A few years back a conversation with a friend turned to scents. Before I knew it she had emptied her purse to reveal an assemblage of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) “imps” or (to the lay person) - samples. Without opening a single one, I was immediately immersed in a swirling cloud of BPAL mystery and intrigue. I began to sniff. Each imp was more amazing than the next, summoning memories or painting pictures of elaborate and fantastical scenes. It’s as if the creators of these evocative scents have attuned their ability to tap into the creative centers of the human brain. It’s quite an experience, and I was immediately hooked.
Give me all of your Halloween fragrances please!
The downside to joining BPAL’s cult following is that these scents are not so easy to get your hands on. BPAL doesn’t operate a full time brick and mortar presence and relies mostly on online sales, convention appearances, and scarce “Will Call” events where fans can sample and purchase new products in person. Furthermore, MANY of their fragrances are extremely limited edition, appearing only for a season or even days at a time. This exclusivity keeps the BPAL community chomping at the bit to get their hands on rare bottles.
I left with a bottle of Hard Cider Cake described as a thick, spongy white cake spiked with hard apple cider and frosted with whiskey-laden buttercream; and a bottle of Table-Turning a heavy, tactile scent that thrums with voices from beyond: black polished teakwood, gullies of ectoplasm, and ghostly white musk.
I had the opportunity to speak with Courtney to get her thoughts on BPAL while at the event:
I adore BPAL for so many reasons. Their creativity, passion, and inspiration are high on the list, but the biggest reason is purely, love. I can feel the love in these fragrances and Will Calls are an opportunity to share the love and the experience in person with each other.
I second Courtney on that! The love in the room was palpable. In the years since I’ve joined the BPAL cult, I’ve begun collecting imps myself. I always have an Altoid tin full of imps in my purse just in case I have the opportunity to share them. (Yes, I’ve turned into my friend) It’s fascinating how BPAL has managed to take something very personal and turn it into something meaningful and social.
Hopefully the Salem event is the beginning of many more Will Call events to come. Salem is a perfect second home for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. We are the epicenter of the strange and mysterious and a safe haven to all who are just a little different.
Do you have a favorite BPAL scent? Are you a newbie who wants to know where to start? Share your stories in the comments below. Also be sure to visit our Facebook page where we’ll keep you up to date on the next Will Call event.
Nosferatu - As soft as grave dust and as dry as a breath drawn within a long forgotten crypt, this is Nosferatu: desiccated herbs and gritty earth brought to life with a swell of robust and sanguineous red wines.
Hellfire - A scent celebrating Sir Francis Dashwood's Order of the Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe, also known as the Hellfire Club. A swirl of pipe tobacco, hot leather, ambergris, dark musk and the lingering incense smoke from their Black Mass.
The Black Rider - Black leather, oppoponax, tobacco, and black amber.
Drakul - Named in honor of Vlad III, Tepes, of the Order of the Dragon. Black musk, tobacco, fir, balsam of peru, cumin, bitter clove, crushed mint, and orange blossom.
Black Forest - This is the captured scent of a cold, moonless night, lost deep within the darkest wood. Haunting and desolate, this scent evokes images of fairy tale tragedy and half-remembered nightmares. Thick, viscous pine with ambergris, black musk, juniper and cypress.