To everything, there’s a season: autumn suits patchouli and spices well, and Patchouli & Pepper is a lovely perfume that I wore and tested since spring but enjoyed the most this November – it definitely shines, blossoms, and expresses its personality fully in colder weather! Created by Ruth Mastenbroek, and praised as the Bath House bestseller, it definitely breathes in synergy with autumn. And there’s an almost empty bottle to prove it.
The seasons in a year do have an effect on us. And even though I often say that perfume has no season, that you can wear whatever you like whenever you feel like it, it is also true that we all seek balance and synergy with our environment, which then leads to a different choice of fragrances we wear. Now is the perfect season for Patchouli & Black Pepper!
I believe that autumn is a perfect time in a year for wearing any fragrance, especially if you’re having weather as we had recently. Cold and crispy, sometimes slightly foggy mornings, a lot of sunshine and pleasant temperatures during the daytime, and fresh evenings. It’s only natural to reach out for more enveloping fragrances, the warmth of spices, woods, and leathers, lovely and cocooning capsules of scents that hug us tightly and bring comfort and warmth. Just as you change your wardrobe as a season changes, you will surely change your fragrant wardrobe as well, if you already haven’t.
I also think that autumn is a perfect season for wearing most of the patchouli-centered fragrances: even if you have not (yet) found your perfect patchouli, there’s such a variety of different facets of this fine ingredient that I’m certain you will (sooner or later) find your patchouli-unicorn.
The myriad of faces of patchouli is fascinating, and I always think about different fragrant creations as different Boteh / Paisley designs, the characteristic tear-drop shaped forms with intricate design inside:
This motif symbolizes eternal life and fertility, but also fire and the season of autumn! Each different patchouli fragrance is like a different Boteh design to me, I can visually see perfume notes like individual elements inside of the characteristic shape, and Patchouli & Pepper felt like it is printed on a fine, wool fabric.
Patchouli & Black Pepper is definitely masculine-leaning, especially at the opening: on the first spray, the outer shell of this particular paisley perfume design is sharp and fresh, very retro-aftershave reminiscent, with a cool sensation of fresh moss and pine forest. It feels like holding a green pine cone in your hand on a crisp autumn morning, but it is sprinkled with whiffs of black pepper! That feels like tiny black dots inside this specific paisley motif are intricately drawn to balance green with black, evening out sharpness with a touch of bracing notes.
But it also felt dry and crispy underneath, like walking on dry, crunchy leaves colored with all possible hues of brown. I could almost hear the sound of rustling leaves, a crackling and multilayered sound that makes me feel like a little kid, wanting to step away from the path I’m walking on and kick those leaves high in the air as I walk by. And I do just that, feeling the scent of wet earth beneath those leaves rising, thinking yes – this is what autumn should smell like!
And yet, the sharpness of black pepper becomes softened by a bitter-orange flow that it rolls in like cake glazing that’s allowing patchouli to move upwards balancing finely between bitter, peppery, and earthy-sweet nuances. It’s glowing, warm, and cozy, the initial sharpness is gone, and now you are gently ushered into richness and abundance of different accords that bring comfort and a glowing sensuality – as if you’ve stepped inside your home after taking a walk early in the morning, and the air that greets you is filled with smoothness, traces of smoke, and ambery softness of your favorite cushions on the sofa.
Those cushions that you’ve had for some time now, the ones with crooked corners and a pulled-out thread here and there, but these are the ones that fit behind your back perfectly. The ones with such a familiar texture you love to feel against your face and bury your nose in, as you pull your warm blanket over your face to keep warm and shut the outer world out, staying in your warm cocoon that’s protective and dreamy at the same time.
This shield of protection smells like earthy vetiver, dreamy notes are thick with lavender and rosemary, and vanilla/amber tones bring depth and comfort.
Patchouli & Pepper is a lovely perfume that I wore and tested since spring, but enjoyed the most this November – it definitely shines, blossoms and expresses its personality fully in colder weather! I also must admit that there’s rarely an almost empty bottle in my collection, but my Patchouli & Pepper reached the final 10 ml level of the full bottle…it was worn often, and with joy.
Notes (as listed by the brand): black pepper, mandarin, patchouli, lavender, rosemary, vetiver, amber, vanilla.
Bath House – Artisans of Natural Beauty is a small fragrance and skincare brand located in Lake District, UK, with shops in Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale, and seven other shops in the north of England. Their fragrances are made in small batches, and they also offer a variety of purse sprays, discovery sets, and matching body care products (eg Patchouli & Pepper Body Butter!). Check out their complete perfume & colognes collection here!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Bath House
Disclaimer: A bottle of Patchouli&Black Pepper was kindly sent to me by Bath House. My opinions are – as always- of my own.
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