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.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Thanks to Azar for another Mass-Market Monday post! Somehow I missed ever smelling this one.
The golden leaves and blustery wet weather make it clear that winter is on its way.  It is time to snuggle up near a warm fire with a good book.  It's also time for couple of generous blasts of my favorite spicy oriental fragrance - vintage Basile by Basile.  I much prefer this warm, Italian mass-market beauty to the more popular (and more expensive) YSL Opium.

The Basile I love is the EdP from the 1980s. This deep amber colored jus resides in a narrow, angular bottle adorned with geometric, black plastic "shoulder pads" - so 80s! As far as I know the newer version of Basile is only available in EdT. While very similar to the original, the reformulation is missing the shoulder pads and seriously skimps on the rich clove, warm ylang-ylang and intense tangerine that are so generously supplied in the earlier version.

Here are the notes listed on Fragrantica: 
Top - tangerine, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, cloves.
Heart - jasmine, tuberose, rose, iris.
Base - sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, amber.

I don't always agree with or understand the published breakdown of a fragrance, but vintage Basile evolves exactly as the description above suggests. Sparkling tangerine is spiced with cinnamon and clove and rounded out with the richness of ylang-ylang and orange blossom. The fragrance evolves to a lush rosy, floral and dries after 8 hours (or so) to amber, oakmoss and sandalwood infused with remnants of the initial comforting ylang-ylang and mouthwatering tangerine.

The "mouthwatering tangerine" reminds me that November is the month when the new crops of citrus fruits hit our Pacific Northwest markets.  It is time for me to start nagging the produce managers about just when to expect the new pomelos, tangerines and grapefruits!  When these new crops finally arrive I am invariably treated to fresh cut samples of the latest and greatest from Florida, California, Texas and around the world.  Yum!

I wear the majority of my big, spicy oriental fragrances any time of the year but for some reason I tend to reserve Basile  (which is a little more "subtle" than most) for late fall and early winter.  What is your favorite spicy oriental?  Do you enjoy it year round?   
Azar xx  
Sounds like I need to try this! It looks like you can get a very large bottle of the new version for under $15 on Amazon. 

[Bottle with shoulder pads photo by Azar; new bottle photo from Fragrantica; other images from Wikimedia]


  1. I have no idea why the fonts never come out right on copied and pasted text from someone else's word processing program. I've tried a dozen times to fix the first paragraph, and it won't change to the "default" font. Oh well, enough beating my virtual head against the virtual wall of software bugginess.

  2. Hi Ellen,

    To be perfectly honest, I barely noticed. I wonder why that happens, though. Maybe the glitch is from my end? Whatever... I need my reading glasses no matter what size or style the font.

    I will try to remember to bring a sample of the vintage Basile to the orchid show next weekend. BTW I think a good sniff fest might involve a vintage vs. reformulated smack down. I have several in mind!

    Azar xx

  3. Spicy Oriental is really my favorite family. I can wear it all year without ever being satiated. There is in my favorites, of course, Dev2 (when the weather is really cold); for the moment it's Youth Dew Amber Nude (discontinued but after my last bottle I'll return to Cinnabar) , there is also Aziyade by Parfum d'Empire that I find very close but better than Arabie and for the hottest days i've Tubéreuse 3 Animale by Histoires de Parfums - the mix of the blond tabbaco and the Immortelle is just the perfect rendering of a skin heated by the sun.

    1. I'm a big fan of spicy oriental, too, especially this time of year. This discussion makes me wish I could wear perfume more, but working on it makes it difficult.

  4. Dev 2 and Cinnabar are favorites of mine too. I never tried Youth Dew Amber Nude but now I wish I had. I wonder if it is too late?
    Azar xx

  5. I first learned about Basile Basile from Azar, and I bought a bottle of the vintage with the black shoulder pads as a result :) Thanks for the introduction, and thank you for the reminder to wear it more often! I also like to wear Basile mostly in winter and fall. I know color doesn't necessarily say anything about the perfume itself, but the deep golden color matches the warmth and subtle spiciness of the perfume so well.

  6. Hi Ellen, this perfume sounds absolutely beautiful to me - a pretty, spiced orange with the classic, gorgeous florals and a sacred, earthy base with sandalwood and oakmoss...sounds like perfection and might remind me of a stunning autumn day ifI smelled it! Thank you for haring

  7. Yuki and Neyon, I'm glad Azar wrote about something that appeals to you. I need to try Basile myself.

  8. What a beautiful scent! I am thinking about trying the newer version because I would have to spray lightly, and yet it isn't that strong.