New additions to the BPAL Excolo collection…

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BPAL-Excolo-1Press Sample

BPAL is Perfecting the Game of Love

Excolo is an ancient Latin verb meaning to improve, perfect or cultivate in order to honor. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab aka BPAL is always looking for a mystic theme, one that is bewitching and enchanting – if not always endearing – to make up their glorious and painfully wrought collections. Excolo seems like a perfect collection, and they recently added five new scents to the line.


The players in the Excolo collection are gods and priests, spirits and beasts, all dedicated to love. As usual, the five perfume oils ($17.50 each) I’ve sampled are nothing if not cultivating perfection to honor their namesakes. Let’s take a closer look at them!


Anteros is Eros’ twin brother, an avenger of unrequited love. This Cupid wields the bow and arrows, shoots the object of affection through the heart and inspires passion. He also spurns those who smite love.

Before I even try this one I have an expectation that this will be a sweet, romantic scent – one that will appeal to the softer, gentler set. To an extent, I am right. The scent is sweet but not syrupy. Wet, the Italian bergamot pops out, bright and citrusy. The dry down brings out the heavier notes of patchouli, red musk and vanilla. What a perfect expression of love. Anteros is light and beautiful at the onset, leading to passion with glimpses or darkness as it wears.


Sweetness brings me to Hedylogos. Hedylogos is the God of Sweet Talk and Flattery, child of Aphrodite and Ares. I imagined this to be a young scent, worn by those who can still stand sugary platitudes and not be sickened by them.

This time I was spot on. Wet, this smells like pure candy – hard, pink candy like my aunt used to keep in her purse. The dry down brings out an intense floral scent, heavy on the rose.

Move over Cupid and Sweet Talk, things get serious with Qandisa, the Moroccan Goddess of Carnal Desire. Supposedly dwelling in springs and rivers, she dooms men with mad lust, leading them to sacrifice themselves on the Summer Solstice to satisfy her passions.

Might this be a dark, murky, musky scent? In fact, this starts wet with almost a honey-and-lemon scent (along with a spice that I discover must be saffron). Of course the musk is there for the dry down along with vetiver. There is the lure, and then there is the lust.


Sjofn is the Norse Goddess of Love, simple and true. She directs peoples’ minds to the business of love. Nature abounds in this scent. Wet, it is purely green apples with maybe some young leaves and grass. It’s crisp and clean. Dry, the sweetness falls off a bit and a more floral, woodsy scent remains.

Now it wouldn’t be a party without Tlazolteotl, the lady of midnight, the Aztec goddess of the regenerative function of the earth, human sexuality and fertility. She has two faces: she feeds lust and death, and she has the power to cleanse and forgive sins.

Filthy depravity meet moral cleanliness. This scent has got to have some contradictions, right? Bitterness is what I get off the top – bitter like cocoa bean (think mole, not chocolate bar). There’s also a bit of crisp linen freshness (maize and cotton blossom). The dry down is a little more dark and sweet – black honey, black copal and chapapote are listed as these darker scents in the mix.

As usual, BPAL weaves a story in complex threads of scents, each meticulously chosen to tell part of a tale. For me, the best part of the BPAL game is reading the story, and then trying to imagine the scent. The game is almost more thrilling than the perfume itself. As far as the tale of love goes, I’ve cultivated my game pretty well.

we heartsters – do you prefer BPAL’s story, scents or both?

photos: we heart this

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and of course, a wht writer!
skin tone: NC 25
skin type: oily/sensitive
favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. Great review–I can practically smell these based on your descriptions. I like BPAL’s scents, but I’m all about the story–whenever I try to pick out some new imp’s ears, I end up reading like 500 descriptions because they are so enthralling!

    1. @amity, I’m all about the story! If I didn’t have the story, I’m not so sure I’d pay close enough attention to the scents. I always have an immediate reaction, followed by a discovery. These scents are the kind that reveal themselves to you. What you start with is never what you finish with. Even if I’m not a fan of the scent itself, I become a fan of that discovery. Often, it is quite beautiful.

  2. I love the story behind it and BPAL does this brilliantly! These all sound divine!

  3. Scent and Story go hand in hand with BPAL! When we get packages, I try not to sniff until I have the description in front of me. Then I sniff, read, and sniff again. My nose is pretty sensitive, but I’ll admit, not the greatest at picking out notes. So it’s great to see them listed then have a “oh yeah, that’s what that is!” kind of moment.

    And NO ONE can tell a story like BPAL! They blow me away with their imaginations.

    I got to sniff all of these sexy beasts, and Sjofn was my favorite. It’s “apples and birch and bound with apple blossoms.” It smells like picking apples on a fall day and it’s divine!

    1. Sjofn was my favorite, too! Such a wearable fragrance!

  4. “There is the lure, and then there is the lust.” Ooo, I love this. I’m all about the story, I don’t think I’d care if I just had a scent description. But with the story (and reviews like this that flesh it out) I’ve tried scents I never would have before! The scent is what keeps you wearing it, but the story is what makes you buy it!! (And keep buying, and keep buying…)

  5. I am trying to reserve my spending money for a pending BPAL update, but these descriptions have me swooning for potential Excolo!

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