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 26, 2011


I miscounted the number of people who signed up for sample sets of the new fragrances, so there's one more set available if you'd like to be a tester. The first person to leave a comment or e-mail me will receive a set of the 4 fragrances under development: the as yet unnamed rose chypre, Salamanca, Café V, and Emergence.

I have not yet named the rose chypre. Regardless of whether or not you're sampling it, you are invited to suggest names that would fit a classic chypre scent based on a heart note of rose. If you are the winner and the name you proposed is chosen, you will be eligible to select a 5-ml perfume spray of your choice.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    I would love to be the first, but I'm having a lot of fun taking my time. I will definitely mail my comments back to you by Friday, Aug. 5. If that is too late let me know and I will sniff faster. Right now I am enjoying Salamanca and will actually write up my comments on this fragrance tomorrow. I am doing my tests based on time factors: The initial impression, then what I can smell ( and/or would like to smell or suggest) at approximately 5, 15, 30 minutes and then 1, 2 hours and finally 6 hours. At first I tried to time my comments at the moment I detected a distinct change and then notate that actual time, but I began the tests with Emergence and found that the notes actually slowly blended and emerged over the life of the scent making distinct changes difficult to perceive. I find with Salamanca that exact changes over time are much easier to discern.


  2. I suggest as a name for the rose chypre: Le Spectre de la Rose. It was the name of a ballet by Karsavina and Nijinsky, the charming story of which is told here: http://tinyurl.com/3w8fceh. A young girl returns from the ball, enchanted by the scent of a rose given her by a young man. She falls asleep and dreams that she waltzes with the spirit of the rose. What a romantic and intoxicating scent is rose!

  3. I would love to be a tester if you are still seeking one.

    Queen Cupcake, I think your name choice is very beautiful.


  4. Gail, there's no hurry, so take as much time with the samples as you want. Same goes for all the other testers, too.

    Queen Cupcake, Thanks for the suggestion. Le Spectre de la Rose definitely goes on the list.

    JoanElaine, I'll send the remaining set of samples to you. I don't know if I still have your mailing address, so just to be sure, you'll need to e-mail it to me.

  5. This may be too literal but I suggest, The Rose Escapes. I initially smelled a dry rose with just a bit of leather. Pretty soon the leather took over & dominated. But then over time the leather faded and the rose remained free of leather for a long dry down.

  6. Probably too late for your last sample but love your project here and all your posts. I have taught Aromatherapy and love natural perfumes. Just wondering also if you have any suggestions on making a ambergris tincture. I found a glob washed up on the beach in Maui several years ago and have been curious about using it to make a tincture for perfumes. Thanks, Annie