It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

E-tailers are starting to put out their Halloween collections, and my favourite e-tailer of all, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, is going to put their Halloween scents up this month (quite possibly on the 16th when they do their monthly ‘Lunacy’ update to coincide with the full moon).

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) is a perfumerie that produces an eclectic assortment of perfume oils (and their sister site, Black Phoenix Trading Post or BPTP, makes a number of other products (clothes, bath products, jewelery, etc.) to complement them) based on myths, legends, gods, goddesses, demons, poisonous and/or magical plants, artwork, works by authors such as Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, etc. etc. etc.

Their site may be a little overwhelming for the newbie, but you can search for notes you know you like (i.e. musk, violet, myrrh, etc.) and it will bring up a list of the blends that contain that note. You can also subscribe to the BPAL.org forum and read reviews of each oil (and in the sales area might even be able to find sample vials (“Imps”) at a reduced price).

The Lab is VERY generous and has fantastic customer service — they send out free sample Imps with every order, so many BPAL customers have a large number of imps to trade or sell for lower prices. (Free imps are referred to as “Frimps” and “frimping” is giving out frimps with a sale or trade.)

They do a number of Limited Editions — every month there is the “Lunacy” which is an oil blended to go with one of the names for the full moon of the next month (they are available the month before so that people will usually have the oil by the time of that full moon). One year (before I got into BPAL) there was a year full of Asian themed Lunacies, so there were things such as Chrysanthemum Moon, Dragon Moon (an Eastern dragon) and Hungry Ghost Moon. This year we’ve had things like Mead Moon, Hay Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Dragon Moon (a Western dragon), etc. The Trading Post always has a matching T-shirt to go with the Lunacy, and both oil and shirt are available for a short window of time (usually about 4 – 5 days) around the date of the full moon. (For example, Sturgeon Moon was released July 16th and went down on July 20th. The next Lunacy should be available towards the end of next week — we don’t know what it is yet, but some possibilities are Harvest Moon, Nut Moon, Mulberry Moon, Moon When the Calves Grow Hair, Singing Moon (although we had one last year, so that’s less likely), Barley Moon (also less likely since we just had Mead Moon), or Fruit Moon!)

They also do a number of long-term Limited Editions — the biggest one of these right now is the Carnaval Diabolique, which is a wonderful themed collection of scents based on a demonic carnival and side shows. It’s supposed to be 7 acts in total — we just got Act IV and Act V on May 18th. Act IV is The Interlude, and also contains the Ladies of the Grindhouse (demonic whores!). Act V is the Wunderkammer and contains all kinds of strange curios and artifacts. The Carnaval was originally supposed to be discontinued in September, but due to a number of reasons it has been delayed for a bit. We suspect it will be available at least to some time in October, and we’re hoping longer than that.

The other long-term Limited Editions are the big holidays: Lupercalia (Valentine’s Day time-frame), Halloween, and Yule (Christmas time-frame). These are usually available for a couple of months, giving people time to set up decant circles, sample all of the scents, and decide what bottles they want to buy (Limited Editions are not sold as Imps by the Lab, so the only way to get a sample of a LE scent is either buy the bottle unsniffed, or join a decant circle. There are many of these on the forum, and you can also find some on LiveJournal. Every time a new limited edition scent or group of scents goes up, they pop up like mushrooms đŸ™‚

So. Back to our subject — Halloween is coming! Last year, the “‘weenies” went up on August 26th and were available through November 15th (wow — didn’t realize it was that long!). They have some scents that come back each year (usually with small tweaks to the formulas to keep them from being exactly alike), and some scents that are one-time-only ones. The Pumpkin Patch was available in 2006 and 2007, but the scents in it were different. The Haunted House set was new with 2007. This year, we don’t know what might be coming — it’s all very exciting!

Here are the descriptions of the scents from last year — there’s a good variety of types of scents to make just about everyone happy:

++ HALLOWEEN BLENDS

ALL SOULS 2007
A day of remembrance and intercession. Without the prayers and sacrifices of their families and loved ones, the faithful departed may not be cleansed of their venal sins, and thereby cannot attain beatific vision. On November 2nd, prayers are sung and offerings are made to aid lost souls in transcending purgatory. An incense blend that invokes the higher qualities of mercy and compassion, mingled with the soft, sugared currant scent of offertory soul cakes.

BONFIRE NIGHT
Guy Fawkes, Guy;
Stick him up on high!
Hang him on a lamp post
And there let him die!
Guy, Guy, Guy!
Poke Him in the eye!
Put him on the fire,
And there let him die!
Burn his body from his head:
Then you’ll say
Guy Fawkes is dead!
Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Beer, woodsmoke, tar, and treacle.

THE DEATH OF AUTUMN
When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like aged warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek, —
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again, — but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn! — What is the Spring to me?

Dark amber, dead leaves, khus, saffron, bitter clove, chrysanthemum, camellia, galangal, and a drop of oud.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS 2007
A joyous celebration of La Catarina, La Flaca, La Muerte… Glorious, Beautiful Death. In Mexico, death is not something to be feared or hated; She is embraced, loved, and adored. La Muerte is fĂªted, as the celebrant “…chases after it, mocks it, courts it, hugs it, sleeps with it; it is his favorite plaything and his most lasting love.” This is a Mexican paean to La Huesuda: dry, crackling leaves, the incense smoke of altars honoring Death and the Dead, funeral bouquets, the candies, chocolates, foods and tobacco of the ofrenda, amaranth, sweet cactus blossom and desert cereus.

OCTOBER
AY, thou art welcome, heaven’s delicious breath!
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, ‘mid bowers and brooks
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

Dry, cold autumn wind. A rustle of red leaves, a touch of smoke and sap in the air.

SAMHAIN 2007
Truly the scent of autumn itself — damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

SAMHAINOPHOBIA 2007
The fear of Halloween. Menacing Haitian vetiver, patchouli, and clove with a shock of bourbon geranium, grim oakmoss, and dread-inspiring balsams pierce the innocuous scent of autumn leaves.

++ HALLOWEEN: the HAUNTED HOUSE
We’re going back to our campy, spooky roots with the Haunted House Collection! Seven Guignolesque, chilling atmospheric blends are being offered for your pleasure and amusement.

THE ATROCIOUS ATTIC
A shadowy shrine filled with forgotten toys, broken dolls. The altar: a collapsing trunk distended by a rotted wedding gown. The air of the room is dusty, laced with the scent of a child’s perfume and the remnants of a dried, crumbling bridal bouquet: tea rose, violet, white sandalwood, French lavender, and Calla lily.

THE CHILLING CELLAR
Wine just turning to vinegar, crumbling mortar, red clay, and the coppery tang of old blood.

THE FORBIDDING FOYER
Thick shadows hang heavy across fungus-smeared, dilapidated wainscoting, cobwebs hang like fine lace across sagging mouldings, rats scuttle past gaping doorways. The faint scent of brimstone, ghostly breath laced with cognac, neglected mahogany panels, and rot.

THE GHASTLY GARDEN
Overgrown oleander, marshy water hemlock, the sugared nectar of carnivorous blooms, putrefying wet greenery, oozing sap, crushed rosary peas, withered climbing roses, and nightshade berries.

THE LURID LIBRARY
The incense-tinged scent of forbidden tomes and the musk-laden remnants of infernal servants.

THE PERILOUS PARLOR
A memory of pleasure passed. A ghostly rendezvous, delight beyond death. Faint echoes of laughter and the distorted music of a harp drift by, along with the scent of soft white pear and sweet vanilla.

THE TWISTED OAK TREE
Blackened, rotted oak wood blanketed in moss and choked by a cloak of grasping ivy.

++ HALLOWEEN: the PUMPKIN PATCH
The ‘Patch is back, with five new pumpkin blends to choose from. Pick individual pumpkins from the field, or snatch up the whole bushel!

PUMPKIN I
Pumpkin with pear, white wine grapes, and jasmine-laced tea.

PUMPKIN II
Pumpkin with tobacco, champaca flower, carnation, and tonka.

PUMPKIN III
Pumpkin with white chocolate, caramel, pomegranate, and cream.

PUMPKIN IV
Pumpkin with cactus blossom, sage, and sweetgrass.

PUMPKIN V
Pumpkin with benzoin, bourbon vanilla, lemon peel, neroli, blood orange, and red ginger.

PUMPKIN PLUNDER
If you purchase Pumpkin Plunder, you will receive an imp of a Murder of Crows: a scent created to compliment and complete the collection. What is a pumpkin field without crows?

A Murder of Crows
Sleek iris and verbena, grey amber, benzoin, davana, and glossy herbs.

As you can see, very varied, very eclectic, and very creative!

I love Halloween!

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