BPAL Les Fleurs du Mal Perfume Oil Review

BPAL Les Fleurs du Mal

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab or BPAL is a line of perfume oils with a cult following. This indie brand offers an extensive collection of perfumes with various collections with a “dark, Romantic gothic tones“. Naturally, that’s an aesthetic that I’m drawn too. Les Fleurs du Mal is in the Ars Moriendi collection. And how could I resist a floral perfume inspired by Baudelaire?

This time of the year, I start to crave spring florals. I start with roses and by spring I’m wearing what I call “purple florals” such as lilac. Les Fleurs du Mal is a humid, indolic floral. It opens with a cool, damp breeze of heady wisteria. It then wears as “purple floral soap”- clean lilac and wisteria with a hint of green, dewy lily of the valley. It dries down to a “red rose” soap with a hint of clean, musky dusting powder.

These sort of florals always read sort of vintage-y to me and not Victorian. Les Fleurs du Mal reminds me of a late-1970’s American floral perfume marketed to women (makes me think of perfumes like Lauren by Ralph Lauren and Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose). And something about this reminds me more of Diane Keaton in her Woody Allen roles than it does Baudelaire’s poetry. It’s classically romantic but BPAL eccentric. This isn’t a bad thing but I can see how people may be disappointed by this one as the description reads, “The scents of the blossoms of darkness, condensed into one perfume“. I wouldn’t call this a “dark floral” at all. It’s more like a humid, slightly green but very soapy floral – like rose soap in a steaming shower.

Diane Keaton

Notes listed include lilac, wisteria and a rose base.

Give Les Fleurs du Mal a try if you like soapy florals. Or perfumes like original Lauren Ralph Lauren, Neil Morris Rainflower, Opus Oils Les Bohemes Speakeasy, Al-Rehab Roses and/or Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose. 

Projection and longevity are above average in comparison to other perfumes oils that I’ve used. The notes may read as “wispy” but this fragrance is rather dense. A small amount is all you need!

Another cool thing about BPAL is that you can’t access the site without a “smut-alert”. You at least know those under 18 years of age won’t be wearing what you’re wearing 😉

The 5 ml bottle retails for $17.50 at BPAL. Samples (or as the cool kids call them “Imps”) are also available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONLilac and rose scented soap – a slightly green “clean” floral. Fleurs du Mal isn’t the lilac that I’m looking for (still on the hunt for my “perfect” lilac). And those looking for a “dark floral” will most likely not be happy with this one. But, if you’re looking for a soapy, retro floral, this is one worth checking out.

BPAL has such a HUGE catalog. For those of you that are more experienced with the brand, which are your favorites? Which should I put on my “must-try” list?

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*Disclaimer – Product provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Photo is mine.  Diane Keaton 1975 image from Vanity Fair.


14 thoughts on “BPAL Les Fleurs du Mal Perfume Oil Review

  1. For a “must-try” of BPALs, I’m not sure I can come up with a comprehensive list but I know what should go at the top: Snake Oil, if only because it’s their best seller by a long shot. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I am not a huge fan of Snake Oil. I find it to be really, really sweet. However, it is worth getting a sample, if only because that’s the one ‘fume all the BPAL die-hards seem to talk about.

    Another one worth trying would be Black Phoenix, if only because it’s their signature scent. Sadly, another one that I’m not personally a huge fan of, but that’s because it goes to 100% powder on me after the opening (which is almond/marzipan).

    Dorian is also a hugely popular scent. I haven’t tested it myself but I have many discerning friends who love it so that might be one to try too.

    My personal favorites in the GC are The Lilac Wood and Bastet, but I am nowhere near trying them all. For Limited Editions, I’d say some flagships are Samhain (Halloweenies LE; it’s released virtually every year) and Rose Red (Yules LE, also released virtually every year).

    One quirk with BPALs, I’m not sure why, is that they often vastly improve with 6-12 months of aging. I bought a bottle of Samhain in 2012 and was somewhat disappointed, but a year later all the subtle notes came out and it was a much more interesting scent than it had been. So it might be worth getting a couple of samples and hanging onto them for a while and re-testing.

    1. Your list really helps!

      I’ve tried Snake Oil and really, really didn’t like it. NOW saying that, I smelled it on a friend that loves it and I swear, it was like a completely different fragrance on her. It was like this woodsy sandalwood-ish scent with some sweetness, so amazing. On me, it was like I dipped myself in store-bought frosting. One more reason to try on skin.

      I *think* I tried Black Phoenix (from the same friend’s stash). I think I liked it – cherry powder which oddly worked on me. I think I can “pull off” powdery scents.

      The Lilac Wood! That’s the one that I want to try! Oh, I have Rose Red BTW. I bought it many years ago in a store; I was completely naive. I had no idea what I was buying (other than rose). I love it. One of my favorite roses. It’s such a good cool, green rose. Glad to know it was LE-LE because I’ve been hoarding it. I swear I’d buy it to just burn in an oil burner or diffuser.

      Interesting but I’ve tried some other brands that do that too. Like some naturals are that way. And if something has real patchouli it in, it only gets better and better with age.

      1. The 2014 Yules are still available (until Feb 5th!) on the BPAL website, and Rose Red is still in stock, if you want another bottle. (I just ordered one for myself earlier this week.) 😉 It really is one of their best compositions, in my opinion. At least of the BPALs I’ve tried.

        I’m trying to wrack my brains and think of other ways to frame BPAL stuff, because there is SO much of it. I really like their myrrh notes, so stuff like Bastet, Czernobog, Lust, Nyx, Wicked, etc. might be good if you like myrrh. I also think BPAL has one of the best “fallen leaves” notes I’ve smelled, but almost all of their perfume using it tends to be in the Halloween LE releases. I think Blithe Hollow is their only GC scent that uses the dead leaves note, and I haven’t tried that one. October and Sonnet d’Automne are good Halloween LEs that use the fallen leaves note and are both available this year (until tomorrow) so those are maybe worth looking at.

        My experience with Snake Oil is just like you described. It was like… candy on me. Skittles. I like to eat Skittles, but I don’t want to smell like them. I’m glad to hear that it’s so nice on your friend!

        I know I’ve plugged it a ton so I won’t belabor the point, but I do love The Lilac Wood. I’ve written a couple of novels here so I’m going to stop, ha. BPAL is one of the few perfume lines I feel like I really “get” so it’s easy to natter on. 🙂

        1. I need to get my hands on The Lilac Wood. It sounds like everything that I’ve ever wanted, lol.

          I’ll keep this in my list. Super tempted by anything with a “fallen leaves” accord. And myrrh. Love myrrh.

          Thank you 🙂

  2. I don’t remember ever trying Les Fleurs du Mal, but I have tried over a hundred BPAL fragrances! BPAL was my perfume gateway drug. I cheerfully collected for a few years, starting off as a college freshman, but I swapped or sold much of it, and my oil collection fits in a small box these days. I’ve found I tend to prefer the big sillage and the (usually) more complex development of alcohol based perfumes.

    I still have some favorite BPALs, but many were limited editions from years past. From the perennially available general catalog, I particularly like Bastet for a warm, almondy amber-musk skin scent, and Bow & Crown of Conquest is a lovely, dapper, cool carnation/leather/cedar with a cuddly vanilla heart.

    1. First off – really impressed in your ability to pair down like that! I’m still working on that 🙂

      Both of those sound very much like something I’d like. BPAL has so many scents that it’s intimidating for me. I know I’m missing out on the ones I’ll like because I get sidetracked by a cool (to me) name/inspiration.

  3. Sin is my favorite in the BPAL line. Snake Oil gets LOADS of compliments though. I recently ordered Dorian.

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