Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

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Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:41 pm


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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:41 pm

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aikoekadan wrote:I've been buying BPAL perfume for years now and I have to say they're one of my favorite companies ever. They have fabulous customer service and their scents are absolutely amazing. There's something out there for everyone. I never wore perfume before discovering them, but they won me over. Probably my favorite thing is the fact that their perfume is good for... well, as far as I can tell, forever. Most scents fade or change after a couple years, but I have a sample vial from them that I've had for 9 years and it still smells the same as it did the day I got it.

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by Seashells15 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:53 pm

BPAL is like the bad relationship I just can't leave. I was very lucky to receive a bunch of BPAL samples in a swap so I've tried a few dozen of them at this point. They're the biggest, most well-known (I believe), most overwhelmingly comprehensive indie perfumer I know and... nothing they make works on me. They use a particular kind of amber that turns into a peanut scent on my skin. I read someone else describing BPALs as always smelling like the morning after a night at a goth club on her, and I think that's a hilarious and accurate way to describe it. The aquatics all turn to soap on me, the fruits all smell fake on me, and musk is used perhaps a bit more liberally than I would prefer. I'm immensely glad I've had the chance to try a ton of their stuff, but I need to remind myself to stop buying samples because they all leave me disappointed.

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Endless variety!

Post by justbeforesunset on Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:38 am

BPAL is interesting because they have SO MANY scents to choose from- it can be very overwhelming. With the prices as high as they are it can be daunting to order samples! I highly recommend checking out the bpal forums for reviews and perhaps purchasing imps (samples) secondhand. When I did order, the time it took my order was definitely way less than the estimated time listed on their site, which was awesome, and they threw in three free imps with my purchase of 12 (there is a slight discount for each six imps). Every one I've tried so far does smell more expensive/complex than some other indie brands, and weirdly so far I love everything! Of course, that may be because I very carefully chose my samples Smile

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by thewindupbirds on Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:15 pm

BPAL can be overwhelming because of their HUGE catalog of scents, and their seasonal updates are also absolutely massive. But their website has tags for all the notes (I really wish every company did this!) and as others have said, the forum is super helpful. Reviews of every scent, and there's a recommendations forum where you can peruse suggestions based on single notes/scent families or start a new topic and get personalized recommendations.

Personally, I've found that their scents work amazingly well with my chemistry. Because they make so many different blends a lot of their stuff you really can't find any reasonable dupes for... if you like perfume at all, they probably have something you'll love (if you're willing to hunt down imps of the scents you're interested in and take the time to experience them all). I probably have as many BPAL scents as all my other indie perfumes combined, I just... ugh, I love them so much. I discovered a lot of notes that I adore through them, stuff I never really would have tried otherwise (dirt, in particular--I friggin LOVE their dirt note). Their scents are often very complex though, so I don't know if I would recommend them to someone just getting started with indie perfumes. They can come off as "big mush of smells" if your nose doesn't have enough sniffing experience. Which, admittedly, happened to me--one of the first scents I got from them I didn't love until months later, when I could appreciate the nuance.

Okay, I'm kind of rambling now, but one last note: their perfumes age amaaaazingly. Many are better years after you buy them, especially the amber notes.

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by hybbprqag on Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:20 am

I've bought from BPAL quite a few times over the years. I think that the quality of the scents are very consistent and the packaging is always aesthetically appealing. Some of the label art on the full size bottles is truly gorgeous! BPAL is very adventurous in its scent combinations so whenever I buy a pack of imp's ears there is usually one or two scents that don't work well with my skin at all, but the ones that do work are some of my favorite scents of all time. I'm particularly fond of White Rabbit, Morocco, Eclipse, and Baghdad. They're always very generous with free sample imps as well, and they're usually pretty good about making sure that the free imp isn't a dupe of something in the order (although with really big orders it sometimes happens).

I think that among their scents, the ones with vanilla notes are usually particularly nice. I know my friends have liked their rose note as well, but I'm not partial to florals so I couldn't say.

One downside to BPAL are that it usually takes a pretty long time for orders to be processed and shipped. The customer service is very communicative though, so the wait time is never a surprise. Another downside is that their website is clunky and their search feature is not very good. I found that in order to pick things to order, I had to go to their forums and see other people's descriptions of scents in order to get a good idea of what the products would be like. However, their forum is very well moderated and has a vibrant community of fellow BPAL lovers, so I've had good experiences there too.


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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by dartigen on Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:29 am

I'm in love with many of their scents - I'll add that yes, their library is quite overwhelming at first, so it's worth combing the BPAL.org forums or looking at BPAL scents on sites like Fragrantica that have them categorized into scent families, in order to narrow down what you're after. (BPAL does have tags on the scents on their website, but they don't have any scent family tags, and the search function can be a little erratic, especially on mobile devices).

I'm less happy with their high-cost international shipping, but that's not something that can easily be resolved. $25 means that I have to buy at least 6 imps in order to make it worth my while; while I don't mind sampling it's a little irksome that I'm paying so much for shipping. (I am looking at having items sent to a family friend in the US though, which would reduce costs somewhat - as would combining orders with others in your non-US region.)

One thing I will add though - the infamous BPAL TAT seemed to suddenly drop during January.

In January, I made one order on the 21st and one order on the 25th. Not only did the order from the 21st ship on the 27th (perhaps by some coincidence they happened to have all 6 imps and both fullsizes on hand, but that's a bit of a stretch) but I received a shipping refund for the second order (which contained two imp packs, for a total of 18 imps and 2 fullsizes) which implies that they shipped together*. I don't know if this is continuing in January, but if you're impatient then now is the time.

*: Take note that BPAL do NOT hold or combine on request. It appears that they only did it for me because I placed two orders 3 days apart and it shipped when it did. So, I'm guessing they'll combine if you make several orders very close together, but won't do it by request.

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by homicidalunicorns on Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:50 am

I've had good experiences with BPAL so far. The TAT is all over the place, and unofficially ranges from basically nothing (I've read about packages going out within a day lately) to a few weeks, tending towards the few weeks. It's not the longest indie TAT, but it can still be quite a wait.

My main issues with them are monetary. The cost of shipping (for both them and their sister company, Black Phoenix Trading Post) can be exorbitant- everything's shipped in flat rate boxes, with no option for more inexpensive bubble envelopes. The perfumes themselves are among the most expensive for indies, ranging from $4 for samples (only available for GC scents) and $17.50 (GC) to $30 (the Only Lovers Left Alive collection, though I will concede that it's a master work) for 5ml bottles. The cost is understandable- they have a team of full time workers with benefits in a warehouse in LA, etc.- but it's still painful.

They also pour to order (though this is not uncommon among indies), which means their perfumes need a longer resting period to actually steep in order to smell as intended. (It's said that they're best after a month)

Concerns aside, I do really like the brand. They were my first indie perfumer, and I will continue to purchase. I've yet to have a total failure from them, and I do believe they use high quality oils. While I may not like everything, I can almost always appreciate it (their dirt note, for example, is impressive- the most realistic I've encountered, even if it's not my thing), and have had a higher success rate with notes I usually hate (honey, lily, tobacco) than with any other company. (Kubla Khan is my "I should hate this, but it's amazing" scent)

The updated website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, with a REALLY helpful product directory that allows you to also look for scents via notes.

Their catalog is huge, but imo that's kind of a positive, as it allows for variety (hence why I often recommend them- it's easy to find something for everyone)- that said, their LE collections could use some editing and paring down, as collectively it results in them releasing hundreds of new scents a year. While I believe Beth has the experience to handle that creative output, it would be nice to see smaller releases that had more time put into them.

Tips for newbies: The second hand market is immense, and it's easy to find most perfumes (especially samples) for a discount. Their forum is a wonderful, vibrant resource for questions, chatter, and reviews.

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

Post by sorrybpal on Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:50 pm

i used to love this place but found some other indie retailers with the exact same scents. i mentioned one of the scent matches on their forum, and the next batch shipped with a strong dose of cedarwood added to it.

they're great at marketing, though, i'll give them that.

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Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

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