BPAL Lupercalia 2014 review

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BPAL-Lupercalia-2014press sample

Love and Lust…BPAL style

You wouldn’t expect BPAL’s take on love to be all roses and chocolates would you? Sure, there’s roses and chocolate involved, but there’s also tears and graves. It’s BPAL Lupercalia time, and the prudish and the faint of heart need not apply.

So, what exactly is Lupercalia? Oh, just an ancient Roman pre-Valentine holiday that involved men sacrificing animals, then whipping women with the hides in the name of love (and fertility). Makes that card you got your loved one seem pretty unsophisticated, huh?

What is BPAL’s Lupercalia? 50 limited edition oils. That’s right 5-0. Broken into collections that are odes to death, chocolate, sex and girly stuff. You know, pure BPAL territory.


Of the five collections, we got to check out oils from three of them, as well as a couple of delicious items from the Black Market Trading Post. These goodies are only available until April 12th, so act quick if you want something.

Or win them from us- we’re giving away all 13 items!

Please note: an abbreviated BPAL description is in italics for all. Read the full descriptions HERE, they deserve your attention.

Let’s dive in, shall we?


Box Of Bonbons
This collection takes five beloved general catalog scents and mixes them with edible notes for all sorts of exotic deliciousness.

Tweedledum Bonbon Absurd! Green mango, fig, patchouli and green tea with white chocolate and white hazelnut cream.

Ooo, this is a complicated lil’ scent! And I love it! I’m a huge fan of both Tweedledee and Tweedledum, which are foodie scents already. And as the case with most things – chocolate only makes it better. I’d call it a creamy green scent, it’s got a brightness from the fruit and tea, but a rich creaminess too from the patchouli and the addition of white chocolate and hazelnut. Delicious.

Blood Kiss Bonbon Dark chocolate and lush, creamy vanilla and the honey of the sweetest kiss smeared with the vital throb of husky clove, swollen red cherries, but darkened with the vampiric sensuality of vetiver, soporific poppy and blood red wine, and a skin-light pulse of feral musk.

Vetiver is pretty much my scent nemesis (so sharp!) so I knew this wasn’t going to work for me. But looking past that, this is full on chocolate covered cherries. The candy kind with that thick, sweet juice in them. There is something absolutely vampiric about it. It’s very cloying.

Lust Bonbon Uncontrollable passion and insatiable sexual desire: red musk, patchouli, ylang ylang and myrrh, surrounded by smoky cinnamon-dusted cacao.

Mmm, this is like an expensive truffle in fragrance form; dark chocolate with a hint of cinnamon and a rich, yet bitter sweetness.



The largest section of the Lupercalia launch is the namesake line, with Victorian illustrations and florals abound.


The Voice Longing and loss: fallen leaves, the memory of pale roses, and long-ago dried tears.

This is very aquatic, the salt of the tears could easily be the salt of the ocean. The memory of a pale rose must be a very distant one! The salt water overpowers it quite a lot. Because of that it reads as a unisex scent to me.


Luperci 2014 Raw, down and dirty patchouli, Gurjam balsam, and essence of Sampson Root sweetened with the heightened sexuality of beeswax, virile juniper, oakmoss, ambrette seed over honey and East African musk.

Makes me wanna be whipped! (That’s Lupercalia humor, I don’t really.) This is a scent as complex as Lupercalia itself. I always get earthy vibes from patchouli, but the balsam and juniper bring out a more green side of it. It’s earthy, but more from the trees than the ground. All I know is that I can’t leave my wrist alone when I have it on.


From You I Have Been Absent in the Spring White lilies, vermillion roses, vanilla orchid, sweet clove, white frankincense, velvety brown oudh, cistus, styrax, aged red patchouli, and a hint of black peppercorn.

This is pure spring to me. It’s an absolute explosion of white florals with the spicier notes just hinting underneath. I want to wear this and run in a field, like the star of a tampon commercial. That’s a good thing.


Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes Apple peel and oak ash, briar thorns and pine ash, and cypress gathered at a dead man’s grave.

Perhaps a lovely fall candle? The dry down on this is much better than wet (I almost didn’t think I could put it on, it was so crisp and almost medicated to me.) But ultimately the apple and wood notes are not grabbing me for a perfume.



Love and Sleep Fig milk, vanilla, orchid, and ylang ylang.

Oh what a pretty scent this is. And “pretty” being the opt word. It’s a sweet, creamy floral. Sweet to the point of sugary. But it’s very light so it’s not overpowering in its sweetness.


The Expiration The last lamenting kiss: velvet red rose absolute with sweet myrrh, amber honey, and red sandalwood.

I’ll admit, I am not the biggest rose fan. It always smells a bit elderly to me. But this rose, I like. With addition of all those deep notes, elderly travels to sexy rather fast.


There is a Garden in Her Face Ethereal grace in earthly form: cherry blossoms, pink roses, and graceful white lilies under a sheen of pale honey.

An uber-feminine scent, a pink floral if there ever was one. It goes a tad soapy on me and I did long for more honey in it.


If you aren’t already convinced that the folks behind BPAL are geniuses, allow me to present A Ballad of Death. It’s based on the Algernon Charles Swinburne poem of the same name, with the 11 verses of the poem making up the 11 scents of the collection. Go read the descriptions/poem, it’s the most beautiful thing about death you’ll ever read.

She Whose Handmaiden Was Love A kiss of fire and frankincense: exquisite Hojari frankincense painted with red benzoin, Ceylon cinnamon, blood rose, pimento, and jasmine hedoine.

A beautiful swirl of jasmine and resin. It’s got a very hedonistic, hippie vibe to it, and is very much full of life.


There are an impressive number of Lupercalia items at the Trading Post as well; atmosphere spray, bath oil, bath salt, hair gloss and massage oil.


Smutty Goblin Hair Gloss A goblin’y take on Smut! Smutty Goblin Musk sweetened with sugar and tonka, and woozy with dark booze notes. ($30)

Oh, this is divine. It’s like a brown sugar Manhattan (the drink, not the city.) This is everything I look for in a scent; warm and sexy with underlying edible notes. The fact that I can spray this in my hair makes me a bit swoony with happiness.


Selbstverliebt Lupercalia Bath Oil An exercise in self-love: sugared jasmine with vanilla and black orchid. ($25)

If you are a jasmine fan, you NEED this. It’s a sugary, creamy jasmine, and it is as good as it sounds. You might feel yourself being slightly narcissistic with it on (which is what Selbstverliebt means in German.)

So, there you have it we heartsters. If you’re not feeling a little sexy after all of that you need to check your pulse! Which scent is speaking to you the loudest?

Stef is many things. Amongst them: co-editor of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie.
skin tone: NC 25/30
skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea
favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products

    View all posts


  1. I’m in the mood for a pretty scent these days, and Love and Sleep sounds perfect. From You I Have Been Absent in the Spring is a close second. Running through a field in a tampon commercial– you are hilarious!

  2. The Voice & Blood Kiss Bonbon sound interesting, but I love all BPAL’s stuff!

  3. Every single time. EVERY SINGLE TIME I see a BPAL post on we heart this, I just want everything. That bath oil NEEDS to be mine; I just used Sudsy She-Wolf this weekend and I had forgotten how lovely their bath oil is.

    I REALLY want From You I Have Been Absent in the Spring and Love and Sleep. And I’m torn on the Box of Bonbons scent, I don’t normally love chocolate scents but they sound so yummy.
    I do have to say that I adore how they play with their general catalog scents; they used pumpkin added to customer favorites and it gives such an awesome twist on already lovely scents.

    And can I just say that I’d pay good money to see @stef running through a field, like in a tampon commercial? Can we bribe you with BPAL??

  4. OOOh, the scents sound so inviting, especially Love and Sleep with Fig milk, vanilla, orchid, and ylang ylang- All my favorites! I don’t want to be whipped either but if whipping is necessary go lightly please! I’d take a loan out to see @stef running through a field, like a tampon commercial too!

  5. Ooh I think I want to try Love and Sleep…I need something sweet for spring!

  6. Blood Kiss Bon Bon sounds amazing. Those are two of my favorite things combined with chocolate and cherries. BPAL always does romance scents so well.

  7. I am absolutely LOVING The Expiration! I feel like I’m in some special rose club now.

  8. Oh happy day! I received Love and Sleep, and its light sweetness is making me feel so content. I’m actually typing this with one hand while pressing the other wrist against my face and breathing in the deliciousness. Fig milk, vanilla, orchid, and ylang ylang – kind of innocent for BPAL, but it’s just what I was hoping for. And look at that beautiful label. This little bottle will be front and center on my dresser from now on. Love indeed!

  9. So sorry for the late review on this one! I seemed to have misplaced it (rolled inconveniently under my desk) but it is now found. I got Lust Bonbon and you hit the nail on the head with the words “expensive truffle”! It really makes you smell like the tastiest chocolate. I like it because it smells absolutely delicious but it’s kind of smell that needs its own time and place I feel. As always, something new and exciting from the geniuses at BPAL!

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