Monday, March 23, 2015

My Lupercalia Selections from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's (BPAL) perfume oils continue to be one of my favorite ways to wear fragrance, and I chose two scents from this year's Lupercalia offerings.  For those not familiar with the term Lupercalia, it's an ancient ritual (possibly pre-Roman) where people took part in activities to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.  It was celebrated around the time we now have Valentine's Day, although experts disagree on if our modern customs originated from Lupercalia.
BPAL, with it's love for the arcane, gothic, pagan, and otherworldly, releases a collection of limited edition scents "for the lovelorn and lustful, the depraved and the intemerate" in preparation for  Lupercalia/Vaentine's Day.  My choices this year were Aristocratic Couple and Haunted Bonbon.
Aristocratic Couple has a simple note list of "Bourbon vanilla, preserved apricot, and cardamom".  This is a potent little blend on me, starting off with a creamy sweetness that reminds me more than a bit of a 2012 Lupercalia scent I have called "The Vine", with notes of "Bradford pear, honey, and vanilla cream".  Aristocratic Couple replaces the pear with apricot and makes the base a bit darker in tone, more like a sexy older sister to The Vine's precocious teen.  Now, if you can't make out the label on Aristocratic Couple, it's a Japanese couple in the act of copulation.  BPAL actually has a warning posted on the Lupercalia section alerting people to the adult nature of the collection, just so you know :-)  I have to be careful to not over apply Aristocratic Couple or it becomes cloying, more because of it's strength/sillage rather than not liking the scent.  I can't say that I'm picking up the cardamom note, although I'm not sure I'd know it anyhow.  One source describes cardamom as "lemony and camphorous", but I mainly smell apricot preserves and sweet cream with a tinge of smokiness in Aristocratic Couple.  I like it.
Most of the holiday oriented limited edition collections feature a set of core catalog scents married to a specific note, and Lupercalia usually focuses on chocolate (Halloween was pumpkin, Christmas was ginger).  So, from the Box of BonBons collection (noted on the site:  This year’s Box of Bonbons is particularly peculiar) I selected Haunted BonBon, a "dark chocolate with thick golden amber and murky black musk". I really had no idea if I would love or hate this, given the original Haunted's description as "A mournful, poignant scent, thick with foreboding", but fortunately I love it.  It's actually quite soft with a rather dry and dusty cacao that is warmed by the golden amber.  This is not a gourmand or foody scent to my nose, and the black musk makes it more of a skin scent with soft sillage.  I can still faintly smell Haunted BonBon at the end of the day, so it wears well, but it's an intimate as opposed to "in your face" kind of scent, and my favorite of the two based on initial impressions.
I've got BPAL postcards stuck to my refridgerator with magnets, but I'm not sure I'm going to post this one - it scares me.  I don't want to get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water and see a demon feeding people to monsters on my fridge.  The four free imps I received as all scents I didn't already have, which given the hundreds of scents in BPAL's catalog, is not that surprising:

Baobhan SithThe ghostly White Women of the Scottish highlands. They seduce unwary travelers by night with their unearthly beauty and mesmerizing dancing. They engage their victims in a wild, hypnotic dance, and once they reach exhaustion, exsanguinate their partners with their vampiric kiss. Grapefruit, white tea, apple blossom and ginger.  

AliceCuriouser and curiouser. Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot.

IntrigueA sultry, exotic scent that inspires devious plotting and clandestine affairs. It is a scent painted in artifice, veiled in deceit, and slithering with whispered secrets.  Black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes.

Miskatonic UniversityA venerable New England university, whose vast library holds many rare, diabolical and obscure arcane works, including one of the few surviving legitimate copies of the Necronomicon.  Home to innumerable scholars of the esoteric and the occult, and the notorious Dr. Herbert West.  The scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls.

The Lupercalia scents are live until April 6th, when they disappear - some forever, some until next year.  I'm happy to add these to my growing collection!

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