Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Blóðughadda

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BPAL Blóðughadda

Crushed Baltic amber, golden fig, oud wood, red patchouli, white clove, and saffron.

When the new set of Carnival Diabolique scents dropped in June of this year, this one immedietly caught my eye, but not for the notes. Rather, I wanted to try it for the label art for a rather selfish reason: the woman on the label resembles a much buffer version of myself! The notes did sound rather interesting as well. I hadn’t actually purchased the scent, but a good friend of mine in the indie community sent me a partial bottle of it as a gift. You can buy this scent on BPAL’s website for $24 US for a 5mL bottle.

In the bottle: It’s weird. I’m getting prominent oud and powdery amber with a sweet undertone from the fig. Oud can be a tricky note, but it’s behaving so far.

On the skin: The oud takes center stage, but luckily it doesn’t turn into that almost fecal smell that oud can have. Rather, it’s a dusty, woodsy scent. The saffron then comes out to play, while the amber retreats. The fig also gets stronger, but its not really a sweet fig scent. This does not smell at all how I expected, but I quite like it so far!

TL;DR: Woodsy oud with saffron and fig. Weird, but I’m into it. 4/5.

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Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Destructive Vagina of the Fox Spirit

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BPAL Destructive Vagina of the Fox Spirit

Vanilla orchid, black amber, coffee bean, labdanum, champaca, and oudh. 

I’m pretty sure that this scent has the greatest name of any perfume ever, and frankly, that’s why I wanted to try it. The notes honestly didn’t draw me in, since incense and I are usually not friends. This scent was from the Lupercalia collection in 2015 I believe, so it is no longer available.

In the bottle: Indistinct warm spices. This is definitely an incense scent.

On the skin: Yeah, incense is definitely the most powerful note in this, but I actually kind of like it! The incense is very specifically nag champa, which is what you smell when you go into the incense aisle of Whole Foods. It’s sweet and spicy and very “red” smelling, and it reminds me of my old martial arts studio. Equally strong in this is creamy vanilla touched coffee that pairs very well with the nag champa. I feel like this will be a good fall fragrance. There is a touch of oudh at the very end that is a bit unpleasant, but not enough to spoil the scent. As a whole, this fragrance smells like a really cozy, secret coffee house where they’re burning sticks of high quality incense. I like this way more than I thought I would and I have nothing else like it in my collection.

TL;DR: Sweetened coffee and nag champa incense. Very unique. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Edith Cushing

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BPAL Edith Cushing

Pearlescent vanilla musk with white sandalwood, grey amber, white patchouli, ambrette seed, and oudh.

There are few BPAL fragrances more coveted than Edith Cushing from the Crimson Peak collection, which was an official collab between the movie and BPAL. Since the Crimson Peak collection is one of those where once an item is out of stock, its gone, Edith is very hard to find and it’s highly sought after. Bottles can go for $80 or more, so I jumped at the chance to try a single imp of it for 1/8 of the usual price. It’s got tons of notes in it that I like: vanilla, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, and amber. But will it live up to the massive hype?

In the bottle: Whoa, hellooo there vanilla! That’s pretty much all I’m getting right now; it’s also a very gourmand, rich, buttery vanilla that reminds me of Arcana Two Finger Ballet. Right now, they smell super similar.

On the skin: The gourmand quality to the vanilla vanishes, and the musk gets a lot stronger. It’s more balanced now, and very feminine. Musk and non-foodie vanilla are still the main notes, but I’m definitely getting a little bit of nuttiness from the ambrette seed. There is also an almost dusty quality to it, which is from either the sandalwood or the oudh. The dustiness really works here; it reminds me of an old Victorian mansion, which is a major plot point in Crimson Peak. Edith is like if Arcana Two Finger Ballet and Solstice Scents Manor had a baby. It’s a really pretty fragrance and I like it a lot. That being said, I don’t think that it’s worth the $80 a bottle that it usually goes for on the second market, but as always, YMMV!

TL;DR: Musky, nutty vanilla with a slight dustiness. Very feminine. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Jareth

BPAL Jareth

Ethereal lilac fougere and gleaming leather with ti leaf, tonka absolute, white musk, and oudh.

I grew up listening to my parents’ music and one of their favorite artists was David Bowie. He quickly became a favorite of mine as well, and when he passed away last year, I cried for an hour upon hearing the news. While he was most well known as a groundbreaking musician, Bowie was also known for the 1986 film “Labyrinth” where he played Jareth, the Goblin King. That movie made a rather large impact on me, and when I saw that BPAL had a whole fragrance collection based on the movie, I had to check it out. I hoped that this scent would evoke the character of the same name whom I adore.

In the bottle: Beautiful lilac and ti leaf with a hint of musk. It’s very floral; I do hope that changes on the dry down because it’s a little “grandma” right now.

On the skin: Yes. This is stunning. The florals calm down on the skin and the leather and tea from the fougere come out to play. It’s definitely a masculine scent despite the florals; there’s something very “cologne” about it, but not in a bad way. It’s exactly what you would expect Jareth to smell like: sexy, but also very ethereal and fae. Many people compare this to Dorian, but Jareth is less sweet and more floral. I can see the family resemblance though.

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Beautiful. Majestic. Iconic.

TL;DR: Lilac tea, leather and musk. Smells very elven. 6/7.

Solstice Scents: Conjure Dark

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Solstice Scents Conjure Dark

Amber, Frankincense, Sweet Incense Smoke, Dried Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Woods, Oud, Vanilla

Okay, this one was a gamble for me. I enjoy the smell of church incense, but I hate anything that smells “headshopy”. This one has that “sweet incense note”, but the kind of incense isn’t exactly specified. But I figured “what the hell, I’m gonna try it.” You can purchase this on Solstice Scents’ website; its currently sold out for the 5mL perfume oil version, but you can still get it in the 60mL EDP version for $90 US. The perfume oil version is still available on the Rhinestone Housewife and Pretty Indulgent.

In the bottle: Oh no. Okay, so I like the smell of frankincense, but HOLY CRAP. It’s a very strong bite of frankincense and something sour in the background. I think that’s the vetiver?

On the skin: I think my fears about incense have been confirmed. It’s very strong incense and with more incense. It’s like a headshop with a church next door. The scent is very strong and it’s kind of burning my nostrils. I don’t like this, but if you love incense, then I think this could be a holy grail.

TL;DR: Incense, incense and more incense. Too strong for me. GET IT OFF OF ME/5