Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: An Introduction

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: An Introduction

Today, this lovely post introducing us to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is written by Jen Meade.

When not adoring her daughters, Ara (3) and Lulu (6 months), Jen works as a freelance makeup artist in the VA, DC, MD area. She is obsessed with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, legal dramas, custom-mixing lipglosses, writing her blogs, and schmoozing on Twitter.

She runs two blogs:  Beauty School Blog (about beauty, duh!) and The Nail Ninja (bet you can’t guess what this one’s about!).

Is it possible to bottle the scent of Heaven?

I suppose that depends on what “Heaven” smells like to you, but I’m willing to bet the answer is “yes” and that proof lies at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

You may or may not have heard of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab before. Known as BPAL by it’s many fans, the line has a definite edgy feel that may intimidate some people – but I wish those folks would poke a little further. Once you really take a look (and hopefully a sniff!), you’ll see that there’s beautiful poetry to be read, quirky pieces of art to be seen, and delectably well-blended scents to be worn.

More than 1,300 scents have been created by The Lab since it opened, though some were Limited Edition or have since been discontinued (making them super collectible). You think you’ll do anything for that old LE MAC blush, but would you pay the $800 someone spent on eBay buying a bottle of BPAL a few years ago? That’s how good these scents are! Don’t worry: a bottle fresh off the site retails for approximately $15, though some LE items may be more. You’re bound to find your “Heaven” in the array of scents The Lab has available, and if you’re looking for something a little more naughty than heaven well, you can find that there too!

Learn more about BPAL!

BPAL fragrances are oil blends, which takes some getting used to if you’ve only ever used mainstream alcohol-based perfumes. The oils are intense, but very human-friendly; they are hand-blended and made with all-natural ingredients. In addition, most are vegan (though some contain beeswax or honey) and absolutely none of them are tested on animals. These perfume oils come in 5mL glass vials with pretty paper labels, though a unique sampling system allows you to try almost any scent in a smaller portion referred to as “an Imp’s Ear” (or simply “Imp”). Imps are $3.50 each, or six for $19.50. Limited Edition items, some special collections, and scents created to benefit charities cannot be sampled. An unrelated fan-based forum, BPAL Madness has reviews of almost every scent, and you can check out reactions and scent descriptions there if you want to research before you buy.

Founder and perfumer Beth Morriarty Barrial has an impeccable nose and a real gift when it comes to taking a theme, place, work of art, or concept and bringing it to life through scent. While many of the concepts are “gothic” or seemingly pagan, others follow themes like Alice in Wonderland (“Mad Tea Party”) and Love (“Ars Amatoria”). BPAL scents range from light florals to robust spice and incense blends to the sweet taste of a peppermint stick. I promise there is something there for every single person, and the process of searching for your matches can be fun and incredibly rewarding.

The perfume oils appear small when held against a big old bottle of that department store perfume, so some may assume they’re very expensive, comparatively speaking. But BPAL scents are way more concentrated: an eau de toilette is usually 4% – 10% perfume oil, while BPAL’s scents are 15 – 80% perfume oil and contain no fillers. In other words, “a little dab will do ya”! As for packaging, I love the little vials and their unique and artistic labels. Using BPAL is a multi-sensory experience from looking at the old-time-y vial, to holding the glass bottle in my hand, to the smell of the perfume itself.

My own personal Heaven never leaves my side (seriously – I keep a vial in my little wallet!). It’s called Morocco and can be found in the BPAL theme “Wanderlust”, a series of scents based on locations around the globe. Morocco is described in this way: “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.” I knew the minute I saw it that I wanted to try it. I honestly can not remember if my first bottle was a PR sample or not, but I do know I have bought several since! I adore wearing it “neat”, straight on the skin, but also like it mixed into unscented lotion and slathered all over. At times, I’ve tried it in a massage oil blend and have put it in an oil burner and scented the house. MMMM…. Divine!

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it,” said Jules Renard. Which piece is yours?

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