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, January 7, 2014


Yesterday when I was out running I smelled the most remarkable thing. It was so compelling that I had to stop and inhale it until I had the scent fixed in my memory. On my short route, a vacant lot that formerly was half of someone’s property is starting to be developed. The loggers and earth-scrapers have done their evil job, and now someone has put up a new fence on one side of the development. My guess is that it’s probably the people who live next to the construction activity, not the developer.

The smell emanating from this new fence was one of the most remarkable wood scents I’ve ever experienced. It was like a mix of freshly cut pine, fir, cedar, and oak wood with not a hint of green leaves, topped off by a smoky, burnt, caramelized sugar. I can't even begin to do it justice in words. 

The really interesting tie-in to this wood smell is the fragrance of a small orchid that’s usually blooming in my greenhouse, Maxillaria variabilis. It has a similar oak wood and caramel smell, and I’ve always been tempted to make a perfume based on it. The fence I smelled today was like a larger-than-life version of the Maxillaria, but even better.

The Maxillaria-new fence perfume is going on my list of ones to make this year!

[Board fence photo from Wikimedia; Maxillaria variabilis photo is mine.] 


  1. Frederic, there will definitely be a bottle with your name on it!

  2. We just had half the back fence replaced, the right hand side back neighbours fence we share was in terrible shape and it was well overdue. The smell is great, the treatment they give the wood adds something thick and feral to the woods. I was doing quite a bit of sniffing at it.
    Portia xx

  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss on fencing, I feel strongly about this and so really like getting to know more on this kind of field.