You either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it.
The Urban Dictionary listed the following top 3 definitions for patchouli:
Growing up in the late 60s-70s, I was blessed with having parents who were so square they transcended the squareness and came over as cool to non-family members. They had hip friends, Jean and Al. Jean and Al had a great record collection: Cat Stevens, the Airplane, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, CSN, Clapton,the Byrds, Donovan, the Dead...My parents were unembarrassed about liking Neil Diamond and Seals and Crofts and to my burning shame, admitted this in public. My parents did not throw parties. Al and Jean threw the kind of great parties where we kids were mostly left to our own devices, which mostly involved listening to the great record collection, scaring each other with ghost stories and snitching sips of beer when nobody was looking. Their furniture was earth-toned and comfortable and there were lots of candles in the house, mostly patchouli scented. My earliest associations with the scent of patchouli were of good times and a degree of cool and sophistication sadly lacking in my own life.
When I was a student, I used to wear pure patchouli oil at first in an effort to be bohemian, then because it just suited me. To this day, when I run into old friends or acquaintences they tell me that they always think of me when they smell patchouli. Eventually I outgrew the patchouli oil stage and started wearing real perfume. A quick look at Basenotes http://www.basenotes.net/content/ , a website all about perfumes tells me that all the perfumes I like are patchouli based.
The scent of patchouli also takes me back to the time I lived in the Caribbean.
As an essential oil, patchouli has various properties. Among these are: aphrodisiac, sedative, anti-fungal and insecticide. Walking along the main drag in Punda of a morning, you are overwhelmed with the scent of patchouli drifting out from all the shops. There are a lot of bugs in the Caribbean and patchouli smells so much better than Raid mixed with mildew.
These days, I'm back to using patchouli oil but now it's on my vacuum cleaner bags and filters. Mack the bullmastiff is large and a gentle soul, but stinky, especially when the house is battened down tight against the autumn rains. One of Imp 2's hipster friends, Brummel came over the other day, ditched his porkpie hat on the coatrack and said, “Your house always smells so ...so...” I was starting to worry at this point, so I asked him point blank if it smelled like dog. He said, “No, not dog, it's just I don't know what it is, but it is really cool.”