Friday, February 10, 2012

Some BPALs That Didn't Work For Me

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is hands down my favourite perfume oil company. I love the whimsy, I love the stories and I love, love the perfumes. I have often wondered how I have ever lived without some perfumes till now! I can't imagine not having experienced Snake Oil or Womb Furie or O... the list is long! BPAL has about 1000 perfumes. Which means there is something for everyone. It also means that there will be some regrets. Trying various scents in Imps (1 ml sample vials) is the best way to try the perfumes and decide whether or not the perfume is suitable. But if you are someone like me, you could easily get carried away and 'blind' buy full bottles based on the descriptions and then regret. Here are a few of my regrets: mini reviews and a bit of an explanation why each one didn't work for me and more importantly who would like it better. Many would actually love some of these scents. World would be a boring place if we all liked the same things!

Paduan Killer Swarm
Limited Edition
A swarm of genetically modified, extremely aggressive European bees that were created by Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini. These bees are attracted to a peculiar set of pollens and nectars, and possess a particularly vicious temperament, a lethal apitoxin, and cruelly barbed stingers.
"Tonka, black licorice, amber, golden sandalwood, ginger cream, bitter clove, stinging nettle, cinnamon bark, and coconut shell."
I bought it because I loved the story, based on the short story Rappaccini's Daughter. BPAL's imagination proceeds further to the garden and the specific type of poisonous plants that Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini created, perfumes based on this are in the Rappaccini's Garden series which is General Catalogue. Paduan Killer Swarm was an LE in Paduan Bees series.

This bee perfume is not a honey sweet one and stings like a toxic GM bee. Very true to its name. Smelt directly from the bottle, OMGWOW! Bitter, sweet and spicy! On the skin, the sweetness disappears quickly leaving behind a bitter and spicy nutmeg/clove combination. At this stage, it is extremely spicy. This is where the bees sting! The spices remain for a long time, which is what the scent is all about. It takes about 2 hours for it to soften to a creamy base laced with mild spices.
If you like spicy scents, it is for you. I love spicy scents but I can't really handle this perfume. Certain spicy notes of BPAL don't work well on me, especially the cloves. It kills me patience when it takes hours to soften. The dry down is actually nice. Maybe if I tried layering it with a creamier perfume, it would work. 

Khajuraho 2011
Limited Edition: Lupercalia 
"honey, date palm, tuberose, davana blossom, amber, white sandalwood, vanilla bean, Damask rose, and champaca flower."
It smells like a great floral in the bottle. Actually a very nice floral, mostly rose and hints of  davana leaf (which is basically Artemisia used as an essential oil extracted from the leaves/flowers in perfumes to impart a sweet floral character. Personally I love the smell of fresh leaves. It is heavenly) The sweetness is added by palm sugar-like smell. Then something soapy emerges, something so very soapy that I can't get past. My skin does crazy things with BPAL florals. The only one floral that has worked on my is Defututa. Most others turn soapy on me. I wish I liked more florals from BPAL.

Berry Moon (August 2009)
"A golden summer musk with warm fig, orange blossom honey, sweet blueberries, and bright velvety crimson raspberries."
This is my first from the Little Lunacy series from BPAL. BPAL come up with a new scent for every full moon and Berry Moon I have is from August 2009. 
Berry syrup in the bottle, on the skin with a beautiful dry down of sweet orange blossom. Really lovely but somehow not for me because of the overwhelming berries. If you are a lover of fruity perfumes with a light floral dry down, this is perfect for you.

Summer Blockbuster 2009
Dark Delicacies
The term Giallo, meaning yellow, was initally coined in reference to the yellow backgrounds used on the covers of Il Giallo Mondadori pulp crime and mystery novels that influenced Italian thriller filmmaking.
"Profoundly passionate and singularly sinister: opopponax, black plum, night-blooming jasmine, benzoin, red musk, violet leaf, orange blossom, mimosa, mandarin, smoky vanilla, tobacco, patchouli, and black amber."
This genre of movies appeals to me. Apparently movies like Basic Instinct, Se7en, I Know Who Killed Me, Black Swan have Neo Giallo elements to them. (Amer goes to my list of must watch) The perfume is based on this genre. I have tried this so many times but I really can't put my finger on any of the note, which I don't mind as long as the combination smells nice. Even the scent as a whole doesn't do anything for me. I feel there is so much going on. I don't know if I can call it complex because it doesn't really evolve in phases or anything like that. Though it is a mess, the dry down has a smoky vanilla element which is quite nice. Even though it is LE scent, you can find it on Dark Delicacies website

Chaos Theory V
Snake Oil Series
Each bottle of Chaos Theory is truly unique, a fragrant fractal, and exercise in the joy of chance and uncertainty! Each is a one-of-a-kind, utterly random combination of scents, the composition of which is based on whim, mood and gut instinct. Each bottle is numbered, and comes with a small parchment certificate.
My first ever Chaos Theory scent that I picked up from Dee's blog sale. Was very excited to try it because it is based on Snake Oil. I get very little SO in it. It is mostly sweetened musk with a mildly spiced dry down. It is actually nice and enjoyably wearable but I am a bit disappointed that I couldn't get much SO from it. Mostly, I have a weird skin reaction to this scent. My skin is quite tenacious to sensitivities but this one makes my skin red!

There are 10s of imps that didn't work for me, 10's of imps that I loved so much that they are on the 'List'. But I think it is natural to be bothered if full bottles don't work. Well, it is always good to be spoilt by choice, it is fun learn more about what works for me, what doesn't and also helps sharpen my nose. And these regrets will help me decide what to buy in future. They are not really 'regrets', after all.

I don't know what the fate of these bottles will be. I may keep them for sometime just for the sake of it (read: hoarding) They will eventually be sold away. 


  1. Great post Su! I am a fan of ordering samples of things like that, but then I hate getting a sample of something that it limited edition and then missing out on a full bottle if I love it!

    1. Very good point, Emma! All these are in fact LEs and BPAL doesn't do samples for them, which is the reason why I bought full bottles. Well, better than missing out I guess :D

  2. Yeah, that Chaos Theory never did it for me either. I guess at least with BPAL you can always sell them if you don't like them. That's why I don't really mind taking a risk with full bottles on the LEs.

    1. That is an advantage with BPAL, there are always takers! Though my luck with selling is not very good. I have to learn some eBay tricks :)

    2. Try the livejournal aussie_bpal site - that's where I usually see most of the selling going on. Though even that has been pretty quiet lately. Everyone's too poor to buy perfume these days!

    3. Thanks Dee, I sure should sign up for it. I remember Louise from Aussie BPAL site was a nice lady. Looks like it always gets quiet when I want to sell, typical :D

  3. Some BPAL perfumes are awful on me too! Luckily I bought mostly imps! Except womb furie, which I sold... because as much as I like the smell of honey in the bottle, on my skin it smells like pee :(

    1. What a shame Womb Furie didn't work for you! It is my fav. Some notes go crazy on me too, especially the florals :(

  4. Where do you sell your perfumes, Su? I don't have any BPAL or anything like that, but it's always interesting to me to find these forums where people trade off on smellies :)

    1. I'm trying my luck on eBay. It seems like people go for 'lots' than individual perfumes. Sold 2 lots so far.
      I am new to BPAL forums, just signed up a few months ago. It will take time to build trust and sell things I think. Will have to try :)

  5. For the bee perfume, have you tried putting it on, and then rinsing it off? I find this method leaves behind some scent, but it's much softer. May be worth a try :)

    1. Great tip, Vintage! I will surely try it, I would love it softer :)