Have you come across Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab? I feel like I’ve just stumbled upon a unicorn in a forest glade – something rare and magical has appeared before me, and I’m hesitant to calculate how much of my Christmas holiday has been spent immersed in their delicious website.
While most of my experience thus far has been this obsessive reading of their extensive and most literate website, I have just received my first box of BPAL scents and samples from a very kind woman on eBay who sent me not only what I’d won but a number of additional vials (or ‘imps’ as BPAL call them) to sample.
Even the box smelled amazing when took it out of its envelope.
I’ve decided to try to draw out the splendour by restraining myself and wearing one scent a day – we’ll see how long that lasts. I’m currently bathing in one called Lampades, a kind of candied cranberry scent that feels perfect for the tail end of the holiday season. Almost all of their scents have a description that evokes not only the scent but something from literature, history, mythology, etc… for instance, for Lampades: “The Lampades are the darkly beautiful nymphs of the underworld, also called the Lethe Nymphae Avernales. They are the daughters of the Gods that govern the many rivers of Hades. The Lampades are Hecate’s torch-bearers and accompany the Goddess on her hunts, quests and revels. Their scent is the crisp, inviting bittersweet tang of cranberry with smoky dark lilies, heady, sensual musk, a tingle of ginger and a brush of Mediterranean spices. (Gender neutral)”
Seeing as three of my favourite things in the whole world are perfume, poetry and mythology, you can probably understand my unrestrained delight.
One of the other exciting wonders of BPAL is the independent BPAL fan blog, BPAL Madness!, where you can find numerous reviews of seemingly all of the hundreds of scents – very useful for those who don’t have the luck to live in sunny California where the Lab is based.
The scene has a touch of the essential oils/gothique/folks who like to dress up and dance around on the full moon quality to it, but don’t let that put you off as the end result is a plethora of gorgeous, affordable and intriguing scents with mythological, poetic, literary, comic book and other imaginative references and themes at their heart. Who doesn’t like a wee dance under the full moon anyway? And if ever a girl liked to dress up once in a while, it certainly was me. BPAL seems the perfect example of the belief that I’ve been raving on about – that scent is art and that scent and art can inspire one another endlessly.
From their website:
“Inspired by a vast range of influences, from the passion and decadence of the Fin de Siècle movement to the ghastliest of Lovecraftian monstrosities, we specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares.”
Ah, and the smells… I’ll try to post more as I try more. Check out their website, it’s one to lose yourself in. And this is stunning Beth, the nose behind the BPAL scents, on Katie Puckrik’s YouTube channel: Katie Puckrik Smells Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.