Monday 12 February 2024

UN PATCHOULI by Obvious Parfums

A bottle of Un Patchouli fragrance by Obvious Parfums
Simplicity in scent is something that's often attempted by the perfume industry but, with the exception of companies like Shay & Blue or 4711’s Acqua Colonia collection, results can be quite linear and uninspiring. The complexity of traditional methods ends up being replaced with single notes, or a blend of similar aromas, so there isn’t any excitement in the finished fragrance. One of the companies that have managed to embrace “simplicity” but also still retain “style” is Obvious Parfums. With the moto that their fragrances are “simple, sophisticated and respectful”, it’s time to discover the distinctly different Un Patchouli.

Obvious Parfums was launched in 2020 with the bold announcement that “the world needs less superficiality and outrageous show-offs”. They believed that fragrance had become “an accessory of ostentation”, and so the challenge was accepted to create a range of fragrances that were accessible at the same time as being exceptional. This idea of wanting to have a real sense of sophistication beneath an apparent simplicity is what many companies had struggled with in the past, but the reason Obvious Parfums seem to have cracked it is because they never forgot that the finished fragrances were designed first and foremost "to please”.

David Frossard is the driving forces behind Obvious Parfums, but his career prior to its 2020 launch had already put him in good stead. After starting in his family’s business, which sold perfumes and cosmetics in Africa, he joined L’Artisan Parfumeur as Head of Exports. This then led him to found Différentes Latitudes, a company that specialised in supporting ‘indie’ perfume brands as they took their first steps in the marketplace, and which ultimately encouraged him to take the leap himself. “Obvious Parfums combines simplicity with elegance, elegance with respect, and is motivated by transparency, recyclability and accountability.”

The box for the Un Patchouli fragrance by Obvious Parfums
The company launched with an impressive seven fragrances - Un Bois, Un Musc, Un Poivre, Une Fleur d’Oranger, Une Rose, Une Vanille and Un Patchouli. These cleverly managed to capture the imagination of customers because they offered a wide range of scents from florals right through to gourmands. However, to create Un Patchouli, David turned to Amélie Bourgeois. Amélie was well known for having an innate ability to translate real scents into fragrance, and it’s this that really shines through in Un Patchouli. This ingredient was a staple in the sixties and seventies, but Amélie’s job was to give it a modern revival.

The fragrance opens with a sweetness reminiscent of tonka bean, almost as if it's a hint that there are surprises around the corner, before the star of the show quickly arrives. The patchouli has its recognisable earthiness but, because of the clever addition of cedarwood and sandalwood, you get a smooth dryness as opposed to the usual spikiness. It feels as if there’s a touch of jasmine and lavender in here as well, which adds a hint of an aromatic floral heart, but a dry leaf-like aroma from a hay note brings the patchouli back into focus with its woody edge, and even a touch of leather-tinged vetiver. Un Patchouli is a wonderful celebration of this ingredient, and perfect as we enter spring.

Un Patchouli is available from Debenhams at priced at £95 for 100ml (currently on offer for £76). [Sample provided by Phoenix Beauty]


  1. Ooh need to try this, thanks Stephan.

    1. Hello, definitely hunt it out - it's a fantastic interpration of Patchouli. Best, Stephan