Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A long time ago, when I was but a poor college student I developed a yearning for BPAL Imps, except that I couldn't afford them. Now I know what you're thinking, Imp's Ears (which are sample size) are only $4 each -- but if you look at BPAL's extensive site, I'm pretty sure you can easily find 10 of them that you like. Anyhow, during that time, I was participating in a LiveJournal Christmas community called "Holiday Wishes" and someone sent me some imps. And that is how my love of BPAL was solidified.

Fast forward to last month, I finally decided to treat myself since I love oils over traditional perfumes and after combing through the site, I came up with 14 that I wanted -- but I paired down that list and opted for a bunch of from the Mad Tea Party line. (For future purposes, the ones I wanted are: Bordello, Salome, Black Pearl, Jack, Hanging Gardens, Gluttony, Elf, Drink Me, Eat Me, Queen Alice, Queen of Hearts, Red Queen, and Bread & Butter). From the ones that I got as a gift, Alice quickly became a favourite so in addition to the imps, I sprang for a 5 ml of the Alice.

Eat Me
Description: Three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants.
Reaction: Oh goodness, I ridiculously love this scent. The funny thing was that the morning that I selected it, I totally forgot what the description was and just grabbed one. The scent is delicious -- it has a bit of a deep earthy scent to it, but you can definitely make out the cake scent along with the vanilla. The mixture of currants might be what gives me that feeling of a earthy scent. This scent ridiculously smells so damn good. Sorry for the language, but yes, definitely a great choice. If you're a fan of sweet (deliciously savory) scents, I highly recommend this.
Update: I admit I was a bit heavy handed in the application of this oil but perhaps that's what helped it last all day. Seriously, I went to bed thinking of delicious cake.

Description: Bread lightly buttered, with weak tea, cream, and a lump of white sugar.
Reaction: I hate to mimic yesterday but oh my goodness, this one smelled like cinnamon french toast. I was in a rush so I didn't apply as much (actually I put on a minuscule amount before running our of my apartment) but once that scent settled, all I could think about was french toast with a hint of maple syrup. I can definitely see the hints of bread and butter though I'm missing the hints of tea. >_< I kid, but I do love the scent of this one.

Drink Me
Description: Cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast.
Reaction: If you have a nose for these perfume oils then you're bound to be better at it than I. When I first open each of them, while they have distinct signature scents, I'm usually not good at making them out. With the disclaimer out of the way, I opened this imp and it smelled like popcorn. Which is delicious in itself but made me weary about the occasion with which to wear it. Immediately after applying it, that popcorn scent went away and was replaced with a scent that I couldn't place for a while. Sure, it smelled delicious, but what was it? Vanilla with a hint of cherry. I'm definitely getting the hot buttered toast (and yes, it is very different than the Bread-and-Butter-fly's lightly buttered toast) with that cherry and custard. Overall, a beautiful scent, especially when you let it settle in. I adore it as well.

Queen Alice
Description: Carnation, posies, and white amber with a hint of inky treacle, sandy cider, and wooly wine.
Reaction: At first, I really couldn't place the scent (reoccurring theme here) but I figured that it smelled like a pastry but what? Well, for some reason I picked up cinnamon so it reminded me greatly of a cinnamon roll. As the initial scent wore down, there was the lovely garden scent. So in retrospect, looking back at the description, you can kind of pick up each hint of it. You start with this dessert like blend -- the treacle, cider, and wine which then subtly lends itself to the flowers. I will admit that I loved the initial scents and while the latter was good, they weren't quite up my alley. If you love the floral scent, then this would be a hit but alas, I am not. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy yet, just wasn't something I was prepared for.

The Red Queen
Description: Deep mahogany and rich, velvety woods lacquered with sweet, black-red cherries and currant.
Reaction: Upon first scent (while still in the bottle) it smelled really good, like a sugary fondant -- some type of light pastry like petit fours or the like. When I applied it though, that scent quickly faded into cedar. A few hours later, there is still a strong woodsy scent with hints of cedar but not super strong. If there were hints of cherries and currants, that definitely did not come through. Definitely not a favourite.

The Queen of Hearts
Description: Lily of the Valley, Calla Lily, stephanotis and a drop of cherry.
Reaction: Out of the bottle the scent was like a light pastry but I couldn't figure out what it was -- lighter than the fondant from The Red Queen, but still a hint of vanilla and then very faint cherry. The flowers came in strong once on my skin and after a few hours, though the scent became faint, the floral notes still remained. Perhaps this is just not the week for my wearing floral notes or I'm just not a fan in general, but I really didn't like it much. It reminds me too much of traditional perfumes (hey, nothing against them but they do tend to give me headaches) so this too wasn't quite up my alley either. (And yes, by this point I'm wondering why did I order all these floral oils, but then I realized that I got so overwhelmed by the sheer amount that I just picked names that I liked).

Note: By this point I had established that floral notes were giving me a headache for some reason. They don't normally cause this reaction for me, but I'm assuming I was extra sensitive this week for a myriad of reasons. I would still recommend Queen Alice, The Red Queen, and The Queen of Hearts if you like floral notes as they are great however during the time I was testing them, they just caused headaches which is a quirk of my own and not the perfume oils.

Dragon's Bone
Description: The dry, thin scent of a draconic ossuary. Dragon’s blood resin with white sandalwood, dusty orris and crisp blondewood.
Note: BPAL sent me a few extra imps, but since a friend wanted to try them out as well, I handed the majority of them to her. This one that I kept because I liked the name. >_< This one comes from the Ars Draconis line.
Reaction: Loved... and I do mean loved this one. Out of the bottle I wasn't sure what the scent was and in retrospect all I could think about was a desert. And maybe it's because I was recently playing WoW and all I could conjure up as an image was the Bronze Dragonshire, but the sandalwood came in strong and smelled so good. I was really very pleasantly surprised by how this smelled and I loved it -- it was right up my alley.

Description: Curiouser and curiouser. Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot.
Note: You should already know that I love this one.
Reaction: Of course I love this one, my whole order revolved around my getting the 5ml of this. This one has very light floral notes, but mostly it smells of tea with honey and milk, which means while it's not like a cake it's still soothing and light. This scent definitely is me. Not too dense in flavour-like scent but not too heavy on the other notes, it's a perfect blend and I absolutely love it.

BPAL sells the 5ml for $17.50 and Imp's Ears can be purchased for $4.00 each (they are 1/32oz). Some imps cannot be purchased if they are part of a set (and they make it clear what you can or cannot request) and just a note that you can get 6 imps for $22.00 (which is what I did).

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