Saturday, October 12, 2013

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Halloween 2013

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) is a company I probably never would have discovered if it were not for beauty blogs, in particular Musings of a Muse.  I've spent hours reading descriptions of the hundreds of perfume oils they offer since then.  My collection has slowly grown in the last three years, and I can honestly say I've enjoyed all but one of the scents I've ordered!
My growing BPAL collection
The site can be intimidating unless you realize it's not something you are going to be able to take in at once.  I've learned over time that there are the general catalog scents which are available year round, and then there are limited edition scents for each month, as well as special limited edition collections built around holidays, literary works, or any other number of inspirations.  To say BPAL is prolific would be an understatement.
Halloween 2013 haul
Halloween collection scents, or Weenies as they are affectionately known, are much anticipated for BPAL fans.  This year I acquired three of the Weenies and another LE scent called Tarantula Fascinator. 
All Souls 2013
A day of remembrance and intercession. Without the prayers and sacrifices of their families and loved ones, the faithful departed may not be cleansed of their venal sins, and thereby cannot attain beatific vision. On November 2nd, prayers are sung and offerings are made to aid lost souls in transcending purgatory. An incense blend that invokes the higher qualities of mercy and compassion, mingled with the soft, sugared currant scent of offertory soul cakes.
I've got a weakness for incense blends, and this one also has elements of another of my favorite BPAL scents, "Eat Me" from the Mad Tea Party collection, described as  "three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants".  Yum, incense and cake.  All Souls is one of  Halloween scents offered in different years, hence why you will see the year after the name.  The scent may change slightly with each year's variation.  Check out the label with the witches around the cauldron!
2013's Ridiculous Halloweenie! Less spooky than Spooky, and nowhere near as creepy as Creepy, this is the scent of lightly spiced pumpkin candies, decorated with thick marzipan, sweetened with buttercream, and decorated with a touch of lemon zest.
This is nowhere near as sweet as I was expecting, and I say that in a good way.  The buttercream is dominant at first, but there is definitely a dusting of dry spices that tones down anything sugary.  Quite lovely, especially after drydown when the end notes emerge.  Of all the labels, I'm finding the doll carrying the doll to be the most creepy.
There is something very "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" about it.  If you are not familiar with this 1962 classic, it's worth finding a copy to watch. 
Samhain in the Pumpkin Patch
Samhain in the Pumpkin Patch is a pumpkin'ized hybrid version of Samhain, one of BPAL's classic Halloween scents.  Samhain 2013 is described as "Truly the scent of autumn itself - damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein."  Now pumpkin'ize that.  This one is the most gender neutral of the 4 I purchased, and it does indeed capture a crisp fall day, perhaps at a farmer's market?  After hours of wear I could smell pipe smoke - sweet and almost chewy. 
Tarantula Fascinator
The last scent is not part of the Halloween collection, although the tarantula reference puts it in that category, at least in my mind.  Lillith is the daughter of BPAL founder/owner Elizabeth and her husband Ted, and in honor of her 5th birthday there is a collection of scents inspired by her.
This summer, Lilith got to play with a ton of bugs, reptiles, and other wigglies during a special event at her preschool. She made a new friend that day - Ursula the Tarantula.

"Lilith, what would a tarantula smell like?"

"Maybe fuzzy chocolate? With stripes?"
Done and done: fuzzy cacao-drenched hazelnut with hay absolute, black pepper, and nutmeg, laced with stripes of wild plum and white sandalwood.
I believe Tarantula Fascinator may be my favorite!  While it starts out heavy on the cacao, it mellows into this gorgeous smooth blend.  I smell "purple", which is perhaps the plum, but the pepper and nutmeg is in the mix as well.  I think the sandalwood is grounding everything and giving it that smoothness.  I'm glad I took a chance on this!
BPAL always includes "frimps" (free imp's ears) with your purchase, and this time I got 8 of them:  Tavern of Hell, Tushnamatay, Aperotos Eros, Kill Devil, Fire for They Stepmother's Daughters, Tweedledee, Faustus, and Dorian.  This is a great way to sample some new scents, and imps of general catalog scents can be purchased as well.  They are $4 each or 6 for $22, so to get 8 of them free is quite generous!  They will be added to my growing imp collection.  On days where I have no scent in mind to wear, I pull out an imp and go on a scent adventure.
Enclosed postcard
My full bottle BPAL collection now stands at 16, which is quite small in comparison to the some committed BPAL fans.  There is also a BPAL forum where you can read reviews, get recommendations, and better familiarize yourself with the BPAL world.  Fair warning:  it can be a bit addictive.  General catalog scents are $17.50 and limited edition scents are $23 for a bottle.
I'd love to hear about any BPAL favorites you may have.  The Halloween collection will be live through December, so there is plenty of time to indulge if so moved.


  1. ooky sounds lovely!! I was huge into bpal years ago, but I sort of fell out of the loop. My Snow White 2006 is still an all time favorite that I treasure! :)

    1. I think collecting the limited edition scents is part of the appeal to me. I'm keeping it within reason, though:-)

  2. Thought of you when I saw this: http://www.temptalia.com/hourglass-ambient-lighting-palette-review-photos-swatches#more-141813
    Which you didn't already get two full sized :s

    1. I saw that! I may still get it - I don't have two of the colors :-)