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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


After ranting in my last post, here’s my rave of the week. A while back I wrote about several different species of Artemisia, a genus that I’ve been exploring recently as a source of essential oils for natural perfumes. I just got a new one to add to the list, Artemisia ludoviciana, also known as peach Artemisia, silver wormwood, owyhee, prairie sage, or white sagebrush, and I’m loving it. It’s native to the western US, growing in all the usual places where sagebrush grows. The USDA map shows it growing throughout most of the USA and Canada. As its name implies, the leaves are sliver-white, on a small to medium sized perennial shrub.

My first impression of the essential oil, sniffing it from the bottle, is that it’s bitter, herbal, camphorous, and medicinal, with foody-chamomile like nuances, the overall character being almost industrial-smelling. On paper, it maintains this medicinal-industrial character for a few hours, but once the most bitter and camphorous of the green notes burn off, there’s a distinct, oily-fruity canned peach scent along with the woody notes. By the next day, the peach note is all that remains - a sweet, light impression of fresh peaches along with a sprinkling of sage.

Applied to my skin, the progression is the same, just faster. The oily peach note appears within a half hour, producing a lovely camphorous-herbal woody, sweet-fruity scent. I can see using this oil in all-natural compositions where I’m looking for a true-to-life fruit note in the heart. The oil will also provide strong aromatic, herbal notes in the top. I’m looking forward to some experiments using Artemisia ludoviciana in a perfume.

[Peach Artemisia photo from Wikimedia]


  1. This essential oil sounds like it smells wondrous! Medicinal peaches and sage for a western US Prairie perfume! Does this plant grow west of the Cascades in our damp climate? Gail

  2. Gail, according to the USDA map it grows everywhere but Florida and the Gulf Coast. I'm going to look for it next time I go to a garden center. It looks like a pretty plant.

    You're also correct that it calls for a US Prairie perfume. Put that on my list, too!

  3. SO nice. SO glad I found you. I hadn't thought of peach and sage.Lovely idea