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03 September 2008 @ 11:40 pm
BPAL for sale, in case any flisters are interested  
I've got LE bottles and imps for sale, as well as a bottle of O. Comment here if you're interested, unless you're a member of sinandsalvation, in which case you can comment over there if you want. :)
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Miss Sophia: Writing with Quillmiss_sophia on September 5th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
BPAL is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and it's a small online company that sells gothic/pagan/Victorian/literature/mythology-inspired perfume oil blends (wikipedia entry for it here!). Because the oils don't have alcohol, the scents often morph and change as they dry, and because skin chemistries differ, a particular scent may smell different on one person's skin than another's.

My RPG friends were always talking about BPAL, and I kept saying, "It's just perfume, I don't get it!", until I met up with one of them and tried some. The scents are like nothing you'd get at a perfume counter in a department store. They're very natural, and a lot of them are extremely unique. For example, there are scents that smell like fresh-cut roses (not like rose soap or powdery rose, but literally a bouquet of young, fresh, red roses -- you know, with that green sort of smell from the stems), chocolate, red velvet cake with bourbon blackberry buttercream (it really does smell like this!), grapefruit and tea, pumpkin, apple cider, grass, dandelions, and cotton candy with funnel cake. And there are all sorts of other scents; these are just some of my favorites. If you like patchouli, myrrh, resins, incense, dirt, smoke, beer, flowers, fruit, etc., there are a bazillion scents for you! I was blown away by the naturalness and the variety of the scents, especially the way BPAL blends together a whole bunch of different notes in a single scent; it's like that whole thing about women liking a variety of shoes in that you end up collecting a whole lot of different scents so you can smell different every day.

It gets very addictive, though -- you start collecting scents, and then before you know it, you've got tons of little vials in plastic bags and tupperwares full of bottles, so then you go out and buy special boxes and tea chests to put all the stuff in.... But I enjoy it, so I just treat it as a hobby.

It's sort of big on LJ in that a number of people here collect and wear BPAL, but the biggest community is on the BPAL forums. If you join, you get to view a lot more of what's there, including places to chat about a variety of topics. I don't really hang out there, but I do frequent the forums for the reviews, which are the main part of the site anyway. That's where people describe their impressions of the scents, so it's where you can read not just a description of the various notes in the scent, but what people thought of it and how it smelled on them. For example, the reviews of the red velvet cake scent are here, the reviews of the fresh-cut roses scent are here, the reviews for Dorian (one of BPAL's most popular scents, and one of my all-time favorites -- the description is "a Victorian fougere with three pale musks and dark, sugared vanilla tea") are here, and the reviews for Mr. Nancy ("Sugar cookies with bay rum, tobacco, and lime") are here. I use the reviews to help me decide whether I want to buy a particular scent or not.

Another cool thing is that there's a huge secondhand market for BPAL, so there's not a whole lot of risk in buying stuff without trying it out first. You can buy small quantities (like the sample vials) and then sell or swap them fairly easily via LJ and other places.

There are also a couple of brick-and-mortar places that sell BPAL once a month (at the full moon), and one of them is in Hershey, PA, so I've been up there a few times to sniff their testers and load up on stuff (especially limited-edition scents, which are available only for short amounts of time, unless you get them later on the secondhand market). If you're curious enough and aren't too squeamish about meeting up with Internet folks in person, I'd be glad to let you have a look at my collection sometime -- but if not, no offense taken, of course! :)
The Cee Monstersagacious_c on September 7th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Nope, not squeamish! But I don't think I'm interested enough in the scents/perfume oil world to get into all the BPAL stuff... I was just curious what it was, and your explanation is excellent. I had the feeling I was seeing the edges of a sub-culture, and your description confirms that. Funny: I just saw a movie about wine last night (Bottle Shock) so I'm in this mode of being amazed at how words can be used to describe odors and tastes -- and your descriptions are just as evocative as the script for the movie. :D Impressive!