Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Mouse Circus

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BPAL Mouse Circus

A toodle oodle of pink cotton candy noses, vanilla spun sugar fur, scattered kernels of popcorn, and a touch of polished golden wood.

I’ve always loved carnival and circus themed things, and I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect carnival/circus scent for a while now. Most of those kinds of fragrances are too sweet for me. However, I heard that this one is a good balance of sweet and not-sweet, so I had to give it a try. I will also be wearing this scent for Halloween, as it matches my costume (2017 version of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.) You can buy this on BPAL’s website for $26 US for 5mL.

In the bottle: Mostly cotton candy and spun sugar with some popcorn. Thankfully, it’s not overly sweet.

On the skin: The popcorn and cotton candy switch; the popcorn becomes the main note and the cotton candy becomes secondary. It’s a perfect mix of sweet and salty. I feel like the polished wood is the base that prevents any of the notes from going too sweet or too salty. It’s also a very realistic popcorn note, but the scent as a whole is surprisingly wearable! I think I’ve finally found my perfect circus/carnival scent!

TL;DR: Popcorn with cotton candy and spun sugar. The perfect circus scent! 5/5.

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Nocturne Alchemy: Spooktacular

NAVA Spooktacular

Vanilla Essence, Mallow Root, Whispers of Sugar and UnEarthly Spooktacular Vanilla Bean pods, and Bastet’s Ice Cream Accord.

*Spooky Scary Skeletons plays in the distance*

It’s September, which means that Halloween is fast approaching! This scent is from NAVA’s Goblin collection, which are scents that evoke everyone’s favorite fall holiday. While I myself did not purchase any, a friend sent me a decant because this scent has been absolutely raved about. 2mL samples are $10 US, 5mL for $20 US, and 10mL for $38 US, all on the NAVA website.

In the bottle: Mmmm, buttery gourmand vanilla! It reminds me a lot of BPTP Boo hair gloss. It reminds me of a frosted vanilla cupcake.

On the skin: Oh no. For some reason, I’m getting that burnt linen smell that I hated in Antique Lace. That makes no sense, since there is no linen note in Spooktacular. The burnt note isn’t as strong as it is in Antique Lace, but its enough that I don’t want to wear the scent any more. I like smoky scents, but this smell is sickly sweet and acrid. I’m so disappointed!

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Spoopy.

TL;DR: An extra sweet version of Antique Lace, complete with the gross “Miss Havisham on fire” note. Very disappointing. 2.5/5.

Black Phoenix Trading Post: Hair Gloss Reviews Pt.2

BPTP Hair Glosses Pt.2

When it comes to BPTP hair glosses, there is a very wide variety of scents. Because of that, I like getting little 5mL decants of a bunch of them so I can test them out. All of these hair gloss decants (except So Below) are from the lovely ladies at Crown and Tulip decants!  I highly recommend them for all your decant needs. They’re really great people, and they’re super professional as well.

Now, on to the hair glosses!

So Below (Haute Macabre collection)

Amber and black copal with black coconut, Sumatran red patchouli, green cardamom pod, and golden musk.

I love this one. It’s a really different take on patchouli; it’s not the dark kind you would expect, it’s much lighter. I get mostly that patch note alongside the coconut, cardamom, and amber. It’s dirty and sexy, but also very tropical.

Sugar Plum Fairy 

Sugar plums, vanilla-infused sugar, tiare, amber musk, apricot peel, and a light dusting of cacao. 

Oh boy, this is sweet. Like really sweet. I primarily smell sugared plums and apricots with a touch of chocolate. I love gourmands, but this is too sweet for me. It’s very candy-like and a bit cloying. If you gravitate towards super sweet/candy scents, you’ll love this.

Mischief (Carnival Diabolique collection)

Blood-spattered cotton candy.

Spun sugar and cinnamon! I’m not getting any actual cotton candy, but I don’t mind that. I find this to be surprisingly autumnal. I would love this, but it unfortunately vanishes from my hair within minutes of application.

Who’s Nibbling at My House? (Carnival Diabolique collection)

Caramel apples, cardamom cakes, hazelnut cream, and butterscotch.

Gourmand heaven. It’s all caramel and butterscotch with a little spice from the cardamom. It’s so warm and gooey and perfect for fall. It actually smells like a richer version of Owl Creek Aleworks. 

 

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Raspberry Sufganiyot

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BPAL Raspberry Sufganiyot

Sugar-sprinkled sufganiyot filled with sweet raspberry jelly.

I’m Jewish, and Jewish tradition has many incredible foods. One of my personal favorites is sufganiyot, which is a jelly-filled doughnut traditionally served during Hanukkah. When I heard that BPAL created a scent that is supposed to smell of this delicious treat, I had to try it to see if it really does smell like raspberry filled sufganiyot, as that smell so so nostalgic and comforting for me. As this is a recurring scent from the Yule collection, it is only available during certain times of the year.

In the bottle: Sweet raspberry jelly! It’s very realistic and not overly artificial. It really makes your mouth water. I’m not getting much dough or powdered sugar yet.

On the skin: The fried dough definitely becomes more apparent, but the jelly still rules the blend. It honestly does smell like a jelly doughnut! I could also see this being a good summer scent since the fried dough gives that that “fair/carnival food” vibe. My one complaint with this is that after a couple of hours, the jelly gets a little plastic-y smelling.

TL;DR: Jelly doughnut. A solid pastry gourmand. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Strawberry Moon 2017

BPAL Strawberry Moon 2017

Wild strawberries, strawberry flower, vanilla-infused sugar, early summer grasses, purple coneflower, white sage, and milky dandelion sap.

Every month, BPAL does an event called Lunacy. It occurs right around the full moon and it is accompanied by a monthly scent. Every month has a different kind of “moon” according to Native American tradition, and June is the Strawberry Moon. Strawberry Moon scents are considered to be some of the best, and 2017’s is apparently really great. I love a nice strawberry scent, so I was happy to try a sample of this. This scent is no longer available.

In the bottle: Very, very strawberry with a touch of greenery in the background. Not really surprising honestly, but the strawberry note is more artificial than expected. It’s a totally different strawberry from the one in Diligent Instruction and Enveloped in Silk hair gloss.

On the skin: It does get less artificial once it’s been applied, but it is still quite sweet thanks to the vanilla-infused sugar. The summer grass and dandelion are a lovely foil to the sweetness and they provide a pretty green note. It’s perfect for summer and it really evokes the image of strawberry picking.

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What I pictured when I heard “Strawberry Moon”.  Photo from the Farmer’s Almanac.

TL;DR: Sugary sweet strawberries with summer greenery. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Diligent Instruction for the Bridal Night

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BPAL Diligent Instruction for the Bridal Night

Sugar dusted strawberries and mallow blossoms

This scent was part of the 2017 Lupercalia collection, specifically the set that was inspired by Japanese erotic art (“shunga”). Out of the whole collection, this was the one I was most interested in because someone who reviewed it referred to it as “Strawberry Stekkjarstaur.” As with all Lupercalia scents, this one is sold out. However, sometimes popular Lupers get resurrected for the next year, so it is possible that this could come back.

In the bottle: Very strawberry, not artificial at all. BPAL’s strawberry note is honestly masterful. I’m definitely detecting something creamy in the background. It smells super similar to the BPTP Enveloped in Silk hair gloss, actually.

On the skin: This is gorgeous. It now smells like super silky strawberries and cream with marshmallows. It’s extremely feminine and elegant, but still sweet and delicate. Absolutely stunning. My only complaint would be that it is a light fragrance, so you need to apply more for a full effect.

TL;DR: Silken strawberries in cream with marshmallow. Beautiful. 7/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Giant Vulva

BPAL Giant Vulva

Skin musk, sugar cane, honey, beeswax, vanilla flower, and copal

I’ll be honest; I partially bought this for the name. It’s a great answer to the question “Your perfume is so pretty! What’s it called?” The notes also sounded good because I love honey and vanilla. This scent was part of BPAL’s 2009 Lupercalia collection. Lupercalia, for those who don’t know, is BPAL’s annual Valentine’s collection. It’s a massive release of dozens of scents, many of which have names that reference sex acts and genitalia. Since this was a scent from the 2009 collection, it is no longer available, but it could possibly return for another year.

In the bottle: Very warm, and there’s something very commercial about this too. Like, it smells similar to something I could buy at Sephora or a department store at the mall. That’s not a bad thing, but it was not what I was expecting.

On the skin: The skin musk is very prominent; it smells like someone who has just been working out for a while, but without the stink of sweat. There’s a very powdery element to this as well, with I think is from the beeswax and copal.  I can detect a subtle floral element in the back from the vanilla flower. In a weird way, this reminds me a little bit of Arcana Snug, but this one is more feminine, floral and less sweet. Frankly, I think that Snug is superior. I feel like this would work well on an older, more mature woman rather than a woman in her 20’s or early thirties; that’s probably due to the copal and vanilla flower, as they add a slight touch of “grandma’s perfume” to the blend. I like this, but I don’t feel like I’d wear it.

TL;DR: Skin musk, powdery beeswax, copal and subtle florals. Would work well on a more mature woman. 3/5