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, January 27, 2012


If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would be buying perfume raw materials by the pound or the kilogram, I would have laughed in their face and told them they were crazy. However, as my business develops, I find myself doing that more and more. Each time I have to replace a material, I order it in a larger quantity. I now have a storage area for those big aluminum bottles that look like thermoses, and I have to say that it’s a wonderful convenience to be able to go there and refill my little 2-ounce working bottle whenever it runs out instead of having to order more.

The whole issue of making perfume in larger quantities hit home this past weekend, when I placed orders for larger “lab” glassware than I’ve been using. Many of my perfumes need some quiet time to blend after mixing, so I need to keep two batches going - a mature one to dilute from, and a young one aging.

I haven’t posted anything on this blog for a while partly because of time spent reorganizing my storage and work areas, partly because of catching up at my “day job” after a week off due to snow, and partly because of time spent preparing and filing my state business tax forms.

I hate all types of bureaucratic activities with a passion. The aggravation caused by the tax forms, which admittedly would have been easier to deal with had I kept organized records rather than having to search through all of my real and virtual files for information, was compounded by online forms that I had to fill out for the university, one of which I submit every year. However, every year the format changes even though the responses don’t, so I can’t use the old material. Wasted time. The other form was a one-time thing, which I spent a great deal of time filling out, only to have it rejected due to a bug in the system, deleting all of my work. More wasted time. I sincerely hope that one day communicating through online forms will be as easy as simply talking in person, talking on the phone, responding to an e-mail message, or even mailing a handwritten memo. Until then, I will continue to go berserk every time I encounter a user-hostile form online.

It’s sad to think how much of our lives are wasted on bureaucratic trivia. It only seems to have gotten worse now that every organization has a plethora of online forms to fill out. It’s easy to make people fill out a form that no one has to deal with in person. For all I know, no human ever sees any of the mandatory forms and reports that I submit to websites. It’s even more likely that no human ever sees any complaints about forms that are submitted - on another form, of course.

[Filling out tax forms by hand in 1920 photo from Wikimedia]

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