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Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab does not test their products on animals. Their perfume oils are blended by hand, using sustainably sourced essential oils and absolutes, with synthetics to replace substances such as civet and ambergris. With the exception of blends containing honey and beeswax and CO2 Butter Extract, the oils are vegan-friendly.
Influences and inspirations
The blends are inspired by works of art, mythology, folk superstitions, voodoo, classical literature, historical figures, pirates, and carnivals. Themes include aromatherapy, locations both real and fictional, devilish garden plantings, role playing games, fairy tales, vampire lore, gothic and pagan themes, Lovecraftian mythos, Japanese "Shunga" artwork and deities and concepts from a variety of pantheons.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has also worked with and licensed the rights to create products based on popular and cult favorites such as Guillermo del Toro's film, Crimson Peak., Pretty Deadly, Only Lovers Left Alive, Sherlock Holmes, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Paranorman, The Last Unicorn, Hellboy, Witchblade, David Mack's Kabuki, and numerous other lines inspired by classic literature and comics.
In April 2017 BPAL revisited its collaboration with Neil Gaiman (see Social Causes below) in celebration of the premiere of the American Gods (TV series) on Starz Channel, ten years after they first released fragrances based on his novel of the same name. The newly launched products include perfume oils, atmosphere sprays, and nail polishes. Proceeds once again will go to the CBLDF.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab maintains a gothic aesthetic of its website, framing product descriptions with snippets of poetry and category art (monochrome drawings or etchings) by Aubrey Beardsley, Beresford Egan, Felicien Rops, Harry Clarke, Albrecht Dürer, John Tenniel, Andreas Vesalius, Jennifer Williamson, Julie Dillon, Sarah Coleman, Alicia Dabney, Madame Talbot, and others.
Elizabeth Barrial's daughter Lilith with her husband, Ted Barrial (who runs BPAL's sister company, Black Phoenix Trading Post) has also been an inspiration for scents since her birth in 2008. Elizabeth has said that the scents inspired by her daughter are some of her favorites to create, and there is an annual Lilith update that coincides with her birthday.
Social causes and compassionate consumerism
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab practices compassionate consumerism, with a goal to give back to the community through charitable contributions, volunteer work, and by supporting fair trade and self-sustaining growers whenever possible. They have participated in fundraisers for many organizations, including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund ("CBLDF"), Hero Initiative, the Orangutan Foundation UK, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Covenant House, the Red Cross, UNICEF, the SPCA, and the Humane Society.
In 2007 Black Phoenix announced a series of perfumes based on the works of Neil Gaiman inspired by, among others, the novels American Gods, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Anansi Boys. All profits from the Neil Gaiman-inspired scents go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Black Phoenix also released a collection of perfumes based on Good Omens (co-authored by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) and sales went to benefit the CBLDF and the Orangutan Foundation UK. By the end of the first week of July 2007, Neil Gaiman announced on his blog that they had raised $1,500 for the Orangutan Foundation UK and the year-to-date fundraising for the CBLDF had raised over $15,000. By 2010, the CBLDF reported that BPAL's Neil Gaiman line of fragrances had raised over $50,000 for the organization.
In July 2015, a line called The Collected Poetic Works of Antonin Scalia debuted, based on the Supreme Court Justice's "colorfully vitriolic superlatives." A portion from the sale of every bottle is donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Trevor Project and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
In October 2016, BPAL released a scent based on Donald Trump's unprecedented remark directed at Hillary Clinton during the third Presidential debate, Nasty Woman. Proceeds from this fragrance were split between Planned Parenthood and Emily's list.
Scents are unique to Black Phoenix and are created and hand blended in-house by Elizabeth Barrial or Brian Constantine.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab currently produces and sells perfume oils in two sizes: 1/32 oz sample vials called Imp's Ears (or "Imps"), and 5-mL glass bottles.
They have an extensive General Catalog of scents and several times a year they release themed Limited Edition oils to coincide with Halloween, Yule, Lupercalia, and other calendar-based holidays and events.
BPAL also releases one new monthly scent which coincides with the full moon. These scents are different each month, following themes established by various mythological and lunar calendars, and they are only available for a few days. While most selling is done online, The Lab does host monthly "Lunacy" (Will Call) events in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Vermont to allow people to purchase oils in person and interact with the staff and owners. Additionally, they often make scents available for giveaway as part of food drives or other charitable events at these times.
BPAL has two sister companies which focus more specifically on certain customer needs: Twilight Alchemy Lab offers ritual oils for spiritual purposes, and Black Phoenix Trading Post sells officially licensed BPAL-related garments, jewelry, home items, and bath and beauty products, as well as offering limited edition and special release oils.
In addition to their retail products, BPAL has also created unique scents for companies in the creative field to use as event gifts, such as the bottles of Nocturnus given out by Thrillbent Comics at the 2012 San Diego ComicCon.
Collaborations and use by other artists
In 2013 BPAL created a perfume called The Gatekeeper which was inspired by The Maze of Games, an interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker and illustrated by Pete Venters. The scent was offered as a Kickstarter perk and then became part of the catalog.
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