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.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


In the Pacific Northwest, the 5th of July is officially the start of the dry season, generally a period of unbroken warm and sunny weather that lasts until sometime in September. The clouds broke up yesterday afternoon and the sun arrived right on schedule. Today the sky is bright blue and it actually looks like summer. Our tomatoes will finally grow!

As I remarked in another post, I don’t subscribe to the idea of “men’s” and “women’s” fragrances, and I don’t really believe in “summer” and “winter” fragrances, either. Having said that, I’ve recently embarked on a fragrance that would probably fit the traditional image of “summer” scents. Could it be that I chose to work on that one rather than a heavier one because of the season? Or was it because my Dendrobium moniliforme had just been blooming?

Whatever the reason, I decided it was time to create a fragrance in honor of this little gem of an orchid. Dendrobium moniliforme is a miniature orchid species native to Japan, where it is grown for its attractive plant form, often with variegated foliage. The flowers are a bonus, usually appearing in spring after a dry, cool period in the winter. They are generally somewhere in the white to pink range, and are fragrant, with a distinct anise-like note.

To honor my collection of Den moniliforme plants with their own fragrance, I started with top notes of anise and star anise, adding some heliotrope, light vanilla, and airy, greenish floral notes. I think I’ve pretty much nailed the flower scent itself. For a base, I chose to make a white musk accord, something that I can use as a base in other scents, too. So far it seems to go well with the anise and floral notes. Right now I’m sitting here with the various accords on tester strips, waving them around occasionally, and liking what I smell. I’m sure some more tweaking will go on, but so far this has been one of the easier scents to make.

Now I’m trying to decide which moniliforme variety to name the scent after. Some of the candidates are Bayoumaru, Genetsu, Osafume, Siroaya, Kitoumaru … and others. I have about 20 different types. I just noticed that Siroaya is covered with buds, so it’s blooming a second time this year. Any comments about which name sounds best for a perfume?


  1. I like Osafume and Kitoumaru, myself.

    I am excited to smell that!

    I just got your package today, and I must say I was blown away! I had a feeling your work would be good, but I had no idea HOW good. I was literally shaking my head in wonder and amazement at the balance, the craftsmanship of each scent, everything. I will be writing about your whole line on my blog. Not to mention buying some FBs for myself when my budget expands.

    thanks so much for allowing me to experience your work. I see great things in your future as a perfumer.

  2. LBV, I'm glad to hear that the package arrived safely. Thank you so much for your high praise of the perfumes! I look forward to reading all of the write-ups on your blog, and will be happy to send you a couple of FBs in appreciation for your writing about my creations. They are all labors of love, so I'm happy if some of that shows.

    I think I'm going to go with Osafume for the Dendrobium moniliforme scent. I'll send you a sample when it's to that point.

  3. Osafume is nice-reminiscent of profume--you know?

    I'd love full bottles sometime--thanks for offering, and I'll take 'em for sure, but never fear, I'll be buying some too, as soon as I figure out which I love best!!!!!

    I'll keep you posted on the write-ups!

  4. Hi!
    My name is Faith and I have been searching for a perfume by Cody called "Orange Blossom" for some time, now. Recently, I came across a fragrance that was call "... Dendrobium ..." and it has a similar fragrance. I wonder if you can help me in my search of obtaining this? Your reply is appreciated. Thank you!