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.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


My first orchid child is blooming this week! A few years ago I pollinated the flowers of my mature Phalaenopsis parishii plant, grew the resulting seedlings from flask, and now the first one is all grown up and blooming itself. I’m happy to report that it has a strong and beautiful fragrance.

Phal parishii is a miniature species, much more graceful and cute than the ungainly mass-produced hybrids that are sold in places like garden centers, box stores, and Trader Joe’s, virtually none of which have any fragrance. The flowers of parishii are mostly white, and huge for the size of the plant. One of the unusual features of Phal parishii is its wide, heart-shaped, purplish lip, which is somewhat mobile so that it jiggles around in the breeze. It has a strong fragrance that’s very much like lily-of-the-valley. I don’t think it’s original enough to merit a perfume, but it certainly is nice to smell when the plant’s in bloom. It’s fragrant throughout most of the day, but shuts down at night.

This plant is definitely a keeper, the pick of the litter. Next year I’ll probably find it a suitable mate and pollinate it, but for now I'll just let it live a carefree life, have fun, and grow some more.

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