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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

INCENSE AND THE MONDAY GIVEAWAY

Incense has been around so long that no one really knows when, where, or how it originated. It has probably been used almost since humans discovered how to use fire. If you’ve ever sat around a campfire or walked on a winter night when people were burning aromatic wood in their fireplaces or stoves, you might agree that the idea of burning plant materials and resins came from smelling something amazingly good while using a fire for warmth, to cook, or for other purposes. The challenge then would have been to discover what material produced the pleasant odor and isolate it for burning to mask bad odors, for pleasure, or as a ritual. 

I’ve always loved incense, and tend to want to try everything that’s available. As a result, I find that I have some favorites and some I don't like as well. Of the sticks, one of my favorites is Nippon Kodo’s Seiun joss sticks in Chrysanthemum scent. However, I have gone more and more to using raw materials on a burner, especially frankincense - and oud on special occasions. I also like to experiment with all kinds of other “burnables”, from resins through woods and grasses.


With any sort of experimentation, you win some you lose some. However, in this case winning and losing are subjective because what I enjoy is different from what you might enjoy. I have a big incense collection, some of which I’ve tried and will never use. To pare the collection down to a manageable size, this week I’m offering a random drawing and giveaway of a set of several types of manufactured incense sticks. To be entered, just leave a comment saying what type of incense you enjoy.

Unfortunately, incense packages are bulky and would cost more to ship than they're worth, so this is a US-only draw. The winner will be announced early next week. 

[photos are from Wikimedia]

8 comments:

  1. I love the smell of incense but as I can not stand smoke well I have a preference for the sandalwood chip that is burned slowly in a Ko-ro. The perfume of sandalwood really explodes in the air and it avoids the harsh, acrid smoke to my delicate nostrils :-)

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    1. I've been learning to make incense that is gently heated on a candle warmer- it never burns, but releases its scent. This is especially good for delicate aromtics. The warmers go for about $6 in a grocery or drugstore.

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  2. The smell of incense reminds me of attending church services as a child. It's amazing how a scent can transport you to a specific time and place in your life. I have a small decant of CDG Avignon which accomplishes that nicely. (no need to enter me in the drawing).

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    1. Anne, CDG Avignon is a very realistic rendition of burning frankincense. I really like it!

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  3. I love a lot of different incenses, from Indian to Japanese to modern ones, but my heart truly belongs to the resin-wood family- oud, frankincense, sandalwood. And of course nag champa and patchouli...

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    1. Laurie, the resin-wood incenses are my favorites too, although all incense is based on some kind of woody material. You're entered in the drawing.

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  4. Your take on the origins of incense is insightful, and it is also the history of perfume, which was originally based on incense. No need to include me in the draw as I might have an incense collection as big as yours, and I'm also a frankincense collector, and an incense maker! I love trying to figure out the formulae of ancient incense, then recreate them as much as is possible. My newish favorite is Japanese incense from Awaji- the base is hydrangea, and is a mild euphoric. Good stuff!

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    1. Marla, I haven't tried the incense from Awaji, but will have to look for it.

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