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.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Where do I begin with this orchid? One has been blooming in my sun porch for the last week, and today it started pumping out its scent. I don’t even know which plant is blooming because there are several that have grown together into a tangled jungle, but it’s a light pink one with a dark pink lip. I couldn't move it to my "photo studio" to take a portrait, so just had to get a snapshot in situ.
For some reason Cattleya intermedia love the growing conditions that I provide for them and thrive like weeds. I’m not sure why or how I ended up with so many varieties, but they certainly are rewarding when they bloom. A second, huge intermedia plant has at least four flower stalks developing, so it should be spectacular when it blooms. There are probably other plants lurking somewhere, waiting to burst into flower.
The scent of the pink Cattleya that’s currently in bloom is a lot like the Arabian version of rose. It’s a sweet, dark pink, candied rose mixed with almonds. It’s marzipan flavored with a strong rosewater, or rose-flavored Jordan almonds. We’ve been wowed by this fragrance all morning, but as the afternoon wears on, it’s starting to fade.
Many cattleyas only put out their fragrance during certain hours of the morning, presumably the time when their natural pollinators are out and about. When I pollinate my plants, I always try to do it at the time of day when the fragrance is strongest, and have had ridiculously good luck with that method, producing more baby orchids than I would ever know what to do with.
Should I make a “Pink Cattleya” perfume? Maybe this will be the inspiration for my rose chypre. I have to spend some more time with the flower and think about it.
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