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, January 9, 2012


One of the things I love about the Pacific Northwest is the sun breaks. Yes, it rains a lot. It gets dark at 4 PM this time of year. We get showers of tiny hail more often than seems normal. But every so often the clouds part and the sun comes out, shining in its full glory for a few seconds, minutes, or hours. The sun break phenomenon I’ve come to love most is the just-at-sunset sunbreak. For some reason, even if it’s been raining all day, more often than not there’s a short time right before sunset when the sky clears in the west and the sun peeks through in a yellow blaze of light.

A few days ago I was sitting at my table typing on my laptop when I looked out the window and saw that the whole sky had turned a deep purple with a thin, brilliant gold edge down in the southwest where the sun was setting. I rushed outside and saw the sun’s rays hitting the bare tree branches off to the northeast, making them glow with a copper color against the dark sky. The neighbors still had their Christmas lights up, and the twinkling lights juxtaposed with the glowing trees made for a strange image. When I rush outside to see beautiful natural phenomena I hardly ever remember to bring my camera, but this time I did, and I got pictures of the trees and the sunset sun break.

Sun Break would probably be a good name and concept for a perfume, even though I have way too many on the drawing board. What would you expect a perfume called Sun Break to smell like?


  1. I'm not expert enough to suggest the notes, but I think Sun Break ought to be a combination of cool and warm notes. I'm thinking about amber (as the warm note). What goes well with amber that is cool?

  2. HI Ellen,

    Your Sun Break post starting me thinking of the "sun breaks" I have experienced in various climates. The sun coming out after bad weather doesn't always mean warmth, but the break in the weather usually comes with a certain freshness in the air. I remember the sun coming out after cloudbursts in tropical climates, in the mountains, by the cold pacific ocean and right here in the foothills of the Cascades. I would expect a perfume called Sun Break to smell fresh, a little wet and at the same time bright (colorful), open and optimistic. I don't know how to come up with the actual perfume elements that would realize my list of adjectives, but I know that there are certain synthetics that are used to represent freshness and watery elements (most of the time these are overdone and not to my taste). This may sound odd, but I think that gin, specifically the juniper in gin, has a certain open, clean quality that might work and that could be modified with warmer elements.


  3. I meant juniper berries, not juniper. Sorry. Gail