Friday, December 18, 2009

Died and gone to Hell (the good one): review of some BPAL perfumes.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is one of those perfume companies that all the cool kids swear undying allegience to, and there are entire websites and Livejournal communities devoted to the buying, selling, swapping and general discussion of them. Not being one of the cool kids, I was only vaguely aware of their existence until my friend Millie brought them up in conversation a while back. Since then, I've paid a bit more attention and read a few reviews and forums and I was very interested to try some of their perfumes. I got hold of six samples (they call them Imp's Ears), and I've been trying them out all week. Overall, I have to say that I think I have found my new obsession. These perfumes are not quite like anything I've tried before - a couple of them are more conventional scents, but most of the ones I tried are just so out there, but so fabulous, that I am now hooked on getting more. I managed to cajole The Photographer into ordering me some for Christmas, and I think I am going to have to start a special fund so I can start collecting. They seem to have hundreds of fragrances, and I want them ALL.

Jazz Funeral - This was the first I tried, and remains my favourite of the six (which I ordered by the sound of their name, with no idea of what any of them would smell like). When I first put it on I smelled damp dirt and wet grass/moss. After a few minutes, I could also smell dying flowers. Now, I know this sounds a bit - well - terrible, but it works. I don't know how, but it does. I could happily wear this every day for the rest of my life.

Arachne - This is your grandma's perfume... if your grandma is Norman Bates dressed as his mother. Or Miss Haversham. Old flowers in stagnant water, musty old house. Again, it doesn't sound like anything you'd want to wear in a million years, but it is gorgeous. This was one of the ones I was going to add to my Christmas order, but then I discovered that it was very suddenly discontinued. Sad about that.

Clemence - When I first put it on, I was nearly knocked over by a strong smell of cloves and pipe tobacco. Noodle Arms said it smelled like pepper, then screwed her face up. When it settles, it smells like an overgrown garden of flowers on a hot, humid rainy day. I loved it, and the only reason I didn't buy a full size was because it is a very unusual scent and I couldn't think of a single occasion when it would be appropriate to wear it.

The Temptation - Noodle Arms said it smelled like peaches (and she's right - I looked it up), but I didn't get that at all. This was probably the most conventional "perfumy" perfume of the six I tried - creamy floral and musk. It's very pretty, but not much different from loads of other very pretty perfumes out there.

Inez - This immediately made me think of a perfume I loved in the 1980s called Jovan Musk Oil. That's  all I got from it - musk, musk and more musk. I loved it for the nostalgia, but I probably wouldn't buy a full size.

Ultraviolet- The first note I got was mint, not a great thing in a perfume. After a few minutes I could smell violets, and something else that was unfamiliar to me (I've since looked it up and I think it was eucalyptus). This is very unusual, and could be an amazing signature scent for someone very ballsy. Not really for me, though.

I cannot wait to get my hands on more of these.

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