Sunday, 8 November 2015


Last month Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs released their limited edition Halloween collection, which I was incredibly excited about. I wanted everything from their collection, as these fall and Halloween related scents are some of my favourites, but I managed to limit myself to only a few. So here is my review of two of BPAL's Halloween collection, as well as some other perfumes, including fall related scents!

For those out of the loop, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs are are a perfume company that specialise in darkly inspired, gothic scents that are inspired by all of the finer things in life, like literature, movies, and monsters. 

In my last post about them, I commended them on their super fast shipping, which is impressive since they are based in the United States. However, this time my shipping was fast, but my dispatch was a bit slow. This is likely because everything is hand blended, and with the new Halloween release, there must have been an influx of orders. This is totally understandable, I was just really excited and impatiently counting down the days until I could get my paws on them - so this isn't a real complaint.

Turns out they were definitely worth the wait, and I'm very happy with my selections! This is a pretty big relief, since not being able to sniff them first means that ordering full sized bottles can be a bit of a gamble. Now, onto the reviews!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Halloween collection this year is massive! Along with their 'Halloweenies', they have single note scents, their dead leaves and apples collections, and Pickman Gallery collections (Hecate's Inheritance, and Sympathy for the Devil). Although I wanted a lot of the scents they released, I budgeted myself to two full bottles only, so I chose one Halloween scent, and one from their Pickman Gallery collection.

Samhain - This is one of BPAL's Halloween Scents. They describe it as: "Truly the scent of autumn itself — damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein."
In the bottle I get a deep, rich, and almost medicinal smell. A little earthy, a little sweet, and very much autumny. I can almost smell fallen leaves in this. On my skin I get a rich almost smoky warmth, with a touch of menthol-like freshness (likely the mullein). There's almost a sour fruity sweetness in there, like cherries - maybe it's the apple with the spices I'm getting. I was so thankful that the patchouli isn't strong on me - I can tell it's there, but it's mainly in the background providing depth. Altogether a very rich, autumnal scent.

Witches' Kitchen - One of BPAL's Pickman Gallery: Hecate's Inheritance Collection, which features perfumes inspired by gorgeous paintings of witches and their crafts. This one is called Witches' Kitchen, by Frans Francken II. They describe it as: "Belladonna accord, sprigs of rue, crushed hyssop, white sage, beeswax, mandrake leaf, bay rum, black honey, hemp, and myrrh."
In the bottle it smells almost like a menthol cough syrup - very potent, and it smells like it would do you good. On my skin this started out as a very subtle herbal floral. After a while a very slight menthol-like scent comes through (but I'm not sure what it is, there's a lot of notes I don't know in this) and a definite background of hemp and maybe beeswax, along with some very light and pleasant florals which keep it from smelling toilet cleaner on me. This smells like the kind of floral you get from a kitchen garden, rather than a decorative variety - very warm and comforting. Definitely a winter scent for me, as I prefer brighter florals in the summer and more subdued scents like this when it's colder. It does smell like what I imagine a witch's kitchen to smell like!

Along with the two full Halloween bottles, I got two imps (sample sized bottles) of other 'fall' related scents. From a quick search online, I got loads of recommendations for autumnal scents, however these two had notes that appealed to me the most.

Jack - This is one of BPAL's Bewitching Brews, available all year round. They describe it as: "The scent of warm, glowing jack o'lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove."
In the bottle Jack is pure candy, like toffee apples, caramels and candy corn combined. On my skin it started off very sweet - what I imagine candy corn to smell like, almost like caramel but not quite. Then the harsh almost fake sweetness calms down and it smells more foodie and warm, more like a sweet pie. I can get notes of a fruity sweetness, which I think are the peach, but also a rich foodie-ness which could be the spices, and an underlying candy corn-esque sweetness in the background. Basically it smells really good, like something I'd definitely like to eat, but I wouldn't describe this as an every-day scent - you'd have to be in the mood to smell like a candied pie!

Velvet - Another Bewitching Brews scent. They describe is as: "Envelop yourself in the soft, sensual embrace of gentle sandalwood warmed by cocoa vanilla and a veil of deep myrrh."
In the bottle I get a very intense and almost woody cocoa. It has a little sweetness to it, but smells very dry and barky - almost like the husks or shells on nuts. It doesn't smell pleasant to me at all when it's in the bottle. On my skin, however, it turned into a much more pleasant smell (something I was very thankful for!). At first I still got that dry bark-like smell, but slowly a more sweet creamy smell came forward, and it ended up being a very nice scent. It wasn't a super sweet foodie cocoa vanilla, but a more grown up, subdued version.

As well as autumnal scents, I picked up two more practical scents. As I've been feeling a bit stressed recently, I took to the BPAL forums to see if there were any scents that helped people with anxiety and sleep issues. Turns out there are! So, upon their reccommendations, I picked up one scent for when I'm feeling anxious, and one scent for sleep. 

The Coiled Serpent - Bewitching Brews. They describe it as: "A potent yogic oil that stimulates the kundalini, provokes spiritual awakening, and releases the energy seated in your root chakra."
In the bottle I think I get patchouli, and a fresh clean scent. It smells earthy but fresh at the same time. On my skin I get pepper and spices, with a faint 'clean' (rather than 'dirty') and warm patchouli smell in the background. This is such a nice earthy scent, and while I have no knowledge of chakras or meditation, I've been wearing this as an everyday fragrance. Its a nice background scent, that smells a little spicy and peppery, but nothing too strong, or at all foodie. A nice neutral scent, in all senses, as it isn't specifically feminine or masculine. I think it's been helping keep me calm as well, so I'm definitely going to get a full bottle of this one!

Somnus - From the Dream Collection. They describe it as: "Named after the Roman God of Sleep. This blend helps bring on deep, restful, natural sleep."
In the bottle I instantly get lavender, and a good quality one too, and some chamomile. But I also get some more sensual floral notes like ylang ylang or jasmine. On my skin this is incredibly heady, from the jasmine or ylang ylang I think, but also incredibly calming. The lavender and chamomile are strong in this, with all other notes being enveloped within them. As a fragrance, this is lovely, if a bit 'grown up', but as a sleep scent this is perfect. I've slept with this the past few nights and have felt noticeably more relaxed. It doesn't have a massive throw nor is it potent enough to disturb you while you sleep. Depending on where you put it you only get the occasional waft as you shift, which is perfect for me, but if you want a more constant smell you can put it on your pillow.

As in all BPAL orders, I received some Frimps (free imps) with my purchases. I think these are completely random, so can be a bit hit or miss depending what you like. But I love the fact that you get a surprise in your order, as you likely receive scents that you wouldn't normally consider, so you get to test out something totally new. I ended up really liking some of the frimps in my last order, but also really hating others, so I was hopeful that this lot would have a few good ones.

Veritas - From the Fairytale and Folklore Collection. They describe it as: "Falsehood has no feet: now and again something that is false can start off successfully, but with time, Truth will always prevail. The essence of honesty, integrity, and veracity: frankincense, white carnation, angelica, chamomile, and heliotrope."
In the bottle I smell something really sweet and fresh, with a lovely soft herbal note in the background. On my skin I get a very bright, fresh smell. I can tell that it's floral, but it almost smells like daisies, or laundry - a very light, clean, almost grassy kind of smell. It feels like a spring smell to me so I'll probably keep this stored until then.

Block Buster - From the Conjure Bag Perfume Oils Blends collection. They describe is as: "Used to open up options in your life, overcome obstacles, and create opportunities. This blend increases your potential for success, inspires creativity and quick thinking, and helps you to be more flexible, adaptable and open to change."
In the bottle I get a very odd smell. Sweetness and dry cupboard spices, maybe cinnamon. On my skin I get cupboard spices, cinnamon and an almost musty kind of smell, along with a fresh clean smell. As time goes on that clean note vanishes and a rich, almost fruityness (like wine fruity) comes out. Nicer than I thought it would be, but not one for me at all.

The Deep Ones - From the Lovecraft Collection. They describe this as: "Black algae, drooping seaweed, salty brine, and crushed coral."
In the bottle I get a lovely bright fresh smell. A sea kind of smell, but not the fishy kind, the 'long walks on the cliffs' kind. On my skin, sadly, I just get that fresh toilet cleaner smell at first. It's very pleasant -it has that fresh oceany smell, but with a clean laundry like smell in the background that just makes me think of cleaning product. I'll try this again in the summer and see if a little ageing helps it out.

Greed - From the Sin and Salvation Collection. They describe this as: "Base and earthy, yet glittering with golden notes: patchouli, heliotrope, copal and oakmoss."
In the bottle I get patchouli, a very dry dirt-like smell, which doesn't smell nice to me at all. On my skin at first I don't get anything at all. Then I get a very dry, earthy patchouli smell. It's very subtle, and actually quite pleasant, though not something I would wear. Though BPAL's descriptions are usually spot on, this is not at all like I would have thought 'greed' would smell like.

As well as the perfumes, I also received two cards. One was a promotional art card for their new Crimson Peak collection (which has just been released!), and the other was a little card for the Pickman Gallery collection. I watched Crimson Peak the night before Halloween and I loved it, it was beautifully put together and filmed (the costumes and scenery were amazing), satisfyingly spooky, and had a nice blend of period romance/drama and supernatural thriller. I will definitely be getting something from this collection the next time I order!

Do you have any Halloween inspired scents? 

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