Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, also known as BPAL, is an online company selling perfume oils. BPAL is owned by Elizabeth Moriarty Barrial and Brian Constantine, and is based in Los Angeles, California, United States.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is against animal testing, and tests its own products only on willing humans. The perfume oils sold by BPAL are blended by hand, using natural ingredients such as essential oils and absolutes. With the exception of those containing honey and beeswax, the oils are vegan-friendly.citation|last=Sammy|first=Marissa|url= |title=The Empress of Scent: A Story of Imps and Customer Obsession|newspaper=Sequential Tart|date=2007-02]


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is known for the gothic aesthetic of its website, framing product descriptions with snippets of poetry and category art (monochrome drawings or etchings) by Aubrey Beardsley and others.

While the initial impression may be one of catering to the pagancite web|url=|title=Wren's Nest Notes (discussion)] and gothiccitation|url=|last=Immediato|first=Linda|newspaper=L A Weekly|date=2007-02-14|title=Dark Shadows: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Uncommon Scents] citation|first=Mikki|last=Moscara|title=Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab|volume=20|date=2006-06|newspaper=Gothic Beauty|page=18] communities, the blends are inspired by works of art, mythology, folk superstitions, voodoo,citation |last=Young |first=Bob|newspaper=Arizona Republic|url= |title=Hocus Pocus for Focus|date=2007-04-10] classical literature, historical figures, pirates,cite web |url= |title=Bilge Monkey's "Black Phoenix Alchemy" Review |date=2007-02-23] carnivals, etc.citation|url= |first=Margaret|last=Cho|title=The Nose Knows |date=2006-09-12] Themes include aromatherapy, locations both real and fictional, devilish garden plantings, and deities and concepts from a variety of pantheons.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Perfumes to Benefit Charities

In 2007 Black Phoenix announced and released a series of perfumes based on the works of Neil Gaiman. This series currently includes scents inspired by the novels "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys". All profits from the Neil Gaiman-inspired scents go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fundcite press release|url= |title=Smell the Neil Gaiman Collection|date=2007-02-01|publisher=Comic Book Legal Defense Fund] . During the first three weeks, over $6,000 was raised for the CBLDF.citation|last=Gaiman|first=Neil|url= |title=Smelling For Good|date=2007-02-24] A separate category for "Stardust" (which also benefits the CBLDF), was released in June 2007.

In June 2007, Black Phoenix also released a collection of perfumes based on "Good Omens" (co-authored by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett). Sales from this category of products benefit the CBLDF and the [ Orangutan Foundation UK] . By the end of the first week of July 2007, Neil Gaiman announced on his blog that they had raised $1,500 for the Orangutan Foundation UK and the year-to-date fundraising for the CBLDF had raised over $15,000.citation|last=Gaiman|first=Neil|url= |title=Blueberry Girls|date=2007-07-07]


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab currently produces and sells perfume oils in two sizes: 1/32 oz sample vials, officially called IMP'S EARSR (or simply "Imps"), and 5-mL (cobalt or amber) glass bottles. In 2006, it discontinued production and sale of oil available in 10-mL (cobalt) bottles across the majority of its scent catalogue. BPAL's sister company, Black Phoenix Trading Post, sells officially licensed BPAL-related garments, jewelry, statues, soaps and other bath and beauty products, as well as occasionally offering limited edition and special release oils.

BPAL also features monthly "lunacy" releases, which coincide with the full moon. These releases are different each month, following themes established by various mythological and lunar calendars. During this time, BPAL usually opens its storefront for one night during which customers can purchase oils and interact with the staff and owners.

Black Phoenix also has a sister site for the production of oils for spiritual purposes called Twilight Alchemy Labs.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a fairly sizable following through the Internet,cite web|first=Mary|last=Rajotte|url=|date=2006-10-31|title=Be Still My Darkened Heart!] including a fan-run internet forumcite web |url= |title=BPAL Madness! The Unofficial Fan Forum] with over 16,000 members and several fan-run LiveJournal communities, [cite web|url= |title=Livejournal communities listing "black phoenix alchemy lab" as an interest] [cite web|url= |title=Livejournal communities listing "bpal" as an interest] some with over 1,000 members. Customers cite the appeal of the seductive product descriptions, the wide variety of scents, and the tendency of certain oils to vary in scent based on the wearer's unique body chemistry.citation|url=|title=Underground perfume fans have no common scents|first=Grace|last=Dobush|date=2006-11-16|newspaper=Pittsburgh Tribune-Review] citation|url=|last=Weatherstone|first=Lunaea|date=2006|newspaper=Sage Woman Magazine|title=Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab]

The large number of scents produced, with upwards of 800 blends released since the company's inception, has lent the product a 'collectibility' aspect. Several online communities have sprung up around buying, selling, and swapping BPAL products. Coveted products (such as unavailable limited edition, discontinued products, and unreleased prototypes) can sell for high amounts on eBay (where one 5mL bottle sold for over $800cite web|url=|title= eBay: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: DED MOROZ 2006 - 5 ml|date=2007-03-05] in early 2007).

In 2005, the Lab was named as the The Village Voice's Best of New York: Best Scent Indulgence for Your Inner Goth.citation |url= |title=Best of New York 2005: Best Scent Indulgence for Your Inner Goth |newspaper=The Village Voice |first=Jennifer |last=Gandin |date=2005]

In April 2007, Weird Tales published a piece of original fiction entitled "Six Scents" by Lisa Mantchev, which drew its inspiration from six BPAL fragrances. citation|url=|last=Mantchev|first=Lisa|date=2007|newspaper=Weird Tales Magazine|title=Six Scents]


External links

* [ Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab]
* [ BPAL Madness! The Official-Unofficial Forum]
* [ BPAL Announcement LiveJournal Community]
* [ Black Phoenix Trading Post]
* [ Twilight Alchemy Lab]

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