Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) Review XVIII

Previously, I reviewed the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s (BPAL) limited edition full moon perfume blends. And surely all the hardcore BPAL fans might have noticed that I skipped the lovely Strawberry Moon perfumes.

I confess that Strawberry Moon in all its varying versions is one of my all time favorites. And maybe because of my favoritism, I have decided that this blend needs an article all to itself. Therefore, be prepared for berry goodness as we touch on Strawberry Moon 2005, 2009 and prototype version 5.

Strawberry Moon 2005

Scent Description Strawberry Moon is a blending of strawberries and cream with light, dry lotus and soft ylang ylang and a touch of green tea and sage to bring it closer to Earth.

As I open the bottle to the vintage original Strawberry Moon, I admit even I had a little worry. The notes are sharp and very sweet. I feel as if I have been stabbed in the nose by a strawberry spear. It’s pure and tart and aggressive. And the first time I had been so nasally accosted by Strawberry Moon, even I wondered if this was going to be something cloying and horrible. But rest assured, there are changes on the horizon.

The sharp sweet pure strawberry aggression of the bottle doesn’t translate to the skin. Instead this is a light strawberry scent that is reminiscent of strawberries and cream candies or admittedly more so, my childhood strawberry shortcake dolls minus the plastic. I suppose not everyone wants to smell like an 80s, doll but there is something sweet and charming to this blend. I suspect the lotus and the ylang ylang might be playing a role in this deviation from my original suspicions that this was going to be a real fruit blend. But whoever is responsible, I am happy with this strawberry note. The strawberry is artificial and more candy then berry but it is just lovely in its pure sweetness.

And where some scents change as the settle on the skin, Strawberry Moon promises Strawberry Shortcake doll and is resolute to continue the vibe from start to end. So, while there is no presence of fresh juicy strawberries, this blend is a sweet treat in its own right and a definite one to try if you like the candy offerings of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

Strawberry Moon Prototype Version 5

Scent Description: none

As I have mentioned in previous articles, prototype blends are fun and sometimes a little scary to try. These are the alternative versions of the scents we know and love. These are the ghosts of what could have been for some of our favorite blends. Sometimes I find myself wishing that was the case with some of them, while others I am happy were kept in the dark. The Strawberry Moon prototypes are an interesting kettle of blends, especially because there have been a number of them. Perhaps it’s because the potential of strawberry perfume is vast or because getting the feeling just right was a struggle for the perfumers. Whatever the case, the prototypes to this blend are tough to come by and quite sought after. And while there have been five incarnations; I admittedly have only been able to secure a bottle of the fifth.

Keeping with the tradition of Strawberry Moons, the V.5 doesn’t really impress when smelling the bottle. My nose is met with a sharp, astringent note and I am reminded of a fruit nail polish remove. That said, the fruitiness of it is small. With a second tentative huff, I can smell a faint scent of dandelion leaves. Perhaps this is what contributes to the sharpness.

On my skin, and this strawberry moon isn’t really demonstrating its strawberry promises. Instead, I smell a grassy, leafy green scent. It is dandelion leaves and I am reminded of summer and grassy fields. It’s quite rich and robust and definitely would be a summer scent. It definitely has the strawberry plant’s stem and leaves covered. This fails to conjure images of strawberries; rather I am standing on the edge of a whole field of strawberries with an outer border of lush flowers. In itself, this is a lovely but it does leave you wondering if you have chosen the wrong field and picked a strawberry patch far from harvest.

As it dries, I remain in the field of dandelion leaves and strawberry plant. The sunshine, summery feeling remains as well. And as I am about to call this prototype Strawberry-less moon, I catch a subtle note of my favorite fruit. Its not robust ripe fruit I had hoped though. The scent is of faint, hard green strawberries. It is interesting that a perfume can conjure a fruit at various stages of its ripening. Still it is not quite what I expected from this perfume. I suppose I will have to be patient until it’s a Strawberry Harvest Moon.

Strawberry Moon 2009

Scent Description: Wild strawberries, strawberry flower, vanilla-infused sugar, early summer grasses, and milky dandelion sap.

I was elated when this blend resurfaced in 2009. I had managed to try the elusive original before this one, but was looking forward to having a bottle of my own. That said, the blends are intensely different, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A quick of the bottle and I am met with strawberries with perhaps a tad bit of the green grass note and maybe a tiny bit of vanilla sugar sweetening it up. The sugary element makes the strawberry seem more candy than fruit.

On the skin, the notes are fairly similar, with a cream note that I suspect is the combination of vanilla sugar and dandelion sap. As it sets, the grass fades away, as the dandelion vibe strengthens. It is less bitter, and more so it really has become somehow milky/creamy. The milky dandelion sap is boss as the strawberry becomes more realistic. The fruit is seedy and juicy and defies the previous Strawberry Moon’s candy quality.

As it dries, the scent intensifies. It is quite a nice blend to wear and is very summery. And while it never achieves the sweetness and candy like strawberry of the original, it does manage to be a more realistic strawberry. The blend is more herbal, and the fruit is almost a bit green and unripe. The perfume isn’t a long laster and as it fades away the greenery once again swallows the strawberry.

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