Sorry for the belated (almost wrote “bleated”!) posting, but the massive cold front sweeping through has left me feeling slightly… icky, I suppose is the only word for it. In lieu of posting about work – which has been slightly lagging due to laundry concerns and a pressing need to finish Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry – I’m going to endorse one of my favorite sites/shops on the web:
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
I am not someone who wears perfume regularly, and until I found this site, I wasn’t someone who really cared that much for scents – the overwhelming experience of walking through a department store perfumery at a young age must have traumatized me. However, the description on their home page says it all:
“Welcome to the Lab! We specialize in formulating body and household blends with a dark, romantic Gothic tone. Our scents run the aesthetic gamut of magickal, pagan and mythological blends, Renaissance, Medieval and Victorian formulas, and horror / Gothic-themed scents. By utilizing our knowledge of homeopathy and aromatherapy, the conceptual theories of hermetic alchemy, and the aesthetic artistry of perfumery, we have mastered the art of encapsulating allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences”
Gothic toned scents. “How is that even possible?” you might ask… just take for example this scent description -
A brace of loaded pistols
He carried night and day;
He never robbed a poor man
Upon the king’s highway;
But what he’d taken from the rich,
Like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it
With the widow in distress.
Stand and deliver! Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather.
A decadent, deep perfume, lusty and luxuriant. The scent evokes images of velvet-lined Old West cathouses, tightly laced corsets, rustling petticoats and coquettish snarls of pleasure.
Bawdy plum with amaretto, burgundy wine and black currant.
Or even perhaps…
VICOMTE de VALMONT
I promised her my eternal love, and I actually thought that for a couple of hours.
Rake, scoundrel, demon in a frock coat. Devilishly seductive, ultimately tragic; a villain undone and redeemed by love.
Based on an 18th century gentlemen’s cologne: ambergris, white musk, white sandalwood, Spanish Moss, orange blossom, three mints, jasmine, rose geranium and a spike of rosemary.
With scents inspired by gods and goddesses, famous literary characters, the Seven Deadly Sins, comic book heroes and villains, as well as ancient funerary rites, Victorian flower lore, and fantastical lands, the website is as much fun to tour and read and the scents are to experiment with! They have a fantastic search engine that allows to you find all the perfumes that feature a particular smell you are in love with (i.e. honeysuckle, amber, pine, LEATHER,…) and you can purchase trial sizes of the scent for a fraction of the price – they’re called Imp’s Ears. I highly recommend this as certain scents change with body chemistry, I tried a few that I thought I’d love but found that after two hours they had turned into something that was NOT me at all.
My personal favorite so far is EDEN – it’s the perfume I wore at my wedding and for all of our honeymoon.
At the center of the Garden of Eden stands the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Though modern interpretations of the Bible claim that it was an apple that the Serpent of the Tree offered to Eve, it is widely believed that the true Fruit of True Knowledge was, in fact, a fig. This oil contains the innocence of the Garden, coupled with the Truth and Erudition found in the fruit of the Tree of Evil: fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood.
It comes from a very accessible line of perfumes called “Wanderlust” that are all inspired by places, imaginary or otherwise. For those who are not so into reading quotes from medieval poetry or referencing seminal S&M literature with their perfumes, I recommend this line.
Beautiful bottles with names and inspiration to bring out the dark artist in all of us… these things make me happy when days aren’t going so well. Check out their site, if you don’t find yourself browsing the pages longingly, I’ll be very surprised.
(All images come directly from the Black Phoenix Alchemy website)