Have you ever taken a whiff of something and had a flood of memories come rushing through your mind? After vending at a couple of different events recently, it was educating to me, to listen to customers as they commented over our products. The displays allow you to see, smell and feel the soaps and lotions, and reminded me how powerful our sense of smell is at evoking memories. One thing that I found interesting is that our olfactory is so rudimentary, that our ability to describe a scent sorely lags behind our recall of it. Patchouli was one of those smells and the subject of some pretty humorous chatter, mostly from older people who were teenagers in the late 60’s.
Patchouli is in the mint family, and grows in Sumatra, Java, Malaysia, China, Brazil and Indonesia. The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowers and for centuries has been used to fight infection, cool fevers and tone the skin. Its aromatic influences are sedating, calming and relaxing and are known as base notes, scents that are earthy, herbaceous, rich and somewhat woody. What’s interesting is, that here in the United States, the smell of Patchouli to some, evokes memories of the Woodstock Music Festival and the hippie movement. It was a scent that your parents definitely wouldn’t wear, so it’s popularity rose in the era of anti-establishment mentality. It is a polarizing smell. You either love it or you hate it and if your parents hated it…you wore it!
So, do you love it or hate it? Let me know!