The Last Unicorn – a fairy tale collection from BPAL

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I have always loved fairy tales. Whether classic or modern, I adore them all. When I was younger, my mother’s book shelves were my library, and over the years a couple of books migrated from her shelves to mine. One of those is The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. A modern fairy tale disguised as a classic one, it’s sold more then 5 million copies in its 40 years in print. So popular in fact, that when I recently decided to purchase a new copy I had to go to four different stores before I was able to find one.

It really seems to be the perfect story to be interpreted into scent by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I think one of the things that make this story so original is the authors ability to describe things in unexpected and unique ways (much like they do with their scents). I can only imagine what an treasure trove of scent inspiration the folks at BPAL found when reading this. I’m surprised they were able to limit the first series of the collection to just 7 oils!

I was excited to test The Butterfly, a minor but pivotal character in the book who is described as being “velvet all over, dark and dusty” and who speaks by reciting poetry and in songs that it’s overheard in its travels. Found inside BPAL’s signature brown vial is a lush oil with notes of brown tonka bean, golden amber, bergamot and petitgrain.

This oil starts out as a warm vanilla when first applied, but soon the amber and bergamot come alive. It’s like being wrapped in a warm and cozy blanket, a great scent for a chilly winter day. It perfectly embodies the idea of brown velvet and poetry, and somehow manages to have just a tiny bit of whimsy. And it lasts. The first time I put this on in the morning, I brought the bottle with me expecting to reapply about noon. But it stayed with me all through the day.

There are six additional scents in the collection, and they are definitely on my wishlist right now. Lilac Wood is a woodsy floral, which surprisingly doesn’t list lilac in the description. The Last Unicorn does contain lilac, as well as iris root, violet leaf, white chocolate and plenty more. A sophisticated scent for a complicated character. The Midnight Carnival, with teak, myrrh, cacao, lavender and neroli among others, is full of darkness and spice with little bits of sweet, just as it’s described in the book.

I can’t wait to read my fellow reviewers opinion of The Ninth Cage, described as iron and oak, and Mommy Fortuna, the first villain of the story. The final scent is the one that tempts me the most, Arachne of Lydia, with notes of dusty clove and blackcurrant. She’s a character lost in her own story, who wont accept the help of our heroine the Unicorn, because she doesn’t realize she needs it.

So we heartsters and Team, what do you think of this fairy tale inspired collection? Do we have another modern classic in our hands?

Further reading (because we here at wht really love our BPAL) :
Interview with Beth
An introduction for those new to the line


  • Shaya C.

    Shaya is a modern Minneapolis girl trying to live the good life on a budget; which includes good food, cheap wine, and bargain hunting. Though she loves spending time with her friends, she can usually be found cuddling with her dogs Betty and Ripley on the couch.


  1. When I was first introduced to BPAL I couldn’t stop buying new scents! They do an amazing job creating wounderful smells that last through an entire day.

    This new collection sounds amazing as well. I can’t wait to hear what they smell like in person.

  2. I can tell you this much @ you will be delighted! I carry this with me everywhere now, it likes to live in a little pocket in my purse that seems to have been made with BPAL in mind. When I get frustrated at work, or just feel like I need a pick me up at the end of the day I apply some. Suddenly I am surrounded by the comforting tonka bean and it’s instant relaxation. I really feel like this could become a signature scent for me, and I’m seriously considering buying about 4 more bottles so I never had to worry about running out.

  3. @pinkshaya – the illustrations on these bottles are so beautiful! Even if I ended up not liking the scent, I’d like to own The Last Unicorn just to see the bottle sitting on my dresser.

  4. I have not disliked anything from BPAL yet.. I bet this new collection is no exception- they all look and sound amazing to me! Arachne of Lydia has got my attention bigtime, with notes of dusty clove and blackcurrant- yeah, hooked already! I’m looking at the two on my desk now and grab them often – just becuase i KNOW as soon as I do, I’m going to smell super good!

  5. I agree @turboterp! The illustrations are beautiful – I was thinking I’d love to have The Butterfly sitting on my vanity. BPAL always does an outstanding job with their collections and this sounds like no exception.

  6. When I received “The Last Unicorn” to test, the first thing I did was call my twin sister to brag, hah! “The Last Unicorn” has been a favorite movie from our childhood and when we heard about the BPAL collection coming out we knew we had to have it.

    “The Last Unicorn” is a very complex scent. At first I couldn’t describe it as much more than “it smells like I’m doing laundry in the woods!” After wearing it a few times I could pick out the different scents, white chocolate and moss being the strongest, with the lilac and violet adding a sweet innocence. The scent is perfectly Amalthea (the humanized unicorn), simultaneously old, eternal, and childlike. Like an old book held by a freshly washed baby.
    It’s not an easy scent to wear, it takes a certain amount of je ne sais quoi. It’s a complex scent for the complex person! Personally, I LOVE it. My husband? Well, he’s warming up to it a little more each time I wear it.

    BPAL can do no wrong, seriously. Five stars!

  7. I have been coveting BPAL scents for a good 2 years now…so when I heard 1) they had made a line based on The Last Unicorn and 2) that I was getting one to test…I got just a little bit excited.

    I was sooooo lucky to get “The Midnight Carnival.” @pinkshaya and @mandaleem are right…these are very complex fragrances.

    Straight from the bottle this scent is gorgeous. Dark, spicy and heady. Once on, the scent becomes even richer. Layers of ingredients like patchouli, murrh, and agarwood give it a woody moodiness. But give it a second and the hint of floral lavender and the honey sweetness of neroli starts to reveal itself from behind the darker aromas. Very in line with the Midnight Carnival itself, a traveling sideshow of illusion and pretend mysticism where what’s on the surface is not always what it seems.

    And the quality! Wow! I’ve tried fragrance oils before and was always a bit disappointed as I seem to be one of those people that oils don’t last long on, but BPAL has some serious potency and lingering power. I used my pinky finger to dab the tiniest bit of oil from just the bottle cap and I found it to be plenty and long lasting! So that tiny bottle is definitely enough to last a while.

    I’m totally enthralled with the rest of this series (and well, ALL of BPAL’s products). @pinkshaya we need to try each other’s out soon! I’m dying to smell The Butterfly!

    It goes without saying that BPAL gets 5 stars!

  8. @turboterp – well I don’t think there is a chance of not liking the fragrance with these, honestly can anyone really dislike a BPAL product? I’ve taken to keeping the bottle on my desk at work, I’ve started a new job and have a somewhat frustrating supervisor, so I love that I have this lovely little bottle sitting there waiting for me whenever I need it. As a matter of fact I just put some one and a co-worker walked by and asked who smells so good.
    @kari – yes, yes we do! I’ve been thinking about those chai martinis. I keep my BPAL with me pretty much all the time so I’m ready whenever you are. We can talk about maybe ordering and splitting the imps for this collection.
    @mandaleen – I love your review, it sounds like such a lovely scent, but I’m not sure if I could wear it.

  9. I am a BPAL nut. Like, I can’t even look at their website anymore because I will just buy with abandon and be a nummy-smelling pauper on the streets. I seriously consider it art in a bottle.

    So I about died when I saw they were doing another literature based scent, this time on The Last Unicorn. (Loved the book AND the movie as a young’n. And now too, actually…)

    I got Arachne of Lydia, which is described as not only dusty clove and blackcurrant, but “Soft brown and Tyrian purple” and those colors definitely apply. (I love how BPAL is a multi-sensory experience!) When wet, you can smell the spice of the clove, as well as a small undercurrent of the black currant. It gives it a bit of a fruity scent, not a fake sweet fruit, but a lush about to burst fruit, almost wine-like.
    As it dries, the currant comes to the forefront a bit, but the clove doesn’t go away. The clove is less of the kind of clove scent you get from a fresh-grated nut and more of the clove smell you think of when you talk about mulled wine or a clove cigarette. It’s clove with a lot of warmth.
    There’s also woodsy-ness to it, the dust in the description is definitely there. It reminds me of a holiday scent in a way, the warmth and the clove with the spicy black currant. It’s not a gourmand scent, but definitely one that is on the spicy and warm side. It makes you want to wrap in an old blanket by the fire, sip wine and muse on life a bit.

    5 stars from me. I mean, really, even if I don’t like the scent of a BPAL scent, it will get 5 stars because of the brand and the quality of the oil and its staying power.
    It’s not a matter of if you should buy BPAL, it’s which one.

  10. @pinkshaya YAY! I love being a BPAL enabler. And it’s only fair, considering I’m eyeing The Butterfly now! :-)

  11. I received Mommy Fortuna, which is described as being a mixture of “Honey, gunpowder, and pleonectic, twopenny magics.” It definitely smells of gunpowder and magic, if that were a scent! However, this scent isn’t really my style.

    The packaging is great, I love BPAL’s concepts and think that they execute them well, and it’s a great value (although the bottle is $26 for only 5ml, it will last you FOREVER because you only need a little to last you all day). I’d like to try some of their other scents and see how I feel about them.

    Two stars for this particular scent.

  12. Wow, @lyssachelle I’m dying to try the one you got now too!! It sounds devine.

    @pinkshaya, if we share a set of imps I fear we may have a struggle over Arachne of Lydia. :)

  13. I loved “The Last Unicorn” when I was a kid–it gave me nightmares, but I still LOVED it. I was tickled to receive one of the BPAL oils from this series!
    The fragrance I received is The Lilac Wood, named for where the last unicorn lives. Let me just say that my only complaint, while it is a big one, is the scent is not me at all and I kind of hate it, but that’s actually because I hate the smell of lilacs, lavender, and pretty much most florals. That being said, if you love lilac, it smells EXACTLY like lilacs–but with a warm, earthy tone to it. It’s a little deeper than standard lilac scents, a little more complex, you can detect the “woods” scent mingled with lilac and what I can only describe as “warmth”. As it is a fragrance oil, this lasts pretty much all day on me. It fades a little bit in intensity and it smells a little sweeter as it wears down. It’s a darkly feminine scent–not a light and simple fragrance at all.
    I’m giving this 5 stars for the quality–I’m not deducting stars even though I hated the fragrance because that’s my personal preference. Fortunately for one of my bff’s, she ADORES lilacs, so this will be heading her way :)
    I definitely need to find a fragrance that suits me from BPAL’s offerings because the quality on these and lasting power are OUTSTANDING!

  14. @krista I’m really sorry to hear you don’t like the florals. That sounds like it would be a great scent for spring and summer. What type of scents do you like? If you’re more of a vanilla person I would very sincerely recommend The Butterfly. I think The Lilac Wood sounds like a wonderful scent, I’m more and more convinced I need to order the rest a few more of this collection.

  15. This sounds like a lovely collection. I, too, used to love the movie when I was younger. Then one day I rented it from Blockbuster when I was 18 and I was kind of sad and weirded out! I guess I was a bit oblivious when I was little haha! I still have yet to try BPAL but I want to very badly. I feel like I would get one of those smaller kits to try them all. I know once I start buying BPAL an addiction is sure to follow ;)

  16. I received the “Ninth Cage” which is an interesting scent I didn’t expect out of a series called “The Last Unicorn”.

    I have to describe this scent as “dark” and mysterious. It comes across as a unisex scent that is masculine in it’s overtones. It fits well with the description of iron and oak. I feel it is more heavy on the iron scent than the oak which is more of a subtle tone. This worked out to be the perfect scent for me judging by everyone’s descriptions of theirs.

    Definitely 5 stars!

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