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, April 29, 2014


It’s been so long since I posted that I can’t even remember when the last time was. In any case, a lot has happened since then, so I’ll just do a quick summary to bring readers back up to speed, assuming there are any readers left!

I was in LA this past weekend, to attend the Institute for Art and Olfaction Awards event. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed that Blackbird wasn’t the ultimate winner, but realize that beyond the point of a perfume being competently made, all judgments are completely arbitrary and determined by many factors including personal taste. It was great to be a finalist, and I enjoyed meeting Saskia Wilson-Brown (green dress in photo at left) and others associated with the Institute, seeing fellow perfumers and getting to know them better, and enjoying sunny LA for a couple of days.

The Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon is coming up this weekend, on May 4. If you’re in the Seattle area, please consider stopping by and checking it out. As last year, it’s in tandem with the Artisan Chocolate Salon, so you not only get to smell perfumes, you get to sample all kinds of chocolate. My plan is to do random drawings for 5-ml size perfumes and the blooming orchid plants that I use as props at my table, just as I did last year (photo at right).

At the Seattle salon I will be officially launching my two new fragrances, African Orchid and Sakura. They’re listed for pre-order on my old website orchidscents.com, but for some reason I can’t log on to my Shopify site to do anything. There’s an excellent review of them here, so no need to go into details myself. John Reasinger has said it better than I could have.  

The boxes for the 30 ml size of the new fragrances arrived on Thursday of last week, and the 30 ml bottles should be ready in time for the Seattle show. It will be down to the wire, but I’m still optimistic that it will happen.

My supplier of 100 ml bottles has not had them in stock for months now, and they tell me that it will be “several months” until they have them again. In the meantime, I only have 6 fragrances in the 100 ml size, but boxes for many more of them, and am frustrated that I can’t move forward with introducing this size to the whole line.

Salamanca is coming back by popular demand. I finally found a supplier of the mitti-vetiver co-distillation that I use in it. The material is fairly close in scent to the original one that I had, and the supplier is easy to deal with, especially for a company in India. A half-kilo of the stuff arrived on Thursday, so within a month or two, Salamanca will reappear in my online store.

I am planning to go to the second annual FRAGments show in LA on June 7, so if you’re in the LA area, you should definitely come check it out. It’s in a designer’s studio, entry is free, and there will be some sort of multi-media art installations and refreshments. It sounds like a fabulous time! Many thanks to Maggie Mahaboubian of Parfums Lalun for organizing it. Perfumery on the US West Coast is exploding with new growth as perfumers make their mark on the scene and events like this become more common.

As my (non-perfumery) book project nears completion, I hope I will have more time to write posts for the blog. My goal is to have at least one or two a week, more if I can. We’ll see. 

[All photos are mine]