A Bouquet of BPAL Roses
Black Phoenix Alchemy Laboratory is a goth-capitalist's dream ... specializing in exotic perfume oil combinations, BPAL enjoys intense if not vast popularity in perfume-crazies-land.
As I told my friend Michelle, I have the sense that there is art here, but I can't always appreciate it. It's art that often isn't speaking my language.
A typical review should go "This [fill in the blank ] BPAL oil combination elicits smell of a New Orleans cemetery, macabre characters in the dark of night ... a perfumed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Maybe a scented Thriller when MJ was still hip."
Um, ok. Sometimes it's all just too hardworking for me. I like pretty. I like feminine. I especially like sensual. But I don't always need a Beardsley/Wilde/Baudelaire combo wafting around me. Sometimes a girl just wants to smell good, you know?
And that is possible with BPAL ... you just need to choose the right fragrance from what seems like thousands. Here's notes on my bouquet of BPAL roses:
Zombi: Dried roses, rose leaf, Spanish moss, oakmoss and deep brown earth. The moss -- whether Spanish or oak -- is apparent. There's a depravity about this aged rose. As with most BPALs on me, there's an initially offputting strong scent ... but drydown is rich, producing soft, ancient roses with an old-attic touch of must.
London: "Venerable Victorian Tea Rose… twisted, blackened and emboldened with wickedness." Predominant rose in a dark mood. There's something with depth underneath there that I can't determine (no notes on site), something sharply herbal that I like.
Seraglio: From BPAL: "Sweet almond and Mysor sandalwood enveloped by a heady veil of Bulgarian Rose, neroli, nutmeg, clove and orange peel." This is very interesting, with the citrus of the neroli and orange peel peeking from under the predominant almond. I don't get a lot of rose with this.
Alice: Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot. On me, cinnamony sweet. In fact, a lot like redhot candies. Ick. Time takes down some of this sweet sharpness and, although it takes a while to get there, it does become a soft, pretty fragrance. Never did find much rose, though.
Persephone: "Beautiful, radiant daughter of Demeter... her loveliness was so exquisite that even Hell itself could not resist her. Pomegranate and rose." Fruit! I hate Fruit! Grape kool-aid with a powder drydown.
Empress: Rose, sandalwood, maybe amber. I couldn't isolate specific notes on the site for this one, but it is my favorite of the six I tested. The rose and sandalwood/amber are balanced and calm from the beginning. A dignified fragrance that doesn't try to shock. Subtle. Here, too, I get slight powder at drydown. Elegance in understatement, which I think is a rarity in this line.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Laboratory is an entertaining labyrinth. I give them high points for their Flowers of Evil copywriting and Beardsleyesque graphics. If you'd like to explore the site, the address is: blackphoenixalchemylab.com