Though popular media (or, you know, your friends on Instagram) might lead you to believe that autumn’s return is heralded by Halloween décor at Home Goods or the the-much-reviled-by-a-certain-idiot-food activist (and therefore much beloved by me) Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks – well, no. You are all wrong. Those in the know have come to recognize that with the arrival of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s annual limited edition Halloween scents, or “weenies” as they have affectionately been called, we can now officially welcome the start of the fall season.
For the uninitiated: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab specializes in formulating darkly compelling fragrance blends and “masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares.” By utilizing their knowledge of homeopathy and aromatherapy, the conceptual theories of hermetic alchemy, and the aesthetic artistry of perfumery, they have “mastered the art of encapsulating allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences.” In short, they make things that smell good for weirdos like us.
“The skies have darkened, and summer’s last bright green leaf has turned”; thus begins the introduction to the 2015 Halloween collection on their website, and my melancholic poetry loving, fragrance fanatic fangirl heart is already ensnared and dreaming of darkened myrrh and icy funeral lilies – but they’ve got something for all Halloween children, I assure you! Whether you’ve a hankering for ALL PUMPKIN EVERYTHING, candied fruit and sugar skulls, or piles upon piles of sweetly rotting, desiccated leaves, you will without a doubt find your holy grail for All Hallow’s Eve in this deliciously haunting line up.
This year’s offerings include several favorites from ‘weenies past, including the aforementioned Sugar Skull, All Souls (incense mingled with the soft, sugared currant soul cakes) and Samhain (damp woods, fir needle and black patchouli, pumpkin, spices, and sweet red apple) – just to name a few.
Or perhaps you’d prefer bobbing for apples (razors here? Pffft!) Try Apple I (apple with oats, honey, sweet cream), Apple II (green apple with pink pepper, juniper, lemon) or Apple III (Appalachian black apple with tobacco, patchouli, orange blossom).
Do your tastes run to less complex scents? BPAL offers Halloween “single notes”, their cheeky interpretations of iconic autumnal scents. Less treat and more trick, here: Clown White, Stage Blood, and Polyester Spiderweb certainly sound like they could layer together and create some interesting olfactory imagery!
Most intriguing to me was this year’s Pickman Gallery scents: Hecate’s Inheritance, inspired by thirteen exquisite depictions of witches and their craft, and Sympathy for The Devil, an interpretation of seven visions of He Who Shuns the Light. Some of my favorite BPAL ‘weenies include:
The Sorceress by Jean van der Velde II: An evocation incense of frankincense, styrax, lavender buds, mastic, and white sandalwood mingled with moonflower, violet absolute, tuberose, and dark musk. Truly the dark floral to end all dark florals, people.
La Femme de Satan by Nikolai Kalmakoff. Red musk and cacao with clove, caramelized tobacco, aged patchouli, red currant, black leather, and vanilla-infused amber. This is the scent of a party girl possessed by a demon and she will fuck your shit up.
And lastly, Witches’ Kitchen by Frans Francken. Belladonna accord, sprigs of rue, crushed hyssop, white sage, beeswax, mandrake leaf, bay rum, black honey, hemp, and myrrh. Sweet herbs steeped in dark honey and the delicate scent of infernal hexes wafting on the breeze.