Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) Review XX

The Mad Hatter Tea Party line of perfumes in the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s (BPAL) general catalog was my undoing when I first discovered this scented world. Therefore, let us wander back to Wonderland and look at some more marvelous perfumes, specifically the Knave of Hearts, the King of Hearts and Croquet.

The Knave of Hearts
Scent Description: Crushed roses and blackcurrant tarts.

This blend has so much potential despite its simplicity. The gourmand artistry of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is always astonishing and the promise of tarts in a perfume is very exciting.

A quick sniff of the bottle and I am in a bakery. This isn’t an artificial perfume interpretation of baked tarts. This is the real thing, mashed up and magicked into perfume. The scent is a strong breath of buttery, sweet pastry. It’s warm, and smells utterly delicious.

On the skin, the perfume is still a warm, buttery baked goods scent. I can’t help but revel in the realistic smell of piecrust on my wrist. This is like the ultimate no-calorie desert. Still while I am enjoying the pastry delights of the Knave of Hearts, I catch a hint of something else. Something smells like a scented candle or potpourri and I begin to suspect that the roses and black currents are not going to play nice. But perhaps I am being overly protective of my lovely baked tart because the roses only wash over the blend for a short time and really aren’t that aggressive.

With the drying of the perfume on my skin, the roses take the hint and scamper off. The pastry scent is somewhat more powdery. It’s not at all unpleasant, but the berry and rose notes are certainly taking a backseat to the pastry, which I think is a good thing. I love the foodiness of it, though, and the spicy, festive, kitchen aura. It is delicious and manages to tread a fine line between lovely perfume and spice candle to me.

The King of Hearts
Scent Description : Rosewood and black cherry with white musk, red rose, red musk and a spark of lavender.

The scent description of the blend had me confused. There seemed to be two very different elements at play. There was the red fruit/rose/musk camp but they had been paired with whiter and brighter notes of lavender and white musk. It looked like a potential war of notes. Perhaps such chaos would befit a head of state? Or would red and white just create a pink perfume not suitable for masculine royalty?

In the bottle, I can appreciate the black cherry, lavender and musks. It kind of comes together oddly and I am reminded of cherry cough syrup. The more I sniff the bottle, confused by the blend; I start to pick out some soapy elements. This isn’t the best of starts. Is this a regal despot or has he got a cold?

Once on the skin, the rosewood and lavender dominate. The cherry cough syrup has completely disappeared. The rose is there if I really look for it, but its weak and not standing up to the other notes. Overall it becomes musky, woody lavender. It is earthy but the lavender seems to give it a sharp, soapy element. I suppose it is making me smell quite clean. Once dried, it doesn’t last and quickly fades.

If I were to categorize the King of Heats, I’d called this blend a floral-musk. It does seem a bit more feminine then I would expect of a king but then perhaps he has been sitting too near the Queen recently. Lavender can usually swing either way and be fairly unisex, but I think the combination of the white musk and red rose tilt that a bit more into the non-king direction. Still it is very pretty.

Scent Description: Pink lime, pink grapefruit, white nectarine, wild rose, sage, woody patchouli, bergamot, and ornery hedgehog musk.

It isn’t a surprise that this blend was going to be a bright, fruity and a somewhat summery blend when reading the scent description. I think I’d have been more disappointed if it hadn’t been. The promise of pink limes, pink grapefruit and a menagerie of others holds too much light and tart fruitiness to be anything else.

Croquet doesn’t not disappoint. On first sniff, it’s an explosion of fruit. It is like happiness in a bottle. The limes and bergamot dance under my nose first, though the pink grapefruit in all its tart sweetness is right on their heels. This is going to be a citrus orgy.

Onto the skin it goes, and it just makes me smile. The scent is a rounded well-blended fruity one. Citrus is dominant but the patchouli tones it down slightly, so that its rich and warm as well. This is definitely an energetic blend. It’s a bright scent, and does make me feel like I should break out some day glow pink clothes to match it.

As it settles, the woody, herbal scent of the sage appears and the citrus fades a bit. It becomes a gentle lime and grapefruit with an earthy tone. Overall, it becomes a fruity, woody musk.

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