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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Before I can launch the rose chypre fragrance, I have to name it. Several of you proposed names, and I’m considering all of them at the moment.

Waftbycarol: “PATALA, which is Sanskrit for rose colored.”

Queen Cupcake:” Le Spectre de la Rose. It was the name of a ballet by Karsavina and Nijinsky, the charming story of which is told here. 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!”

EdC said...
“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.”

Celina said: “If the top notes were less musky I would have called it Rose Couture or Chypre & Couture.”

These are all wonderful suggestions. Patala also refers to the underworld in Hindu mythology, so might not seem like the best choice. On the other hand, maybe it would be fitting for a musky but intellectual rose that’s like a lover’s bouquet of two dozen roses that have been destroyed in an angry outburst by putting them through a wood chipper (Diana, as you can see, I love the wood chipper image!) How about “Crushed Rose”? “Rose Crush”? “Mangled Rose”? Of course after the roses have been through the chipper, they’re just floating around as ghosts, so “Le Spectre de la Rose” fits, too. I like the ballet reference, since it goes with the idea that the scent is both sensual and intellectual, just as a ballet is full of both emotional abandon and physical discipline. According to EdC, the rose temporarily escaped the clutches of the wood chipper, but eventually got shoved in there anyway to release all of the fragrance from its macerated parts. Celina’s suggestion of “Rose Couture” goes with the intellectual and traditional aspects of the scent. The bottom line is that I like all of these suggestions, and find it really hard to choose just one.

In the end, I’ve been calling it simply “Rose Chypre” for so long that maybe that’s become its name by default. What do you think?

[Vase of roses painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmueller, 1843]


  1. First of all, it sounds so exciting to be here and peak behind the stages as you are thinking of a name!

    I have not smelled the fragrance, so I am not sure how it will connect, but two of my favorite names were ballet and escapes. I understand that it probably isn't worth much since I haven't tried the fragrance, but I thought I'll just get it out!

    And thanks for creating wonderful fragrances!

  2. Rose Ballet might be a perfect name! I'll have to check and see if there's any other perfume by that name. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  3. Hi Ellen,

    The idea of the ballet reminds me of the famous "Rosamunde" music by Schubert. The music was originally written for a play called "Rosamunde, Princess of Cypress". The themes from "Rosamunde" were recycled by Schubert himself into ballet music as well as piano, vocal and chamber music. Themes from "Rosamunde" also show up in the movies from time to time. I think I remember "Rosamunde" themes in the movie "All That Jazz", but I may be mistaken.

    Anyway, I suggest "Rosamunde" (the rose princess of Cypress) as a name for your new rose chypre fragrance.


  4. Hi again Ellen,

    After I posted the comment I noticed the big, silly error: The play was entitled Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus"...not "Princess of Cypress"! I guess my spelling was directed by my nose and not by any knowledge of geography.


  5. Gail, I read your comment and didn't even notice the spelling error! Rosamunde would be another good name. I was also thinking of Ballets Roses as a play on Ballets Russes. I think that might have general appeal even for those unfamiliar with specific works of music and ballet.

  6. Perhaps Ballets Rouge? A play on Roses and Russes!

  7. Oh, I love it! Ballets Rouges! I was just Googling "Ballets Roses" to see if there was any other perfume by that name, and turns out that the term was used to refer to some French sex scandals that occurred around 1959-1960 involving prominent personalities and underage girls. Hmmm ... I'm not sure that's the connotation I want. However, there's nothing odd related to Ballets Rouges.