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If I ever pack up suddenly and move to L.A., it will not be to pursue a career in screenwriting, or to stalk Elijah Wood. It will be to beg Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to give me a job.

From their website:
We specialize in formulating intriguing, compelling 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.

Their fragrance-oil blends have names like Embalming Fluid, Snake Oil, Danse Macabre, Tombstone, and Despair - though it should be noted that Embalming Fluid apparently smells like citrus and green tea, not formaldehyde; and Snake Oil, which I actually have a sample of, smells like myrrh and sandalwood and cherries and vanilla, not like reptiles. They also have a line devoted to the 'Alice in Wonderland' characters - Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, The Red Queen, etc. - and another for Shakespeare characters - Queen Mab, Ophelia, Juliet, Rosalind, Iago, and so on - and some for the Tarot card symbols, and some for zodiac signs...in short, enough to keep me in perfume-sample heaven for the next year or so.

I ordered six sample vials last month, and they finally arrived yesterday. (Shipping is slow with these folks - the one drawback.) Though fragrance oils, undiluted by alcohol and fixatives, often smell too hippie-ish for me, these blends are done quite masterfully. Yes, some of them are still more Gothly & earthy than I'd wear on a regular basis, but even those have proved interesting to wear as a sample. I keep sniffing my arms and noting what the scent smells like as it develops - since, as you know, all good fragrances have top notes, drydown notes, and base notes. The two blends so far I like well enough to order bigger bottles of are:

Bliss (from the Bewitching Brews collection): smells exactly like Hershey's Kisses with Almonds, or chocolate pudding, or cocoa. (Sidenote: I had Steve smell it on my arm after I'd been wearing it an hour or so, and he shrugged and said, "Just smells like you." So apparently I smell like chocolate naturally. Not terribly surprised.)

Jolly Roger (also from Bewitching Brews): Arr! They're geniuses, these perfumers. They captured salt air and leather and worn planks and rum, and somehow stuffed it into this teeny little vial. Says it's more a masculine scent, but I'd happily wear it. It just smells clean and exciting on me. Pirates. Yum. But I warn you, if you're tempted to buy some: this is not a genteel, sophisticated, romanticized impression of the salt air and the open sea. This is sharp and resinous and wild and real. It would surely not be for everyone. But if you like the smell of those creaking old ships they let you tour at some ports, where the ocean spray is misting over the decks - or if you want to smell like Will Turner might have (if 'Pirates of the Caribbean' had been anything remotely resembling reality) - then I recommend giving it a try.

At $3 for a sample vial (which they call "Imp's Ears"), you can't go wrong.

P.S. Unrelated movie recommendation: Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis Presley battles a mummy, and it's actually GOOD. Hilarious and well-acted. Full marks for both originality and execution.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)
oooo....Jolly Roger!!! I'll hve to get that, plus a cocked hat, make a naval dress coat, order up a boiled baby and soused hogs face, a plate with some biscuits and weevils and wrap myself up in that scent...

Thanks for the link!!
Aug. 9th, 2004 10:37 am (UTC)
No problem! I had the feeling it might appeal to M&C fangirls too. :D
Aug. 8th, 2004 04:42 pm (UTC)

I shall have to try Jolly Roger... and Red Queen and... Greed and-

Oh my, I think I hear Kevon damning you in the background. :P
Aug. 9th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC)
Hehe. Apologize to him for me. Steve's also getting a little tired of me sticking my wrist under his nose and saying "What about this one?"

I'm not throwing out the Theorema anytime soon, but for days when I want to play about with "interesting" scents, and "encapsulate allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences" (which sounds really pretentious, but actually that's a good description of what they do, I'd say so far), these are huge fun.

And there's just so many of them. Wow.
Aug. 8th, 2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
P.S. Unrelated movie recommendation: Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis Presley battles a mummy, and it's actually GOOD. Hilarious and well-acted. Full marks for both originality and execution.

Can't forget the Bruce Campbell factor. I loved this movie. Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis were awesome and the movie was funny and creepy and camp all at the same time. I second that recommendation. :)
Aug. 9th, 2004 10:46 am (UTC)
Best Elvis impersonator EVER. My husband and I were in agreement that Bruce should've gotten an Oscar for it. And so should Ossie (JFK...hehee!). And the screenwriters. And the whole film really. :D
Aug. 8th, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness!!!! You are going to make me poor! :-D Thank you for the recommendation, it sounds like such a delightful site. :-)
Aug. 9th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
I know, I have to hold myself back from ordering 24 samples at a time. Want to smell them all! But just reading their descriptions is delicious. Hope you find something you like, if you do order. Let us know what it is!
Aug. 13th, 2004 10:49 am (UTC)
Will do, hon! Thank you again. :-) *hugs* <3
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )