Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Perfume Oils


137 reviews

72% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$


on 1/26/2015 3:17:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Many of the issues I have with this line have been discussed more in depth by previous reviewers, but let me state them anyway as further information to prospective buyers.

First of all the shipping time is very long. It took eight weeks for an order of 5 samples ("imps") to get to me. I don't have a problem with this inherently and I'm not spoiled enough to expect everything I order over the internet to arrive next day. Still, be warned that the wait will be long.

The prices are very high for the amount of product you're getting. In my opinion, the oils do not have any more lasting power or strength than an EDP. Ounce for ounce, the cost is the same as full-priced designer fragrances. It's actually more expensive than designer fragrances purchased at online discounters. I would be willing to make peace with this if not for the fact that all of the oils smell like they are made of cheap synthetic fragrance oils. I have dabbled in scented candle making and I recognize many of the smells in BPAL from widely available soap and candle scenting oils. Because of this, many of the BPAL perfumes give off a strong Yankee candle vibe to my nose. They're harsh, discordant and off-smelling. It seems like the perfumer is taking oils labeled as individual notes and playing mix-and-match with them according to some half-formed concept and selling them with no regard for the quality of the component scents or the effect of the end product. They do not smell like something I want perfuming my skin. Here are some impressions of individual scents:

Bastet: strong fake cherry in the opening slowly turns to air-freshener vanilla. The longer it is on the skin, the less the harsh, synthetic notes dominate. It ends as thin vanillic musk.
Cathedral: rancid, sawdusty cedar and a confusing foodie smell. More vanilla? This one was a scrubber. It left a musty/sweet smell on my skin for hours. Where is the incense? The cold stone? Poorly blended with insufficient raw materials. It's hard to believe that this costs only slightly less per ounce than CDG Avignon.
Veil: A heady "pastel purple" floral. Not as off-putting as the others, but there is a cloying funeral parlor effect to the heavy florals.
Alice: Like a snickerdoodle scented air freshener. I get no carnation, one of the listed notes, but I do get a lot of cinnamon trying to pass itself off as carnation. I could see how someone might like this as a foodie scent, but it's not to my taste and does not live up to the description

I am extremely disappointed in these oils because the website was so lovely and the descriptions so evocative. They all smell cheap, synthetic and totally out of place on human skin. Overall, they lack the freshness that gives many botanical perfumes their lifelike effect. And why are there so many in the catalog? Quality is suffering for quantity. I really wish that these had fulfilled the promise of well-made, clever indie fragrances but the quality is too poor. I'll take a mass-market perfume blended by a professional over these even if the advertising is more boring and conventional.

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 10/14/2014 1:44:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I own several bottles of scents from BPAL including Kroenen, Miskatonic, Mother Shub's Pecan Treacle Tarts, Whispers of Monstrous Things as well as imps of many fragrances. I love their scents (especially their foodie scents) and the fact that they have so many unique, "non-commercial" scents. I also have allergies and find most traditional perfumes too strong but have had zero issues with these. However, I will readily admit there are a couple daunting things about ordering from this company.

1) Their catalogue is HUGE and can be a overwhelming. There are so many scents it's difficult to wade through them and read through all the descriptions, reviews and suggestions.

2) Even if you read the descriptions it's tough to tell which ones you are going to like because the descriptions are so fanciful that everything sounds fabulous and you can't figure out what the notes in it actually are. It is possible to order samples, but it is an additional hassle.

Overall though I would say if you are looking for something unique and fun then give this company a try.

on 5/18/2014 12:49:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I was briefly into BPAL for about a year, and thats how long it took me to find anything in their line I liked. BPAL is a great lesson in marketing, their website is fascinating and engaging, the practice of LE's, Lunar scents and other marketing ploys work very well. Their actual product? Pretty pedestrian if you ask me. All they have done is created hundreds of scents of a known formula that sells. So they have a large selection of gourmands, large selection of fruity florals and a large selection of spicey orientals. And not one of them is half as nice as a bottle of Body Shop perfume oil.

There are a few things to note before you buy.

1. These are not essential oil blends and therefore natural perfumes. Many notes they list simply do not exist as essential oils and cannot be created by anything except synthetic means. You cannot for example get the scent of a pear or cherry by any means other than using synthetics, there is no mix of essential oils that can ever create that, perfumers for hundreds of years have tried and failed.

2. The sheer number of scents is overwhelming for a reason. Its so you cannot sample their entire line easily and come to the conclusion you do not like what they offer based on the product. It takes the average person months and in some cases a year to find anything in their lineup they enjoy. And in the meantime the website is tempting you ever further into more purchases to find the needle in the haystack. Its actually a fantastic marketing ploy to send you off on a holy grail search through their catalogue and persist even after you've sampled 10,20 maybe even 100 scents you didnt like. The use of psychology there is masterful.

3. When you factor into account that BPAL costs about $4 per ml, it is actually just as expensive to buy as any designer perfume. I did not find these fragrance oils to last any longerr than anything else I may have dabbed on my skin, typically 30mins or so. And when I take into account how much money I wasted testing BPAL products I could have bought 4 designer perfumes for the same money and enjoyed them from the start.

You are probably better off going to a soap supplier and testing bramble berry fragrance oils and buying those. As they will be cheaper to designer perfumes and have a similar characterr to BPAL scents. Better yet, you could buy a synthetic fragrance kit from Perfumers Apprentice and have fun making your own. In all honesty I never found anything in BPALs lineup to suggest the person creating the fragrances had much skill in perfumery. Self taught with a lot of practice? Yes. But a skilled perfumer? No. Most industrial perfumers come up with better scents for shampoos and detergents than what you'll find in BPAL.

22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

on 12/26/2013 6:59:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I'm writing this review so that I can look at it in the future and stop myself from purchasing their samples (imps). It's going to be wordy so the future me will be able to discern the present me's immense disappointment AKA $40 wasted.

I'm a big fan of indie perfume oils- I've spent hundreds on other stores, and as a college part-time waitress making minimum wage, that means a lot! I decided to try BPAL based on a recommendation from an online friend who has 300+ bottles and is a huge B&B junkie. I decided to purchase samples. For reference, I am a gourmand lover, although I also appreciate other scents. I ordered 8 imps, which are an overpriced $4 each and received 2 samples. Shipping was fast (2 days, granted, I live in California and am literally a 6 hour drive from Hollywood where BPAL is located) but pricy ($7).

3 of the oils are a pinkish/red color, almost like juice, and leave faint stains of color on my pale skin. Not a huge problem but I'd still watch your clothes. A lot of the scents start off with a strong, synthetic, Tylenol-cherry type scent, which is a huge turn-off for me. They stay this way for a good while (10-20+ min). The lasting power is also very poor, reminiscent of generic perfumes (1-3 hours on me), and some of them have the lasting power of Bath&Body Works body sprays (30-45 min). By definitions, perfume oils should last longer as they aren't alcohol based- my perfume oils from other brands only need to be applied once to last the whole day. Also, the scents are very, very subtle despite my applying huge puddles of them on my skin. Labels come off with the oil.

O: "Amber and honey with a touch of vanilla." ~> This smells quite nice and promising when first applied, soft and subtle. However, it starts to develop a weird sour floral scent and stays that way. Dud.
Dorian: "A Victorian fougere with three pale musks and dark, sugared vanilla tea." I got this because I adore the book and Oscar Wilde lol. This is actually nice, although it has a subtle lemony scent to it. However, the musks wears off quite quickly and it just becomes sweeter and sweeter vanilla. The only thing that makes me like it despite this con is that it's so weak that it's not overbearing. This is one of two I would consider purchasing the full-sized of, although that's mostly due to its name.
Bastet: "Luxuriant amber, warm Egyptian musk, fierce saffron and soft myrrh, almond, cardamom and golden lotus." Where is the gorgeous warmth?! This is one of the oils that starts off crazy cherry before it turns into a sharp, lemony musk. Imagine if someone took mixed up some random fruity floral perfumes with lemon bathroom cleaner. I love amber & Egyptian musk so this was really disappointing.
Vice: "A deep chocolate scent, with black cherry and orange blossom." Pure artificial, overly sweet black cherry. Again, I don't love cherry scents but I assumed it would be a hint of cherry and orange blossom with a strong sexy dark chocolate note... nope! I got this for the chocolate note, but there's no chocolate in it at all. Another disappointment.
Bliss: "A scent that is very, very wicked in its own way: the serotonin-slathered scent of pure milk chocolate." My favorite. Bliss has one of the best lasting power on me, and it just smells like pure milk chocolate- no cherry, yay! Milk chocolate is my favorite type of chocolate so this is great. Unfortunately, rather than smelling like rich, decadent milk chocolate, it smells like milk chocolate that you got for free last Halloween and haven't eaten- a little old and crusty. I'm still debating whether to get a full bottle of this or not cause I keep sniffing myself regardless! :)
Dana O'Shee: "Offerings of milk, honey and sweet grains" This is my third favorite, only because it's not TERRIBLE. Another one that starts cherry and has nonexistent lasting power.
Snake Oil: "A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla." Idk what exotic Indonesian oils smell like but I'd assume they'd smell generally pleasant and alluring based on the fact this is BPAL's most popular oil! The vanilla here is very, very subtle, as in you have to really try to notice it, although there is a subtle sweet undertone. Instant disappointment. This is the most strong scent of the bunch, which isn't a good thing because it's just so darn pungent and grandma. It lightens up but not by much. If you don't like Chanel no.5, you won't like this.
Ehecatl: "Hibiscus, matcha, white musk, and lime" I got this cause I love matcha and lime but this has neither. Nasty musky floral.
Free samples:
Phobos: "Chilling white musk, lemon verbena, white grapefruit and lemongrass." I was hoping this would be like L'Occitane's Verbena, a fresh citrus that still has a delicacy to it. It smells like lemon bathroom cleaner/those really cheap lemon candies that noone likes.
Scherezade: "Saffron and Middle Eastern spices swirled through sensual red musk." No cherry! To be fair this does smell like spices but there's nothing really sensual about it and it lightens up crazy fast. Can't really give this a fair review because I don't like these types of scents to begin with.

Usually I finish most of my perfume oil samples except the ones I HATE, which I give to friends, but I'm going to throw out all of them except Dorian & Bliss because I can't stand them.

Overall, really disappointed! Am still tempted to buy Dorian (again, for its name) and Bliss, although I think they'e really overpriced for the quality. I think BPAL has amazing product marketing although their site is overwhelming, but their oils are really flat in comparison, not to mention generic, especially when considering their amazing scent descriptions, which a lot of them don't match. I'd say save your $$$ and try out some other shops, or at least if you're like me and still want to try BPAL out, start with the imps.

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 12/8/2013 7:31:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

This perfume company's products are pretty much the worst thing invented for people that have allergies and chemical sensitivity. I have been inadvertently exposed to this stuff over the course of over a year via a coworker with a BPAL obsession, and myself and many other coworkers in this person's airspace complained of strange neurological symptoms and reactions to the scents. For those who enjoy wearing scents, please do us sensitive people a favor and avoid wearing BPAL or any other scents in a space where the folks around you have no choice about the exposure.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Black, Other, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

You either love them or hate them.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Just because something isn't "mainstream" doesn't make it fake, or less than. It's just different, and there's certainly nothing wrong with different. And to be honest, some of the most interesting and nicest scents that I've found have been found in the oddest of places, whether it's the metaphysical shop or head shop. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is one of those little hidden gems, that diamond in the rough so to speak.

For me personally, I like this company. Of the products that I've gotten a chance to try, I have to say that I genuinely like what I have. I think they smell fantastic, and are very fun and daring to wear. I like everything, from the spicy sweetness of Snake Oil, all the way to the fun fruit n' booze combination of Bordello. To me, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab steps outside of the box, and I think that's worked out rather well for them.

Plus, given the fact they have 600+ scents, you're bound to find something that you like, and at $20.00 I think that's a reasonable price. The fact that these scents last so long is just an extra bonus.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 12/1/2012 12:15:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

If this rating was for marketing and copywriting, I'd give BPAL 5 stars. But it's for their perfumes, so they'll get nothing close.

I fell for the BPAL hype for a while, and still own more than my share of little brown bottles (I need to get motivated and sell them to buy real perfume.) Eventually, I realized that the names and stories about the scents were far superior to the scents themselves.

Despite how industrious and hardworking Beth, et al., is, I do not consider it possible to create scents at the rate she does and keep coming up with new ideas. Some of her scents are quite nice, but the majority of the *hundreds* she offers are merely a bunch of perfume oils thrown together, accompanied by very engaging ad copy.

The fangirls are the fiercest of fans, and will cut you low if you stray from their belief that Beth is a genius and perfumer's alcohol is evil incarnate (and the cause of all number of conditions from migraines to dermatitis). I hope they're happy with their [very expensive] little bottles, and someday take the time to educate themselves about the art an science of the "commercial" perfumery they so disdain.

14 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

on 10/15/2011 6:15:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I have been buying from BPAL for many years, but this will be the last time I give this company any more of my money. Now, the perfumes themselves are lovely, and I have found quite a few that work wonderfully with my chemistry, and I enjoy their staying power. What's even better is how the scent of each perfume changes throughout the years, each note within the scent becoming stronger or softer. It's almost like getting a new perfume with each passing year.

It's not the product that is driving me away, in search of other perfume oil providers, it is their sub-par customer service and shipping time. It's gotten worse over the years, and the delivery time has grown twice as long. I am going through the same shipping experience as the MUA reviewer Brujeria5. CCNow states that my order shipped on the 30th of September, yet here we are in mid-October and I have not received anything. I got the same answer from BPAL customer service, blaming it all on CCNow's payment system. These perfume oils are unique, and they do leave a lasting impression on others{there are people that associate me with Haunted, my signature BPAL scent} but it is not worth the hassle you will go through in having these delivered to you in any reasonable amount of time.

13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

on 10/2/2011 8:14:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I have tried and loved so many oils from BPAL that it's hard to pick any favourites. Their perfumes are so richly scented, beautifully blended, and inspired. There is truly a BPAL oil for any mood, season, or occasion.

These days I wear my Chanel or Guerlain perfumes much more often, but I still reach for and enjoy my BPAL blends. I agree with other reviewers that the quality of the blends has gone down the last few years -- and I would recommend any new person to BPAL to stay away from the Limited Editions and stick to the general catalog scents, because they are not only cheaper, but a lot of the time, they are better.

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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