I think it's fairly safe to say I have wholeheartedly hopped onto the BPAL train, and won't be getting off for quite some time.
Now, if you don't know what BPAL is, I'll do my best to explain. Black Phoenix Alchemy lab is based out of California, and specializes in handmade perfume oil blends. They have hundreds upon hundreds of scents, ranging from floral to foodie to earthy, and everything in between! (I'm finding I'm mostly drawn to their scents that include berry, red musk, or dragon's blood.) They offer $4 samples (called imps) of most of their general catalogue scents, or you can buy a pack of six for $22. This is a great way to try out what they have to offer. Most general catalogue 5 ml bottles are $17.50, though some are a bit more expensive in the more specialized sections of the site. Limited edition scents are $20, but again, sometimes they are more expensive.
Anyway, onto my reviews! I've posted these over on the bpal.org forums, but I thought I'd post them here, too, so that those of you who are new to BPAL can see them.
Lab description: A gentle vision of purity, goodness and virtue: white tea, carnation and Damask Rose.
On skin, wet: Hello, carnation!
On skin, drying: Soft, slightly powdery rose with carnation. Oh dear..it's turned to baby powder. Major baby powder.
On skin, completely dry: It's turned back to being a bit rosy, albeit a very powdery rose. I really am not getting any white tea, though. It does have a teensy bit of spiciness to it, which I assume is due to the carnation. The spiciness of the carnation does sort of stick in my nose and my throat and bothers my eyes a bit. So that's kind of unpleasant. I get the same effect whenever sniffing real carnations, so I think I just have issues with carnations, ha.
Overall thoughts: It really doesn't have any throw at all..which I don't really mind. Honestly, I just don't think Maiden is my style. It also doesn't last too terribly long on me, either. I'm sure I know someone who will absolutely love it, though!
Lab description: A misty, almost luminous perfume: wispy linden blossoms, white flowers, and a touch of sweet herbs.
In the imp: very medicinal, with a hint of white blossoms of some sort. Not sure exactly which white blossoms, but I know they are white, ha. I assume they could be the linden blossoms.
On the skin, wet: It's a very sweet herbal scent, but the herbs meld perfectly with the white flowers.
On the skin, dry: Pretty much the same. Very herbal, slightly medicinal, but soft. I absolutely love it.
Conclusion: Well, obviously I've already stated how I feel about this scent: it's worthy of a full bottle. It's such a beautiful scent that I feel is feminine, but cold and mysterious. I have a copy of Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn sitting next to me, and this scent perfectly matches the Unicorn in this story. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Dragon's blood is such a comforting scent for me, and this particular version reminds me of backstage in high school. During one of our productions, we needed incense, so one of the cast members brought in some beautiful dragon's blood incense. After it started burning, there were usually at least five of us hovering around it, inhaling the warm scent. Ah, nostalgia!
Full bottle purchase for sure.
ETA: That day that it only lasted an hour and a half must have been a fluke, because I wore it today (during and after writing this review) and it lasted at least four hours. Hooray!
I finally got up the courage to try it out, though, and it wasn't nearly as scary as I originally thought. It starts out as pure almond, like in the imp, but then starts settling down. What does it settle down into, you ask? Juicy Fruit. The gum. Yeah.. Also it burned a little. Not enough to cause any redness on my skin, but enough so that I noticed the sensation and thought I'd better go look in a mirror to make sure my skin wasn't burning.
But then! After about five or so more minutes it changes into a perfectly lovely soft, slightly floral cinnamon, and the burning is gone. It's very feminine, and very "not me."
It was nice, though, and I think it'll work well for a bedtime scent. It's not good enough to buy a whole bottle, though.
Lab description: Spectral white musk and the heart-stopping chill of sheared mint, fanned by caramel-touched body heat, and the diabolical sensuality of black musk, nicotiana, and sage.
In the imp, it smells very strongly of caramel, but with a little edge to it. I assume this is probably due to the other components in this oil.
On my skin, it stays very true to the scent in the imp for most of the time. Sticky caramel smoothed out by nicotiana and the musks, but with a little bite from the mint. I think the sage is mingling with everything, as well.
This scent is..it's just wow. It's smooth and creamy and slightly foody, but dark and oh-so-sexy. It's like Beth (the genius behind BPAL) bottled up a really, really good-smelling man. One you don't probably shouldn't meet in a dark alley. But in the end, you do anyway, because he's just so smolderingly attractive.
Ironically, I find this works really well as a bedtime scent. And I think it will also be perfect for winter months, when it's cold out and I need something very warm to keep me sane.
One more thing to note: This scent lasts for HOURS. Seriously. I put it on around noon, and I was still catching whiffs of faint, smoky caramel at around 10 PM that night. I may need to get a bottle of this at some point.
Lab description: A golden summer musk with warm fig, orange blossom honey, sweet blueberries, and bright velvety crimson raspberries.