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, June 19, 2012


Night before last I had a classic anxiety dream, arriving in San Francisco for the Artisan Fragrance Salon only to find that I had no hotel room. Worse yet, I had not only forgotten to bring and/or ship anything to exhibit, but hadn’t even made anything.

I’ve participated in a lot of shows, ranging from academic conferences where I gave a talk in a room as big as an airplane hangar, to orchid shows where I hauled in a truckload of blooming plants and seedlings to sell, to theatre shows that required weeks of unbelievably stressful preparation, but this is my first fragrance show. I think the biggest source of stress is that it’s out of town and everything has to be prepared in advance and shipped. I’m pretty good at doing things spontaneously, but advance planning is not one of my big strengths. After that dream, I immediately sat down and made a list of all the things I need to do, which in itself is a big source of anxiety, since I’m not usually a list-maker, just doing things randomly at the last minute.

Having said that, I’ve already taken care of printing some post cards publicizing Olympic Orchids Perfumes and the new DevilScent fragrances that I’ll be launching there, along with new and improved business cards. Now I’m just waiting for the printer to send them, fingers crossed, hoping they’ll look OK.

Yesterday I went into robot mode and worked for 20 hours straight (one of my big strengths, when I’m in the mood for it) writing a press release for the DevilScents, taking a trip to the store to buy baggies and other supplies, making all of the samples for the 50 packets that Tama will be handing out at the San Francisco Sniff event on the day before the salon, making all of the samples for the press packets, and making all of the small spray bottles that I’ll be selling there. I have no idea how many samples and bottles I made, but having them done makes me feel much better. Now I just have to make the big bottles, which are relatively easy.

In the process of filling orders and making samples and bottles of everything, I ran out of a bunch of things and had to make new dilutions and one stock concentrate. After filtering the dilutions this morning, there was a huge sink full of dirty glassware staring at me like a bad hangover. I’m happy to report that the glassware is now clean and drying, and my shelf of ready-to-bottle fragrances is full again.

I’m sure that once I have one of these perfume shows under my belt it will all get easier, but for now it’s a new and scary adventure. Writing a blog post is like a combination of a top-notch therapy session and an exotic vacation.


  1. Yes, that's a scary new adventure for sure, but you're going to be great! And you used your anxiety dream for some good work, not stressing, so kudos!

  2. I have no doubts everything will be fine. And the perfume show will be a success. At the end of the day , your fragrances speak for themselves. They are unique and beautiful.

    Best of everything,


    1. Celina, Thanks for the kind and supportive words. I'm feeling better now that I've got the press packets all put together, the samples mailed off to Tama, and a lot of the bottles done. Now I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of people in the perfume community in person for the first time.