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, March 25, 2019


The winner of the winter flowers drawing has been randomly chosen, and the winner is:

To claim your 100 g sample bag, please send an e-mail to olympicorchids at gmail dot com (quickest way) or leave a PM on Facebook

Well before the spring equinox, Big Brother dictated that we would once again switch time zones, from Pacific Standard Time to Mountain Time (one zone to the east). This arbitrary change is euphemistically known as “Daylight Saving Time”. Logically, nothing is saved by cutting a segment off on one end and adding it to the other. The amount of daylight is the same no matter what you call it. 

What the legislated time switch accomplishes is unclear, but to me it’s depressing to go from finally having it nice and light when I wake up to go to my “day job” to having it still dark. This is not quite accurate in my case because the cat usually wakes me up at dawn no matter what, but now that feline wake-up call comes an hour later in the official scheme of things, I’ve lost an hour of what could have otherwise been productive time in the morning before I have to be somewhere, and/or I’ve lost an hour of sleep. Do people really want to get up an hour earlier so that they can finish work an hour earlier? If so, then why don’t the morning people just do it without calling it something else? Why force everyone to do it?

Time zones were designed to coordinate with the daily cycle of the sun and, with a few exceptions, generally provide the best approximation to it. I know there are movements afoot to do away with changing the time twice a year, but please, let’s not have a permanent move into the wrong time zone!

This week I’m offering the usual 100 g of samples and whatever else I decide to throw in as extras. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment giving your thoughts on “daylight saving” time. 

[All photos are mine. The colors of the crocuses were especially bright this year, maybe because they bloomed a month late.]

Monday, March 4, 2019


The drawing has been done, and the winner of the winter flowers drawing is: 


If you’re the winner, please contact me by e-mail at olympicorchids at gmail dot com or PM on Facebook with your full name and shipping address. 

This past week we’ve had nothing but beautiful blue skies and sunshine during the day, but the down side is that it’s been horribly cold at night, in the 20s F (below 0 C), well below freezing. We still have snow on the ground in shaded areas, and the typical ugly piles of snow and sand on the sides of the roads and in the parking lots. This is completely abnormal for March, and all the plants are about a month behind schedule. We are still cleaning up broken branches and beaten-down bamboo canes from the heavy snow. I hope things will warm up as we get into what should be spring. 

As should be obvious from the giveaways, I always have a huge number of perfume samples on hand. I view sampling other companies’ perfumes as part of my continuing education as a perfumer, partly to learn what is possible, and partly to avoid duplicating what’s already available. I don’t know about you, but the more I sample, the more everything seems the same. These days it is rare that I experience that beautiful flash of discovery when something really new and surprising comes along. It’s all déjà vu (or rather déjà senti) I think part of the problem is that a huge number of new perfumes are released every year in a futile attempt to keep brands in the public eye, and this number seems to increase almost exponentially every year. It’s easier just to recycle the standard scents and try to push them on the public through advertising and gimmicks than it is to be innovative in terms of the perfumes themselves. It’s actually depressing to think of how superficial all of the marketing is and what a glut of products are sloshing around.  

This week there’s another giveaway of 100 g of samples plus whatever goodies I have sitting around that will fit in the box. Just leave a comment about your experiences with perfume sampling. Do they all start to smell the same after you’ve sampled a lot? 

[Pics are mine, all types of flowers that are blooming now, but should have bloomed a month ago.]