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.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Going back over a few old blog posts to find links, I was shocked to see that I started this blog on May 16 of last year, so today is its one-year anniversary! My perfume business is not far behind, having started in late July of last year. I’m happy with the way both are developing. I really appreciate all of the readers of the blog and my wonderful perfume customers.

Right now I’m thinking about how to celebrate the first-year anniversary of both enterprises, and am asking for your suggestions. Some ideas that I’m mulling over are:

- Sending a thank-you gift to everyone who has signed up as a follower during the first year. It would have to be small since, happily, there are quite a few of you. It would probably be just some sort of perfume sample, but it would be a token of my appreciation.

- Providing a special coupon code that can be used on my website for a discount or a freebie of some sort.

- Making a special perfume to celebrate the first anniversary of Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes, based on feedback from you. What would you like to see added to the lineup besides the ones that are currently under development (Alyssum and the Mystery Perfume aka DevilScent)?

- Having one or more significant perfume giveaways by random drawing, answering trivia questions, writing a short essay about a topic, or some other feat of intellectual skill.

- Making a series of perfumes that incorporate the items from the traditional anniversary gift lists that I see from time to time. I have no idea whether anyone actually uses these lists for any purpose, but for whatever they’re worth, they’re out there. The first year is “paper”, so that would be the theme of this year’s perfume. I think this approach has some interesting possibilities given that the first 6 years are: paper, cloth, leather, flowers, wood, and candy. I may do this anyway, since the idea set me to thinking about how to use the theme “paper” in a perfume. “Papyrus” has been overdone, at least in theory. I say "in theory" because, even though it’s in the lists of notes for many perfumes, I still don’t have any idea what it actually smells like. As far as I know, papyrus plants just smell sort of green and grassy. No one really wants to smell like paper or cardboard. The scent of a paper mill is definitely out, too. The first idea that came to mind was a perfume called “Tabloid”, “Tabloid Freak”, or “Tabloid Sensation”, which would represent something outrageous like the boy who is half human and half bat, an alien abduction, or a really nasty celebrity divorce that allegedly involved a lot of perfume bottle breakage. There would also be some sort of paper or newsprint note permeating the whole thing.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to share my commemoration of this one-year milestone, but these seem like some of the more obvious approaches. What do you think?

By the way, this post reminds me that the two winners of the labdanum drawing, Laurie Brown and Diana, have never claimed their samples. Maybe I'm not going about announcing winners in the right way. All you need to do is e-mail me with your shipping information. To send an e-mail, just go to "Profile" and under "Contact Information" click on the "e-mail" line.

[Cake photo adapted from Wikimedia]


  1. Happy, Happy Birthday Ellen! Congratulations on celebrating one year of blogging :)


  2. Oh, and to answer the question (LOL), I vote for a coupon-Code for your shop! That way, we all win :)

  3. Congratulations on your first anniversary! Here's to many more. *lifts glass of pilfered prosecco*

  4. Happy Birthday to a favorite, favorite blog! In the year since your discovery, you've taught me so very much I've never known, and for that, I thank you, too! Here's to the many adventures - in blogging and scent! to come!

    *lifting the last glass of prosecco not pilfered by anyone else*

  5. Happy Birthday! I love your blog. I learn something new every time you post. Best wishes for success with both perfumes and plants. By the way...I agree with deeHowe. A coupon code would be great but I also like the idea of developing a "paper" perfume. ( Just don't go for "L' Eau de Tacoma"!) Besides music (my job) I also like to do visual arts just for fun (these days). I like to go into the art supply stores and check their water color and art papers. There are some fresh paper smells out there that have nothing to do with grass, pulp or cardboard. There are the clean earth smells in the papers that contain clay, etc. I also like the smell of newsprint before the ink! Gail

  6. Happy first blog birthday!
    It seems to me that you've been around longer than that. :)
    I have no use useful comment to add to your ideas - but a paper perfume sounds like a very interesting project.

    P.S. I'm so lagging behind with reviewing your perfumes (shame on me).


    I have been enjoying your scents for the last few weeks and hope you continue to add more to your portfolio. I would hope that two of your best - Gujarat and Fleur de Glace - will be added to your regular line.
    I do not expect any monitary promotion since your scents are some of the least expensive on the market - given their high quality.
    Some suggestions:
    How about an fragrance recalling your mother's visit to Israel? I have not seen anything out of this part of the world for many years. Also, a leather or a vetiver scent would be most appreciated! Perhaps a patchouli?
    Incidently, there is a perfume on the market that does smell of cardboard: L'Artisan Parfumeur's Dzing!. It is a wonderfully odd composition, quite delightful and very wearable for both men and women. Also, certain India inks have a distinctive smell - a little like patchouli.
    Thanks again for your wonderful scents and good luck in the future.

    Best Wishes,


  8. Thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions! It looks like the most popular are the coupon code and the paper-theme perfume.

    Regarding the coupon code, as Robert pointed out, my profit margin is intentionally small because of my own personal philosophy. I think what I'll do is send out a promotional flyer with a code for a small discount to everyone who has signed up as a customer on my website rather than posting it here.

    Regarding the paper-theme perfume, that will be a fun project. Gail, it will definitely not be "Eau de Tacoma"! For those who haven't been to that lovely city, it's the smell of paper mills and other industries.

    Robert, I'm glad you like Gujarat and Flerus de Glace. I'm planning to add Gujarat to my catalog this week, and will now consider adding Fleurs de Glace. I think a lot of people are traumatized by all of the galbanum in the opening of FdG, but I happen to like galbanum, and I guess you do, too. I'm working on a leather accord right now, which I want to use in a couple of different perfumes. I'll be writing about it soon.

  9. Doc Elly -

    Yes, galbanum is one of my favorite notes. During the Sixties I had a magnificent cologne from Lanvin called Figaro that had the scent of fresh cut grass and herbs and woods. It was wonderful but was discontinued many years ago. It's closest modern equivalent would be Estee Lauder's Aliage - again a fragrance with an overdose of galbanum. Similarly, Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel has a wonderfully grassy topnote along with the musk and violet.
    Glad to hear you are working on a leather accord. I will be most eager to try it!

    Best Wishes,