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.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Currently blooming are two fragrant orchids that couldn’t be more different. Cymbidium Eastern Melody is a primary hybrid between two Asian terrestrial orchids, Cymbidium nishiuchianum and Cymbidium insigne. However, C nishiuchianum is thought to be a naturally-occurring hybrid between C goeringii and C kanran, so it’s probably sort of a mutt. In any case, it’s a big plant, the kind that has grassy leaves as long as my arm and massive roots that break out of big plastic nursery pots made to hold trees. The flowers are beautiful, with lightly striped dark red petals and sepals and a big, white lip with dark red spots. The fragrance is similar to Cymbidium kanran, but stronger, maybe because the flowers are a lot bigger. The scent is mostly sweet and powdery with just a little bit of muskiness and fruitiness.

Meiracyllium gemma, also known as Meiracyllium wendlandii, is a miniature Central American epiphyte that grows on tree branches. It’s one of those super-cute orchids, with little succulent leaves that hug the wood that it’s growing on. The flowers are tiny, just a little over 1 cm across, and pinkish-purple, shaped a little like wild geranium flowers. For such tiny flowers, they’re surprisingly fragrant. The predominant scent is spice, mainly cinnamon, along with a little sugar. In fact, the flowers smell a lot like the little red-hot cinnamon candies.

I don't think either is unique enough to be perfume-worthy, but they're fun to have in the house for a while.

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