Perfume Review: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL) - Morocco

Let me start off this review with a quick note:
How cute is that little pad of moss that I used as a prop to photograph my Morocco bottle?! Living in the woods has some good points (though there are distinct downsides).

On to Morocco...

Despite the obvious foreign reference, I specifically chose this scent today because it is made by a very underrated American perfumer: Elizabeth Barrial. She's the nose for -and founder of- Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, purveyor of hand-blended oil perfumes.

Almost everything from The Lab is vegan (barring honey-based scents), none of it is tested on animals, and all of it is well-crafted and well-made.The catalog of scents at BPAL is expansive, to say the least. I say everyone can find something there that they love --- at least one thing.

I don't know if it's the large number of scents BPAL has, or the perceived speed of release (or maybe the gothic tone of the site is offputting?) but a lot of Important Fragrance Fans seem to discount the line. That's a mistake, in my opinion. Yes, taking a wander through the website is time-consuming, but put on your glass-half-full hat and take it as an exercise in relaxation, learning, and wonderment! It's quite the experience...

My favorite scent from BPAL is Morocco. I have others, but this one is in my Top 10 of all Favorite Perfumes with a DSH, a Hermes and a Chanel. In fact, it's in my Top 5!


The intoxicating perfume of exotic incenses wafting on warm desert breezes. Arabian spices wind through a blend of warm musk, carnation, red sandalwood and cassia.

Reading that description, one might expect a dry, dusty sort of scent, kind of how I perceive Andy Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain. That one is a spicy melange that feels warm and arid. I love it, but aside from the name and the spice, the two perfumes are quite different.

BPAL's Morocco is velvet. A musky breeze of subtle spice. It's soothing. Cozy. I swear there's rose in there, though it's never listed as a note. The sandalwood is creamy, not sharp or dry. The carnation and cassia lend the warmth, a counterpoint to the musk. Morocco is, at times, almost vanillic and gourmand. Other moments are more sultry.

Morocco wears close to the skin, which is partially because it's a perfume oil. I do revel in a slight sillage - this is one I love smelling when I cross my own path!

I haven't found a time when this scent doesn't work, which is unusual. It's never too heavy or warm. Even on a hot day, it doesn't overwhelm, though it's especially comforting in cooler weather. The musk is soft, cuddly. If you're not a musk fan, don't run! You may still enjoy this perfume.

I get hours and hours of wear out of Morocco, which is good. It's one of the few scents I wear that doesn't eventually lead to the itch to change it. I have decanted some into a massage oil (unscented) that I put on after my showers sometimes. Divine!

This is the closest I've come to a signature scent in recent years. I hope never to be without it (I'm on my 4th bottle!).  And at $17.50 a pop (5ml), why should I have to be?!
I think of Morocco as sensual but comforting, sexy but not dirty. It's kinda like this:


And I love it!

Morocco can be found on BPAL's website by accessing the "Wanderlust" section (use the menu on the left) and scrolling down. The scents are in alphabetical order on that page. A sample (BPAL calls them Imps) can be had for $4 - order through the Imp's Ears section of the site.


  1. Sounds lovely- I have not tried anything from this company yet. These are mixed media natural/synthetic?

  2. Ah Jen... I have scrubbed my way through five (FIVE!) Imps, each one horror upon horror... and the site? Sigh. After the tale of the terrible imps, I haven't had the heart to try again, wading through the endless possibilities.

    However, since I like so many things that you like, and you so obviously love this fragrance, I will try again! Morocco here I come :)

  3. Something of a fan here--
    If it's humanly possible, go to one of their Full Moon events in Burbank. There you get to talk to the creator and a number of fans who know which scents are which, and what they do. It may be why the Important Fragrance Fans don't care for BPAL, because they're active. The same scent on two different people can be quite different, even on the same person later in the day.
    I personally wear Morocco on one sleeve and Envy on the other. It sounds odd but it gives the effect of an exotic flower shop.
    On less creative days I'll wear 51 (light floral), Nyarlathotep (warm citrus with sandalwood and vanilla) or Fallen (a tiny bit like Opium).

  4. Love BPAL. I've had a lot of misses, but the hits are what keep me coming back. My faves are Haunted, Whip, Grandmother of Ghosts, Madame Moriarty, Dorian, Chimera, Dracul and Snake Oil, of course. :)

  5. Dee.. I suggest writing to them or asking about scents on the BPAL facebook page or read the reviews in their forums.....

    I HAVE to wear a scent of there's I like for 20 minutes to see how much it changes on me because the PH of my skin is so different than most people's.....but I have at least 20 BPAL bottles now and I adore them all.
    If you don't like a scent... you can go on the trading post or the forums and trade for things with other's a wonderful way to get what you like and help others as well.

    My favorite scents so far are:
    Coral Snake
    Soothing System
    Bearded Lady
    Alice's Evidence
    and each one of the chinese new year scents
    Try again and I know you'll love at least one!

  6. Morocco is one of my favorites as well--in my top BPAL scents. My #1 favorite is Pele then Machu Picchu (also of the Waderlust collection). Dorian rounds out this list to go through the gamut of scents. Hell's Belle is another great choice. I tend to prefer the resin scents though (amber and dragon's blood are two favorite single notes). OK, I admit it .. I love everything BPAL does though everything does not love me. ;)

  7. BPAL is the only place I buy perfume. Years ago, it was their Snake Oil that drew me in... but when I smelled Morocco, I knew I had a new favorite. I am super picky about scents and I wear this one every day (and still get compliments!)

    The folks behind BPAL are pretty amazing, too. Sweet, down-to-earth and creative as all hell!

  8. I'm allergic to practically every perfume I've ever tried. I've had horrible, horrible reactions, both skin reactions and hayfever type reactions. For years all I could wear was Body Shop vanilla, and let me tell you, it got old.

    BPAL rescued me. Whatever pure evil is in most perfume is not in their stuff. I can finally have fun with scents like a normal girly girl!

  9. Your review was so wonderful, so impelling that I almost felt like buying another imp of Morocco just to see if it would work on me now...even knowing it won't.

    I love Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's (BPAL) huge offering of scent blends, and have pretty much stopped wearing anything else. Me, a former Chanel et al fan!

    I have many favorites among the different lines, but the closest thing to a signature scent would be Bow & Crown of Conquest. Other favorites are Depraved, Scherezade, October, Rose-Red, The Snow Storm, Spanked, Tanin'iver, and Western Diamondback. Some are General Catalog and some are the harder to find Limited Edition releases, and are only a small portion of my now admittedly huge BPAL collection.

  10. I'm one of those people that get headache from scents. So no perfume for years and then I discovered BPAL. I love Chimera, Hell's Belle, Black Phoenix and several others and all this time only 1 has given me a headache! I can always find more Imps that I want to try.

  11. @Monica - they are mixed media, as far as I know.

    @Dee - let me know. I'm nervous to be responsible for this purchase! ;)

    @LurkingHeretic - I am trying to plot a trip for the sole purpose of going to Lunacy (don't tell hubby, he thinks it's for "sightseeing").

    @Kim - I have to check into some of those others, though I love Mme Moriarty. I hate to say it, but I'm not a Snake Oil fan. I pull it out from time-to-time to see if it has aged into something I love, but so far it hasn't. :(

    @Liisa - I can't believe I haven't tried ANY of the ones you listed!!!!! Wow... gotta get to work.

    @Tracey - I have to try yours, too. So much inspiration here!

    @Lara - glad to see there's another Morocco lover here! I love everyone I've spoken to in affiliation with BPAL, TAL, and BPTP. Amazing folks.

    @Anon - I'm so thrilled you've found BPAL, since it doesn't annoy your allergies. Funny that their bent is goth, yet not as evil as dept. store stuff! Hmmmmm...... ;)

    @Stellans - hi! long time no talk! I love Scherezade, too, but need to track down some of those others from the GC! :)

    @Anon2 - I'm so glad you've found BPAL. Amazing how it DOESN'T cause headaches for you. Congrats!

    All - thanks for commenting! You made my week!

  12. I love Mme. Moriarty--it was one of my first BPAL's. Alas, on my clothes it's fine, but on my skin it's teriyaki sauce. Bad for my weight :P

  13. @lurking - It has its days on me, too, though I hadn't noticed the teriyaki note. ;)

  14. I can't wear any of the BPAL scents with honey or vanilla in it. They just don't work for me. Snake Oil was one of the first scents I tried and it just did not work at all. It was just bad. I think Snake Oil is a love/hate thing for most people. Either it works and they love it or it doesn't and they hate it (or at least can't wear it).

  15. @Tracey - Honey is a tricky note for a lot of people! I was nearly killed by honey in a perfume @ Anthropologie!

  16. I don't believe anything in their current catalog is anything but naturally derived oils, but that synthetics occurred once in a prototype they made.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

  17. I absolutely adore Morocco! To me it has this very attractive almond milk quality with a slight hint of spice. Definitely one of my favorite fragrances from Black Phoenix.

  18. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a new scent: "Touched Twice" Last-Unicorn-themed perfume that will be available to order online Aug. 6th 2-6 p.m. ONLY. That is the only time it will ever be available! Touched Twice smells like a floral/feminine musk. Lovely!

  19. Wow, I should try this, it sounds amazing! I am a fan of BPAL but I have not kept up with all their releases.

  20. I think you know how deep my BPAL addiction runs, but shockingly I don't have an imp of this one. Must remedy that soon!

  21. Morocco is one of my favorites, very attractive perfume - i love smelling when


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