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.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


In case you’re not familiar with the Peace-Love-Perfume Facebook group, it is a very active community of over 600 perfume lovers, presided over by Goodsmella Carlos Powell. If you want to join PLP, you must be sponsored by a current member. This month they’re celebrating their third anniversary by sponsoring a huge one-a-day giveaway, including a bottle of one of my perfumes, and have sent out a challenge to perfumers to create a 3rd anniversary celebration trio of fragrances based on the peace-love-perfume theme. 

I don't know how many will respond, but how could I not accept the challenge? I’ve just finished formulating the initial drafts of each fragrance, and have reached the stage of tweaking proportions and adding little bits of modifiers as I test them. The general theme is a 70s peace-love-and-flower-child feeling, which is probably the most obvious and conventional approach possible, but that’s not a bad thing given the limited time I’ve had to work on the project.

What I’ve done is create three complementary perfumes that can be worn alone or together.

Peace represents the base, the serious oldest child, with emphasis on incense, vetiver, benzoin, and patchouli. It’s not a heavy, head-shop mix, and it’s not oud, in case anyone was afraid of that. Instead, it’s a thin wisp of incense smoke scented with transparent patchouli and a bit of real sandalwood. It’s light, something to quietly meditate on.

Love is the middle flower child, earthy and colorful. Sandalwood echoes the base of Peace, but with added vanilla, musk, and a blue lotus accord. The first draft uses a synthetic sandalwood material, but I find that it doesn’t harmonize well with the natural sandalwood in Peace, so the final version will use New Caledonian sandalwood absolute. That’s going to increase the cost, but oh well. It’s a limited edition anyway. I may end up adding some more floral notes, but it remains to be seen what happens when the new mix settles down.

Perfume is, as Carlos suggested, a cologne-type fragrance, the flighty and free-spirited youngest child, representing the top notes. It contains vetiver, atlas cedar, benzoin, a fractional distillation of pine wood, incense, Oregon lavender, myrtle, and grapefruit. So far it’s my favorite of the three. I will definitely be wearing this one during our unusually warm August!

I think the official launch date is supposed to be the first of September, so the trio should be ready by then.

[Images are modified from free clip art ones]


  1. These sound lovely, I can hardly wait!!

  2. Awesome!!! Looking forward to these!

  3. What a fun project! I'm very curious to smell these, especially knowing that they can be combined.

  4. Fun!! Exciting to try these when they come out :)

  5. Wow! These sound wonderful, I love what you are doing <3

  6. Wow, this is a fantastic project. Each scent sounds wonderful. Can't wait to try them!

  7. You sure know how to get a perfumista excited Ellen,
    Portia x

  8. I Adore Patchouli! Add Sandalwood and Peace has my attention right out of the gate...:-) All three sound intriguing.

  9. Ellen, Thanks for taking on this challenge on such short notice... not an easy task.. The notes in each of these sound perfect!

  10. Thanks to all of you for your comments! Sorry not to respond sooner, but my internet connection has been down and was just restored this morning.