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.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


During my recent cleaning frenzy I went through the basket where I keep all of the mini soaps, shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions that I’ve compulsively brought back from hotel bathrooms whenever and wherever I’ve traveled over the years. My original intent was to have a selection of products for house guests to use, but the guests have used very few of them or brought their own, so that I was left with a basket in which some of the bottle contents had dried up or otherwise spoiled. The thought was good, but the inventory has to turn over regularly to keep it usable.

I threw away the bad items, and decided to use up the good ones. I started with a complete set of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion that I got on a business trip when I was put up at a fancy hotel on the East Coast. They’re all Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc, and I’m loving them. The hair products mostly smell like ambroxan, and scent the whole bathroom with it as it diffuses in the shower steam. The little hint of scent that stays on my hair after rinsing is mostly ambroxan and musk.

Of course a mini-bottle is only good for one or two hair washings, so they’re long gone. However, the tiny bottle of lotion just keeps dispensing its contents like a bottomless well. Its scent is more complex than that in the shampoo and conditioner, with some herbal and floral notes as well as the ambroxan, and lots of musk. It’s overwhelmingly strong, so I use just a tiny drop mixed with another lotion that’s mildly scented with natural oils. The result is still strong enough to make my hands radiate a definite ambroxan-musk scent all day and perfume my sleeves. That mini-bottle is probably going to last for two months or more! If I used it in the intended amounts, I can only imagine that it would quickly fumigate a room, and I have visions of groups of stodgy, serious-faced business travelers sitting around in a conference room, all stinking to high heaven of ambroxan and musk from their morning shower.

I don’t think I’d ever wear the perfume, but I’m certainly enjoying a lotion that I’d never have tried unless I’d brought it home with me as a souvenir of a long-ago trip. I love little sample bottles of everything!

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