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, March 18, 2011


In this report from Denmark it sounds like my mystery customer has been hard at work with his assistant, sniffing samples of potential base note materials and throwing everything together willy-nilly in some sort of Devil’s cauldron of scent. I have to wonder how it all smelled at the end of the day. I don’t think I sent anything that would clash horribly with anything else, so maybe it wasn’t bad. I imagine the experiments of combining materials will go on for a while until I get some sort of final verdict on which ones he likes best along with some rough ratios, or until the samples run out.

What I’d also be interested to know is whether he feels like anything is missing from the base even after combining the sample materials that I sent and, if so, what it might be. It doesn’t have to be a named material, just some general description like, “more animalic”, “bitter”, “sweet” “woody” - that sort of thing. It would be extremely surprising if I hit it all on the first round. I’m not sure I’d even want to, since the building of a scent is incremental

If we get a skeleton bass line in a couple of rounds, we’re doing well. We might need to add a drum line, too, before working on the vocals and guitar. I’m loving this project already.
I've just done the drawing for the labdanum samples, and the winners are Laurie Brown and Diana. You can claim yours by going to my profile, clicking on "e-mail" and sending me a message with your full mailing address.
[Cauldron woodcut adapted from Wikimedia]

1 comment:

  1. Ellen, Enough Sweet and Sexy Devil Romance! If you guys really want to create something dark why not try adding some hardware store scents. A fragrance reminiscent of agent orange...a Whiff of Round-Up or L'Eau de Weed and Feed. I'm serious. Just a trace of something that is truly menacing and destructive. Certain petrochemicals would work. Most of the natural ingredients on the EU banned list aren't dark enough. Because the smoke like odors on the list have developed so many associations with well known perfumes over years their dark colors are no longer threatening. One natural fragrance that could still work would be Burning Rubber (latex). You wouldn't need more than the slightest trace to get your point across. Tar (creosote) is another good one that might still be effective and that really fits the subject matter. I imagine you can find tar notes in several plant essences. There are tar like flavors in many good wines, why not in a perfume? Gail