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, January 8, 2011


The first buds on my Dendrobium Sea Mary ‘Snow King’ have opened. This is probably my favorite hybrid dendrobium due to its hardiness, its prolific flowering, and its gorgeous fragrance. Nobile-type dendrobiums like this can take much colder weather than the very tropical phalaenopsis-type that are so often sold in box stores, garden centers, and florist shops, the ones that are grown in Hawaii and will slowly decline and die if you don’t keep them warm and cozy every instant of the day and night. The trademark of nobile-type dendrobiums is that, instead of sprouting from the top, the flowers spring from every possible location along the canes, covering the whole plant with a mass of large, frilly flowers.

I like everything about this plant - its fat, juicy, sturdy canes, its shiny green leaves, and the lacy white flowers tinged with just a little pink. The colder the winter, the more pink there seems to be on the flowers. The fragrance is light and airy, with top notes of citrus and pine, the tiniest hint of orange blossom and jasmine, and a definite vanilla base. If this were a dessert, it would be cool and delicious. I think the pine note is what really sets this fragrance apart from other orchid scents. It’s definitely on the list of perfumes that I want to make.


  1. I really love these orchids, I bought one from Gardening Express and it is still flowering some 6 weeks later, with more buds to come. Thanks for a great blog. x

  2. Jacky, I just saw your comment. The great thing about this orchid is that it blooms several times a year. Mine is about to bloom for the FOURTH time this year!

    I'm glad you enjoy the blog!