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, April 16, 2012


This week I’ll try to get back to regular posting.

After a 4-day weekend of 12-hour days loading in, attending my vendor table, and loading out plants, I would say that the orchid show was a success. There were no major disasters on the way to or from the venue, I came home with far fewer plants than I brought in, and, most importantly, I had fun. The photo shows part of my vendor table.

I didn’t have a lot of time to go around sniffing all of the orchids on display, but the usual fragrant ones were there. The Sharry Babies were putting out their cocoa smell, the Cattleyas were producing a variety of scents ranging from citrus through sweetly fruity-floral, the Maxillaria tenuifolias were pumping out coconut suntan lotion scent, but the most impressive fragrance came from a Gongora whose name I should have written down but neglected to do so. It was a powerful mixture of indolic-camphorous sweet floral notes and creosote. There was considerable discussion about the scent, with about equal numbers loving and hating it. I was on the “love it” side, but I can see how it might be too much or too weird for some people. The Gongora is the long hanging spray of insect-shaped orange flowers in the foreground.

It’s too bad that there are no awards for orchids with the best fragrance. Orchid awards are typically based on the size, color and number of flowers, and on the plant having a "spotless", "perfect" appearance.

The photo at left shows my display.


  1. I love that you grow and sell orchids - it's absolutely fascinating!

  2. Dionne, orchids and succulents are the only house plants I can grow! Everything else dies if I go away for a week or two.

  3. I would probably love the scent of that Gongora! I agree that it is too bad there are no awards specifically for the fragrance of an orchid. Hybridizers would have a whole new area where they could focus their efforts, species collectors would have their noses tuned for that one special plant and a new group of talented judges would have to be found. Sounds like a great thing for the hobby. Gail

  4. Gail, I know you would LOVE the scent of that Gongora, and I agree that there ought to be orchid awards just for fragrance. Maybe one of these days I'll campaign for that.