Miscellanea and Ephemeron
08/07/2005 Archived Entry: "Perfume review: Selected BPAL scents"
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfume oils: Snake Oil, Languor, The Hanging Gardens, Tezcatlipoca, Jabberwocky, and Absinthe.
Review by Tom Good
Let me start by saying that I really like interesting scents. Right now I have eleven different kinds of incense in my living room, and probably a dozen different scented candles scattered around the house. My current collection of colognes includes Luciano Soprani Uomo, Gucci for Men, Carolina Herrera 212 for Men, and L'eau Par Kenzo. Whenever I am in New York or Las Vegas, I always take the time to go to Sephora and check out new perfumes. So I was very pleasantly surprised to discover Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, a company with a unique and fascinating approach to scents.
BPAL, the Bad Girls / Bad Boys of perfumery, have created their own Goth approach to scented oils. They also have one of the best commercial web sites around. Their active forums show that they have reached that often-mentioned but rarely-achieved web site nirvana: forming a community of people who share a common interest.
Snake Oil is a bold, lush scent that reminds me of the rain forest. It smells like some new magical species of orchid. This was my girlfriend's clear favorite of the BPAL oils; she pronounced it "rockin', awesome." I was going to wear this one myself but I think she has now claimed it.
Languor and The Hanging Gardens are also luxurious floral scents. Languor has more of a decadent, sensual feel to it, whereas The Hanging Gardens feels more like the botanical research of a James Bond villian, with a hint of bubble gum. They would both work either as perfumes or as room scents in a diffuser.
Tezcatlipoca, the only sample that my girlfriend hated, smells like a sauna full of demons. While I do not dislike it -- it is very interesting -- I find it hard to imagine an occasion where I could use this as more than a novelty.
Blood Pearl is a heady, intense rush of a scent, evoking incense, woods, and naughtiness. This would make a great scent for a massage oil.
Finally, Jabberwocky and Absinthe are both energizing, wake-up scents. Personally, I would not use these as perfumes, but they would be great in a room scent, body wash, soap, or massage oil. Jabberwocky (named after the Lewis Carroll poem) smells like a pine forest full of friendly monsters, and Absinthe smells a lot like the drink.
BPAL has come up with some incredibly creative perfume oils. None of these resemble what you might find in a trip to the perfume section of your local department store. If you are unsure about where to start with, order the versatile Snake Oil.
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