I know I’ve talked about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab before, and maybe none of you care, but I have to bring it up again because their website just got the most amazing makeover and now it’s user-friendly and perfect for unsuspecting newbies… such as yourselves.
BPAL, for those who don’t know, is a perfume oil company based in California and it is almost magic. There are the General Catalogue (GC) blends which are available all the time, and then there are new Limited Editions (LE) every Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, full moon, Friday the 13th, and many other random times of year. The GC alone includes hundreds upon hundreds of scents based on Shakespeare, cities of the world, H.P. Lovecraft, Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, and all kinds of folklore, literature, and mythology. And the notes are not always typical - you do have your classic “perfumey” scents, but there are plenty of unconventional ones. Needless to say, with that many options it can be super overwhelming to pick some to try, especially if you’re new to perfume oils.
Fortunately, the new website has made it much easier to get started.
There’s a page of Beloved Favorites, if you want to try the most popular and crowd-pleasing blends.
And then there are pre-made Imp Packs - BPAL calls their 1/32-oz sample vials “imp’s ears,” and a set of 6 costs $22. You can custom-build your own set, OR you can get one of the new pre-made sets if you already know you like a certain type of scent and want to try an assortment on that theme. There are pre-made imp packs available for herbals, aquatics, boozy and foody scents, citrus, leather, florals, musk, and a bunch of others. This is a great place to start getting acquainted with the company. GC 5ml bottles cost $17.50 each, so sampling 6 different scents for $22 is not a bad deal at all before investing in a full bottle. Plus they always send free samples with your order, so you get to try even more scents than you paid for.
I seriously love this company - Beth (the founder/scentstress (is that a word?)) is so creative, the product is consistently high quality, and it’s been so much fun trying all the different blends and building my own collection over the past year or so that I’ve been actively into it. Their customer service is also top-notch, and there’s a whole forum of dedicated fans who are happy to answer your questions and buy/sell/trade oils. I’m happy to babble about BPAL all day, so if you’re interested in getting some oils yourself and need guidance getting started, I’d be happy to help.
Right now the LE Yules are up. You can’t buy LEs in the sample size, but there are some really cool ones this year, with lots of incense and snow and roses and cookies and gingerbread.
In closing, here is a list of some of the blends (both GC and current LE) to give you more of a feel for the company’s aesthetic… because if the above description doesn’t convince you, maybe these names and note lists will:
Mary Shelley (Absinthe, lightning, stormclouds, and laudanum crashing through a veil of soft Victorian oriental perfume)
Tweedledee (Kumquat, white pepper, white tea and orange blossom)
Yellow Snowballs (Slushy white mint, vanilla cream, lemon drops, grapefruit, and yuzu)
A Thought And A Legend Too Hideous For Sanity Or Consciousness (Black rose, oudh, rosewood, and sea-kissed patchouli, and the smoke of a snuffed tallow candle)
Death-Fires Dancing Over The Tombs (Icicles and stone illuminated by unholy fire)
Paladin (Immaculate white musk, sweet frankincense, bourbon vanilla, white leather, and shining armor)
Yorick (Grave dirt, bone, decay, angel’s trumpet, and moldering scraps of shroud)
TL;DR - If you like perfume at all, and/or if you have an affinity for the unusual, you need to investigate BPAL right freaking now.