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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


The winner of the latest drawing is CRYSTAL. 

To claim your box of samples, send me at e-mail at olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a comment on the Olympic Orchids Facebook page 

I will be away from the blog, traveling in Europe from September 4-17, so would like to get this drawing finished up and the prize sent off before I leave. 

There will be a new drawing once I’m back in Seattle, once again for a big box of samples and anything else related that will fit in the box. 

Several years ago I wrote about Artemisia, but have become newly fascinated with Artemisia tridentata, also called big sagebrush. You can read a little bit about it here. I have discovered that it grows everywhere east of the Cascades, and last month harvested some, thinking we might want to distill it. Life intervened and we waited too long, but I took the dried-out leaves and tinctured them, thinking it might be interesting. 

Much to my surprise, within a day the alcohol had turned a bright green, and within a week it was dark emerald green, so I removed the plant matter and filtered it. It is so dark now that it is hard to photograph. I think you can see it best when the bottle is turned on its side and the light shines through. The bright green color was surprising given that the plant itself looks grayish. Best of all, the tincture has quite a strong scent that really captures the fragrance of the fresh plant. I think this tincture would make a great perfume!

To enter the next drawing, leave a comment about where you would like to travel in Europe or some association you have with sagebrush.

[All photos are mine] 

Monday, August 12, 2019


The winner of this week’s drawing is EMILY.

To claim your winnings, just send me an e-mail at olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a comment on the Olympic Orchids Facebook page

Years ago I started trying to keep an archive of perfume samples. I carefully tagged and recorded them in a database, put them in baggies with cards, one for each brand, and put the baggies in alphabetical order in shoebox-sized plastic carriers. It’s probably been 8 or ten years since I started collecting samples, and I have recently been dismayed to find that many of the samples are not in good shape. A lot of them have leaked or evaporated, and there’s not a lot of juice left. Some may have experienced other ravages of time – I haven’t checked. 

I discovered this when I took some of the samples out of the archive to send out to winners of my drawings and free up some shelf space. Because of the preservation problems I’m slowly dismantling my archives and sending out the samples “as is”. Some are in perfect condition, some are pretty good, and some are not good. Some are cheap junk perfumes, some are the average stuff, and some are really beautiful, interesting, expensive, or rare. You take what you get because I don’t choose what I send, I just weigh out a couple of handfuls at random. Pick through them, enjoy whatever appeals to you, and use what’s left over to scent your laundry or your bathroom, give away, throw away, use up, do whatever you like with them. Like everything else in this world they won’t last forever, much as we would like them to, so enjoy them while you can. 

To enter this week’s drawing for at least 100g of samples, leave a comment about the transitory nature of perfume or other things. 

[Perishable flower photos are mine]

Monday, August 5, 2019


For the past few months I have been posting on Facebook whenever there was a winner of one of the drawings, and the winner usually responds right away. This last time I got busy with a lot of things and didn’t put anything on Facebook. The winnings are unclaimed, and there were far fewer comments than usual on the post for the new drawing. It seems that a lot of people don’t see the blog unless I put an alert on Facebook. I’ll do it this time and will try to remember to do so in future. 

This week’s winner is TRINITI

Last drawing’s winner was PARROT. Parrot has one week to contact me, otherwise everything will go to Triniti as a jackpot. 

To claim your winnings send an e-mail to olympicorchids at gmail dot com or leave a message on the Olympic Orchids  Facebook page. I will need your complete shipping address. 

This week’s photo is Phalaenopsis bellina, which is blooming right now. The fragrance is amazing, kind of a citrusy floral, but unique. It diffuses its fragrance all day. 

To enter this week’s drawing for a big box of samples, just leave a comment about how your summer is going, or any other random thoughts that you have. 

[Photo is mine]