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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This is the final chapter in the reviews of the fragrances made for Sheila Eggenberger's Devil Scent project, based on the characters in her novel Quantum Demonology

Neil Morris’s Lilith
starts out as a heady mix of flowers, citrusy roses and powdery violets, along with some newly cut grass. It is flowers at their most piercing and insistent, flowers that will simply not be ignored. It’s extremely sweet, keeping just below the threshold of cloying, pushing sweetness to the maximum level at which it’s still pleasant. The sillage has an almost candy-like edge to it, like candied violets.

There’s nothing at all funky about Neil’s Lilith, which came a bit of a surprise. It’s a straight-up floral fragrance that you could wear in any company. No one would raise their eyebrows, except maybe to ask what that divine-smelling floral scent is. This Lilith kills you with love, and you don’t even know it. It reminds me of the old Grateful Dead song lyrics from Push Comes to Shove

“Shakin’ in the garden, the fear within you grows,
Here there may be roses, to punch you in the nose,
Wrap their arms around you, squeeze you till you cry,
Wrap you in their sweet perfume, and love you till you die.”

That’s exactly what Lilith does. I’m not a big fan of florals, but Neil’s Lilith is an amazingly gorgeous specimen of the floral genre. I would wear it proudly when I want to invoke the soft, super-feminine, seductive side of Lilith. Lilith reclining on a Barbie-bed in her pink lingerie smiling demurely and beckoning to her victim, or Lilith tripping through the sunshine in her flowered sundress, appearing oh so sweet and innocent, never looking at her admirers, but knowing that all eyes are on her and that her victim will inevitably be drawn to her for the kill. Lilith, who pushes her sweet and innocent appearance to the very border of credibility, stopping just milliseconds short of revealing her underlying evil intentions.

Eventually the no-holds-barred florals dry down, leaving a beautiful, soft, powdery comfort scent that makes you want to snuggle up next to it. At this stage it reminds me of a vintage Patou, only better. I could see Lilith becoming my go-to floral fragrance. Kudos, Neil! I’m probably going to "need" a bottle.

is quite a different creature. LIL is as sharp as Neil’s Lilith is rounded, the floral notes pumped full of piercing kewda, aldehydes, and lime leaf announcing her heartless and evil intentions from the get-go. She’s an immaculately groomed schemer and dominatrix in stiletto heels, her leather underwear camouflaged by a lime-green designer business suit and persuasive smile, her whip at the ready in her designer briefcase. She intimidates her victims with absolute confidence and ruthlessness, using her irresistible will rather than her powers of sweet seduction to force them to their knees. Wealth, confidence, and power can be as seductive in their own way as breathtaking beauty and vulnerability are in theirs.

I’m blown away by how Neil and I managed to invoke these two opposing sides of Lilith so completely, Neil depicting her feminine side, I depicting her masculine side. Put them together, and you have an unstoppable force of nature. I have to go out in public all day today, but next time I’m home alone I’m going to try combining the two and see what happens. One Lilith on the right wrist, one on the left … the yin and the yang ... it should be interesting!

Many thanks to Neil Morris and Amanda Feeley for providing samples of their wonderful creations and to Sheila for inspiring it all. 

[All images taken from the Wikimedia collections] 


  1. As always, Ellen, you've done a wonderful job with your reviews of Lilith and her many faces. I will say that there's no Gut Grass in my Lilith. What I think you're smelling is Bamboo and Aldehydes. They give it a sharp, green beginning. Thank you again, Ellen, for taking the time to write such terrific reviews!


    1. Bamboo is just a giant form of grass, isn't it? If you cut fresh bamboo, it smells grassy, with a bamboo-ish twist. Aldehydes - yes, they're there in Lilith, always a good accompaniment for floral notes. Thank you for making such terrific fragrances!

    2. LOL! Yes, you're right, of course! Giant grass!!! Just wanted to distinguish it from the cut grass note I used in Dev #3. I feel the same way about your fragrances, Ellen!

  2. These sound bloody awesome!

    This has been a great project to be a part of from beginning to end. I have loved creating, and seeing/reading/sniffing the other creations!


    1. The whole project has been awesome. I'm sorry to see it come to an end. I still think we should put together some sort of package of our different interpretations of Dev and Lilith.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly, Ellen!

  3. Thank you so very much for this, Ellen! I agree - we should put together a collection of all of them so a wider world could appreciate them. And yes, it's a miracle that those two Liliths - as indeed the entire series - show those two faces of LIlith to such stunning - and beautiful! - effect! I can't wait to find out what happens when you wear both!

  4. Every time I've reviewed the different perfumers' interpretations I've been astounded by how each keyed in on different facets of the same character or story, and how complementary they all were. I'll let you know when I wear both Lils together. I need the house to myself when I do it!