Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BPAL: Red Lantern

Red Lantern 2011
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Limited Edition for
Lupercalia 2006/2008/2011 (Valentine's Day)
"A tribute to the opium den cum bawdyhouses of Shanghai in the 1930's. Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice"

It maybe because I miss my stash of oils that are still in freight, I am reminded of so many BPALs when I smell Red Lantern. In the bottle it has the same creamy caramel note of Boo and has the sweetness of Gluttony (minus the herbal chocolate). On my skin, it smells like caramel and berries (which I assume is the referred black currant). Not sour, more like a hint of berries in your breakfast cereal. Berries do remind me of Berry Moon but thankfully the berries not as overwhelming.

Red Lantern changes drastically on the skin. The berries are fleeting till they almost disappear and caramel tames down, retaining the warmth as it progresses without being cloyingly sweet. There is some dry dessicated coconut with loads of opium and spices. I have sniffed my wrists so many times, at so many points of the progression but I can't detect or pinpoint the Tobacco note on my skin. I would have loved to get a whiff but no luck. But the perfume even without the tobacco is simply wow! Smoked, spicy, caramel dessert, something you can't eat because it is forbidden! It is so complex and it is really very heady.

The dry down is very similar to Carnaval Diabolique (opium smoke, lemon flower, heliotrope, tuberose, black musk, vanilla, coconut, apricot flower), a bottle of which I am lucky enough to own. Carnaval Diabolique has a lemon-candy beginning and is more floral than Red Lantern but the opium, coconut, musk, spices, smoky sweetness is very close to Red Lantern. In fact the dry down after about an hour is uncannily similar.

I enjoy wearing Red Lantern. It has a perfect heat from spices, sweetness from caramel and smokiness from opium. It is dense and heady, and as always with BPAL, an inspiration well translated into a gorgeous smell. Ancient Opium Dens, I am sure smelt as exotic as Red Lantern. Not this place in Oxford anyways, it smelt of delicious soy sauce and tangy hot spices!

A row of Red Lanterns at Food Festival in Hyde Park, Sydney. A photo to show how much I miss Sydney!


  1. Haha, more typical Su scents that I could not get away with! It sounds so mesmerizing and dramatic :)

    1. LOL yes! This one is typical me :D And I wish I could get away with Larie-esque scents :) x

  2. This sounds like such a striking fragrance, there is nothing better than the way you describe scents *sigh*

    1. Aw thanks Emma! Yeah, it is quite dramatic and striking :)