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, May 14, 2012


Yesterday was the closing matinee of our show, so all morning and afternoon were taken up with preparation, performance, and loading out. That was followed by dinner with my mother-in-law, who had attended the show, then dealing with various household tasks at home. By the time midnight rolled around, I was exhausted. Because I didn’t get around to it yesterday, today is a belated Mother’s Day post. It’s also an opportunity to showcase a photo of the cherry blossoms in our “orchard” from earlier this spring. Those flowers are now growing little green cherries thanks to our industrious neighborhood bees.

In celebration of Mother’s Day 2012, I would like to wish all mothers out a happy year to come. In memory of my own mother, who died last fall, I am offering a drawing for a 7.5 ml spray bottle of Siam Proun in parfum concentration, the perfume that I made especially for her, and which won one of Cafleurebon’s “Best Releases of 2011” awards.

To be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment about your own mother and whether or not she used perfume. The drawing will take place on Sunday, May 19.


  1. My mother has been a big fan of White Shoulders and Oscar de la Renta for years. Last time I was visiting, I also saw a bottle of l'Eau d'Issey on her shelf as well.

    Thanks for the generous giveaway, Ellen!

  2. Hi Ellen,

    My mother has always used and loved perfume. She is still enjoying your deluxe sample box, her gift from me for Mother's Day, 2011. Her favorite scent is the old Charles of the Ritz "Ritual". At one point in her life she worked for that company. She is in her mid eighties now and has had a least three careers. One as a registered nurse, another as a professional photographer and one with the cosmetic company. She tries to be retired but manages to fill her schedule with all kinds of interesting people and activities.


  3. I remember reading your very evocative post about Siam Proun when you got the nod from CaFleureBon (and was moved again re-reading it today).

    My mother certainly loved beautiful smelling things -- our garden was full of roses, lilacs and lily of the valley. But perfume was a real luxury. There was the bottle of Chanel No5 that one of my much older sisters bought her that was worn occasionally (for "good" and definitely not for work at the hospital). And then, happily, when I bought her the then-new Flora Danica (by Royal Copenhagen) after her retirement she used an entire bottle rather quickly and I was able to follow up with more. This lovely, powdery floral (in beautiful packaging) sadly was discontinued within a few years.

    Thanks for the generous draw opportunity.

    -- Lindaloo

  4. When I was much younger, my mother would wear perfume only when going out with my dad in the evening. I loved to watch her put on her makeup and apply her scent. She wore L'air Du Temps. It smelled like heaven to me.
    She gardened, too. She loved bearded iris. She would cut them and make bouquets for the house.She never really grew roses--I always associate those with my grandmother, instead.
    Your scent sounds lovely.

  5. My Mom loves perfumes. I mostly attach my childhood memories of my Mom with L'heure bleue, Jicky and Aromatics Elixir which in turn probably unconconsciously made me appreciate heavy orientals (and florientals) early on... she used to get her fix every time she passed through duty free perfume stores so every time she returned from a trip abroad it was always fun discovering her new scented purchases. Thanks for the draw Ellen..

  6. I really miss my Mom on Mother's Day. I imagine she celebrates her day in Heaven with possibly spritzes of vintage Emeraude or maybe Shocking. She didn't wear a lot of fragrance when she was older. She got a lot of pleasure from the beautiful roses she grew. When I was a kid, though, the inside of her purses always smelled of luscious perfume and cigarettes.

    Really wonderful draw!
    Thank you,

  7. I love all these stories about your moms. It seems most of them were into gardening as well as perfume.

    Entered in the drawing so far are Dionne, Gail, Lindaloo, Sunnlitt, Yash, and TaffyJ.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. My mother always wore Magie Noir perfume. I don't know if she still wears it regularly, but she certainly does for special occasions. Just the tiniest whiff of it brings so many flashes of my childhood rushing back to my mind! It's a lovely olfactory keepsake. :)

    h4schaffer at gmail dot com

  9. My mother taught me to appreciate all that is beautiful to the five senses. My passion for fragrances was born from an attempt to imitate my mother in our youth. I was the sole recipient of her used bottles of perfume as an adolescent, the near-emptied bottles that held an essence of her many facets. Cinnabar was for the vivacious, young life-of-the-party who hit Los Angeles nightlife with a force to rival any earthquake fault in California. Chloe was for the lazy Sundays we’d spend sifting through treasures in some Silverlake district thrift shop. Ombre Rose was the most precious of all her flacons—it was the nurturing, warm woman who would hold me close and reassure me the world was not as bad a place as it seemed.

    A week before Mother’s Day my mother and I were watching a movie when she leaned in and inhaled deeply. I saw her eyes begin to water with the realization our roles have somewhat reversed; she is disabled and facing the ‘second childhood’ that comes with entering her elderly years. I am blessed she is with me still and I was happy to give her perfume for Mother’s Day. I needed her to know I loved her, appreciated all she has done for me, still, and remembered all she had taught me to love.

  10. I think I am the opposite of the rest of you--my mother abhorred perfume (and wouldn't even wear deodorant--yikes! lol). My perfume memory of my mom is when she poured an enormous bottle of White Shoulders down the sink, upset that her parents, who had given it to her, hadn't remembered her dislike of fragrances. She was a fantastic gardener, however, and I remember many a fragrant bouquet that she brought into the house from the garden.

    I just tried my sample of Siam Proun and LOVE it! It is one of my favorites of yours!

    Thank you so much for the draw.


  11. I left my post in the wrong place (I replied to a post up above by the author. I am new to this; please forgive! Here was what I wrote:

    My mother gardens, but she rarely wears perfume, or makeup for that matter. When she does, it's still her trusty Cabochard, by Gris. She still has two, small, daubing bottles — stoppers imprinted with "C" — from the 60's. She also has the black and white boxes. My mother never throws anything away. The stalwart lady was given a spray bottle of Cabochard in the 80's and uses it to this day. It's since been reformulated, but when she sprays her 80's Cabochard, it brings me back to my childhood, and "babysitter nights," replete with the scent of lipstick, leather gloves and cries of "Doesn't mommy look pretty!" I love chypres, probably due the imprint of Cabochard.
    I adore her herb garden — the sage, different thymes, and especially — most especially — the lavender. Your Siam Proun sounds like heaven.

    Thank you for the draw!

  12. My mom is my best friend and confidante. She has always been a fiend for things that smell good. When I was little one of my favorite things to do was look in the glass china hutch at all of her perfume bottles (she's been collecting since she was 16). She has been my biggest inspiration for wanting to start making perfumes and she is also my biggest cheerleader. Thank you for sharing your perfume with us, I'm glad that it makes us all stop and think about how much our moms mean to us and how big of an influence they are.


  13. My mother always used perfume. I can remember her using Emeraude and L'Origan- I was fascinated with the color of Emeraude when I was a very small child! Later she used a lot of Cinnabar- she liked Oriental fragrances a lot.

    But her favorite, which she only had a couple of times, was Nuit de Noel. We were poor and it was expensive. Once my father, who was an auto mechanic at the time, went into a fancy department store to buy her some for Christmas, and they didn't want to wait on him because he was dirty (on his way home from work) and they figured he couldn't afford anything in their store. He ended up slamming the cash down on the counter to get their attention!