numerous alternative medicines.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about this earthy, full-bodied, exquisite scent. You can fully appreciate its luxury in our new candle, Stillness.


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