October is my favorite month of the year. Temperatures begin to drop, the sun dips more quickly below the horizon, and the smell of pumpkin and apple treats is nearly unavoidable. Add in Halloween or Samhain (depending on how you choose to celebrate) and the excitement that always accompanies the last days of the quickly waning year before the real harshness of winter sets in, and you have what has to be the best time of the year.
I think of autumn as a sensory feast; not just for the eyes and mouth, but for the nose. Autumn has a particular smell. Leaves, pumpkins, apples, cinnamon and cider, dried cornstalks and musty hay bales. It's a smell I want to capture and store for the rest of the year, but one that no perfume or air freshener I've found has been able to duplicate. And now I'm going to ramble a bit in the slightly non-sequitur way my minds works, and hope you say with me to the end.
I don't like mass marketed perfume as a general rule. It bothers my nose and lodges itself in my sinus cavity and coats my throat, and that's just smelling it when it's attached to other people. If I actually attempt to wear it, I get ALL of those great benefits with the added bonus of the alcohol in perfume drying out my already ridiculously dry skin. That's not vanity talking; my skin basically hates me and if I spray certain types of perfume on myself, I will actually develop a rash in the exact shape the perfume molecules took as they
viciously assaulted misted gently onto my body. Yes, I have the most awesome superpowers ever.
Still better than Aquaman
Just because I can't wear perfume doesn't mean I want to smell like I'm not wearing perfume, though. If that makes any sense. And then, I found the answer. The answer, if you're wondering, is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. BPAL is fantastic. They specialize in hand-blended scents using essential oils and other natural products. Since finding them *mumblemumble* years ago, they've become my go-to and I have an embarassing number of imps and bottles scattered around my bathroom (that's a lie, I'm not embarassed at all). Their scents are just about all I wear (and I wear them happily, enjoying both the smell and lack of skin irritation), but that's not the part that makes my little writerly heart skip a beat. Oh no, it's WHAT they use when designing their scents, and I'm not talking ingredients. Actually, I'll let them describe their inspiration in their own words:
Inspired by a vast range of influences, from the passion and decadence of the Fin de Siècle movement to the ghastliest of Lovecraftian monstrosities, we specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares.
These are bookish scents! Perfumes of the highest caliber that are designed with LITERARY ELEMENTS in mind. There are scents inspired by the works of Neil Gaiman, Alice's adventures in Wonderland, the Last Unicorn, the seven deadly sins, even steampunk. Far too many for me to name, and the BPAL website itself is gorgeous, with dark gothic and romantic illustrations, poems, and quotes from the texts that inspire the fragrances.
How does this all tie into October, autumn, and the obsession with that "fall smell"? Well, if you've hung with me this long, I'm glad you're still interested enough to ask. I was thinking about delightful scents I enjoy because I made apple dumplings today, and the thought of scents I enjoy of course lead me to the BPAL website for the first time in far too long. That's where I saw this:
If anyone can find a way to capture the scent I think of as Autumn, it's BPAL. Looks like October may be the perfect time to indulge in one of my favorite products :)
If you're interested in trying out some of BPAL's wonderful concoctions but don't know what scents work best with your body chemistry, or don't want to commit to a full bottle without first smelling it, there are BPAL forums and trading sites where you can get samples and imps of various fragrances at remarkably low prices. BPAL also has a presense on eBay and Etsy.
I'm not being compensated in any way for this post (mores the pity), I simply adore BPAL and the product they make. If you're a fan of BPAL, let me know in the comments (I'm always looking for new scent recommendations)! If you're thinking of trying it out, that's awesome! Do you know any BPAL-like companies that you frequent for your perfume-related needs?