YOU GUYS. It’s that time again! The most weenderful time of the year! At Haute Macabre today I share my thoughts on Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s 2017 Weenie collection…take a peek to find out which scent made me weepy, thinking of my dead mom; which scent is precisely perfect to wear with your next gothic romance novel ensemble, and which one made me throw up in my mouth a little (I love you forever BPAL, but there’s always that one in every collection!)

Stroll on over to Haute Macabreto take a peek, and make sure you share your favorites from this years collection–I want to hear all about the ones I didn’t get a chance to try!

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On this week’s Fripperies For The Resistance…!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are purveyors of fine esoteric goods, perfumes, and potions–and if you’ve spent any amount of time with me, or reading my blog here, then no doubt you already know all about them. But for those who may be unfamiliar with this marvelous perfumery, here’s the gist: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has mastered the art of encapsulating allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences, and they specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares. TLDR; they make you stink real pretty in the most amazingly creative ways.

And not only do these singular scent slingers work long hours, toiling away to create compelling fragrances inspired by your favorite ghost stories/mythologies/comic books/horror movies/holidays (that would be Halloween, obviously,) for which to make your olfactive aura beautiful! The do-gooders at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab also put in a great deal of time and personal attention in the attempt at making our world a better, more beautiful place, with many years of activism, community involvement, humanitarian work, and ongoing fundraising efforts and events under their belts.

About these efforts, my dear friend Elizabeth Barrial, owner of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, shares:

“Since the day we first opened our doors, helping support and strengthen marginalized communities has been of paramount importance to me. At Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, we have never shied away from our civic duty, and since the inception of the company, we have made it a point to do everything within our power to support organizations that provide emergency aid and disaster relief, support environmental and conservation causes, help the homeless, protect civil liberties and reproductive rights, and offer succor to the LGBTQ community and marginalized ethnic, racial, and minority religious groups. It is our way of helping to protect and provide for our communities, and we feel it is our obligation as human beings to help those who may not be empowered to help themselves.”

Jeanne d’Arc, Albert Lynch
Jeanne d’Arc, Albert Lynch

BPAL currently offers a line up of scents inspired by Nasty Women and those who would persist; by courageous federal employees who risk their careers to ensure that the public is kept informed on issues of climate change; by those ceaselessly fighting injustice and hatred and bigotry. Scents to bolster courage as you refute ignorance and insincerity; scents to encourage kindness and compassion; scents to provide relief and recovery to those imperiled by disastrous circumstances. The proceeds from all of these scents go to such organizations as the ACLU, NCTE, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, NAACP, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Foundation, as well as hurricane disaster relief efforts, and below you will find the descriptions and links to all of their current philanthropic, fundraising fragrances.

Alternative Facts: The truth hurts — so why tell it? Muffle the blow with Alternative Facts. If you truly want to obfuscate what you really smell like, this is the scent for you! Sugar-crusted vanilla, a firecracker-blast of cherry and sour lemon, a hint of scuttling spiders, encroaching fog, and trumpets of bombast, bluff, and bluster. Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.

Fake News: A scent of misdirection, of 140 frantic characters typed out in spite at 3am, and paranoia-clouded churlish accusations hurled at perceived enemies: crushed pink pepper pod, bitter white tobacco, gnarled patchouli, all covered in glinting, garish slashes of gold. Wear it in vigilance as you sift through the memes, trolls, clickbait, hate-speech, and outright propaganda that continually threaten to overwhelm all the world’s kindness, wisdom, and informed expertise. Wear it in courage as you refute ignorance and insincerity at every turn — even from our nation’s highest-ranking figures — with indisputable facts from well-researched sources. Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.

COVEFE: Is it abstract nonsense poetry? Surrealist performance art? Cryptography so subtle and devious that it would make an Enigma machine blush? This perfume makes no fucking sense: orange marshmallow cream, bitter lemon, black pepper, orange carnation, and gin.
Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.

Nevertheless, She Persisted: A rallying call: golden oudh, frankincense, iris, and steel. Proceeds from this scent benefit EMILY’s List, an organization that supports electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.

Nasty Woman: “Such a nasty woman.” black fig and patchouli, filthy bourbon vanilla, honeyed amber oud, and loukhoum. Proceeds will be split between Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s list.

Irish Coffee Buttercream: Irish whiskey, granulated sugar, brown sugar, whipped cream, buttercream and coffee, and Spiced Rum Buttercream Coffee: Coffee and rum laced with allspice, nutmeg, clove, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon gently whipped into buttercream. Two cheery, uplifting scents slated for a future, 2018 coffee-theme release which instead became emergency fundraiser scents in order to take an immediate stand to fight  the reinstatement of the unconstitutional, immoral, and unnecessarily cruel US military ban on transgender people. Proceeds benefit the National Center for Transgender Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Take a KneeThis is the scent of apple pie, as American as it gets, and a smudged grass stain. Taking a knee…this isn’t a protest of America itself, its flag, or anything that this country stands for. It isn’t disrespectful of the US military. On the contrary, it is the acknowledgement that we as a country can do better, that we must do better, and that we must renew our commitment to fight for equality and justice for all. Proceeds benefit the NAACP.

Theoi Nomioi: The National Park Service refuses to be muzzled. On January 24th, South Dakota’s Badlands National Park social media team defiantly posted a series of climate change facts from the National Wildlife Federation before being shut down. The Theoi Nomioi are the gods and spirits of the wild: the countryside, the pastures, the forests. Under their auspices, untamed nature thrives, the beasts of the wild feast and multiply, the mountains reach to the heavens with their stony, snow-capped fingers, and the forests grow thick and dark with mystery. Proceeds to the benefit National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Foundation.

Single Note: Flor de Maga The national flower of Puerto Rico. The proceeds of this scent support the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Maria relief fund.

And last but certainly not least, The Collected Poetic Works of Antonin Scalia, the “federal court’s beat poet of indignation and right-wing rage.” We’ve had myriad political figures throughout US history that have possessed acid tongues, but few in the modern era have provided such a constant stream of colorfully vitriolic superlatives as the Sick Burn Champion, the cranky, flamboyant, inimitable Antonin Gregory Scalia.

Proceeds from Ask The Nearest Hippie (patchouli, hemp, smoky vanilla bean, and cannabis accord), Jiggery Pokery (pink pepper cotton candy with a sliver of orange peel and a hint of vanilla cream), Looming Spectre Of Unutterable Horror (raw frankincense and tobacco absolute with Russian leather, blackened champaca, bitter clove, red patchouli, bourbon vanilla and petitgrain), Mummeries and Straining-to-be Memorable Passages (rosemary water with lavender, blackberry, Italian bergamot, and white musk), Mystical Aphorisms of the Fortune Cookie (almond fortune cookies and a bit of roadside palm reader-inspired incense), and Pure Applesauce (mashed apples with sugar and honey, slivered with tobacco tar and black tea) are donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Trevor Project, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Find Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: website // facebook // instagram // twitter

I haven’t sampled all of these scents, and more importantly, I don’t want my opinions on them to overshadow the fact that these scents exist in the world, doing good in the first place, so you won’t find reviews here today… but feel free to ask questions in the comments if you wanted my thoughts on any of them, and I will do my best to fill you in!

Are you a creator who gives a damn? Are you aware of artisans or indie businesses speaking up, reaching out, and creating art or goods to express outrage with injustice, promote anti-hatred, or which encourage safe spaces in their communities? Please let me know about them for future Friday Fripperies!

Previous frips for the resistance:
⚔ Resistance Insignia Pin From The Creeping Museum
⚔ “Neo-Nazis Not Welcome” From Cat Coven
⚔ The Watchful Eye Amulet From Chase And Scout


Peeking in post-storm to share some reviews for the Solstice Scents Later Summer collection that I wrote up for Haute Macabre, as well as the opportunity to win some of these scents for yourselves!

Do you want to smell of an ice cream sundae enjoyed in the murky seaside town of Innsmouth? Or perhaps strange desert visions? Or nostalgic Spring Break make-outs with your high school boyfriend? Leave a comment over at Haute Macabre and tell us which scent you’d most like to try!

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Today at Haute Macabre I’m pleased to review Solstice Scents’ Spring 2017 collection, whose refreshing vernal fragrances were a lovely change of pace during the hellscape that is July in Florida.

Are you a fan of bracing cocktails, lemony gourmands, Appalachian meadow Bambis,  or watercolor florals & haunted breezes? Or perhaps the idea of the eerie olfactory equivalent of this image below piques your interest? In that case, you may want to avail yourself of some of these lovely spring scents before they are sold out!

Film still from Jean Rollin's Les Démoniaques
Film still from Jean Rollin’s Les Démoniaques


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Content by S. Elizabeth originally posted on the bloodmilk blog, July 13, 2015.

When I was younger, summertime, to me, meant curling up on a sweaty vinyl chair on the screened-in back porch with a pitcher of powdered iced tea drink and reading stories of ghosts and monsters and possessed children. If I was lucky, the skies would darken at midday, the winds would pick up, and a fearsome storm would thunder through the area; this is a common occurrence on a summer afternoon in central Florida, and normally would not last more than ten minutes.

I avoided the sun when at all possible; I did not relish playing outside with my sisters or the neighbor’s kids, I did not care for trips to the beach, I didn’t like being hot and sticky and gross. And I didn’t really have any friends to do any of those things with, anyhow. But then again, I’d never had many friends, so I really didn’t know any better and I didn’t feel badly about it! These long, sweltering days on the back porch voraciously tearing through stacks upon stacks of cheap, lurid used bookstore finds are some of the happiest memories I have from my pre-teen years. This was how summer was supposed to be, I thought, and at the ages of 11/12/13, I was young enough to have the luxury of spending that time however I liked. And after the daily rains, which were impatiently anticipated and perfectly inevitable -that was my favorite part of the day: a few glorious moments when the humidity dropped the tiniest bit, the air cooled a few degrees, and the sun disappeared entirely, culminating in a rich scent that still tugs at my memories and the edges of my dreams many years later. The musty scent of disintegrating paperbacks, the air heavy with the sweet, musky fragrance of jasmine, the tang of ozone, just before a heavy rainfall. This was the scent of my summers.

Years later when it comes to scenting myself for summer weather, I steer clear of many of the perfumes marketed for these sizzling, stifling afternoons when the evil day star holds sway. I don’t want to smell like the synthetic coconut of greasy suntan lotion, nor do I want to smell like those generic aquatics that are supposedly “crisp and refreshing” or the ubiquitous green tea and cucumber/melon melange which smell like so many country club air fresheners. Yes, I do want something lighter, for anything richer and heavier would certainly suffocate and strangle me in our notoriously murky, muggy Southern summers…but I want a scent that also evokes some sort of nostalgia, triggers a memory, conjured a long-forgotten dream.


Below is a list of my five preferred fragrances in this vein; scents for these summer months that are at turns cooling, invigorating, revitalizing and imaginative: summer scents for those who shun the sun.

Coriandre by Jean Couturier is a light, lovely chypre launched in the mid-70’s. If you are not familiar with chypres, well, they seem to be a rather divisive grouping of scents, with perfume lovers falling squarely in either the Love Them or Hate Them camps. To me, generically, chypres smell a bit cold and astringent, distant; but Coriandre is on the warmer, more familiar end of the spectrum. It does remind me of something from the 70s; it’s got a hazy Polaroid quality to it. A warm, grassy summer day recalled through the yellowed veil of memory. It’s dry and woody and musky and I think it smells a bit like a lovely little secret that you might never be ready to share.

Annick Goutal’s Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a soft, minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get. It’s a lovely, (softly) zingy scent that calls to mind some sort of mildly alcoholic herbal shandy one might drink to refresh one’s self at the close of a balmy June afternoon. Unfortunately, much like the buzz from this weak cocktail, the scent lasts but a moment and is gone.

Safran Troublant by L’Artisan is a wonderfully restorative, heart-warming/opening scent. It should be part of a comforting bedtime ritual at the end of a long, hot day where one has done a lot of yard work or gardening. There’s a comforting sweetness to it, though not at all sugary or cloying. A creamy sandalwood pudding, a lukewarm bath lightly infused with milk and rose petals and a deep, enveloping hug. You’ll sleep quite well and be visited by the loveliest midsummer dreams.

Danube, by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is a beloved scent that is, for me, more about memory than the actual fragrance itself. It is a deep blue aquatic scent – but not salty, ozone-y, beachy aquatic, nor is it murky, swampy aquatic. Like a cold swimming pool on a hot day (maybe if you were adding grapefruit to your pool instead of chlorine) with every blue flower imaginable floating on top of it. Imagine being 6 years old and holding your breath and submerging yourself in a swimming pool, then slo-o-o-wly sinking to the bottom. The water is chilled, you feel like the only person in the world and everything is totally silent. Imagine peering up and seeing the sun streaming down into the water, between all of the blue petals. It’s calm and soothing and serene and is an absolutely a must for hot, sticky weather and for people who haven’t got a swimming pool. Unfortunately, I do believe that Danube is discontuned. For other other unique summer scents from BPAL, sniff out Fae (sweet, floral, peachy), and Zephyr (light musk, soft lemon and florals), and Aeval (dried herbs & sweet pea & tonka and it smells like all of my favorite occult bookshops at once -herbs and oils and stones and crystals and and the crisp pages of unopened books filled with unlearned knowledge.)

When I was 18, I was dating the boy who used to live next door to me, but who had since graduated high school and moved to Indiana to attend Notre Dame. We spent a week together on summer break, during which time he had flown down South to stay with me and my family. It was early in this visit that he proposed to me on the beach one night, and I accepted…though something told me that this was a doomed venture. I knew it was not going to last, and yet I agreed anyway; I suppose I just liked the idea that something interesting loomed in the distant future for me. One late afternoon a few days later, we took a drive; the sun hung low on the horizon, the windows were down, and on the wind that ruffled our hair was the musky, sweet scent of orange blossoms, as we had just driven past a massive orange grove. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom smells like that summer afternoon, sweet blooms and dying suns and the melancholy of tears yet to be shed for reasons you’re not quite sure of.

A bonus scent, which I have mentioned before, so it didn’t seem quite fair to list it above: Comme des Garcons Incense Series: Kyoto. To be honest, Kyoto is my go-to fragrance no matter what the season; it’s austere and meditative and calls to mind a dark prayer in a cool, shadowy forest temple. But there is something exceptionally wonderful about it in the summer months. On a day of wretched, heated summertime oppression, do this: draw the curtains, dim the lights, strip naked, and liberally spritz yourself with Kyoto. Lay on your bed, mid-afternoon in the dark. Nap for a time. Dream of cooler places. And for what it’s worth, I just purchased my 5th bottle of this particular scent (and you know I have quite a lot of perfumes to choose from) so Kyoto is obviously getting a lot of mileage.

What scents do you dream of in summer time? What cools you down & soothes your brow when the temperatures soar?

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Wow, has it really been since the end of January that I’ve compile a list of stinks o’ the week? Lordy. Well, better later than never, right? Though I guess in this case is more like “scents of the month/s” But we won’t dwell on my faults and laziness, okay? Previous weeks: one // two


First up, Kiehl’s Original Musk: I do think this is the perfect musk; it hasn’t got that lofty sneeze-inducing quality that I associate with Egyptian musk, but it does have a feral edge of skankiness, and an underlying bittersweet powderiness that keeps a scent that is mostly warm and clean from becoming bland and blah. Kiehl’s musk is exactly what I imagine 1974 to smell like. Astrology enthusiasts, embroidered caftans, and an endless parade of Tupperware parties through your rust & mustard & olive wallpapered kitchen. {perfume sample pictured alongside the utterly exquisite “black mirror” snake pendant from Flannery Grace}


Mandragore by Annick Goutal. Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous autumnal fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright, effervescent lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a gently minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get.


Absinth by Nassomatto. Bittersweet mosses, green woodsmoke, and sinister woods. It’s a bit of a nose-jarring scent at first sniff, as if the punk-poet green fairy quit bohemian Paris to live amongst the ancient dryads and they didn’t get on well but eventually formed an uneasy friendship. It’s a softly surreal, slightly subversive scent, and I totally imagine Meatface here wearing it.


Avignon from COMME des GARÇONS Incense series. In short, it smells like the melancholy elegance of a poet who writes with terribly expensive pencils. Pencil shavings & poet’s tears. All of CdG’s Incense fragrances smell like poetry to me, so here is Avignon captured alongside some of my favorites.


Pink Sugar by Aquolina. If you’ve not tried it, it’s exactly what you think it is. Which is to say an ultra sweet, teeth-aching miasma of fizzy spun sugar. Marshmallow and a tiny twist of lemon with a barely-detectable licorice spike. It is wretched. It is divine. I inexplicably adore it. I buy the “hair perfume” version so I can spritz with manic pixie dust mad abandon. The dry down is sweetly vanillic and woody, like maybe the bark of the mythic candy floss tree in the dime store candy forest. I know heaps of folks who hate this stuff. Oh well. More for me!


Me, Myself, and I by Ego Facto. I’ve had this bottle for over a year but haven’t really worn it much until recently, and I’m here to tell you, it is strangely addictive. I was initially intrigued by the notes {Hemlock flower, exotic basil, Tuberose absolute, lavender flowers, Java Vetyver roots, Gaiac wood} and I’ve read that hemlock is an unpleasant scent, but anytime it’s listed in a fragrance, I can’t help but to want to give it a go. Me, Myself and I is sort of raw and green and smoky all at once. There is something just this shy of mentholated to it, and though it’s slightly bitter and almost musty at first, hours later it’s a really lovely, flowery-fresh, woody scent. What I love about it most, though, and this is going to sound weird (and maybe gross to some of you), is that it smells vaguely like the handbag or the scarf of a long-time smoker. There was a girl I went to high school with, the sister of my boyfriend at the time, who was beautiful and popular and had her shit super together, and she was, at that time, a somewhat heavy smoker. Every time she’d swing her waist-length, impossibly shiny black hair around, I’d catch a whiff of cigarette smoke, perhaps tinged with her expensive shampoo, (it was probably Origins; a store had just opened in the mall at that time) and I’ll be honest, I thought it was an unbelievably gorgeous, sophisticated scent. (Note: I’m not even a smoker, I have never smoked anything in my life. I’m just a weirdo, I guess.)

guardianGuardian from Solstice Scents. Described as a forest chypre blend and a botanical talismanic perfume, it smells of dense earthy shadows and amber sunlight through a forest canopy, and feels like finally coming home.


Death & Decay from LUSH. I wrote about this back in 2015, for Death & The Maiden, and my thoughts have not changed much. A mass of white lillies, a wreath, perhaps – sweet and clean and full, waxen, and with a dignified clove-like spice, you can almost envision their alabaster form and curve. A calming, quiet, meditative, floral, almost too fresh to call classic, but it certainly evokes a kind of nostalgia. This fragrance calls to mind little girls dressed all in white, playing hide and seek around an open casket because they don’t know yet to be sad at funerals.

Antique Lace

Antique Lace from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (discontinued). Many years ago, a friend spilled my beloved bottle of Antique Lace. Which made me awfully sad, I can assure you. I was even more devastated shortly thereafter to discover they had discontinued this soft, sweet, whisper of a scent. Imagine my surprise to learn, seven or eight years later, that they are offering it again! It may have sold out already, but you can bet your fluffy pantaloons I hastily procured a replacement bottle for myself.

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 Today at Haute Macabre I dive into the smutty, salacious glory that is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Lupercalia collection. Whether you see these lurid delights as a dare, or as merely as a to-do list, and no matter how singular your tastes may be, there is all manner of delightful debauchery here to appeal to aficionados of arousing, amusing aromatic experiences from the smut peddlers at BPAL

Psssst…there’s an obscenely generous giveaway, as well <3

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My week in fragrances, week two. (Which is more like a week and a half’s worth and I am now on week three if you’re being really picky about it, but I’m not, so you shouldn’t be, either!) I am almost to the end of January and so far I have not purchased any new fragrances, not even tiny samples! Let’s see if I can keep this up for another month.

Previously: Week One

Morocco (formerly “Old Morocco” from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab). This is one of the first BPAL samples that I ever received, and one of their first scents that I fell in love with, but it took me a while to commit to a full size bottle. When I did, it was no longer “Old Morocco”, but instead, just plain “Morocco”. This is a scent of tender comforts, of being swaddled in plush saffron robes after a long, dusty day of travels, and sipping a honeyed, milky draught of something unfamiliar and yet strangely comforting before slipping into bed. Your pillow is filled with carnations and sandalwood shavings, lending a gentle spice and dry warmth to round out the sweetness. You dream for days.

CourtesanCourtesan by Worth. I purchased this many years ago, and sometimes I seriously question what I was thinking. It’s a frou-frou, one-two punch of pineapple pixy stix and a feathery poof of some sort of vanilla jasmine laundry powder that manages to be creamy, cloying, and yet very sheer. It’s like being smothered in a veil of phantom custard.

St. PhalleNiki de Saint Phalle, a light, grassy chypre interwoven with dry, autumn floral accents. It conjures imagery of late summer afternoon daydreaming on a mossy hill and brushing dried blooms and other herbaceous detritus off your sun-warmed skirts when you’ve finally roused yourself to head home.


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