What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Monday, August 12, 2019


The winner of this week’s drawing is EMILY.

To claim your winnings, just send me an e-mail at olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a comment on the Olympic Orchids Facebook page

Years ago I started trying to keep an archive of perfume samples. I carefully tagged and recorded them in a database, put them in baggies with cards, one for each brand, and put the baggies in alphabetical order in shoebox-sized plastic carriers. It’s probably been 8 or ten years since I started collecting samples, and I have recently been dismayed to find that many of the samples are not in good shape. A lot of them have leaked or evaporated, and there’s not a lot of juice left. Some may have experienced other ravages of time – I haven’t checked. 

I discovered this when I took some of the samples out of the archive to send out to winners of my drawings and free up some shelf space. Because of the preservation problems I’m slowly dismantling my archives and sending out the samples “as is”. Some are in perfect condition, some are pretty good, and some are not good. Some are cheap junk perfumes, some are the average stuff, and some are really beautiful, interesting, expensive, or rare. You take what you get because I don’t choose what I send, I just weigh out a couple of handfuls at random. Pick through them, enjoy whatever appeals to you, and use what’s left over to scent your laundry or your bathroom, give away, throw away, use up, do whatever you like with them. Like everything else in this world they won’t last forever, much as we would like them to, so enjoy them while you can. 

To enter this week’s drawing for at least 100g of samples, leave a comment about the transitory nature of perfume or other things. 

[Perishable flower photos are mine]

Monday, August 5, 2019


For the past few months I have been posting on Facebook whenever there was a winner of one of the drawings, and the winner usually responds right away. This last time I got busy with a lot of things and didn’t put anything on Facebook. The winnings are unclaimed, and there were far fewer comments than usual on the post for the new drawing. It seems that a lot of people don’t see the blog unless I put an alert on Facebook. I’ll do it this time and will try to remember to do so in future. 

This week’s winner is TRINITI

Last drawing’s winner was PARROT. Parrot has one week to contact me, otherwise everything will go to Triniti as a jackpot. 

To claim your winnings send an e-mail to olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a message on the Olympic Orchids  Facebook page. I will need your complete shipping address. 

This week’s photo is Phalaenopsis bellina, which is blooming right now. The fragrance is amazing, kind of a citrusy floral, but unique. It diffuses its fragrance all day. 

To enter this week’s drawing for a big box of samples, just leave a comment about how your summer is going, or any other random thoughts that you have. 

[Photo is mine]

Monday, July 15, 2019


The winner of the last drawing is:


To claim your winnings, just send an e-mail with your full name and shipping address to olympicorchids at gmail dot com, or leave a message on our Facebook page

Yesterday I spent almost the entire day packing perfume to ship and supervising the new person who was packing orchid plants. Such a lot of busy work. I’m still trying to sell the orchid business, even as it grows, so that I can spend more time with the perfume and other creative activities. 

In the evening our neighbor invited us over to sit on her back deck and drink a bottle of prosecco. We made a fire in her clay chimenea using wood scraps picked up in the woods. The high point was when we burned parts of an old, decommissioned bird feeder that was so dry that the flames leaped up immediately, crackled, popped, and sent up showers of sparks. The fire eventually settled into a red glow that just took the chill off the night air. We watched the stars come out, and the moon come up. Everything was perfectly quiet. It was like sitting around a campfire, and about as relaxing as it gets. 

There’s something magical about watching a controlled open fire. It invites contemplation, clears the brain, and brings people together in a friendly way. The smell of the wood smoke is part of the magic. 

To enter this week’s drawing, leave any sort of comment about fire. The prize will be at least 100g of perfume samples. 

[Photos of chimenea fire and rising moon are from Wikimedia. We had no devices of any kind with us last night. Moon and campfire painting by Albert Bierstadt, 19th century.] 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Finally, I’ve done the drawing, and the winner is 


To collect your goodies, just send your full name and shipping address to olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a message on our Facebook page. Facebook has been having some issues, so e-mail is probably more reliable. 

I was recently reading an article on the US obsession with air conditioning, which pointed out the obvious fact that running all those air conditioners to keep people refrigerated is a significant contributor to global warming, which would ultimately lead to a need for more air conditioning. What should be even more alarming, also pointed out in passing in the article, is that all of the server farms that store our data rely on air conditioning to dissipate the enormous amounts of heat generated by the servers. If the air conditioning should fail, the servers will go down, and who knows what will be lost. Any operations that depend on the server farms will come to a screeching halt. 

I’ve always had my doubts about keeping anything I valued on the “cloud”, so I have jpeg files of all my photos and mp3 files of my music library on my laptop, backed up on an external hard drive. All of my documents are backed up as well. 

It’s only a matter of time until some major server farm fails, either through hacking or through natural causes like a natural disaster and/or power failure. Luddite and jack-of-all-trades that I am, it should not affect me all that much. 

The next drawing will be for a massive haul of samples of all sorts, probably at least 200 g for US shipping, but 100 g international. To enter, just leave a comment about air conditioning, server farms, or how you back up your important data. 

[Fuschia photo is mine, freezing baby and server farm are from an internet search.] 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


It’s been way too long and the cottonwood snow is long gone, but finally here is the winner of the drawing:


If you are the winner, please send me an e-mail (olympicorchids at gmail dot com) or a PM on the Olympic Orchids Facebook page.

I will need your full and correct name and shipping address. If I have not heard from you before I post the next drawing, the goodies will go into the jackpot for the next one. 

Now that the academic year is over, I will have time to get back to posting regularly, at least over the summer. 

Last weekend we were east of the Cascades, admiring the meadow full of wild iris flowers in the photo. 

There is a new drawing for 100 g of assorted samples, so leave a comment about your local wildflowers to enter. 

[Photo of Rocky Mountain iris flowers is mine]

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


The winner of the last giveaway is:


To claim your winnings just send me an e-mail: olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a PM on the Olympic Orchids Facebook page

As usual, when one giveaway ends another one begins. Right now I’m just trying to get through the last three weeks of spring quarter at the university, all the while keeping up with shipping out plants and perfumes.

This week the cottonwood trees are doing their thing, releasing flakes of white material that look just like snowflakes. The cottonwood snowstorm always reminds me of Fellini’s movie Amarcord, where the old man looks at the floating white particles from the trees and says, “vagano, vagano, vagano …” (they drift… and drift … and drift). Around where I live, there are so many cottonwood trees that the white fluff accumulates on the ground, just like snow. 

Do you have any similar phenomenon where you live? Leave a comment about it, or just leave a random comment to be entered in the next drawing for 100 g of perfume samples and anything else that I decide to throw in. 

[Photos of accumulated cottonwood "snow" in a local parking lot are mine]

Monday, May 6, 2019


What with two orchid shows in April, it’s been crazy and I’ve let the blog go for a while. However, now that they’re over, I did get back on long enough to do the drawing for the last giveaway. 

The winner is ROBIN BRENNAN. 

To claim your goodies, please send your full shipping info to olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a PM on our Facebook page

I have so much stuff left to give away that this series of drawings will be going on for some time. I am just going to do the easy thing and say that anyone who leaves a comment and says they’re interested in getting some samples will be entered in the next drawing for 100 g of assorted fragrance samples and other stuff. No need to think!

[African violet photo is mine. The flowers sparkle like fine glitter in the sun]