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.

Friday, January 1, 2016


It’s that time of year when all of the “best-of” lists have been compiled, “resolutions” lists for the coming year have been drawn up, and we can relax and hibernate for the rest of the winter.

In thinking about the past year, I could make a long list of “best-of” experiences, which makes more sense than a list of “best fragrances” because it’s completely personal. It was a good year overall, so there were many, many milestone markers. Here are five, not necessarily the “best” (whatever that is), but definitely very good. As I re-read them, it seems they all have to do with people, not things. 

1. In perfumery, the big thrill was winning the Art and Olfaction Award for Woodcut. I realize how arbitrary and lucky it was, but the recognition still feels good! Saskia Wilson-Brown has provided an amazing forum for recognition and support of artisan and indie perfumers. In two years she managed to single-handedly put together what has now become one of the premier perfume awards events worldwide. I have enormous respect and admiration for Saskia and for all of the hard work she has done. 

2. In life, I celebrated 15 years married to Michael C. I know from experience that very few men could not only put up with my multiple offbeat activities and crazy schedules, but also learn so much about orchids and perfumes and pitch in and help whenever I need it. Some of you know Michael from the Artisan Fragrance Salons in San Francisco, LA, and Seattle. 

3. In my day-job, I finally published the edited book on electrophysiology methods that I’d been working on for several years. At the same time I have scaled back my research program to make more time for other things. Readers of this blog can guess what they are!

4. In business, it was like hitting the mother lode when I found a superb apprentice to help me with some of the busy-work inherent in perfume production and shipping. Stacey G is a fantastic worker, and extremely fast learner. And she's a wonderful person in every way. My dream is that she will stick around and eventually grow into a larger role in the business. She has a good nose!

5. In general, I have loved getting to know so many wonderful people throughout the world of perfumery. I’ve made some beloved friends via the perfume community and this blog.

Regarding new years resolutions, I refuse to go there because I don’t want to disappoint myself or others if they’re not carried out. I’d rather leave things open to opportunity because that’s what has always seemed to work best for me.

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to an exciting year in 2016, and wish the same and more for all who read this.

[Janus is modified from Wikimedia, Art and Olfaction Awards photo is from their website, the rest are mine]

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Ellen (and Michael) and best wishes for an absolutely stellar 2016!
    Gail (and Brad)