Tag Archives: perfume

BPAL Giveaway!

I first blogged about Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs a while ago, so click here if you don’t know who they are.  Since that post I’ve been collecting a bunch sample perfume “imps”, and now I want to find a new home for some of them.  Some of the fragrances I don’t like on me at all, and others are okay but I just don’t wear them.  These are basically like new imps, still full to the top!

So here’s the giveaway: leave me a comment below with an email or way to contact you, and I’ll pick a winner and mail that person all my unwanted imps.  Talk about a totally free way to try a few new perfumes!

(The imps in the above picture aren’t the ones being given away, btw, just a few random imps to show you what they look like!)


So I’ve worn four of my new perfume oil samples so far, and I have to say I did a much better job choosing them this time.  There are none so far I absolutely hate.  🙂

Snake Oil.  It’s a nice smell.  I like it, but it’s very muted.  I put some on my wrists and behind my ears, and normally when I do this with perfume, I can catch whiffs of it whenever I turn my head.  I couldn’t smell Snake Oil unless I sniffed my wrist.  Maybe I just have to put alot more on?  I don’t know, this one requires more wearing.

Lyonesse.  I really quite like this one, enough so that I may consider buying a bottle, if I’m still loving it by the time my sample runs out.  I don’t normally care for floral scents, but this one is mixed with some darker notes.

Blood Countess.   This one is kind of odd.  Fruity-floral, with incense.  I have to wear it again.  Not what I was expecting at all, based on the description.  (Countess Bathory smelled of…fruit?)

Antikythera Mechanism.  This one is the “steampunk” one, and so I was really hoping to love it.  It would have been nice to wear with my steampunk costume this October.  Wet and in the bottle, it’s pretty…strident.  As soon as I put it on, I sneezed twice!  Hmmm.  It seems to be mellowing down as I type this, but it’s definitely on probation at this point!


So it’s that time again…when I could resist no longer ordering a new sample set of six new fragrances.  And also, I had to order an entire bottle of “Hollywood Babylon”, because I ran out of my sample some days ago, and was fairly much in a wicked withdrawal.

So here’s the samples I ordered:

Bronze gears spin inside a polished wooden case, and an entire universe dances within.
Teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco.

Steampunk, yay!!!

VENICE A complex, voluptuous scent that captures the robust beauty and of the Italian Renaissance: lemon, red currant, wisteria, red rose petals, heady jasmine, Florentine orris root, waterlily, red sandalwood, violet plum, and violet leaf.

Then rose the King and moved his host by night
And ever pushed Sir Mordred, league by league,
Back to the sunset bound of Lyonesse —
A land of old upheaven from the abyss
By fire, to sink into the abyss again;
Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt,
And the long mountains ended in a coast
Of ever-shifting sand, and far away
The phantom circle of a moaning sea.

Golden vanilla and gilded musk, stargazer lily, white sandalwood, grey amber, elemi, orris root, ambergris and sea moss.

The vanilla and stargazer lily hooked me with this one.  I love those scents.

The intoxicating perfume of exotic incenses wafting on warm desert breezes. Arabian spices wind through a blend of warm musk, carnation, red sandalwood and cassia.

Elizabeth Báthory, also called Erzsébet Báthory in Hungarian and Alžbeta Bátoriová-Nádašdy in Slovak, was the Bloody Lady of Hungary. In order to preserve her youth and loveliness, the brutal and incomparably savage countess captured, tortured and slaughtered innumerable young women and bathed in their blood as part of her beauty regimen. Ah, vanity. Corrupted black plum, smoky opium and crumbling dead roses covered by a deceptive veil of Hungarian lilac, white gardenia and wild berry.

Gardenia.  Lilac.  Black plum.  Yum.

By far, our most popular scent! Magnetic, mysterious, and exceedingly sexual in nature. A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.

And then, they were kind enough to send me four free samples!!! I’m thrilled.  Here’s what they sent:

A gentlemen’s lavender-citron cologne unhinged by the feral pungence of black musk and a paroxysm of pennyroyal.

Lustrous, sanguine, soft and lavish: soft orris, blood musk, and coconut.

Named after the Roman God of Sleep. This blend helps bring on deep, restful, natural sleep.

And then one called “Hi’iaka”, which I can’t seem to find anywhere on their site.  A true mystery scent, I guess.  If I like this one, I may have just a bit of trouble re-ordering!

The scent tests begin.  First off, I’m wearing “Snake Oil”.  Everyone raves about this one, but in the bottle, I wasn’t too sure.  Kind of woody and sharp.  Not at all what comes to my mind when I consider the name.  However, once I put it on, the sharpness fades immediately to a soft vanilla, candy smell with a hint of something deeper and muskier that I can’t identify.  Still not at all what I would have imagined, based on the name, but nice.  It just may be too sugary for me, though.

BPAL Update – “Highwayman” and “Bess”

So Highwayman was my ‘novelty’ sample. A number of people who’ve tried it say it really does smell like leather. Leather? I love the smell of leather!

Here’s the description:

“Stand and deliver! Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather.”

How can you not love this?

Well, as it turns out, quite easily not. I’m not sure what it smells like, but it isn’t leather, and it isn’t very good – at least not with my skin chemistry.

But…I now am a devotee of Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, because it’s definitely true that you only have to find the right sample vial, and you’re theirs for life. I am absolutely in love with “Hollywood Babylon” and “Bess”.

Bess wasn’t even supposed to be for me! My mom bought a sample of it, wooed by this description:

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.

Inspired by the tragic, ill-fated love of Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester. This is our modernization of a 17th-century perfume blend favored by British aristocracy: rosemary, orange flower, grape spirit, five rose variants, lemon peel, and mint.

First off, while I love good queen Bess, I don’t like citrus scents, rosemary, or mint particularly much. Citrus scents often give me a headache. But my mom didn’t like the sample, and gave it to me. I tried it with extreme trepidation, and….I adore it. Oddly, it’s musky, but it’s a ‘clean’ musk that’s sort of hard to describe. When I’m wearing it, I’m driven to keep sniffing my wrists – which I tried to do in a stealthy manner while at work. They already know I’m crazy; they don’t need to add wrist-sniffing to my list of odd behaviors! 😆 And it’s really cool that it’s based on an actual 17th century perfume blend.

So I’m definitely buying a full-size bottle of Bess, plus one of Hollywood Babylon, because I’m pretty much loving that one just as much.

Two more fragrances left in my sample pack. I’m reluctantly wearing Masabakes right now (reluctantly because I really want to put on more Bess!) and I’ll reserve judgment until a bit later. I didn’t think I’d like it at all when I first put it on, but now it’s beginning to smell a bit like cinnamon and spice, so…

BPAL – Update: “Harlot” and “Hollywood Babylon”

Finally! Two scents I like!

I put Harlot on before I left for church in the morning, (good thing no one asked the name of my fragrance!).  It’s another vanilla scent, this one crossed with roses.  The only flaw was that it’s delicate enough to be worn off by 1pm when I went to work.  My friend tried to catch a whiff, and said she could only smell my gum!  When I wear it again, I may have to bring the bottle with me, and replenish it mid-day.

Since Harlot was gone, when I got home, I tried a little Hollywood Babylon.  So far, I’m loving this one.  It’s more robust, so I think it will stay with me longer, and it smells like really juicy cherries and musk.  Sort of candy-like, but without the annoyingly sweetness of Bordello.

BPAL Update – “London” and “Blood Kiss”

I put on a little Blood Kiss this morning, and ew, hated it. On my skin, at least, it had a very harsh, cheap-perfume smell. I suffered with it for a couple of hours, and it didn’t improve. Scratch this one way off my list!

So next I put on London. This one was a very nice rose scent, but it was only a rose scent. No undertones, nothing but rose. I doubt I’ll buy a full sized bottle of this, since there was nothing unique about it, but I’ll keep my little imp. Possibly I’ll layer it with one of the other scents – it might even smell nice with Bordello…

BPAL Update – “Bordello”

My samples from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are finally here! See my previous post:


And they threw in two extras: ‘Psyche’ and ‘Masabakes’. After I opened all the teeny bottles and gave them a sniff, I decided to give Bordello the first trial wear.

My first impression was that I liked it quite a lot. In the beginning, it had a very vanilla-y scent, which I love. A half hour later, it smelled more strongly of fruit, kind of a plum scent. Now, several hours later, I’m not quite so enthralled. If I had to describe it, I’d come up with “candy sweet”…very, very sweet, full of vanilla and marshmallow. It’s lovely, but it’s not really me. And also, since it’s quite a delicate scent, I had to put on a lot in order to smell it at all. Not my description of a ‘bordello’, unless it’s also a candy factory. 😆

Tomorrow I’ll test-wear a different one.

Total Girly Post.

I don’t use colorful eye shadow, but I’ve always admired it.



I found this website that sells these totally bright, totally cool colors, and I got to thinking: This is surely the makeup that faeries and elves wear. And that made me realize I need some, to wear with my next faerie costume. So now the only decision is which colors to get! Luckily, I have almost a year to think about it….

And next we have Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.

I’ve heard amazing things about their perfumed oils for years, but I’ve just now placed my first order for a sample pack of six “Imp’s Ears”. They have literally hundreds of different scents to choose between, and they all sound so intriguing. They even have perfumes based on Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, and yes….Neil Gaiman. (How many writers have perfumes made for the different characters in their books?) I resisted all of the Gaiman scents, though, largely because you can’t get those in samples.

Listen to a few of these descriptions:

The Sodom of the New World! — touted as the richest and wickedest city in all creation! Port Royal was the center of 17th century Caribbean commerce, a notorious safe harbor for pirates, and the site of our third flagship store, which was, sadly, destroyed in the earthquake of 1692. Spiced rum and ship’s wood mixed with the body-warmed trace of a prostitute’s perfume and a hint of salty sea air on the dry-down.


A decadent, deep perfume, lusty and luxuriant. The scent evokes images of velvet-lined Old West cathouses, tightly laced corsets, rustling petticoats and coquettish snarls of pleasure. Bawdy plum with amaretto, burgundy wine and black currant.


A brace of loaded pistols
He carried night and day;
He never robbed a poor man
Upon the king’s highway;
But what he’d taken from the rich,
Like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it
With the widow in distress.

Stand and deliver! Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather.

I’m honestly not sure whether these are perfumes, or adventures! Some of them are historical re-creations; they have a perfume that might have been what Catherine De Medici wore. And they have several Steampunk perfumes. It took me ages to winnow my choices down to six but here they are:

1) Hollywood Babylon

2) London

3) Blood Kiss

4) Highwayman (I couldn’t resist the description of the leather…)

5) Harlot

6) Bordello

Yes. Bordello was one of the chosen. I’m not a huge fan of pretty florals, I like my scents earthy and musky, full of spice and amber. If that means they have to be called names like “Harlot” and “Bordello”…. 😆