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, February 20, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I found a copy of Tracy Chevalier’s book “Girl with a Pearl Earring” at my favorite cheap used book shop, and just got through reading it. It’s a rather depressing commentary on the severe limitations imposed by class and by being a woman in 17th century Holland, a commentary that’s even more depressing when I think about the fact that society in some parts of the world is just as restrictive, or even more so, today.

Those comments aside, I was struck by the expression, “scrubbing the winter away”, which is apparently what households did back in the 17th century (and later) as soon as spring came, and exactly what I spent most of my weekend doing. My husband got me three new sets of shelves for one of my orchid-growing spaces (the ultimate Valentine’s present!), replacing some old ones that were partially held together by jerry-rigged wire, poles, and interwoven bougainvillea branches. When I was finally able to move the shelves away from the walls, I discovered that the bottom of every plastic pane was covered with a combination of black mold and algae. It reminded me of an apartment in Germany where I lived with my family for a winter when I was a kid. That apartment was so cold that water condensed on the inside of the window glass and froze. It stayed frozen for so long that exactly the same combination of mold and algae grew on the surface of the ice.

I’m happy to report that a few hours work and a little Windex took care of all of the organisms growing on the solarium panels, nothing was frozen, the unruly bougainvillea plants are going to new homes outside in the garden, and everything in that room is sparkling clean. All of the orchids are up off of the tile floor, and much happier on the new shelves where it’s warmer. After this experience I really understand the urge to clean things in the spring when the light starts to increase and the weather starts to get warmer. In some places, the mud even starts to dry up outside, although here in the Pacific Northwest, that doesn’t happen until June, when the dry season begins. It’s the thought that counts even if more mud gets tracked in. I do draw the line at scrubbing the doorstep, though!

After a day spent cleaning, I finally got a chance to catch up on reading some more installments of Quantum Demonology and work on my two new DevilScent perfumes. I don’t know if these are the versions that I’ll go with, but at least they’re fun to work on. I’ll post a more comprehensive report on that project soon.

For those of you who wanted to try davana essential oil, your samples are packed and ready to be shipped tomorrow morning.

[Photo of women cleaning a doorstep in Amsterdam from Wikimedia]

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