Once more all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun. Now it is the time of year that the graves, all gaping wide, let forth their sprites in the church-way paths to glide. And by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
Is it Shakespeare’s secret, black, and midnight hags? No, the wickedness that approaches is the magnificently magical muses of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Once again the spirit of the season has brought them to new heights (or depths) of inspiration. Once again I have been deemed worthy to sample their fragrant efforts and relate the experience to you. We have taken this journey before with Black Phoenix to Sleepy Hollow and to the vampire’s crypt. But I’m sure there will be plenty of new treats in store for us this year.
So get that broomstick between your legs and prepare for a hard ride… through Black Phoenix’s Halloween collections.
One of the first things we as children learn about Halloween is sugar. You are exposed to prodigious amounts of chocolate, caramel, peanut butter. Every version of sweetness your little mind can conceive in coloring packing. And people give it to you…for free. So it’s a foregone conclusion that Black Phoenix would feature some sweet scents. Boo 2010 is the innocence of a young child’s Halloween with strands of candy made from sugar and cream mixed in with a cotton pillowcase. Blue Pumpkin Floss invokes the county fair with cotton candy flavored with pumpkin and blackberry. Ghoulish is a bit more adult with the sweetness of black cherry, the spiciness of saffron, and the kick of amaretto since candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.
Sweetness is a part of other festivals that celebrate death but use sugar to mitigate the wistful loss or the mind bending terror. One of the main treats of the Hispanic festival the Day of the Dead is the Sugar Skull, so this perfume is rich with sugars and fruit. Another traditional food for the festival is Golletes, a pink sugar and sweet pastry people give to the dead…since ghosts like sweets too. It seems that ghosts of the deadly departed also like Huesos de Santo, a cake of oranges, anise, and custard. Along with these, the altar is decorated with Flor de Muerto, the orange marigold which has been associated with Death since ancient times. You can also hear the Calaveras, quick little poems filled with satire to distract the living over the loss of their family and friends. And maybe distract from the possibility that may come back. So the perfume comes across as sweet with xocolatl and cajeta but with a kick of tequila and smoke-dried jalapeÃ±os.
Black Phoenix doesn’t ignore other autumn celebrations. All Saint’s 2010 is a wonderful blend of incense and flowers, but chilled by the fall weather so it doesn’t come across as close and heavy. All Souls 2010 is also a incense blend but this one is mixed with the sweet soul cakes offered to the dead. The main pagan revelry of Samhaim 2010 blends the autumn treats of pumpkin, apples, and spices to enliven them with the forest primeval where nature holds sway. An rural English harvest festival, Punkie Night 2010, which is celebrated with jack-o-lanterns and drinking has a light sweet scent of apples and cranberries to reflect the jack-o-lanterns and copious amount of cider imbibed during the night. Even the month itself, October, gets a scent that recalls the falling leaves, the smoking of meat, and the running of maple sap.
We are bound to each other by constraints of propriety, reason, and modernity. It is true of late that these bonds have loosened, but we still expect people and the world to act a certain way. This is why we are still drawn to Gothic Literature because in its pages, those bonds are unleashed and it is both thrilling and frightening. People are ruled by their passion or their madness. The horrors of the past intrude into the present. Nature herself is no longer a bucolic idyll, but the dark realm of savagery and the supernatural. Black Phoenix has excelled in invoking this atmosphere through the features of this genre.
You have the dark, rich and potent cologne of The Byronic Antihero, master of all he surveys but ruled by his passions. Or you can have The Infernal Lover, a heady musk mixed with honey to trap those who fall under her spell of lust and damnation. The Unsteady Governess, with the scent of reassuring tea but a hint of the decayed and decadent upper class world she is ill-equipped to handle. Then there is The Madwoman, a shell of someone who is broken and only has the remnants of her life to hold on to.
Always an object of fear, The Decrepit House is built from the smells of dark woods, creeping plants, and ancient mosses. The loss of reason is summed up in Encroaching Madness with a discordant mix of yellow flowers and balsam. The fascination with the sensory overload, dark mystery and depraved corruption of the Catholic Church comes through in Ecclesiastical Excesses, an intoxicating brew of incense, roses, and cloves. Then there is Nature when it decides to confuse and obscure: The Creeping Mist is a light watery scent that is still cloying around you, hiding all sorts of dangerous things from you until it’s too late.
This was a only a quick flight through all the offerings that Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has available for this Halloween. Feel free to explore on your own… IF YOU DARE!!!