I’ve been collecting for about 3 years now. I call it collecting because at this point, I own more perfume than I could conceivably wear in a lifetime. And yet, I continue buying more! Maybe it’s more of a “problem” than a “collection” at this point?
In addition to boasting over 200 standard catalog scents, inspired by topics ranging from the works of HP Lovecraft to Shakespeare’s plays, holidays are often marked by limited releases. I’m partial to their Halloween (including Dia de los Muertos, a scent inspired by the traditional ofrenda, and my favorite fruity sweet Sugar Skull) and Yule (Baked goods? Lovecraftian sex shops? Why not!) scents. Also of note are their Lupercalia releases around Valentine’s Day, and their anniversary never passes without a new batch of bewitching brews.
Currently, their popular Carnaval Diabolique is live, meaning that buyers can acquire a range of scents inspired by some truly sinister carnival elements. Each perfume listing is accompanied by beautiful prose explaining the meaning behind it, spooky enough to rival Bradbury.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. Their offshoot Black Phoenix Trading Post expands on their offerings, providing body oils, atmosphere sprays, and even my beloved Claw Polishes.
I never really wore perfume before discovering BPAL. Most scents tended to vanish from my skin within moments, and it didn’t seem worth the effort or the expense to find anything that worked. My first BPAL order was a set of imps, little sample ampoules meant for testing purposes. I was hooked as soon as the first perfume, Hell’s Belle, touched my skin. It didn’t fade, or disappear go strange like hairspray. All day long I could catch the heady whiff of sweet, sweet magnolias. Not overpowering, but ever-present. It was exactly what I’d always dreamed of in a perfume. Since then I’ve sampled a lot of BPAL’s works, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to try them all. Some of them, like Gore Shock (burned skin and hot metal) are certainly…not to my tastes. Because of the nature of the products, some scents just aren’t for me – white sandalwood, for example, tends to turn to plastic on my skin, and as much as I love the smell of pumpkin, it doesn’t love me. Them’s the breaks. That doesn’t mean I’m not ready to try!