The Nose Knows
June 14, 2011 4:40 PM   Subscribe

What online perfume stores are similar to Black Phoenix Alchemist Lab?

I especially like it when a site tries to really sell me their product, particularly with a "sensation" or experience just from the website alone.

I prefer knowing the ingredients of the perfumes (vanilla bean, cinnamon, sandalwood, other stuff added? Natural or not?)

And I love the idea of being able to say, when someone asks what I'm wearing, some unique and/or dark and/or funky name (ex. Wrath, Bluebeard, Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat).

Of course, if your personal experience is that the scents from said store are -awesome-, I definitely want to hear of it!

No Etsy-only or Ebay stores please. Like I said, looking for a shopping experience.

Thank you for the help!
posted by DisreputableDog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: CB I Hate Perfume. I would waste all of my money on their scents if I could. I love their ones that smell like dirt ("soaked earth") and library ("in the library").
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:00 PM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

Gorilla Perfumes, carried by Lush. I'm a fan of Breath of God, which I usually describe as smelling like a fragrant brush fire.
posted by kimdog at 5:15 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

I honestly don't think there are any that truly hit all your points. I used to look for perfume sites obsessively when I bought lots of stuff from Beth, and though there are BPAL knockoffs, they seem like exactly that. The only other perfumery I think honestly owns their art is possets. It's not a copycat, and Fabienne has her own tastes and interests that color her work. The other one I can think of is not really a perfumery first and foremost, but at Villainess, Brooke creates her own scents, though the emphasis is on soaps and scrubs. I highly recommend both- I've had nothing but good experiences buying from these women.

Both places combine natural with synthetic, as does BPAL.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:19 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am a huge fan of Nocturne Alchemy. Their scents all have stories and/or long and flowery descriptions, but also have straightforward listings of each scents ingredients. (I wear Priestess Amber every single day.)
posted by shamash at 5:23 PM on June 14, 2011

Demeter Fragrance Library! Their scents usually try to evoke a single, specific smell. Some are semi-normal, but then you have stuff like Bonfire, Tomato Leaf, Play-Doh, Popcorn... plus, like BPAL, they have a TON of different categories to search through.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:31 PM on June 14, 2011

Le Labo has fantastic perfume.
posted by acidic at 6:14 PM on June 14, 2011

I think you'd like ZOMG Smells. They're a small online fragrance biz, and they like creating smells based off of scientific ideas and strange, specific concepts.

One scent, Candy Mechanic, was created because "one of [their] very own customers utterly charmed [them] into designing this by mentioning that her father repaired machinery at a candy factory and thus came home smelling like candy and machine oil."

The names are really fun, too! I really like the Tom Kha scent--it makes me crave Thai food. :)
posted by ElectricBlue at 6:18 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not as gothy as you may like, but always has great descriptions of their content, it's an excellent online shopping experience (they break down everything by sex, prominent note, house, etc.) plus they offer lines like Juliette Has A Gun. YMMV.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:47 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Luckyscent. They're always adding interesting stuff, and they sell samples of many of their fragrances.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:36 PM on June 14, 2011

Best answer: Seconding LUSH Gorilla Perfumes as a good alternative to BPAL. As mentioned, Breath of God is one to try. My current favourite is Imogen Rose, a dirty powdery rose scent.

I'll also second Villainess with a similar website to BPAL, but focusing more on bath/body products. The owner is very friendly and she puts a lot of work into the quality and presentation of the products. The scents themselves are more wearable and less weird than BPAL. I like Datura (fresh creamy gardenia) and Decadence (boozy vanilla).

If you'd consider a high-end line, L'Artisan Parfumeur has some intriguing offerings. My faves are Bois Farine ("an extraordinary union of enchanted woods and baking bread") and Tea for Two ("a witty blend of gourmand delights and smoke tinted memory"). Again, Luckyscent is a good place to buy samples from L'Artisan and other $$$ brands.

One more thing, I highly recommend reading Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. They review all kinds of scents, from niche to mainstream. Their descriptions are often lavish, horrifying, and/or comedic. The book will definitely give you some new ideas!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2011

You might want to browse the tags over at Evil Enablers on LiveJournal. The community is mostly a bunch of BPAL fans who have branched out into other, yet similar etailers. If the tags don't get you what you want, you can always post asking for recommendations.
posted by asciident at 1:35 PM on June 15, 2011

Oops, posted too soon. I'm a big BPAL fan and have enjoyed scents from Starring Fragrances in the past, too.
posted by asciident at 1:38 PM on June 15, 2011

My favorite fragrance site is It's where I get my Sage Garnet. They carry a lot of obscure names and some hard-to-find scents.

LC is very generous with samples as well. And the packages come in a box with potpourri and wrapped candies sprinkled in. Customer service is awesome.
posted by sundrop at 8:54 AM on June 16, 2011

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