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, March 16, 2012


We’ve been having storms all week. Storms that blow in with high winds and rain, hail, snow, alone or mixed together – you name it. Yesterday I managed to get out for a little while between storms and check out our neighborhood, which is coming back to life after the winter. It’s nice to know that even if it still seems like winter to people, plants are convinced that it’s spring.

The roses are all putting out new growth, and should be blooming again soon. Along with the spring bulbs, the entrance area to the local new development is planted with garish primroses in every primary color, looking like plastic flowers from the Wizard of Oz. Primroses are probably my least favorite flower, just because they look so artificial. I guess my aesthetic philosophy requires some imperfection in order to achieve the right balance.

In the woods, the Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) is in bloom. It’s one of the first native shrubs to bloom every year, a sure sign of spring. I never thought to smell the flowers before, but was pleased to find that they have sort of a cat-piss and blackcurrant fragrance, not strong, but definitely there. The Oregon grape plants (Mahonia aquifolium) are also blooming, but had no fragrance that I could detect. Maybe it will develop as the flowers mature.

Everything is extraordinarily wet and green. The frogs were croaking the other night and the robins are hopping around the back yard hunting the fat, juicy, pinky-brown earthworms that are hidden everywhere in the ground.

Events in the US and elsewhere may be depressing, but spring is bringing it’s usual message of hope for better times. Maybe not in politics, but at least outside our doors.

[Flower photos are from Wikimedia. There was too much wind to get a good photo of anything outside yesterday.]


  1. Hooray for Spring! (?) Its snowing right now in our corner of the PNW. We have a number of those Indian plum on our property and in the neighboring woods. I will try a sniff. Gail

  2. Gail, I sniffed the Indian plum again, and it seems more light and "floral" this time, but the blackcurrant note is still there. The weather is warmer now than the first time I smelled it. I think temperature must make a difference.