Do you recall one day when a good friend shows up to hang out, listen to music, etc. But, they smelled kinda odd? And no, we’re not talking about right after gym class. But, there they are, big grin, and you’re not sure what it is, BUT YOU SMELL SOMETHING QUITE WEIRD!…not bad, but also not good! You can’t help yourself, you blurt out “Whoa dude, What’s that smell”? Well, that heady, musky, “Herbal” smell was the latest rage freshly imported from India, ya know, where the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi lives and the source of inspiration for many of your favorite Beatles songs from The White Album.
Your friend then sheepishly replies, “It’s Patchouli.” You reply with “Gazuentiedt!”
Patchouli Oil…In the 1960’s, it was everywhere! This unusual smelling oil was touted as an organic remedy for depression and anxiety, as well as a powerful aphrodisiac! It reduced swelling, heals wounds, helps you urinate! And it eliminated body odor! It was also used as an insecticide ( a very important element if you live in India or the northern Midwest in the summer) But, for most of us, it was a disguise. You know the drill, in the early stages of “substance experimentation we were always looking for something that would mask the odor of whatever we may have been drinking or more specifically, smoking!
Patchouli Oil was just the ticket, it’s scent was so heavy you could almost see green clouds circling around whoever had recently dosed themselves, but, therein lies the rub! Now and then Patchouli’s unique properties proved counter productive. On more than one occasion we’d run into someone who was unfamiliar with the actual smell of burning Marijuana, and so they immediately believed that’s what they were smelling when they encountered Patchouli Oil. One of those folks was our Mom! In the early 60’s my best friend would bath himself with the oil and come by to hang out, listen to music etc. Once my friend left, my mom laid down the law! “I never want your friend in our house again, I can smell The Marijuana all over him” On at least two other occasions my friend and I were stopped for a minor traffic violation, and you know the drill. Police officer comes to the drivers window, gives the motion to roll it down, the air around the officer is filled with the green cloud of Patchouli and then he says those legenday words…”Outta the car, LONGHAIR”…We were frisked, the car was tossed, but everyone escaped unharmed. Afterwards, I said to my friend, can you please stop wearing that? And he replied, “No way, buddy!….Chicks dig it” !
”Patchouli Oil” a counter intuitive, but vital accouterments Of the 1960’s…
One of our favorite things, cuz, among other things….”Chicks dig it”
P.S. How about you, did you partake of Patchouli Oil ? Do you have a story to tell ?