First (since some people asked before), BPAL = Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, who make hand-mixed perfume oils in gothic/dark-fantasy themes. (Also various oils intended for ritual use.) They're sort of a mini-nonfandom-fandom on LJ (and off), with folks collecting, trading, decanting & reselling, etc. It's a pricey kind of fandom to fall into, with the samples (1/32 oz. vials known as 'imps') themselves running $16.00 for a six-vial set, and the full-size bottles of each scent varying between 12 to 16 dollars each, but the draw here is that when they're 'bad,' it seems to be just a matter of taste/body-chemistry, and when they're good, they're really, really good.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: this smells like fresh-baked brownies. It makes me want to eat my own skin. In a good way, if such a thing exists. It also, unfortunately, disappears into my skin rapidly. At least to me; maeyan swore she could smell it in the car for a long time after I'd completely lost the ability to detect it. Despite this factor, or maybe because of it, it's going to be the first BPAL scent I purchase a full-size bottle of, because I love it that much.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: sadly, my initial impression of this hasn't changed, except that on my skin vs. just out of the bottle, the scent goes from 'strawberry incense' to 'strawberry car air freshener.' I really, really wanted to love it, but no. Scent lasts longer than Bliss on me, because the gods like to laugh at me that way.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: This is one where my initial impression is totally turned around, due to the trying it on my own skin thing. Initially, in the bottle/on the tester, the smell is very strong and somewhat minty-weird. On (my) skin, it goes (after a few seconds of drying) almost immediately to pure anise. AKA the scent of black licorice. Which I love. (Are we getting the impression that I like foody smells? We are not wrong.) It's still a very strong scent, and not one I'm so crazy head over heels for that I'm ready to order a bottle, but I enjoy it a lot. This one has some decent staying power in terms of (me) still being able to smell it on me a few hours later.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: Wow, do I not smell chocolate in this, at all. Other than that, hasn't changed much from my initial impression. It's sweet (in a candy way, not a flower way) and a little odd (recall that I'm not good at identifying scents beyond one major one and general categories like 'flower' 'citrus' 'mint' etc.) and I like it both in the bottle and on my skin. Fades pretty quickly, though not as fast as Bliss.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: Sweet in the bottle; I can just about pull 'dark (but not black)cherry' from the scent. On my skin, however, it goes to a sort of baby powder scent when it dries. Which is not an unpleasant scent to give off to others, but I'm not a fan of powder scents; even powder-scented deodorants set off a psychosomatic version of my sneezy-watery-eyes reaction to real baby/perfumed powder being in the air. This isn't as extreme as that; it just dries to a scent that I'm mostly neutral on.
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: This one is still closer to what I think of as "Wow, perfume" when I open the vial, and even on me, it's very strong. Howeve, it dries to something I can handle - not a 'bad' perfume scent; it mixes well with my skin chemistry. (Like with baby powder, I have issues with 'PERFUME!' smells, in this case because my mother used to think it would be a good idea to wait until we got three of us into a non-air-conditioned car, and then over-apply whatever her spray-cologne of the day was. Strong perfumey scents give me a headache to begin with; that experience pushed it into PTSD territory.) Quite long-lasting. I wouldn't order a bottle of it, but I'll probably use up the imp. Slowly.
Marquise de Mertuil
Catalog description and other people's reviews. And I say: This was my freebie; I didn't order it, they added it as an extra in the shipment. I... wouldn't have ordered it. Anything with 'bouquet of...florals' in the description is pretty much a giveaway that it won't be for me - florals give me headaches, and you can probably take 'perfumey' to equal 'unidentifed flower scent' most of the time. Very strong with the perfumeyness, not getting the advertised peach at all, and doesn't appeal as much as Crossroads when dried on my skin, though happily it's not all that strong when dried on my skin either. (Also, unfairly, I tried it while still wearing Absinthe, though in a different spot. I think that's actually working in the other scent's favor, though.) I suspect it would be headache-inducing if I wore it for long or in larger amounts than a single wrist-test.
Generic BPAL thoughts
Want more Bliss now, esp as there's about three drops left of my imp. Though I probably can't afford to order it until October, due to saving funds for Canada trip at the end of this month. Want to try Sugar Skull and/or Dia de Los Muertos (nervous about that one, though, as it seems to mix food scents with possibly planty ones), though I don't know if I want to try them $16.00 worth, since they're both Limited Edition scents - no samples. Other than that... more foody stuff will likely be my next set of imps.