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, December 2, 2014


One unfortunate aspect of my multifaceted lifestyle is that the end of the academic autumn quarter coincides with the ramping up of the winter holiday season. This means that just as the university gears up into end-of-term frenzy mode, I have to prepare for holiday sales, starting with Black Friday.

Over the years it seems that Black Friday has been extended into Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and on through the week as retailers try to lure in the more recalcitrant customers. It seems to me that three days, with a week’s advance notice, should be enough time for any customers who want to take advantage of discounts to do so. More spam in their mailboxes isn’t going to lure them in (Staples, I’m looking at you).

Every year I read the same dire articles in the press bemoaning the fact that retailers and the economy are suffering because “Black Friday sales are down”, meaning that instead of the projected-wishful-thinking 10% increase in sales over last year, sales only increased by 7%. There’s something fundamentally wrong with thinking that the economy must constantly grow in order to be healthy. But that’s an issue for another post.

This season I was much more prepared than I’ve been in the past, with plenty of stock on the shelves, plenty of shipping supplies, and a couple of days dedicated time to deal with filling orders. I only ran out of one thing, Tropic of Capricorn. I have to say that the whole experience was good, and that the process went much more smoothly than I expected.

Nearly all of the Black Friday orders have been shipped, so I can relax and prepare to launch the two new fragrances I’ve been working on, put together my spa set (soaps, bath oil, body balm and “room sprays” for the perfume-phobic), put together the winter 2014 Scents of the Season collection, and get ready to participate in a pop-up shop the weekend before Christmas. Oh yeah, and I have to grade a lot of exams and term papers, try to keep my orchids from freezing during the horrible cold weather that we’re having, and spend some quality time with my family.  Maybe there’ll be time for a blog post or two in between everything else.

I’m not complaining – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

[Dark snowy day photo grabbed from the webcam of our local ski area; Fight of the moneybags by Pieter van der Heyden, ca. 1550; snow on tree branches is my photo] 


  1. Thank you for your hard work,honesty and Black Friday sale. My friend in NY just received PLP set. She will manage to deliver it to me here in Iran.
    Now that Tropic of Capricorn is out of stock, I want to say something about it. It is the best animalic fragrance I ever smell, and yet the most creative scent of a humid tropic in perfume world. It was my first experience with hyraceum and totally love it. The most noteworthy thing about this amazing material is that no animal-harming happens to take this. Think I should purchase a 15ml before this 4.5m will finish.
    I'm eagerly awaiting to test your two new fragrances.

    Hope you a smooth and wonderful Christmas Holiday dear Ellen.

    1. Dear Farbod, Thank you for your comments about Tropic of Capricorn! It makes me feel so good to know that others perceive what I was aiming for in my perfumes.

      Making Tropic of Capricorn is a laborious process because it takes a month or more for the mixture to clear up and the materials to meld together. I also have to make sure I have all of the necessary tinctures on hand, and those take a while to produce. I should have another batch by the end of January.