Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Something A Little Darker: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Artwork: Beresford Egan
The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is home to pretty much the most unique and amazing perfumes in the ENTIRE WORLD.  If you're the discriminating sort who's unhappy with mainstream fragrances and wants something entirely different, this company was made for you.  I've literally spent hours poring over their website, reading all the fantastical descriptions of each scent.  These mini-vignette descriptors are seriously incredible.  A lot of them take cues from literature, with collections of scents inspired by Neil Gaiman (favorite author shoutout!), Alice and Wonderland, Lovecraftian mythology, Shakespeare, and countless others.  The sheer amount of perfumes they offer is mind boggling, not to mention the variety.  Even if you find Lovecraft or Lewis Carroll less than appealing, I guarantee there's at least one scent from Black Phoenix that will make you positively giddy. 

I ordered up Marie from the Diabolus collection, which is described as "a blend of sinuous violet and elegant tea rose: the chosen scent of France's demigoddess of debauch: Marie Antoinette."  Violets and tea roses sounds exactly like a recipe for Eau de Old Lady, but reviews I read about the fragrance kept insisting how complex, dark, and unexpected it is.  I trusted the reviews and am pleasantly thrilled with my purchase!  The scent really is complex, so much more than just violets and roses.  I can't tell what else is in the blend and Black Phoenix doesn't say, but I know that I definitely want to order more from this company.

Luckily, they also sent me two tiny perfume samples at random.  I've got Inferno, "the Dark Side of Fire: cinnamon, bitter almond, and neroli. Heavily spiced, torrid, and possibly conflagrant."  I have no idea what neroli is, but I swear this is like fire in a bottle if only fire smelled like delicious spicy candy.  I'm sure you're thinking, "Who wants to smell like that?!"  It sounds completely weird, but it's surprisingly wearable.  It's sweet then spicy, exotic, mysterious, and downright amazing.  The other sample, Lilium Inter Spinas (literally, lily among thorns) is just as complex but somehow not quite as appealing (though that's really just a matter of personal preference). 

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab now has an actual brick-and-mortar shop in Burbank, CA!  The perfumes are also available for order online and in certain select stores across the U.S.  Although the proprietors warn that shipping will take 14-21 business days, that was simply not the case at all for my order!  I had my Marie perfume within the next week.  Another plus for Black Alchemy: what they sell is actually perfume oil, which is about 70% fragrance.  In comparison, eau de parfums are about 15% fragrance, while eau de toilettes are about 8%.  Not bad for $25 including shipping, hmm?   

Is it just me or do department store perfume counters suddenly seem awfully boring?


  1. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents are amazing. They are also very addictive. I started off with a handful of imps and I now own 33 bottles.

  2. a little friendly tip... as a long time BPAL fan, I wanted to let you know that there *is* a search function on the website, you just have to scroll a little to find it after all the fragrance categories. Good luck. :)

  3. I've noticed the search function, but every single time I've checked it I get sent to a page saying the search function is being revamped :( I have no idea how long it's been like that, I hope it changes soon! But thank you for reminding me that it actually does exist, I appreciate it! I'll fix the entry.

  4. You can also search in the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab--approved forums (or is it fora?). is a user-driven forum but the lab participates and answers questions. And they have a great search feature. My default is to search through the reviews section to read about scents I'm interested in.

  5. They do have a brink and morter store now. They share space with Dark Delicacies in Burbank. You can go and sample most of thier catalog there.

  6. Good to know! Thanks for all the information, I really appreciate it.