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.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Last night I was working in my perfume “lab” (or should I call it an "atelier"?) until about 2:30 AM. Shortly after I went to bed, I was awakened by a bird’s chirping. It was so loud that I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake and listened to it, as it sleepily chirped like a baby chicken at first, then sang more strongly, and before long was joined by other birds, all twittering and tweeting. My research on birds suggested that they were probably blackbirds, but they could have been anything.

I entertained myself trying to figure out which voice was coming from where ... from the cedars, the alders across the road, the cottonwoods in the ravine, the big leaf maples, the blackberries in the marsh ... near or far away. It was at least a couple of hours before dawn, so I marveled at the birds' ability to sense that night would soon be over, and their daily activities could begin.

It made me think of Paul McCartney’s old song, “Blackbird singing in the dead of night … “ because that’s just what these birds were doing. It somehow made me happy to hear those bird sounds in the middle of a dark, rainy night, especially the first, almost eerie-sounding, cry announcing that the morning would eventually come.

I thought it would be a good idea to go back to my old habit of trying to write at least one positive thing each week. This is especially relevant given that my trip to the post office this morning unleashed the mother of all rants. Stay tuned for that one!

[Singing blackbird photo from Wikimedia. Birds at night by Watanabe Shotei, 19th century]


  1. Hi Ellen,
    I would have been torn between wonder and torment. I'm glad for you that you took the high road. Can't wait to hear about you Post Office rant.
    Portia xx

    1. Yes, I'm usually the grumpy one, but this time I did enjoy lying awake and listening to the birds.