I've come to realize that several of my friends and readers are as of yet unfamiliar with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. This is an omission I feel compelled to remedy at once. Theirs is an art of humor, sophistication and mystery. It truly is a thinking person's perfumery.
Recently, the virtuosic minds of BPAL conjured a series of scents based on Jim Jarmusch’s film and soundtrack, Only Lovers Left Alive. I indulged rather wildly in this limited collection as it is, even considering my long-time love of The Lab, among the finest I have ever experienced. Here are my personal impressions of several OLLA fragrances...
* In the bottle it is flawlessly loyal to its description. Contemporary, sophisticated and tasteful. For me it conjures images of a stylish and well-traveled woman taking solitary tea on her palatial veranda.
* A few minutes on the skin, it has brightened considerably. Sunlight and champagne with the sway of little flowers on the lawn.
* It softens over time, drying down with gentle sweetness that is distinctly floral without being at all cloying.
* In the bottle it is deep, rich and luxuriant. My mind is filled with images of mink and sable in candlelight. Subdued spice with soothing sweetness. It draws me into a state of utter calm.
* A few minutes on the skin … oh my! Deepening into an incense-swirled boudoir appointed with the finest silks.
* The final breath is the most delicate spun sugar and feather-light vanilla creme.
* In the bottle it is simply exquisite. Soft sandalwood with a deep, penetrating core of maple and almond and a high, spiking note of cinnamon.
* A few minutes on the skin, warm spice cake emerges and the sandalwood reveals its sharpness. They somehow coexist beautifully.
* Over time, it calms and dries into dusty wood and sweet resins smouldering.
FUNNEL OF LOVE
* In the bottle it is a dimly-lit speakeasy in a strange city and a strong hit of whatever the bartender gave you. The kind of darkness that makes your eyes open wide, anticipating something sinister but, not altogether unwelcome.
* A few minutes on the skin, your eyes adjust to the gloom and linger on the smooth grain of old wooden walls. Dust curls around sweet tobacco smoke in a languid, intimate dance.
* It dries down to reveal an ancient and sacred space, the walls of what was once a temple carved in teak and sandalwood.
SPOOKY ACTION AT A DISTANCE
* In the bottle it is a soft variation on the classic rose. Comforting and evocative of peaceful memories, it has the poise and presence of nobility without a hint of pretense.
* A few minutes on the skin, it grows somehow younger and more fresh. A hint of green emerges and I imagine the rosebud closing, spiraling tightly to a sharp point.
* It culminates in pale, luminescent night blossoms of the utmost subtlety.
THE DIAMOND’S GONG
* In the bottle it is piercing and otherworldly. Ultraviolet light shattered into vivid candy colors and laughter in a thousand facets.
* A few minutes on the skin, the clean white musk steps forward and smooths the blend. It coalesces into perfect, icy clarity. A bright, elevated and glistening floral.
* Over time, it settles back down into rich purple, velvety sweetness. Smiling, unabashed indulgence.
IN TEMPLUM DEI
* In the bottle: Exotic spice suspended in amber. A luxuriant incense smouldering at the feet of an ebony goddess and spiraling skyward.
* On the skin: The flames of votives quiver behind golden glass. Something primal moves beneath the sacred ground. A predator amid the altars.
* Dry down: Quintessence of frankincense and myrrh. Purest resins held aloft in shining censers. The scent of piety and virtue over lascivious rite.
OUR HEARTS CONDEMN US
* In the bottle: Dark and dry, sweetly resinous, the viscous remnant of precious attars clinging to a crystal vial secreted away in a centuries-old cedar chest.
* On the skin: The wood sharpens and a fine curl of dust sparkles in the sunlight that breaks though the attic window. A subtle and noble masculinity abides in soft leather.
* Dry down: A well-worn writing desk beset with dry quills. Lingering sighs over parchment love letters, creased and brittle with time.
* In the bottle: Two facets of a roughly-hewn jewel. One is distinctly terrestrial, bearing a certain animal gravity. The other is celestial, a translucent and spectral veil.
* On the skin: Smooth, pearlescent musk unites these opposing aspects. What emerges is decidedly human, the warm sensuality of skin on skin.
* Dry down: Imperial iris stands in a slender crystal vase as lovers entwine in a silken bath. Petals are strewn across the surface of the water.
There are many more that you may peruse at your leisure. I'm confident they'll seduce you as completely as they have me.
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