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Win the Limited Edition BPAL oil inspired by “The Maze of Games”
Congratulations to our winner, Kate R! We can’t wait to hear what you think…
Fellow high priestesses of all things gothic, please join me at the altar of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. We’ll be anointing ourselves with a limited edition perfume oil: The Gatekeeper. Read on for the review and stay till the end for your chance to win!
The Gatekeeper ($26) is a limited edition scent commemorating the release of The Maze of Games, a “choose your own adventure” puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker and illustrated by Pete Venters. A puzzle novel? This is intriguing, and the book’s synopsis makes it even more enticing:
Colleen and Samuel Quaice are teenagers living in 1897 England. During a visit to the Upper Wolverhampton Bibliotheque, they discover a musty book called The Maze of Games. Opening the book summons the Gatekeeper, a mysterious skeletal guardian who plunges the Quaices into a series of dangerous labyrinths, populated with myriad monsters and perplexing puzzles. Only by solving their way through the Gatekeeper’s mazes will the Quaice children find their way home. Can you help them escape?
An interactive romp through creepy Victoriana, complete with bag of bones guardian and increasingly complex puzzles? Yes, please. Equally complex, of course, is the olfactory mystery of The Gatekeeper.
BPAL describes this oil as “A dry perfume, solemn and riddled with ancient, whispered secrets: brittle bones, the well-worn leather spines of forgotten books, crumbling papyrus, and the warm, strange scent of yellowed, crumbling manuscripts.”
As an unrepentant book-sniffer – seriously, there is some paper that just smells so good – my curiosity was immediately piqued. Upon first sniff, and the initial application, this oil packs a wallop: it’s aggressive, even a bit cloying. There’s a dark and heavy presence, something between patchouli, dying flowers, and yes, old books…the kind with broken spines and dry, mold-spotted, ancient paper. At this point, I was not convinced this was the scent for me.
However, I knew not to judge this book by its cover – and sure enough, The Gatekeeper metamorphosed upon my skin into something quite different from my initial impression. This is one of the things I love about BPAL; each scent undergoes a singular kind of alchemy upon the skin.
Once the oil dried down a bit, it ghosted into something sweeter and lighter: faint notes of sun-warmed leather; a wisp of cloves and bay rum; and, best of all, that delicious old paper smell, minus the mold. The best way I can describe the paper scent is as the ghost of vanilla; delicately clean and sweet and tinged with a cozy warmth.
The reason old books smell so delectable, in fact, is attributed to the chemical breakdown of paper and glue and ink. As all of those compounds age, they emit volatile compounds, creating that one of a kind smell. According to the International League for Antiquarian Booksellers, “Lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.”
This is the sweet note I detect on my skin after BPAL The Gatekeeper dries down, and it turns this oil into something hauntingly complex – familiar and yet mysterious. High priestesses and book-sniffers alike will want to solve the puzzle of this scent over and over again.
Want to win BPAL’s The Gatekeeper? Here’s your chance! Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter form below. There’s lots of ways to enter and you’ve got two weeks to do so. Good luck, fellow high priestesses!
we heartsters: Confession time – who among you likes the scent of old paper and books?
photos: we heart this
Amity writes and teaches in Central PA. Her obsessions include: Rodarte (she can’t afford any Rodarte, mind you, but a girl can dream), espresso, books, vintage/thrift fashion and fountain pens. She thinks you should dress like a weirdo once in a while, just to shake things up.
skin tone: NC15
skin type: Combination
favorite beauty product: felt-tipped eyeliners