Snake Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)


Post by Erica Golding


Greetings, my beautifully fragranced friends!

Those of you who know me a little may have noticed that I have a special place in my heart (and in my collection) for perfume oils. When it comes to iconic fragrances with a loyal cult following, no perfume oil comes close to the magnetic, addictive potion that is Snake Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL).

Snake Oil Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Vanilla, oriental notes

BPAL is mysteriously coy when describing Snake Oil, listing the official notes as: “A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.” This modest preview can never prepare you for the intensely sensual, spicy, powdery, deep character of this shameless temptress. The first impression can be challenging, as is often the case when a perfume is singularly unique and passionate.

The aroma is truly haunting, possessing those who become ensnared in the trail. I always struggle to describe the mystifying spices, hint of precious woods, swirl of thick amber vanilla, and the resinous depth. It elicits reactions from strangers, friends, family, and lovers alike – from the subtle extra attention to the unrestrained exclamation, “what are you wearing? You smell amazing!”

Snake Oil Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Snake Charmer Jaipur WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Snake Oil ages like fine wine, becoming smoother, deeper, richer, and more viscous as the years pass by. The powdery amber settles, the spices harmonize, the resinous incense gains density, and the vanilla thickens with an insatiable seductive power. Fans boast the year of their Snake Oil vial with swelling pride, with the earliest vintages (circa 2003 – 2004) being the most rare, cherished, and exquisitely aged to perfection. BPAL switched their perfume bottles from cobalt blue to amber glass in 2005, and also discontinued their 10ml bottle size soon after, so cobalt and 10ml Snake Oil bottles are particularly valuable. Good luck finding one – those who own these treasured ampoules aren’t likely to release their clutches!

Snake Oil Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Carl Warners Bodyscapes DailyMailPhoto Stolen DailyMail

This perfume oil is incredibly attractive, anoint your skin and prepare for unexpected flirtation! I would recommend it to others primarily as an evening fragrance, but I don’t follow rules when it comes to conventions such as where and when. So, personally, I flaunt Snake Oil in full force whenever and wherever I damn well please!

Snake Oil Black Phoenix Alchemy LabPhoto Stolen BPAL

Further reading: That Smell
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has $17.50/5ml

Have you tried Snake Oil? Do you have a favorite perfume oil, perhaps one from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab?
I hope you have a lovely scented day,

13 thoughts on “Snake Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)

  1. Hey there Erica,
    Your reviews are so transportive, it’s a joy to read them.
    Thanks for another excellent contribution. Keep them coming.
    You have tweaked my interest…
    Portia xx


  2. Wonderful review, Erica! I’m really interested in exploring BPAL and other oils, but haven’t done so yet. I would love to hear which are your top top favorites (though I’ve seen pictures of your amazing collection and know it will be hard to narrow down 😉 )


    • Hi Connie! My other BPAL favorites include:

      Sed Non Satiata
      Dragon’s Milk
      Antikythera Mechanism
      Eat Me

      Thanks for having a look! xo


  3. Hi Erica

    I have been fascinated by BPAL since reading The Night Circus because Erin Morgenstern credits them in the acknowledgements. Such a great evocative read for all the senses.

    Snake Oil sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review.


  4. Fabulous review! You know I’m a Snake Oil fan already, and you nailed this one perfectly.
    There is nothing quite like Snake Oil and it’s a tough one to describe, as you mention, but you’ve done a fabulous job…as always!


  5. When I am like, 70, my Snake Oil I bought this year will be so much more awesome!!
    You describe it so beautifully, and I have you to thank,dear Erica for taking me down this particular rabbit hole..

    Great review!


    • My darling Tora!! This rabbit hole is the best one to fall down, it is infinite and unique and peculiar and unforgettable. I am so happy you are having fun exploring!


  6. Oh BPAL…..I credit them with opening the sinkhole to international perfumistahood. I had retreated to my hippie youth apart from bottles of Mitsouko, LHBleue, Shalimar, and a bottle of Dolce Vita. I had every essential oil from the health shop and mixed them up into everyday scents in almond oil post shower. Yes, I used patchouli which I have always loved. I distinctly remember BPAL being mentioned in Australian Vogue. By then I had the Internet and the rest is history


    • 🙂 Marion I hope you continue to have fun with your BPAL and with all of your scented treasures. It’s the simple pleasures in life that make each day just a little more vivid, a little more wonderful. Smooches!


  7. You are a doll! Love aged Snake Oil, but have recently discovered that I love Antikythera Mechanism more. Also, Antikythera Mechanism and Oblivion layered are amazing!


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