June 10th, 2006



Okay, it's time to start poking at this Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab thing.

I'm not a girl, you see. As such, I know jack shit about fragrance. Pre-BPAL, I'd been using the same perfume for about ten years (a custom blend from Garden Botanika - two scents, fresh wood and desert musk, both "recommended for men").

So my BPAL reviews will not be as complex as y'all's. I'm seeing reviews of how things smell in the bottle, on the skin, ten, twenty, sixty minutes after application... topnotes, undernotes... and it just makes me all blinky. So. I am just going to say what I like about it, pinpointing things if I can identify them.

I have not actually ordered any of these imps. I've never ordered anything at all from there, largely because their counterintuitive website makes it difficult for me to determine what I'd want! So this has another purpose as well: there are a bunch of you reading me who are absolute BPAL gurus. If you happen to have an idea of what I might like to try, based on what I try and like, please tell me! One note at the outset: heavy florals gag me. I am not a rosebush. I don't want to smell like one.

I was overwhelmed by the bunches of imps y'all sent me (thank you, kizlj, never1eighty, phinnia, and shugenja!), and just fixated on two to start with. My absolute favorite? Kathmandu.

The scent of sacred incense swirling up the steep slopes to Swayambhunath Stupa. Saffron, blessed sandalwood, Himalayan cedar and the miraculous lotus of the Buddha with chiuri bark and Nepalese spices.

My immediate thought when I uncorked this? "Candy!" No one on the forums seems to have had the same reaction, so maybe this is just me being weird. But there's something about this that delights me. From the description, you'd think it would smell like a newage (sounds like sewage) bookstore, but I tell you that it does not. The predominant scent is those mysterious "Nepalese spices". I smell delicious. Earthy and sweet and candy-delicious. It is not a subtle scent. I am not a subtle girl.

The other one I brought to Boston is White Rabbit, which is, as australian_joe put it, "more of a daytime scent" than Kathmandu.

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Okay, let's try something new: Absinthe.

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Okay - one that shugenja didn't like, but I had to try, based on the description: The scent of warm, glowing jack o,lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove. Jack.

In the bottle, I'm getting... buttered popcorn. o.O That, and the universal pure-sugar cheap Halloween candy, the compressed-and-dyed sugar pumpkins and candy corn. No clove. Kinda gacks me a bit, actually. Pretty overpowering. Let's slap some on anyway. For science.

*sniffs arm* Oh holy hell this stuff is nasty. It's not just nasty, it's narsty. It is utterly clove-free and nutmeg-free, and that is not what pumpkins smell like, that is what cheap pumpkin-scented candles smell like. I smell like a cheapass candle. A cheap ass-scented candle. *claws at face to get stench away* AAAAAGH.

*makes as if to throw it at swap pile with great force, only pulling back because if it breaks her room will smell like chemically-processed fake pumpkin forever*

Peach, too, a bit. It reminds me of the Sawgrass Mills Mall in South Florida. They had a kiosk there whose theme was peach-scented everything. I wanted to vomit every time I walked past it. This is that kiosk, ground together with three-year-old rejected Halloween candy and stale movie-theater popcorn.

I am going to go scrub my arm clean now. Because OMGeww.

So. Yes. Hi. What have you tried that you think I'll like? What should I stay away from?
  • Current Mood
    sick scented
  • Tags

BPAL redux

Figured I'd list the other imps I have. I'll try them gradually over the next few days - don't want to burn out my poor nose!

If I don't like something, it's up for swap, of course. Jack has already been claimed (by solcita).

Black Dahlia: Up for swap
Blood Countess: Tried and liked
Cairo: Swapping to ayalanya
Chimera: Tried and liked
Empyreal Mist: Tried and liked
Follow Me Boy: Sending to Spooky
The Great Sword of War: Swapping to bheansidhe
Jazz Funeral: Swapping to enderfem
London: Swapping to solcita - packed!
Mantis: Tried and liked
Nuit: Swapping to setfiretolife - packed!
Old Scratch: Swapping to storme
Rapture: Swapping to setfiretolife - packed!
Wrath: Swapping to solcita - packed!
Yew Trees: Tried and liked

...and I'm glad I went through these, because otherwise I'd've bought Wrath from gegenschein, based on the following delicious description: A scent aflame with rage, swirling in the red haze of hatred: dragon's blood spiked with black pepper, clove, and cinnamon.

Hey, let's try it now; Absinthe has completely faded from that arm.

Huh. Wrath is colored. Red. It tints my skin slightly.

In the bottle: red-hots!

On my skin: Oooh. *sniff* The cinnamon is predominant at first, but then the rest of it surfaces, twining like ribbons of smoke.

Half-napping Adam critique: "It's nice."

*sniff* *sniff* It's mostly cinnamon. I'll sit on it, see if it gets more complex. Right now, the other ribbons of scent have gone back to hiding, and I am reminded of playing with pure cinnamon oil in seventh-grade home ec behind the teacher's back. Maybe a little too sharp.

EDIT: Yeah, this is basically just red-hots.