Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) Review XIV

Lunacies I

I suppose this is a slight deviation from my perfume preferences of the gourmand scents on offer at the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL). Still, whenever a moon waxes full, the BPAL lab knows how to celebrate it. That is, they offer a limited edition blend to celebrate that particular full moon. Tonight I thought we’d focus on a few of these fabulous moon-inspired scents.

The term “blue moon” apparently refers to the third full moon seen in a single season that has four full moons. I have just always known they were a rare occurrence and that the saying “once in a blue moon” punctuated my childhood. Still it’s a rarer celestial event than just the usual full moon. Perhaps this is why the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) has produced four versions of the blue moon limited edition blend over the years. And if you know BPAL perfumers, each of these manifestations of the moon is as different as can be from one another. In this article, we will review two spectacular examples of the four blue moon blends: the original 2004 blend and a recent concoction by the proprietess of BPAL herself.

Blue Moon (2004)

Scent Description: Mugwort and bay, for psychic sensitivity… Juniper, for divination through dreams… Orchid and galbanum, for complexity, wisdom and noscere… with a potent lunar-charged blend of exquisite Asian woods, moonflower, Madagascan ylang ylang, Florentine iris, Greek cypress, davana, green tea absolute, palmarosa, cucumber, Clary sage, melilot trefoils, wood aloes, and pale creeping buttercup.

There is always something magical when you get the opportunity to sample and old blends. I admit I wasn’t aware of the BPAL world when the first Blue Moon came out. Still, this hasn’t held me back. Despite being three years too late, some original Blue Moon can be found in swapping forums.

On first sniff, I am met with the scent of cucumber but lighter and sweeter. It’s a very clean scent, and while I can’t decipher the floral arrangement pervading the background, I do find it very enticing. This is going to be a lighter, fresher scent, perhaps ideal for spring wear.

On to the skin it goes, and the scent of sweetened cucumber in a bouquet of white flowers continue. The sweetness too is there, and it’s amusing that I cannot ascribe it to any of the listed notes. I wonder if this is the aloe note. Overall, it is light and soft and gives a sense of calm and contentment. As it dries the blast of overwhelming sweetness begins to fade and become subtler. The orchid blooms and takes the forefront. Behind it there is a watery note and the aloe grows stronger. I can only describe this one as dreamy. I am reminded of lilies floating along quiet streams. This is a really happy smelling scent for me and I just feel peaceful with it on my skin.

As time goes on, Blue Moon morphs a bit and I find it taking on a slight musky tone. It doesn’t seem to be something tangible as I only catch fragments of it. The watery nature of the perfume increases with floral highlights, and the sugary note recedes. The aquatic note makes it watery and ethereal. Then a subtle, faint spice comes in and rounds out the fragrance.

I admit when I first got this one, I did worry that the floral notes would overwhelm the blend. But my worries were for naught. This is a clean and fresh fragrance. It is peaceful and thoughtful and nothing short of beautiful.

Blue Moon (2009): Elizabeth’s Version:

Scent Description: Mugwort, for psychic sensitivity..Calea Zacatechichi, for divination through dreams…Orchid and frankincense, for complexity, wisdom and noscere.. with a potent lunar-charged, oneirongenic blend of blue musk, exquisite woods, moonflower, Madagascan ylang ylang, Florentine iris, Greek cypress, green tea absolute, palmarosa, cucumber, Clary sage, lavender, lemon balm, and passion fruit.

2009’s Blue Moon blend greeted BPAL aficionados with a surprise. This year, there were two different interpretations of the full moon. Two of BPAL’s top perfumers had created two distinct blends. Could we love both of them? Today we will tackle Elizabeth’s version of the Blue Moon.

Elizabeth’s blend rushes to my nose and I am greeted with a scent that is cool, herb ally with a funny undertone of fruit. I recognize the cucumber and lemon balm but these are surrounded by a field of herbs and with a pot of green tea nearby. The floral are light with the orchid and iris being most recognizable. I would definitely call this one a blue scent. It reminds me of the previous blends, but this one definitely stands out from the others.

On my skin, I get a tart tropical blast of passion fruit, quickly followed by the soft cucumber and a robust green tea note. As the blend settles on my skin, I find the herbal nature of this more recent blend to outshine its ancestor. The herbal notes wrap themselves around me and I can pick out lavender and cypress notes.

It does momentarily threaten to turn to powder on my skin, but as it dries the threat recedes and a bouquet of floral notes come to the rescue. I smell the moonflower predominately but the iris and orchid are close at hand as well. This is perfume-y and lovely, perhaps more like a “proper” perfume the BPAL blends I am used to.

With time, the floral notes settle into an indistinct white floral background and I can smell the cucumber and passion fruit again. Now they seem more muted, more mixed. Like the green tea note has really smoothed out. This is coupled with the blue musk note, which has emerged to tie everything together. And this is how it stays. This perfume is definitely complex and lasts. It has a moderate throw and good longevity. Definitely a keeper.

Well these two massive limited edition Blue Moon blends have bowled me over with their complex and magnetic composition. I can’t wait to try the others in this series of blends celebrating the love of all things lunar.

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