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, September 4, 2010


In the inexorable rush of time September has rolled around and, with it, some lovely flowers in my greenhouse. The Laelia lucasiana that I mentioned in an earlier post is still in bloom, fully open and generously dispensing its scent on my table as I write. It’s been blooming for three weeks now, and looks like it may make it to a month. That’s a long time for a cattleya-type orchid.

Another cattleya that’s in bloom right now is a big lanky plant called Cattleya Fort Motte. The flowers are big and pink with magenta spots all over them, clustered especially at the tips of the petals and sepals, making them look like fingers with bright nail polish. The flowers are most fragrant in the morning, with a strong scent that is predominantly pollen and powder with a little narcissus, reminiscent of a fragrant tulip. They have very little sillage, so I have to get up fairly close to smell them.

Another plant that’s blooming right now is Epigeneium cacuminis, an unusual small plant that produces a long spray of many white flowers that sport a bright yellow lip stippled with red-brown markings. The flowers are fragrant throughout most of the day, with a scent that’s just like freshly cut oak. This is the ultimate pure woody scent from an orchid.

Aerangis mystacidii is blooming, too, but it doesn’t seem to be fragrant. Many Aerangis have a strong fragrance, so this one is a bit of a disappointment in the scent department. The white flowers are gorgeous, though, with their orange stems and long nectar spurs.

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