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, June 16, 2017


This past week I’ve been engaged in a major operation to restock perfume concentrates, restock packaged perfumes on the shelves, refill stock bottles for sample-filling, and restock samples. I also just completed the IFRA certification for Zoologist Bat, and will be doing it for my own line as well. This effort will continue through next week, and probably well beyond that.

In the process of working with perfumes that I hadn’t refilled for a while, I’ve had the experience of smelling them with a new nose, as if they were someone else’s. The results have been a revelation in some ways. One of the earliest perfumes I made was Javanica, a fragrance based on what I thought was the scent of a Phalaenopsis orchid, but later discovered that it was just the fragrance peculiar to that one plant, not the Phalaenopsis javanica species in general. The plant that’s blooming as I write this has very little fragrance, and what it has is very different, more green than floral. I hadn’t smelled Javanica for a long time because Stacey fills the samples and retail bottles, and we had plenty of concentrate and diluted stock on hand, at least until now, when diluted stock was almost gone. Javanica is not one of our best-sellers, so I was actually thinking of discontinuing it.

However, when I was diluting concentrate yesterday, I realized that I really liked it, enough so that I could even wear it on occasion. Funny. I thought I didn’t like it that much. Javanica is a floral scent with a lot of incense and nutmeg, quite a “happy”-smelling fragrance, probably nice for a sunny day in summer. Someone else once described it as “the scent of being infatuated-in love”. I like that, and now realize that the description sort of fits.

I think I’ll do some sort of special promotion of Javanica this summer, but wonder if the name is off-putting since it doesn’t have much meaning apart from a Phalaenopsis species designation. What do you readers think about re-naming perfumes? Any suggestions for what to do about Javanica? 

[All photos are mine.]


  1. I have a deluxe sample of Javanica and I love wearing in the summer as it really blooms on my skin in the warmer weather. When I first read the name, Javanica, I thought it might be coffee related (like java). When I wear it, I get an initial burst of spice followed by tropical flowers and humid woods, Maybe another Indonesian island chain, the Spice Islands, can inspire a name. How about Maluku or Mollucas?

    1. Anne, These are excellent suggestions for a perfume that smells like Indonesian tropical flowers! Thank you.

  2. I haven't tried Javanica but I do like the name. It rolls off the tongue nicely. I think if you feel the name doesn't quite represent the scent right, then why not change it? I really like Anne's suggestions, especially since Javanica seems to have a happy tropical feel to it!

    1. Tarena, the name sort of represents the perfume, but probably not to the average person. I ,ike Anne's suggestions, too.