Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab – Halloween 2011 review

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Smells like Hallo-ween spirit…

photos: we heart this

Some are partial to Yuletide scents, but I’m of the mind that the fall is the best smelling time of the year. As October draws to an end, I delight in so many autumnal scents. From the smokiness of evening fires to the crisp scent of apples and cider, from the slightly sweet musk of the decaying leaves to the sugary highs of caramel, cinnamon and chocolate; I love all the month has to offer. Leave it to our friends at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to capture the essence of the Halloween season in a collection of amber hued bottles.

It’s no surprise that the beloved indie oil company adores Halloween as much as we do. Their sometimes sweet, sometimes moody, always mysterious scents, are a perfect match for the holiday. Recently BPAL released their highly anticipated, limited edition Halloween 2011 collection – available through November 13th – to celebrate the season in sweet and spooky style.

Affectionately dubbed the Halloweenies, this yearly collection is legendary among BPAL fans. Filled with the warm, sweet and spicy scents of the season, and decorated with a stunning mix of seasonal visuals (witches, black cats, ghosts and pumpkins galore), it’s sure to appeal to your inner goth ~ and she always wants to come out and play this time of year.

There are over twenty oils ($20 each) offered in the Halloween 2011 collection and here at we heart this our inner goth girls let out a few squees of delight when we opened a box of these bottles. Satisfied sighs followed as we sampled these delectable scents:

Pumpkin Latteespresso, pumpkin syrup, smoky vanilla bean, milk, raw sugar, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg . Mmmm, like walking into your favorite cozy, friendly coffee shop. The pumpkin is sweet, but the warm, nutty coffee flavors shine. And do I detect a shot of booze in that latte as well? Perfection.

Sonnet D’Automnea shivering white musk with vanilla-infused white cocoa, amber incense, and dead, dry leaves. My fave going by label alone ~ how can I resist a witch and her kitty? This sweet and leafy (almost minty) oil turns into a long wearing, warm and woodsy musk. Sometimes it’s good to judge a book by its cover.

Ghosts In Love white sandalwood, tobacco flower, lily of the valley, white carnation, and magnolia blossom with tea rose, labdanum, and oudh. Aww, love the name. This may be the lightest BPAL scent I’ve ever experienced. It has the scent of skin just out of the bubble bath – warm, soapy and a trace of sweet.

Boo 2011eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream. I normally avoid food scented perfumes; too sweet, too synthetic, too “young”. But this treat is tempered with the cream and cotton notes – creating a frothy foodie scent for those of us no longer in our teens.

Candied Pumpkinsweet pumpkin cooked with piloncillo, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh ginger, maple syrup, honey, and clove. This mixture of sugar and spice (available at the Black Phoenix Trading Post) is described as a “traditional Dia de los Muertos ofrenda” and I can detect the South of the Border influences. Reminiscent of baked goods, but the sweet is never too sugary as the kick of the ginger and spicy clove turns things..dare I say sexy?

Pumpkin Princessbright, sweet pumpkin with vanilla fluff, guava, chocolate-dusted white amber, tiare, red currant, raw honey, and meringue. Pumpkin lovers, here is your scent. Low on the sweet scale, this oil smells to me like fresh pumpkin and honey…with a faint musky afterglow. A sweet note, that’s Beth’s daughter on the label.

A Nocturnal Reverie violet musk and oudh with black amber, ambergris, agarwood, black currant, dark musk, fig, and lavender incense. This is what I would wear to a fancy Halloween Ball – it’s sultry and sweet and very mysterious. In the bottle I was not liking the strong herbal, lavender notes. But after the oil goes on my skin, it turns into a very earthy, musky, floral delight – how is that even possible?

Devil’s Nightthe scent of autumn night, fires in the distance, with a touch of boozy swoon, playful sugar and thuggish musk. Oh, this one surprised me as well! It has a bright, crisp, fruity scent in the bottle. On the skin, it dries into a smoky sweetness – just like those decaying fall leaves. Love it.

La Calavera Catrina autumn leaves, wild roses, bourbon vanilla, dry chamomile, and a bouquet of bright chrysanthemums and Mexican marigolds. “The Lady of the Graveyard” features another incredible label (check out all the details). This oil transported me to the chilly, damp fall evenings spent outdoors where the scent of the leaves fill the air. Hints of vanilla, bourbon and rose adds a feminine touch to the great outdoors.

we heartsters – has BPAL’s Halloween 2011 Collection captured your favorite scents of fall?

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • tyna

    Tyna is a former editor of we heart this that worries about becoming a crazy cat lady, reads at least a book a week, checks in at a Flyers fan forum every morning and is forever organizing her closets and drawers. skin tone: NW 20/25 skin type: combination favorite beauty product: eye shadows and lip balms

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  1. I love Bpal and Halloween so this really is the best time of year! My favorite scent associated with Halloween is anything Pumpkin related. I get obsessed with pumpkin, don’t care for it much the rest of the year. But now, I gotta have it!

    1. I’m that way too Jenna – most of the year I can take or leave pumpkin, but I always crave the scent (and pumpkin pies, breads, cakes etc) this time of year.

  2. I have only tried one BPAL oil, from the winter collection last year, but I was completely won over with the first sniff! The bottles are so charming, I love all the Halloween ones, and the scents really do match the description perfectly. Boo 211 and the Sonnet D’Automne sound devine! I must check out their website again and get a few goodies!

  3. The descriptions sound divine! I would love to try any one of these (Sigh, I’m still a BPAL virgin). The labels on these are so gorgeous!

  4. I have a big problem with BPAL. I can never decide which ones to get!!! I think I’m addicted.

  5. I’m so jealous of anyone who owns these. Fall scents are my absolute favorite. I want the entire collection but I’d have to say that A Nocturnal Reverie sounds the best with Pumpkin Latte & Candied Pumpkin close behind. I’ve been fortunate enough to grab some imps and a few full sized BPAL scents in the past and they do an amazing job at creating oils that are complex and long-lasting.

  6. I’d love to own every single one of these for the labels alone. They’re gorgeous! And Candied Pumpkin sounds good enough to eat.

  7. ooh, BOO! I bet these are all amazing! The Pumpkin one sounds insane! As always, the whole lot looks inviting!

  8. BPALLLLLL!!! Surprisingly, although I adore gourmand scents, La Calavera Catrina sounds like my favorite out of this bunch. Although Candied Pumpkin is a VERY close second; I love scents with sweet notes that turn sensual. (I’m wearing BPAL’s Snake Oil right now!)
    BPAL just keeps knockin’ out of the park, I love it!

  9. Oh BPAL, you get me every time. All those pumpkin scents, how can I choose just the right one? Solution: must have them all. Oh, and Devil’s Night. And Nocturnal Reverie. And La Calavera Catrina…

  10. The names, labels, and product descriptions totally have me hooked, especially Ghosts in love. BOSOM products are great.quality and this especially up my alley :)

  11. I got to try Pumpkin Latte, and I have to say out of the fifty or so BPALs I’ve tried, this is MY FAVORITE!! How could it not be with all my favorite scents in one perfect concoction! Pumpkin, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and cream – it’s a warm, cozy, spicy, even kinda sensual dream!! Now of course BPALS smell different on different people’s skin and they morph on your own skin throughout wear, but for me this one’s a home run. As it’s drying I get more spice than I’d like but on first application and after it’s dried it’s less spicy and more pumpkin vanilla coffee. I carry it in my coat pocket so I can apply it on the way to work and during the day whenever I need a pick up. Five stars all the way!!

  12. I got my hands on A Nocturnal Reverie and your explanation of the scent is right on, mysterious. This is the perfect scent for a first date, especially at night. It’s got musk without feeling masculine and reminds me of being in New Orleans at night. I know that’s a strange description, but a summer night in New Orleans is exactly how I would describe it.

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