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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Since today’s the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, it’s natural to think about all of the things we’re thankful for. Of course there are basic things like a roof that doesn’t leak in all the rain we’re having, enough food to eat, electricity and heat in the dark of winter, running water, and enough money to pay for these things. There’s family, friends, and all the virtual friends that I’ve met through the box I’m typing on - which I also appreciate no end and take for granted unless there’s some failure.

But I decided to combine Thanksgiving with my rave of the week, which I was thinking about last night. As a perfume maker, I couldn’t do it without the raw materials. And there are some outstanding companies that supply raw materials in the quantities that I need, not by the ton. I’d like to send out a special thank-you to some of them for making what I do possible.

First, there’s Liberty Natural, the company in Oregon (almost a neighbor!) from whom I buy many of my essential oils, extracts, and absolutes. They have a fantastic selection, the quality is always good, they give adequate information about their products, the prices are reasonable, and they ship promptly. If an item is backordered, they phone me to let me know. What more can I ask? Next time I’m in Oregon I should try to visit their lavender farm.

Then there’s Eden Botanicals, a California supplier of essential oils and absolutes. They have some things that Liberty doesn’t, they’re on the same coast, the quality is always good, and their clear labdanum absolute is the best around. They also have good information about their products, prices are reasonable, and they ship promptly. They always include a lot of small samples with the shipment. That’s how I got to try fossilized amber, oud CO2 extract, mate absolute, and some other interesting things.

Finally, the outstanding supplier without whom I couldn’t function is The Perfumer’s Apprentice, a unique company in California that supplies aroma chemicals in small quantities appropriate for someone who doesn’t make perfumes on an assembly line in a huge factory. The owner, Linda Andrews, is incredibly helpful, answering every e-mail right away and trying to accommodate her customers in every way possible. She is a wealth of information on aroma chemicals and their sources. I am eternally thankful to Linda for making my life as a perfumer possible. I’ll raise a toast to her at today’s big Thanksgiving feast.

There are also quite a few other companies from whom I order a few things, and I'm grateful for the access I have to so many wonderful materials through the internet.

Finally, I'm extremely grateful for the readers of my blog and the opportunity to share information and ideas through this medium. A big toast to you all!

[Turkey pie still life by Peter Claesz, 1627]

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