Most of you will know by now that I am quite addicted to the perfumes & other products created by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and Black Phoenix Trading Post. Not only are their products of amazing quality, but their customer service is exceptional and the community of other BPAL fans is amongst one of the most civilised & intelligent I've ever come across in my 15+ years of being online. For those that don't know, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (or BPAL, for short) specialise in handmade perfume oil blends, with their sister site Black Phoenix Trading Post (BPTP) using these oils in products such as bath oils, hair glosses and more. The perfume oils do not use alcohol (like most department store perfumes), and their ingredients are of the highest quality and hand-blended to create amazing scent combinations. There is a sizable General Catalogue of perfume oils of varying themes, including Alice in Wonderland, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Shakespeare, Travel-inspired, Steampunk, and Role-Playing Games, as well as collaborations with writers such as Neil Gaiman and artists such as Gris Grimly and Mike Mignola, AND scents to commemorate fandoms such Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock. As well as all of these, there are monthly updates around the time of the Full Moon ("Lunacies"), collections for Halloween, Christmas ("Yules") and Valentines Day ("Lupercalias"), random other collections released throughout the year (eg, summer scents), and Event Exclusive oils for conventions such as Comic-Con and Bats Day. The list goes on!
I started buying BPAL in 2007 after realising that department store perfumes just weren't interesting to me anymore; after my first purchase of imps (samples of the lab's perfume), I quickly fell in love and haven't stopped since. With all the releases of new perfume oils (at least every month, often more than that), there are always new things to try & fall in love with! Thankfully there are people who run decant circles, which are samples of Limited Edition perfumes to try (the Lab only sell samples of the General Catalogue scents), so there are cheap(er) ways to test all the new releases. After 5+ years, I've worked out what will work well on my skin and what to avoid, but often I can be surprised! I started off loving floral scents the most, but now I love anything with a Snake Oil base, red & black musks, frankincense & amber & other resins.
Since I talk about BPAL quite a lot, I thought I would finally show some pictures of my collections... It really is my happy place! Which might sound very strange, but there is something so lovely about choosing out a scent to wear for the day; about reading the stories & inspirations behind the new collections, appreciating the artwork on the labels, and being excited when something new turns out to be a "OMG-I-love-this-scent!" moment. I wear perfume every day, and it is just something lovely to remind me that no matter how busy day-to-day life gets, there is always a way to appreciate the small things. This is my version of "stop and smell the roses".
These are the main drawer units in which I store my BPAL.
Bottom drawer of the wooden storage unit. This is mainly for Lunacies (and companion scents such as Chinese New Year scents) and General Catalogue. I wore the GC scent Titania on my wedding day. Snake Oil is probably the most well-known and well-loved of all the GC scents, but I also love Dragon's Milk, Vasilissa and Lust.
Second drawer of the wooden storage unit. This is mainly for other Limited Editions (the smaller collections that are randomly released, like the summer collections "Moths & Butterflies"), Retail Exclusive scents (such as the scents available only from Dark Delicacies) and Carnaval Diabolique scents, a gothic carnivale that I hope returns to the catalogue soon! Temple Viper, Coral Snake, Mme Moriarty, Misfortune Teller and Xanthe: The Weeping Clown are all favourites of mine and are from the Carnaval.
The first of the three smaller drawers; this one houses the collaborative scents, such as those done with Neil Gaimain, the Hero Initiative and other graphic artists. Some of my favourite scents from this drawer are Sachs (The Hero Initiative), Dawn:Maiden (Joseph Michael Linsner's 'Dawn' comic) and Bette Noir (Boom! Studios).
This is for perfume oils sold by Black Phoenix Trading Post. Whilst the Trading Post mostly sell other products such as bath oils and atmosphere sprays (pictures later...), there are sometimes also Limited Edition perfume oils available too. Some of my favourites here are Crypt King and Crypt Queen, Plum Puddin and Lucy, Kissed.
This drawer is for Prototypes and Event Exclusives. Every now & then, the Lab will have a sale of old prototypes, earlier renditions of released scents. Some of them I like more than the released versions! Event Exclusives are generally only available at conventions such as Bats Day or Comic-Con, so trying to hunt down a bottle of something that sounds amazing can be a bit stressful - but there are some wonderful BPAL fans out there who are more than happy to do pick-ups for fans who live too far away. Favourites from this drawer are Eve v5, CD: Misfortune Teller v3, Elf v4, Hellion v2 and Gothabilly. I treasure the scents in this drawer greatly, as they were hard to get hold of!
This drawer, the first of the white storage unit, is for the Halloween, Yule and Lupercalia scents. Collections for these scents are released every year, with a few favourites returning (for example, I have bottles of Snow White from every year), but lots of different sub-collections that rarely reappear. For example, one Yule there was a Nutcracker subcollection; another year, it was The Little Match Girl. Sometimes there are 50+ scents released in one seasonal update - needless to say, I definitely don't buy every scent (though you may not believe it looking at my collection!), so this is where decant circles are wonderful for being able to test multiple scents. Some of my favourite seasonal scents are The Perilous Parlor (Halloween 2007), Midwinters Eve (Yule) and Smut (Lupercalia).
BPAL imps!! Believe it or not, most of these imps - they were received free, from the Lab. The Lab almost always send out free imps ("frimps") in order packages - so over the years, I have collected quite a few! I need to do a big sort out of these as I know there are lots of doubles/triples. The imps in the purple box at the back of the drawer are scents that I have tested, and the imps in the red organza bag are those that I actually ordered from the Lab to try.
BPAL decants, ordered from decant circles. These are the ones I've tried; I should pass them on, but I like keeping them in case I want to wear them again. I order decants when I'm not sure about a scent (eg, it contains a note that I don't instantly love), or if it sounds like a fun scent but I know I won't need a whole bottle. Some decants do end up being full bottle purchases, but it's good to be able to test first when I'm uncertain!
In the velvet bags are 'special' imps - for example, there was a seasonal Yule release at the Trading Post of fun scents, only available as imps.
These two containers are full of decants I have to test still. Some of them are from releases that are a year or so old, eeek! I need to do some better sorting of these decants - the second container is a new addition because they were overflowing!
Bottles I haven't worn yet, waiting to be tried first and then stored in one of the storage units. Because I've been collecting BPAL for so long, I have a pretty good idea of what will work on me, so I can often order a few bottles untested from the Limited Edition releases. There have only been a couple of times where I've gotten it completely wrong, so I'm pretty confident with my ordering these days!
BPTP atmosphere spray samples. Almost all of these were free from the Trading Post, received with orders - as I mentioned, the Lab and the Trading Post are exceptionally generous with their samples.
And to round off this post, here is some of my Trading Post collection.... because why should perfume be limited just to wrists & necks?!
BPTP Hair Glosses. OMG. These are the most amazing things ever. I spray a little bit into my hands and then run it through my hair for a gentle scent that lasts throughout the day. My favourites are the Honey Hair Gloss and Snake Oil Hair Gloss, but really, I love all the ones I have. I think I have all of them, except for two. I have serious love for these hair glosses.
BPTP Atmosphere sprays. A couple of sprays and the room smells fantastic! My favourites are Gertrude Dix's, Exotic Bazaar and The British Blondes.
BPTP Bath Oils - these can also be used directly on the skin after a shower, which is how I use them. Lightly scented and also moisterising - I adore these. I usually only wear these on weekends, so as to not be wearing too many scented products at work, so they really do feel like a luxury to me. My favourite bath oils include Snake Oil, Eldrich Dark, Boadicea and Fruitbat Fruitbath.
So there you go; a little journey into my world of perfume! There are a few other things that haven't been photographed here - I have a couple of Trading Post candles, as well as a couple of tins of lollies, and lots of bath oil decants, stickers, postcards and notepads. But this is definitely the bulk of it! Have I spent too much on BPAL? Of course i have, but I don't regret any of it. As I said, it is my happy place! Through BPAL I have been exposed to new writers and artists, different ways of thinking, folklore & history & literature... it has been entirely worth it. I hope the Lab continues to release new scents & collaborate with other creative minds, for many years to come.