Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by smells - the smell of the house we lived in when I was a toddler, the smell of flowers and plants in the garden, the smell of things cooking, the smells of people with and without perfume, the smell of rain or the ocean, stones, wax crayons - anything and everything that had an odor. Once I was old enough to buy things for myself, I gradually amassed a huge collection of essential oils and whatever mainstream perfume minis were available in the shops that sold them. At that point I was more interested in opening them and sniffing them than actually wearing them.
Despite this obsession with sniffing things, my path to perfumery was not direct. In fact, it was a completely different interest that led me to it. I grow orchids commercially, selling them at local shows and through an online nursery business, Olympic Orchids. In the process of taking care of the orchids, I noticed that when they bloomed, the different varieties had completely different fragrances, and realized that they might make wonderful perfumes unlike any others that are on the market.
At first I experimented just for myself, using the essential oils that I had in my collection to try to recreate the different fragrances. It quickly became apparent that essential oils alone are not sufficient to accurately duplicate flower scents, so I started selectively tweaking with absolutes, infusions, tinctures, and synthetics to get the effects that I wanted. Once I came close, I realized that the scent of an orchid is being constantly renewed with top notes secreted by the flower, something that cannot happen in a perfume that’s only applied once and allowed to evaporate. This meant that I had to adapt the orchids’ scents to create perfumes with a traditional top, middle and base note structure. It’s been a long process of experimentation and learning, but I now have a basic set of orchid-inspired perfumes as well as a good many others. My general philosophy is to use natural materials whenever possible, resorting to synthetics only when nothing else will work.
It’s exciting to write the first post for my blog, and look forward to posting on a near-daily basis.