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 ?
Several people told me that patchouli smelled like cat piss on me, so that was the end of that. It’s been a constant source of frustration. Fragrances that are luscious on others just don’t work on me. As far as my favorite things about the sixties–mini skirts and go-go boots. I was the first in my crowd to adopt the style. I remember my break-out dress: a geometric jersey print in wild pinks, reds, and purples. Sounds sick but it worked in the psychodelic ’60s. I dolled up for a party and spent hours admiring my fabulousness in the mirror. I felt like a million bucks. I wish i still had the dress. It would probably be a collector’s item. I remember the tailor’s questioning look as i kept encouraging him to go higher, higher, higher with the hem. I was also very into Sonny & Cher so a friend who could sew made me a sheep skin vest like the one Sonny wore on the first album cover, “Look At Us.” I couldn’t pull off that look quite as well. It made me look like a Neaderthal. I think I wore it once.
Cat piss ?….Really?…..Yikes! We’re not completely sure what “Cat Piss” smells like, But it can’t be good ! Meanwhile, thanx for your candid thoughts about the 60’s, and since you mentioned it, WE AGREE WITH YOU! One of OUR favorite things about the sixties was “Mini Skirts” and “go-go Boots” In fact your whole outfit sounds great, even in 2018 However, we haven’t seen a sheepskin vest in quite a while!
Thanx for sharing some of your more memorable fashion moments and, by all means, stay away from The Patchouli Oil
You are too funny! I don’t think I’ve ever heard that story. 🙂
Hey Kath…No ?
I gotta million of ‘em….or at least a dozen!
THE BEST FRAGRANCE EVER!! I REMEMBER THAT AFTER A WHILE PEOPLE WOULD ASK ME IF I HAD JUST SMOKED A DOOBIE???!!! HA, HA,!! GREAT TIMES! THE EARTHY, MUSKY, ANTI ESABLISHMENT FRAGRANCE WAS ENCOUNTERED AT ALL THE CLUBS, CONCERTS, AND PARTYS!! tHOUR CLOTHING WOULD STILL CARRY THE FRAGRANCE ONE OR TWO DAYS AFTER WEARING THE OIL! IT WAS A MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE WHOLE SCENE. I ALWAYS WANTED MY CAR OR VAN TO ALWAYS HAVE THAT SPECIAL SMELL. WE WOULD SAY: ” NO SIR..THAT IS PATCHOULI OIL NOT POT!! HA, HA, HA, WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME! the wood
Hey Ron Wood, Me ,my brother Ron , Julie and my Mom always remember you as the Patchouli oil guy. You always smelled of the stuff. Knew when you came by the house from it. My Mom would always asked (when she hadn’t been there) did Ron stop by , because she would still smell the oil. LOL !!! Good memories of those times
Our friend “The Woodman permeated the airways with Patchouli from Canoga Park to Eagle Rock ! And Woody’s right, my bedroom smelled like Patchouli Oil for days after his visit! Only making my Mom even more suspicious!
My dear buddy Ron Wood….YES wonderful times! ‘Crept for maybe that time you had to say “NO SIR…THAT IS PATCHOULI OIL, NOT POT! HA HA HA”…In reply to The “Federale’s on that dirt road off Rosorito Beach In Mexico!
Good Times ?