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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


On Thursday I plan to meet with Alyssum for the first test of several components of her bespoke perfume. What I have prepared for her is a set of sample vials with the three featured notes and two suggested accessory notes, one for the base and one for the top, all diluted to perfume strength, along with a pack of scent testing strips. The featured notes are the cedar accord, the wood smoke, and the sweet alyssum floral accord. These are the notes that she will test first.

What I plan to have her do is test each material by itself on her skin and on paper, making notes about how long it lasts, whether it changes as it dries down, how well she likes it, and any ways in which she would like to modify it. Her first report will be her general impressions of the individual notes, their longevity and evolution on her skin, whether they come close to her vision of what she would like, and how she would change them to better approximate that vision. I will be doing similar testing myself, so we can compare notes.

The next step will be combining notes, trying to get the proper proportions. The first combination will be the smoke and cedar, to produce the right burning cedarwood note. What comes next will depend on Alyssum’s reactions - full speed ahead or back to the drawing board.


  1. I would love to hear her impressions. I hope it's full speed ahead!

  2. I'm looking forward to Alyssum's comments, too. It's going to be really interesting to see how this collaboration evolves.