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, March 4, 2014


I haven’t posted anything here for over two weeks, so it’s time to do something to help me get back in the habit of blogging regularly. Anything is better than nothing, even the superficial “what I did last weekend” report along with a few announcements of upcoming perfume-related events. Posting is easier said than done with the ridiculous schedule that I got myself into for the first half of 2014.

This past weekend we packed up a big batch of orchid plants and took them to the Mount Baker Orchid Show and Sale in a small agricultural town halfway to Canada. It was fun, as usual, but I got way behind on everything else. As I sold plants I thought of the nursery rhyme,

This little orchid went to market,
This little orchid stayed home.
This little orchid got a good home,
This little orchid got none,
And this little orchid went squee, squee, squee, squee
All the way home.

Coming home we drove the whole way in a monsoon, which has continued all night and all day so far, and is expected to continue until further notice. The amount of water coming out of the sky is incredible. At least it’s not a blizzard, which I understand it is in the mountains, closing the passes periodically for avalanche control. The photos are webcam shots from one of the local ski areas, where there’s over 130 inches of snow accumulation.

Week after next, on March 15, there’s the San Francisco Artisan Fragrance Salon, so this week I pack up stuff for my display and ship it off to the hotel. Every time I do it, it gets a little easier and less anxiety-provoking, but it’s still a lot of work. If any of my readers are in the Bay Area, the fragrance show is in tandem with the chocolate expo at Fort Mason. If you decide to go, please stop by and say hello, say you saw the announcement here, and get a surprise free sample.

It looks like there may be another Seattle Fragrance Salon in May, so stay tuned for more information! If it happens, it will be at the same venue as last year, right on the waterfront.

On the afternoon of March 29, I’ll be at the Sweet Anthem perfume shop in West Seattle, with a “meet the perfumer” event and trunk show. It’s free and it’s fun, so if you’re in the Seattle area, put it on your calendar and plan to attend. More details will follow over the next couple of weeks here and on Facebook. Sweet Anthem is located at 6021 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA  98136. 


  1. Hi Ellen,

    I'm looking forward to the 29th! I wish I could be in SF on the Ides but that date is reserved for my father's 90th B'day party.

    This darn rain!!! We haven't been able to do a thing about the still or the greenhouse in this weather. But should I complain? Lauren sent a picture of the snow in her neighborhood in NH. They even have parking lots designated for "snow storage" piled ten feet high and more with the snow removed from roads and the temps are still below freezing.


  2. Gail, I heard from a colleague in DC that everything has been closed down there because of the snow, so I guess we're lucky just to have buckets of rain.