Recently I´ve got my wished-for perfume oils from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL). I paid about five pound/each at Ebay and for that price it wouldn´t bother me if I didn´t like them. Well, I happens to like them, a lot, at least they are worth a lot more than what I´ve paid.
This make me think about good and bad when it comes to perfumes (act. eau de toilette or eau de perfume) versus parfume oils. Perfumes and perfume oils offcourse have a lot in common, they smell good, interesting and thrilling or being able to stir up memories. But, then my associations goes in different directions.
In my imaginary world I think that perfumes are produced in modern laboratories by serious men (and women) in white robes, that rather thinking of chemical formulas than fragrances, even tough it works out in the end.
Perfume oils, I imagine is made at home in someones cozy but somewhat bohemian kitchen by a middle age women with dreads, speckled skirts and four or five cats around the legs.
Perfumes are the crown of the bourgeois lifestyle, the ultimate luxury that people in the western world can treath them selfs with when there are more money left than to make the day with. Mainstream- toplist- and celebrity fragrances establish rather than questioning the predominate order. The growth of niche perfume houses can be seen as the point of bourgeios decadense.
Perfume oils rather gives the impression of working from below. Names, as well on the houses as on the products, are inspired of different subcultures, underground movements, mysticism, fetischism and orientalism. You may find that at etablished perfume houses as well, but then rather to sense than to establish. This is with exception of small indie- and alternative perfumers, that oftens seem to get inspiration from other places than traditional perfume houses.
When wearing a few drops of a perfume from Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle or Guerlain, I feel exclusive, luxurious and as someone having a secret. Even if I am out with the dog in greyish weather I know I smell most gorgeous in the neighborhood.
Perfume oils dosn´t manage to make me feel luxurious or exclusive. Not even the more expensive oils I have tried. Something in the very nature of perfume oil feels more of down to earth, natural and harmonic than luxurious.
Me as a person stands with more than one feet in the subcultural sphere, I am veryattracted to anything punkrock, gothic, victorian, mysticism, revolutionary romanticism and a lot of other things consider to be odd. This sides of me get more than it´s share when it comes to perfume oils.
Another good thing with perfume oil is that you can use it to different thing, blend it with non-perfumed body lotion or fabric softener, put a few drops in your aromalamp and perfume your home. I am sure I could make my own bathsalt or bathbombs with it.
The perfume oils are longlasting, one drop goes a long way. The oils I´ve tried from BPAL develops nicely on my skin and changes with time in an interesting way. The perfume concentration in oils are quite high, wich can be good, but also causing problems for persons with sensitive skin.
Well, I come to the conclusion that I would love to fill one of the small drawers in my perfume bureau with perfume oils from BPAL and other makers. I love the concept and for the price I am more than satisfied. But, this far I haven´t found any perfume oil that manage to create that kind of utterly beautiful olfactory experience that some of the niche perfumes managed with. But again, that would be having rather great expectations on something you buy for about 10-15 dollar, wouldn´t it?
But, really, the perfume oils are better than a lot of ordinary perfumes that I´ve tried. All three oils from BPAL, manage to touch, not only me, but my family as well in a beautiful and striking way. I am so looking forward to try perfume oils from other producers soon.