All too often, patchouli scents seem to be apologizing for their star ingredient. “It’s patchouli, ” the refrain goes, “but it’s not hippie patchouli.” Tempo, the wonderful new patchouli scent from Diptyque, defies such simple-minded rejection- after all, it’s explicitly inspired by 60’s counterculture- but those fearing unbearably thick earthiness and lack of nuance will surely be delighted by Tempo’s complex, gorgeous subtlety, which weds three distinct types of patchouli to a perfectly balanced mix of mate and violet, delivering a scent both unapologetically patchouli-driven, yet undeniably sophisticated.
By building around a carefully calibrated mix of three sustainably-sourced, ethically-harvested varieties of Indonesian patchouli, Olivier Pescheux delivers a patchouli accord that celebrates all facets of the material: earthy, woodsy, spicy and sweet, all balanced against one another with subtle elegance. This careful balance is further enhanced with lively, green violet leaf and nutty, spicy mate, which serve to remove even the tiniest edges from the scent- the patchouli washes over you so gently that it’s hard to even remember why it would ever be considered a divisive ingredient. Even if you long ago traded in your bell bottoms for designer jeans, give Tempo a chance- you may never think of patchouli the same way again.