Friday, January 20, 2012

Loi Krathong from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

How to describe Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab? The simple way would be to say they develop perfume oils for the home and body, but that doesn't quite capture it. You really must explore their web site to get a feel for them, but here are a few words that apply: gothic, mythological, Renaissance, magik, pagan and horror. The collection of scents run in the hundreds, with regular catalog collections such as the Mad Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, Illyria the Shakespearean Collection, and A Picnic in Arkham inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovely artwork adorns the site - just check out the current drawing on the main page celebrating Lupercalia, an ancient pastoral festival held to avert evil spirits, purify the city, and release health and fertility. This festival was traditionally held between February 13-15 and was the forerunner of Valentines's Day. BPAL also releases limited edition scents for major holidays, with the Lupercalia collection currently available. I have to respect the creativity of a perfumery that released Christmas collections inspired by such diverse literary works as Frankenstein and The Little Match Girl. I just do.

So, having recently discovered BPAL, I have started a collection that consists of 6 full size bottles and numerous imp ears and frimps. Hmroo? Imp ears are sample size vials (1/32 oz) and can be purchased for $4.00 each or six for $22.00. Imp ears are not available for all the collections or for limited editions, but are a great way to try scents they are available for without committing to a full bottle. Frimps are free imp ears that BPAL includes with a purchase, and I must say they have been more than generous in this area. I discovered one of my favorite general catalog scents, Othello, when the lab sent it to me as a frimp.

The majority of the full size bottles I've purchased have been limited edition scents, which are available for only a specified time. Loi Krathong was a limited edition scent offered back in October of 2011:

The Festival of Lights! On the evening of the twelfth full moon of the Dai calendar, small lotus-shaped offering boats are released out to the rivers and canals of Thailand, carrying prayers and wishes out into the waters. It is a preparation for renewal, and a time for releasing and banishing the darker parts of ourselves.

Banana leaves, betel nuts, coconut bark, spider
lilies, candle wax, and incense.

I love this scent inspired by the "festival of lights".

(Photo Source: http://www.loynava.com/loykrathong-bangkok.html)

It is smoothly blended and very well balanced, with the incense being the predominant note I smell. Yet, I can also smell the candle wax and picture the banana leaves and coconut bark floating down the streams and rivers. I admit I have no idea what banana leaves and betel nuts smell like, but part of the beauty of a scent is the imagery or feelings they can evoke. I purchased Loi Krathong for $20 and and now regret not getting more than one, as once the limited edition scents are gone, they're gone.

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