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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


First, the winner of last week's giveaway: NELLE 25
To claim your winnings, please send an e-mail to olympicorchids at gmail dot com with your full shipping address.
My laptop died last week, and I've lost at least four days getting a replacement, setting it up, and figuring out how the new versions of everything operate. In the meantime, as spring arrives, I've been thinking about a lot of things, including what to do with all of my perfume samples. 

It's funny how often events seem to coincide. I had slowly gotten to the point where I couldn't file away any more perfume samples in my "mini-osmotheque" library because the sheer number had become overwhelming, so many of them had evaporated, leaked, congealed, or otherwise gone bad, all of my file boxes were full to bursting and, most importantly, 90% of the samples I've collected are ones that I would not even want to revisit, let along take the time, trouble, and skin space to actually wear. My dilemma was what to do about the glut of sample vials.

A few months ago I gave up on filing and started dumping samples in a big box after I had tested them. I had also started keeping out the samples that I liked, and wearing them. The first one that I used up was DSH Albino, which performs well in public in that it is pleasant to me, but keeps a low enough profile so as not to bother other people. 

My final strategy is going to be to have three boxes - the first will be the old set of  file boxes, which will be strictly for useful references (i.e., vintage classics, especially noteworthy perfumes that are hard to find, etc, all stored in secure vials). The second box will be samples I want to wear and use up, and the third will be a box of samples to give away. The giveaway box will be by far the largest. I will be offering interested readers samples in 100 g lots for as long as I have samples to give away. The selection will be totally random.

Synchronicity comes into play because today I read a post onAPJ expressing the need to use samples rather than file them away, and recounting the writer's experience of finding that samples had leaked away, evaporated or were discontinued. That resonated completely with my intention to stop hoarding samples that I really don't want. For most, my notes are enough. Too many perfumes, so little time to enjoy them all!

If you would like to receive a pack of random samples measured out by weight, please leave a comment about how you deal with perfume samples. Do you save them, use them, pass them on, or do something else with them? Because international shipping is so expensive (not my choice!), this offer is for USA only. I haven't decided yet how I will choose the recipients of the samples, but your chances of getting a portion are very good!

[Cyclamen and jumbled samples photos are mine; library photo is from Wikimedia]

Monday, March 13, 2017


Whenever I start feeling like I’m living in a hoarder house, I go into a frenzy of getting rid of stuff I don’t need. My closets are in that condition, but so are my cosmetic and perfume storage areas. Plus, it’s been raining continuously for more than the proverbial 40 days and 40 nights, and I’m really tired of it. So the giveaways continue.

This Monday’s prize is the last of three small fragrances I had from an artisan brand that shall remain nameless. It’s one of those brands that keeps releasing way too much new stuff as old stuff continually disappears, making this prize, if nothing else, a collector’s item.

Personally, as a consumer, if I see a perfume brand’s website with a staggering number of offerings, I tend to go look at a different brand rather than try to sift through the entire list to see if there’s anything interesting. This is especially true if it’s a very new company and/or if a lot of the items are listed as “out of stock”.

An excessive “out of stock” collection is also a waving red flag to me when I see it on big online vendors’ websites because there it seems like a bait-and-switch tactic. I think the company hopes that a customer will search for a hard-to-find perfume and be led to their website, which appears to be the only source for it, at a very good price. Once there, the perfume in question is always listed as “out of stock”. I assume the company hopes that the customer will look at their in-stock items that can be found anywhere, and order something. No thanks.

I know I’m guilty of having over two dozen Olympic Orchids perfumes in production, so I’d be interested to know what you, as a consumer, think is too large a number of perfumes for a single brand to offer. Leave a comment and be entered in the worldwide drawing for a small bottle of a perfume that seems to be discontinued, along with other assorted goodies.

[House-cleaning and flood graphics from Wikimedia; Out-of stock perfume image adapted from a vendor's website]