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Thread: Bpal

  1. #1

    Default Bpal

    I know I started a thread about BPAL (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) when I first joined but it was very general and more about the line than individual frags. I have actually tested a LOT of BPALs and at first pretty much disliked the vast majority (*many* of their frags have a syrupy note that while not horrible is, I feel, too widespread). I've come around to a few of them lately, and I'm wondering if anyone else here, even if they aren't a general fan, has one or two specific frags from BPAL that they have a soft spot for? Which ones and why?

    The big one for me is EDEN. A surprise even outside of the BPAL bounds, a very unique frag. The drydown is weird and nothing I've ever smelled before. I can't even say I 100% love it but it's so strange and compelling I do keep coming back to it. The listed notes are: fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood.

    Cordelia - this is a rarity for BPAL, imo. It's floral, but earth floral, and it's not sweet or heavy at all, although nor is it insubstantial. I actually think this one would be quite popular here if lots of people could try it! Notes are lilac, lemon, green tea, wisteria, osmanthus, white cedar, and Chinese musk.

    Obatala - I just unashamedly love a well done coconut frag and this is actually one of my favourites. It's not cloying at all and it doesn't dry down into foulness. It's clean and milky and softly, warmly coconutty. Notes: milk, coconut meat, shea butter and cool, refreshing water

    Also: Dragon's Blood (Dragon's blood resin and honeyed vanilla), Hell's Belle (oleander with wet, sweet mandarin, lush magnolia, deep musk and a touch of spice), Vampire Tears (wisteria, white grapefruit, neroli, green tea, jasmine, white ginger, honeysuckle, iris, and tonka). All of these are in the soft, feminine, sweet (possibly gourmand-y), lush, sexy, easy, simple category that I admittedly have a weakness for.

    Final Note: huh! This is the first time in awhile I've looked at the actual notes of these frags - some of them don't sound, on paper, like what I am sniffing at all! Vampire Tears especially - I had that pinned as a gourmand - no citrus or tea in there to my nose.
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  2. #2
    Heartwood's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Bpal

    BPAL gives me angst! I feel like I'm finally getting a good grasp of fragrance appreciation, having now sampled a lot of designer fragrances (still only a drop in the decanter ), a good number of niche scents, and even some of the more obscure houses like Ava Luxe. Then I look at BPAL and there are hundreds and hundreds, nay millions more! How will I ever find the time, the skin, without succumbing to anosmia!

    We should definitely not tell Alba about BPAL.

    (Sorry I don't have something more germane to contribute! )
    Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
    Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
    -- Absolutely Fabulous

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Bpal

    Led By My Nose, I purchased a lot of about 80 different BPAL imps on eBay, and have only found a handful that I might like as perfumes. (One of those is Dragon's Blood that you mention! Another is The Chapel). They have over 600 fragrances listed here on Basenotes so there is probably very little overlap in what I have tested versus what you might have tried! (I really get that ANGST oud girl!)

    I will dig out my tiny pile of 'not too bad, must get back to this' BPALs and see if any are really worthy of a full bottle, and get back to you. Out of 80 there must be one or two that are worthy, and I must try to keep an open mind. And by the way..I love coconut too, so I'm adding Obatala to my test list!

    On a completely different note, I've found that many of the BPAL fragrances that would never make it onto my skin as perfumes DO make excellent room fragrances. I've spilled a few imps, or they've leaked (which they seem to be prone to doing..??) and the room has taken on a wonderful, exotic, slightly hippie-ish air. Must be that syrupy base that you mention, and that I totally associate with BPAL now (the 'BPAL-ade' so to speak!).

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bpal

    I love the concept of BPAL and I LOVE their website but I have yet to try a fragrance I like from them. They end up smelling way too synthetic on me. I agree with anaoudgirl....there are so many to choose from I get way to anxious trying to find something I might like. I gave up

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bpal

    (Sorry for the thread hijack)
    I wonder if that hippie-ish syrupy undertone is the same hippie-ish syrupy undertone that appears in that other line of neverending amounts of scents: Possets. The Possets website was slightly less daunting than the BPAL one, so that's where I ordered a few "imps". I find the same problem you mention with the Possets: many are too uniform, almost, because of that syrupy current running through them. Perpetual Motion Machine is the only one I would wear gladly, in fact.
    Anyone out there tried scents from both houses?
    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely products of a deranged imagination.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Bpal

    Their collection is just too big to know where to start and I have the idea its all not really real perfume but more a close wearing skin oil. I want to project and have complexity in a fragrance
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bpal

    I looked at their site when searching for a "hippie" smell back in the early fall. It was a bit overwhelming. I emailed and asked for suggestions, but they haven't written back yet.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bpal

    2 very very broad generalizations:

    Possets - vanilla
    BPAL - amber

    Both tend towards the "heavy" and, I'll admit, I prefer the foody sweetness of Possets.

    Of the BPAL line (and , admittedly, I haven't tried that many) - Rose Cross is my favorite. Fire of Love (pleasant hippie amber) is a close second.
    Sakecat's Scent Project
    "Wardrobe" and Reviews of everything I've tried to date. Please come visit and let me know what you think.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bpal

    I haven't tried BPAL yet but I would love to. But how do you start? Search for specific notes? Look at the names only? Having soooo many perfumes is not the best marketing strategy in my opinion, but they probably know better. The website is lots of fun but so overwhelming.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bpal

    I used to keep up with BPAL a bit (three or so years ago), but never with a serious academic interest; as far as I can tell these are frag oils and as hit or miss as anything else in that category.

    I stopped when the site became overwhelming, although I now read it for amusement. I do like Dana O'Shee, but it never lasted half an hour on me (a wheat note is razor-sharp in this one). Also liked Tiger Lily, which was one of the more enjoyable lily scents I found.

    And then I gave up.

  11. #11

    Smile Re: Bpal

    I've pulled out my BPAL imps to re-test. This thread has inspired me!
    Lian is right...these are all close to the skin perfume oils. They don't last terribly long but they are quite or two drops will do

    Now that I am sniffing them again, I can't say there are any that knock my socks off. On the other hand, I LOVE the way they match fragrances to characters in books, fairy tales and what not. And if I was a youngster with more time on my hands, I would probably collect BPAL (as many devotees do) and get on the forums for swaps etc... As it is, I"ll stick with y'all right here on Basenotes (which takes up enough of my time thank you very much!)

    So here are a few that I like:

    Eclipse has a nice almond note

    Harvest Moon '06 has a fresh apple note and I don't usually like apple too much but this is nice

    Cathode--I don't know what the notes are other than some mild citrus and ozone, but it's a bit compelling and I LOVE the where's Anode?

    Drink Me: Buttered popcorn!

    The Coil: a little like Cathode

    Chrysanthemum Moon '06: Smells like the floor in a flower shop

    Well that's about it...I know people have found the original Snake Oil good, but I haven't tried it.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Bpal

    Lizzie_j I did what you did - purchased a ton of imps at one time and worked my throught them. Same experience as you, too - I'd say 2 or 3 were FBW (and at least FB's of BPAL frags are not pricey) - Obatala, Eden and ... one of the other ones I listed. I'm not even sure about Eden, I think I might like its weirdness more than I want to smell of it. I aslo agree with what you said about fragrancing a room. Most of the BPALs I tried would be better as a room scent than a personal scent. They have so many seasonal ones, too, which is something I like in room scents.

    Veuve Amiot - I have (I think) 3 Possets samples I have yet to give a proper try-out so I think I'll do that today and see if I can pick up a similiar note, or at least a BPAL-style similiarity in their frags.

    Interesting comments about being overwhelmed by the sheer number of BPALs. Me too. I have always thought their site was pretty much marketing genius, but it looks like a lot of people are actually turned off by the too-many possibilities. I spent some time on the BPAL forum when I was figuring out what imps to purchase and it seems like it's a younger (I'd say 15-25 ish) and generally female customer base, in which case I can sort of understand the tons of frags - these customers were clearly collectors and many were trying every single new release. They also seemed to fit more into the 'fan' mode and less into the 'critic' mode like we do here. I wish someone else would test them all and sort the wheat from the chaff for me, though!

    Darkdreams - they have a search function on their site. My advice would be to search by note. Searching by name is too random (in terms of what notes you get in the results). The BPAL forum has, as I remember it, boiled down and categorized most of it, too, so you might want to check that out if you have a specific genre of frag in mind.

    Debbbora - I could be wrong but I'm under the impression that BPAL is run by very few people. I don't know if they have the resources to respond to individual mail. An auto-response would be nice, though. If anywhere is going to have a selection of 'hippie' scents, it's there. Maybe check the Forums?
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bpal

    I used to be HEAVY into BPAL, I have tried hundreds of the scents. Many of them are fun, and depending on what your chemistry does they can have a ton of throw. I'm mostly past the line, though, because I got tired of deciding I loved this or that only to have it disappear forever (and many of the things I liked best were LE, which in BPAL-land can mean you only have production for a *month or two*, not a season. Sometimes even only for a few days, and you end up buying untested fairly frequently.)

    What I still find worthwhile and what I kept, even after swapping the huge majority of my stash? Three bottles of the LE "Death of Autumn," a bottle of "Gypsy Queen" (another LE I will never be able to afford if I find it again), the general catalogue Tombstone and also Morocco.

    BTW, I think that ml per ml, BPAL has sold the most or second-most expensive perfume ever. There was an auction for an unreleased and never to be released scent, one bottle only, and the winner paid more than SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS for a FIVE ML BOTTLE.

    Not kidding.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bpal

    Hi Fountaingirl, and welcome!

    I've seen some of the BPAL LEs go for a lot on eBay, too - over $100 for some of them. If I was a collector that would piss me off, too - just the amount of LE's - I'd almost feel forced into buying them without testing first.Do you have details of the $600 scent? I'm curious about that one.

    Also, what are the notes in Death of Autumn? I like the name.
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  15. #15

    Default Re: Bpal

    Wow! $600 for 5 ml! Yikes! Just... Yikes!

    And oh - Forums? Cool, that could work.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bpal

    Quote Originally Posted by sakecat22 View Post
    2 very very broad generalizations:

    Possets - vanilla
    BPAL - amber
    Oo! I think Possets may be seeing my green someday.

    I've only tried a few BPAL's, and of them, probably my favorite is Coyote. Wood. Amber. I like it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bpal

    I've only bought from Possets once, after trying it I could definitely tell that there was a vanilla like syrup under the fragrance, I'm pretty sure this is due to the fact that Possets fragrances are vegtable oil based and I'm guessing the same goes with BPAL
    I am not afraid... I was born to do this.

    -Joan of Arc

  18. #18

    Default Re: Bpal

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    Oo! I think Possets may be seeing my green someday.

    I've only tried a few BPAL's, and of them, probably my favorite is Coyote. Wood. Amber. I like it.
    Aiona: Here's a link to my inventory - I've got it in house order so you can see the BPALs and Possets I've tried to date.

    As you will see, I've tried a reeedonkulous amount of Possets. Drop me a PM and I will send you some to play with.
    Sakecat's Scent Project
    "Wardrobe" and Reviews of everything I've tried to date. Please come visit and let me know what you think.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Bpal

    Sounds like an utter nightmare to me. Too much choice. WAY too much. I'd go totally insane, guaranteed. Staying away...
    "I don't know the key to success,
    but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
    Bill Cosby

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