I feel like patchouli is one of those scents that has worked its way into the collective memory. I was instantly flooded with nostalgia when I opened my first bottle of patchouli oil—I remembered my trip to Germany and the mother of a friend who has always smelled of warm, spicy patchouli. It’s a scent I’ve known all my life, but I only recently pinpointed the source. This wouldn’t be the case, I’m sure, if I’d been around in the 1960’s, but alas, I wasn’t (though my musical tastes don’t seem to know that).


Anyhow, this soap combines the wonderful, dusty/spicy earthiness of patchouli with the bright, clean scents of spearmint and eucalyptus. You could say this is a more manly soap if you wanted too—I’ve certainly never objected to men smelling of patchouli. It makes me want to go explore the forest with them, where we will hopefully stumble upon Woodstock and go live in a world of free love and organic vegetables.


The entire batch is green thanks to some Australian Olive Green clay, and the darker streaks come from a bit of added green chromium oxide. You could also use French Green clay, or go another route entirely and use something brown or taupe.

Patchouli Mint Swirl Soap

40% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
20% lard
10% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)

Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
1 tbsp Australian Olive Green clay
½ tsp green chromium oxide

10g patchouli essential oil
10g spearmint essential oil
10g eucalyptus globulus essential oil

5% superfat

Follow standard soap making procedures. I find this recipe traces very quickly—I don’t even need my immersion blender, a few minutes of stirring with the spatula brought it to trace. Add the clay and essential oils at trace, and then divide the batch into two. Stir the oxide into one half, and swirl the two halves together in the mold.

Let set for 24 hours, remove from the mold, and slice into bars. Cure for at least three weeks before use.