It's more than obvious that I love all thing BPAL, so in order to remain objective, I decided to send a bar of soap to Kristen McHugh for review. Perhaps I should find more reviewers, hmmm.)
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Shub-Niggurath soap is... Silky, unusual, and very complex.
The BPAL Trading Post Bubble and Sud page describes it as: A blend of ritual herbs and dark resins, shot through with three gingers and aphrodisiacal spices. This is accurate, but it is so much more than that.
To begin with, although I am not a hugely Lovecraftian sort of person, I'm in general tickled by things that celebrate geeky and/or unusual things. Therefore, YAY, for BPAL!
I am also a person who is allergic to very nearly everything. I've been known to break out in hives from dish soap, and I've had severe asthma attacks from both the scent of correction fluid, and from being in an elevator recently occupied by someone wearing a lot of scent. I hold my breath in the detergent aisle, and in department stores. I can't even go inside shops that carry a lot of fragrances, if I'm not careful. Scent can also trigger migraines for me. This leads to me not so much being the perfume-y girl.
I say this because, when I opened my glorious box containing goodies from BPAL, (courtesy of GGD, *squeeeeee*) you know what happened?
Nothing. Not a thing. I say this, because for people who have scent and skin-sensitivities, it's actually important.
Knowing the test of Shub-Niggurath would be not just smelling it, but using it on my skin, I greedily absconded to the bath.
It's got the sort of slip on the skin that genuinely feels decadent. A beautiful lather to it, that isn't that weird, overly foamy, bubbles-up-the-nose of a lot of soaps and body washes. Like satin sheets, it's both light and luxurious. This inspired me to try something I would never try with regular soaps, because they're too sticky on the skin: I shaved my legs with it. Not a nick, not a scrape, and I'll tell ya, I spent a good while enjoying my legs after I got out of the bath. *Ahem*
I had one of those moments where I said to myself, "Self, it is a shame there isn't someone here to enjoy how soft your skin is, isn't it?"
The fragrance is a complex one, with notes of incense and woodsmoke and the sparkle and fire of ginger. I'm so used to NOT having a lot of fragrances on the menu, particularly darker scent profiles like this, that I'm still exploring it.
It's the scent of wild things, of forest temples, of spice and secrets, the ecstasy of ritual.
If you're searching for a deliciously dark indulgence this is well worth it. We often forget that side of ourselves and scent is a powerful trigger to the psyche.
Yes, I am infinitely more in touch with my inner Hetaera, than I was before.
This is a very good thing.
To the amazing alchemical team at BPAL, I can only say - this packs one hell of a punch, in a velvet glove. And to anyone who thinks their sensitivities mean never being able to express your personality through fragrance or never enjoying amazing soaps - I'd recommend giving BPAL a try.
I still covet the Port Royal soap in a most piratical way.
Is it bath time yet?