Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Villain

Villain is one of my holy grails. It’s a clean, herbal fragrance that doesn’t overdo the green or herbal. It’s clean and semi-masculine. Like a really well-behaved aftershave or a white starched shirt. Villain

In Bottle: First thing I smell is a sharp clean white musk with a hint of lavender and lilac floating in the background.

Applied: The citrus comes up faster than the white musk on my skin. It sort of blasts itself into the beginning and settles down as it lets the lighter lavender note come up. I know lavender is polarizing. Too much of it and a fragrance stinks, but use just enough and it adds a bit of much-appreciated personality to the scent. Villain has enough lavender to detect, not enough to make eyes water. The lavender is also toned down by a more predominant lilac note that works incredibly well with the clean white musk. Villain’s lavender evolves into a stronger player as the fragrance ages on me, but it never gets to the point where it overpowers the rest of the scent. Put all this together and you get a clean, semi-aromatic fragrance that makes me think masculine, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this if you’re a woman.

Extra: Villain is described by BPAL as a Victorian lavender fougere.

Design: Villain is designed like all other 5ml bottles from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. It’s set in amber glass with a plastic screwtop. The label on the bottle displays the fragrance’s name and fragrance house.

Fragrance Family: Clean Aromatic

Notes: Lime, lavender, citrus, lilac, musk.

Just realized that it’s been a long time since I lumped a fragrance in the aromatic category. Anyway, Villain is one of the better lavenders I’ve smelled, but I tend toward sissy lavenders!

Reviewed in This Post: Villain, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Tamora

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Tamora seems to me like it should smell like a warm fruity floral with a bit of woodsiness. But what I get is an interesting blend of peaches and woods instead. Tamora

In Bottle: Woodsy florals with the heliotrope being a dominant note followed by the dry sandalwood and a touch of flowery peach. There’s a bit of warmth and amber to this too.

Applied: Like with a lot of BPALs I get a collection of scents from the get go that doesn’t follow a traditional fragrance pyramid. So I can tell you there’s strong peach in this and a dominant sandalwood on my skin and to my nose along with a sweet note that hangs out during the entirety of the scent. Heliotrope makes a wavering effort to be noticed here and there but the real stars are the sandalwood and peach team to me. The amber lends a nice warmth to the fragrance that comes in rather quickly and hangs around for a nice while. The vanilla in the fragrance isn’t detectable on me until the sandalwood calms down a bit and once I smell the vanilla, it is an interesting powdery vanilla treatment with a slight hint of dirtiness thrown in there. Very interesting, though not to my tastes, this is a little fun romp through an unconventionally built fruity woodsy scent.

Extra: Tamora is a member of the Illyria line from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Its name was based on a character of the same name from the Shakespearean play, Titus Andronicus. Tamora was the Queen of the Goths. Which I just find is delightfully hilarious.

Design: Tamora is bottled in much the same shape and style as older style Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab bottles. You’ll note the bottle pictured in this post differs from the usual. This bottling style with the blue glass was abandoned in favor of the newer bottles with the amber glass. I can’t positively date this particular bottle of Tamora but if I were to hazard a guess, it’d be pre-2006 but I can’t be 100% sure. If anyone can positively date the bottle pictured above, I would be grateful.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Woodsy

Notes: Amber, heliotrope, golden sandalwood, peach blossom, vanilla bean.

I’m actually not a big fan of Tamora because I feel the sandalwood was a bit too overpowering. Still Tamora’s a nice peachy scent with an interesting mix of sandalwood thrown in there.

Reviewed in This Post: Tamora, ~2006, 5ml Bottle.


BPAL Kitsune-Tsuki

Kitsune-Tsuki has multiple personalities on me. On some days, she’s a pretty, plummy, fruity jasmine fragrance. On other days, she’s a dried prune scent with a deep resiny quality to her. But what she lacks in consistency she makes up for in entertainment. Kitsune Tsuki

In Bottle: Clean and musky playing with the usually rich, pulpy plum note. Very prominently fruity up top, sweet with a dash of sharp white musk.

Applied: Plum flares up, it’s the first thing I smell. It’s sweet and rich and decadent as it evolves into a pretty sheer jasmine plum fruity floral with a clear note of clean, sharp, white musk. What Kitsune-Tsuki smells like in the bottle is pretty much how she smells on me upon initial application. As she ages, the plum fragrance deepens, edging out some of the florals while the white musk at the base of this fragrance hovers around, cleaning up the scent. The longer Kitsune-Tsuki is left to age on me, the more it starts to dry and smell raisin-like. Some days this raisin scent is sweet and clean with a candy-like dusting of sweetness. Other days it becomes a prune, dry and mealy and a bit disturbing. Whatever its progression, and whatever is wrong with my skin chemistry some days, Kitsune-Tsuki is a pleasant, light plum fragrance.

Extra: Kitsune-Tsuki, according to Black Phoenix Alchemy’s website is named after the female Japanese spirits, possessed by fox spirits who commit mischief.

Design: Bottled in the same way as every other Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs fragrance. It’s bottled in a 5ml amber glass bottle with a black screw on cap. The label displays the name of the fragrance and the perfume house.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Plum, orchid, daffodil, jasmine, white musk.

Some days I can’t tell if I love Kitsune-Tsuki’s unpredictable progression, and most days I wonder if I’m brave enough to test which way it’ll go. So while I don’t wear her as often as I’d like, she makes for a fine conversation piece nonetheless. You can purchase Kitsune-Tsuki from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs website. She is found under the category, “Diabolus“.

Reviewed in This Post: Kitsune-Tsuki, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


BPAL: Sea of Glass

Having been knocked out of the game by a cold for a while, I was sad not to be able to do very many reviews of Black Phoenix’s fragrances. I always go back to BPAL for a simple smell adventure. The fragrances might not be complex in make and mode, but they are lovely things to test and train a nose. Useless said nose is congested. So I was happy to get over this blasted virus and get back to smelling. Nothing quite like the sinus clearing Sea of Glass to harken me back to health. Sea of Glass

In Bottle: Sea of Glass is just what its name implies. It is an aquatic, sharp and strong and slightly stinging as it rockets up the nose like taking in a breath just as your head goes underwater. It settles in the nostrils and declares itself aquatic queen of the land but the queen’s got some tricks up her sleeve too.

Applied: Blast of aquatics that will remain a steady theme throughout the fragrance’s lifespan. As Sea of Glass ages on the skin some more notes come up out of the foam and I get a faint whiff of light white florals dancing on the water with a gentle blend of sweet mandarin citrus and a kick of green. Sea of Glass reminds me of the color emerald and what that should smell like. Crisp, clear, and sharply clean. It has an aquatic edge to it with a subtle floral interpretation in the mid-stage. The dry down sees the fading of the aquatics and a bit more white floral representation with a sweetness that helps to smooth out the fragrance a little bit.

Extra: I’ve had people liken Sea of Glass to a number of other aquatics based fragrances before. It’s been compared to Acqua di Gio on more than one occasion of which I have to disagree. Acqua di Gio has more of a sweetness to it as well as a more predominant woodsy quality. Sea of Glass is a clearer aquatic with a floral heart.

Design: Bottled in the same way as other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab general catalog scents. It is presented in an amber colored glass bottle with a screw on cap that holds approximately 5ml of perfume oil.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: Aqua, mandarin, white florals, green notes.

No notes listed with this one so I took my best guess at it. Sea of Glass is a nicely interesting aquatic based scent such as Bleu de Chanel. If you love that kind of stuff, give this one a try.

Reviewed in This Post: Sea of Glass, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Stinky

Stinky is the scent whose name invokes the spirit of dogs everywhere. At one point in almost every dog’s life he or she has been stinky but Stinky by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab smells like everything but dogs. Stinky

In Bottle: Sweet and stinky honey layered over soap and powder. Smells a lot better than I make it sound. For one thing, the honey is a well blended matter as if it’s a honeyed bar of soap resting next to a pot of fluffy white powder.

Applied: The honey is the first thing that I smell, it gets a bit sharp on the initial application before it mellows out a little as the scent ages on me. But for the first hour or so, it smells like warm, sticky honey with a clean background. As Stinky ages, the clean background of soap and powder comes up a bit more and the honey takes a few steps back. It will remain present as the fragrance continues to age and starts to fade with the soapy smell going away the quickest, leaving a powdered, warm and sticky honey type of scent lingering until it all dissolves into nothing. Think honey-scented powder and you’ve got Stinky.

Extra: Stinky was released in 2009 in and around the summer months as a celebration of mud-covered and mischievous dogs. In particular, the dog featured on the label.

Design: Stinky is bottled in much the same way as other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrances. Held in an amber apothecary bottle, Stinky sports a cute Limited Edition label with a photograph of the dog which inspired this scent.

Fragrance Family: Clean Gourmand

Notes: milk, white honey, baby powder.

Leave it to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to come up with a fragrance that pretty much defies any sort of fragrance family.

Reviewed in This Post: Stinky, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


BPAL Milk Chocolate and Green Tea Truffle

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle is as much of a mouthful as it is a noseful. It’s a wonderfully rich blend of matcha, sweetness, and chocolate. Smells so good I’m almost tempted to taste it.¬†Truffle Green Tea

In Bottle: Strong cocoa and milky note with the bitter astringency of matcha layered in the background. The cocoa in this tips a bit more toward powder in the bottle and doesn’t smell like a heck of a whole lot of foodiness.

Applied: Where Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle shines is upon application. The cocoa note turns into a much better and much more convincing chocolate when you actually put this on. It warms up, smooths out and gains a creamy texture smelling like very convincing chocolate. The matcha is still lending a bit of its bitterness but it has that nice grassy, sweet and dessert-like quality to it too making this seem almost edible on the skin. The bitterness in the matcha is giving this fragrance is a nice kick toward dark chocolate too and this scent will remain fairly linear though you will lose the grassiness as it ages on the skin.

Extra: Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle contains a cocoa note in it. Like many of BPAL’s cocoa note contained fragrances, you may experience oil separation. If you notice your fragrance isn’t smelling as nice as it should, or smells a bit off, put the cap on, secure it tightly and roll the bottle or imp (sample vial) on its side between your hands for approximately five minutes to re-blend everything. Remember to roll. Don’t shake. Shaking may cause the oils to break down.

Design: Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle is bottled in much the same way as other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrances. Held in an amber apothecary bottle, Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle  sports a limited edition label of a drawn, and quite delicious looking, chocolate.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: cocoa, matcha green tea, ganache.

Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle was released in 2010 as a part of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Lupercalia event.

Reviewed in This Post: Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


BPAL: Butter Rum Cookie

There’s people who can you hook you up at Sephora with a fragrance that smells a little bit like a cookie. And then there’s Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab who can hook you up with a fragrance that smells exactly like a cookie. And what a specific cookie! Butter Rum Cookie

In Bottle: Butter rum cookie smells exactly like its name. It’s not pulling any stops on you, it’s not pretending its something it isn’t, it’s just boozy, sweet cookies.

Applied: First thing’s first, the butter rum cookie you smell in the bottle will be what you smell on your skin when you put this on. It’s a really nice, very well done blend of sweet, pastry, and rum. I smell the rum first on application but the note is so fleeting that it’s gone on me in a few minutes. The rest of the time is occupied by a lightly toasted, very rich cookie note. There’s a very subtle spiciness to this that lingers in the background but for the most part, you’ll get the full deal in the first few minutes with a drop off on the rum and hours and hours of cookie-smelling fun until it all fades into what I can only describe as a lightly floured pan scent.

Extra: This fragrance was released in 2008 as a part of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Yule season releases.

Design: Butter Rum Cookie is a limited edition fragrance bottled in the standard amber tinted 5ml glass bottle. It has a special label with its name written on it.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Rum, butter note, cookie note, sugar, almond, orange rind.

Butter Rum Cookie was one of my first stepping stones to BPAL. I had a small decant of it in a 1ml vial and after a series of disappointing scents, I was happy to have discovered this. Remember that I came from a background where perfumes were heady and oriental. It shocked me to smell something that was so literal. While the novelty of it has worn off because I’ve since smelled so many other cookie-based fragrances that smell extremely similar to this, I’ll always have that one moment when I said, “Whoa! This smells exactly like a butter rum cookie!”

Reviewed in This Post: Butter Rum Cookie, 2008, 5ml.


BPAL: Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s chocolate scents are hit and miss for me. The white chocolates are always misses, as the white chocolate note tends to veer toward milk and heavy cream territory with a faint waft of plastic. Milk chocolate is a rich, sweet, buttery note that can get to be a bit too much. But dark chocolate is the magical medium where sweetness and cocoa mix to form a fantastic balance. Truffle Key Lime

In Bottle: Keylimes! There is a very slight difference between a keylime and a regular lime. Keylimes, to me, are sweeter smelling and have a cleaner, crisper citrus kick to them. In Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle, the first and only thing I can smell in the bottle are the keylimes and I am okay with that.

Applied: Smelling keylimes always makes me happy. It reminds me of the tropics, most notably, Florida. BPAL did a good job with this note but I’m wondering where the dark chocolate is. A few more minutes in and I finally get faint wafts of cocoa, a hint of sweetness, and a pleasant creamy texture that lends well with Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle’s gourmand profile. The dark chocolate is a bit fleeting though as it disappears in under an hour and takes the keylime with it leaving me smelling a bit like sweetened milk.

Extra: Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle was a part of the 2010 chocolate collection from BPAL. The other chocolates in this collection include, Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Truffle, White Chocolate Black Raspberry and Apricot Cordial Truffle, Dark Chocolate Whiskey and Cognac Truffle, and Milk Chocolate Coconut Cardamom Rum and Ginger Truffle.

Design: Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle is contained in a 5ml amber glass bottle with a plastic top. It has a limited edition label with the house name and fragrance name on it.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Cocoa, keylime, sugar, cream.

Reviewed in This Post: Dark Chocolate Keylime Truffle 2010, 5ml.


BPAL Embalming Fluid

Embalming Fluid, despite its name, is actually quite pleasant. It’s a nice, green summer scent that’s got a good bit of refreshing bite to it that makes it perfect for warm weather. The heart of the fragrance is one of my favorite notes; green tea. Embalming Fluid

In Bottle: Green tea and lemon. Embalming Fluid isn’t high on the complexity meter but it’s a lovely mixture of two notes that go very well together when I smell this in the bottle.

Applied: Green tea amps up immediately and remains with me as the lemon comes rushing in afterward. There’s a slight sweetness to this too that helps soothe the very sharp lemon and tea scents. It mellows them out a little as the fragrance approaches mid-stage where, honestly, it does very little changing. I could be happy wearing this though and so would anyone else if they were a green tea note fan. The dry down gets a bit more interesting as the muskiness comes up for the final curtain but Embalming Fluid is a pretty easy and simple fragrance to love.

Extra: Embalming Fluid is one of those misunderstood fragrances with a name that could turn people away. Give it a chance though if you’re looking for a light, green, fresh summery scent.

Design: Bottled the same way other general catalogs scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are.

Fragrance Family: Fresh

Notes: White musk, green tea, aloe, lemon.

The green tea note in Embalming Fluid is quite good. It’s very reminiscent of Creative Universe’s Te, except much simpler and lasts quite a bit longer.

Reviewed in This Post: Embalming Fluid, 2009, 5ml Bottle.


BPAL Aizen-Myoo

Aizen-Myoo is like a flowery grapefruit scent that’s nice and pleasant if you need a spring or summer scent. It has a clean, green feel to it that makes it highly appropriate for inoffensive wear at the office or at school. It’s just a lovely, light, citrus fragrance that does not overdo it on the citrus side. Aizen Myoo

In Bottle: Grapefruit, something slightly sweet and a bouquet of beautiful white flowers. I love the way Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab uses white florals. It’s fantastic in many cases and really gives the fragrance that clean, airy feel without being too heavy.

Applied: Very strong initial grapefruit scent. This is actually yuzu I should be smelling in which a real yuzu has a slightly less astringent scent to it. It smells greener, not as sharp, in other words. But for simplicity’s sake, Aizen-Myoo opens with powerful grapefruits. The black tea comes up after the grapefruit calms down a bit, adding in that nice, dense, tea scent to the fragrance. The cherry blossoms round off the fragrance, making things pleasant and light. The citrus notes in this are front and center. Most of what I get is grapefruit but there’s a sweetness in there lent from the kaki as well. The cherry blossom and kaki do good work preventing the citrus from becoming too much.

Extra: Mikan is referring to the satsuma fruit, a citrus that bears an outer resemblance to a mandarin or orange. It is seedless and edible. Kaki is referring to a type of persimmon.

Design: Aizen-Myoo is bottled in the same way as other general catalog scents from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

Fragrance Family: Citrus

Notes: Yuzu, kaki, mikan, cherry blossom, black tea.

Aizen-Myoo is just a pleasant exercise in simple but nice. The black tea note in this fragrance is one of the more prominent of BPAL’s offerings.

Reviewed in This Post: Aizen-Myoo, 2009, 5ml Bottle.