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, May 24, 2010


Ice flowers - the odd and intricate ice crystal formations that appeared on the ground last winter after a hard rain and the arrival of a cold front with very low (for here) temperatures. I’ve never seen anything like these perfect roses chiseled out of ice, before or since. They were not delicate snowflakes, they were almost the size of real roses! I photographed them and tried to imagine what an ice flower would smell like. Nothing flowery or plant-like, that’s for certain. This perfume is a big departure for me, since I set out to make a formula that was entirely synthetic. I almost succeeded, but at the end I tweaked it with some naturals, galbanum and black pepper, to give it the edgy top notes that I thought it needed. Fair enough. I tweak most of my natural compositions with synthetics, so why not do the opposite?

I tried to keep it simple, with an opening that is sharp and pungent, like the pointed, knifelike edges of ice crystals or the points of snowflakes. As it dries down and the top notes disappear, it becomes a haunting, synthetic flower scent, not at all sweet and not identifiable as any real flower. At the end, the flowers melt into a soft and frothy base, like a light sherbet. Because the scent is mostly synthetic, it has great sillage and longevity. It’s probably not for everybody.

I’ve become addicted to my own creation and have been wearing it (in all of its versions) more than any of my other scents. It seems to work as a “palate-cleanser” after I’ve sampled other perfumes that are heavy and floral.

I’ll be giving away two 5-ml samples of the current version of Fleurs de Glace to the first two people who post here and express an interest in trying it.


  1. I would love to try it, sounds wonderful!!!

  2. Hello Ellen!

    To receive your perfume sample, you need to send me your full name and mailing address. You can send me (Doc Elly) a PM on BaseNotes or Fragrantica, or e-mail it to: orchids@olympicorchids.com.

    Thanks for trying this new fragrance!

  3. Hey Ellen, I would love to try it too!