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, January 29, 2017


So far this year I've been constantly distracted by the political situation, which is by far the most troublesome issue right now, and seeming to escalate every day. On top of that, I've been trying to keep my businesses on track as I deal with a tremendous response to our December free shipping offer on plants, followed by three solid weeks of ridiculously cold weather starting on New Year's Eve. Then, to make matters worse, some plants died or were damaged during the cold, so we've been doing triage, disposal of the dead, and whatever treatment we can to try to revive the ones that are ugly but still alive. On the bright side, the majority of plants came through OK.

Next weekend we'll be in San Francisco, with a trunk show at Tigerlily Perfumery from 5-8PM on Friday, February 3 and a Taste TV Fragrance Salon "pop-up" from 11-5 on Saturday, February 4, along with 9 other perfumers. I've spent the weekend packing the boxes to ship to San Francisco, and am happy to say that it gets easier each time I do it.

The floor next to my work table is paved with orders waiting to go out tomorrow, I just made a kilo of Bat concentrate, and altogether it feels like I'm about as caught up as I can be on short-term business work. Tomorrow I hope I can breathe, think, work on the new fragrances that I'm formulating, and hope that there will be no new distractions.

Part of catch-up work is doing the latest drawing. The winner of the mystery bottle and assorted other goodies is ANNE. Please contact me with your complete shipping info at: olympicorchids at gmail dot com.

Monday, January 16, 2017


In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, I am trying to think positive thoughts about the state of the world, and am taking time to do the easiest blog post possible, another drawing for a bottle of perfume and a group of miscellaneous samples. The bottle is one by a small artisan brand that I shall not name here. It's one that you probably won't find very readily, so if you win, you'll have a "collector's item".

The main prize is in a small "full" spray bottle, but a recent post by Gail on Cafleurebon (along with the odd mixture of evoked comments) made me curious about what sorts of samples people in 2017 like and dislike. I imagine we all agree that none of us like unlabeled sample vials, but other than that the discussion is wide open.

One thing that seemed to get lost in the discussion was the fact that most small perfume companies cannot afford to give away unlimited free samples in any format up to 10 ml (!) spray bottles, with free shipping worldwide. Making samples by hand is a laborious process, and anyone who does it deserves to be compensated for their time and energy. The vials and bottles cost something, as do the labels, which we hope are put on the containers. Packing and shipping materials cost something. I think most (not all) companies sell samples pretty much at or below cost. I know we do. Although we don't make a profit on samples, I don't want our company to go into debt shipping thousands of free samples to anyone and everyone who wants them, so I do expect people to compensate us for the cost so that we can stay in business. The same goes for any other company. That's my soapbox speech for today.

To enter the drawing, just make a comment about what sort of samples you like best. I plan to announce the winner early next week.


The beginning of winter quarter along with an unprecedented number of orchid plant orders and perfume orders has slowed me down, but finally here is the winner of the first in a series of perfume collection clearing-out drawings:

The winner is BECKY!

Please contact me with your shipping address within the next 10 days or the goodies will go back to enrich the jackpot.

[We have been having excessively cold weather ever since the end of December, so I'm on a ski-area webcam photo kick. That's what this photo is.]

Monday, January 2, 2017


I have way more perfumes than I can ever wear, and probably more than I can ever even test. Many items are ones that I acquired back in my swapping days, things that were given to me as gifts, freebies that I received along with something else, or stuff that was ridiculously cheap and tempting even though I didn’t really want or need it. Sound familiar?

In an attempt to slowly reduce the clutter, what I’ll be doing this year is having a giveaway every Monday until further notice. The plan is that there will be some sort of question or prompt that you can write a comment on, and then a drawing to determine the winner of the goods.

This week’s question is what you were most disappointed by in 2016 and what you most look forward to in 2017. It doesn’t have to be about perfume, it’s just a chance to vent a little about anything last year and fantasize about something you’d like to see this coming year.

The prize this week is a small spray bottle of NauticaBermuda Blue (unused, no box) along with some random samples. Comment away!

The drawing will be on Tuesday of next week, January 10.

[Top photo is from Wikimedia, not my much more cluttered collection. Bottom photo is from Fragrantica]

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Throughout the continuous march of days and months, there are multiple opportunities to pause and think about how best to take care of old obligations and move forward in the most positive way. The New Years transition from 2016 to 2017 is one of those times.

I’m always a little behind on everything, so there are a lot of old obligations I need to deal with, and my goal is to take care of them all before incurring any new ones. Ha! I hope I even come close to doing this.

Here are a few perfume-related things I hope to do in the coming year:

- Upgrade and update my websites so that they look better, are more user-friendly and incorporate some special features.

- Finish several perfumes that I’m working on and release them.

- Post more regularly on this blog, Instagram, Facebook and other social media, and send out a newsletter once a month.

- Get my studio cleaned and organized. This is actually a big project given how cluttered it is.

If I accomplish all of these things, it will be a good year, at least locally. In the meantime, best wishes to everyone for a happy and successful year 2017!

[Last night we had a storm that dropped a lot of graupel, which is sort of a hybrid between sleet, snow, and hail. However, I did manage to get out on the icy streets and walk around the neighborhood today, enjoying the little bit of sun that was beaming in from low on the horizon. I thought these ski-area pics were a nice depiction of the winter atmosphere and the feeling of hope that the sun brings.]