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, November 20, 2010


The Michael Storer review series continues. Stephanie is a powerful white floral that’s peppery, spicy, a little bit indolic, a little bit green, and represents the prototypical “pollinators-come-hither” fragrance. It’s the scent of a mature flower sending out its last call, just before it starts to fade. It’s neither gardenia nor jasmine but a hybrid of the two with some other floral notes thrown in for good measure. The scent stays fairly linear, but as it dries down, it adds a faint root beer-like note that reminds me of some of the night-fragrant orchids that I grow. Mostly, the big white jasmine-gardenia flower with its persistently ticking biological clock just fades away over the space of 6-8 hours.

I’m not fond of floral fragrances, so Stephanie has no chance of ever becoming one of my all-time favorites. However, I would certainly wear it if I wanted a purely floral perfume. It’s as good a white floral as you’ll find anywhere, and it’s not complicated by a lot of irrelevant notes. If you are a lover of white florals, Stephanie is definitely worth trying.

The Gardenia Bush
Having just declared that I don’t like floral fragrances, I now have to explain why I just bought a gardenia bush for the garden. The fact is that I love and adore floral fragrances on flowers, I just don’t particularly like them on myself. Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way it is. Anyway, I was in a plant nursery the other day searching for something else when I was seduced by the scent of gardenia - that indescribable airy, creamy, velvety, sweet, moist scent put out by the real flowers. The plant I ended up with is a hybrid variety called “Chuck Hayes”, and it’s supposed to be cold hardy enough to survive winter temperatures much colder than those typical of the Pacific Northwest. We shall see. It’s covered with buds, so I hope they’ll survive the cold weather that’s predicted for the coming week.
[gardenia flower photo from Wikimedia Commons]

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