Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Shoggoth Perfume Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter. 
—H. P. Lovecraft, At The Mountains of Madness
Shoggoth Perfume Oil by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
(retail: $17.50; 5 ml)

A shape-shifting creature with a zillion glowy eyes that crushes poor, defenseless penguins? Well that's not the first thing that comes to mind when I smell Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Shoggoth, but I can certainly see the connection. I mean, figuratively speaking, this fragrance does slay penguins (if you associate penguins with cold weather), because Shoggoth is ALL about springtime. Also, it does seem to shape-shift (ok, more like "evolve") over the time that you're wearing it.

Keep reading for my full review...

I'm a longtime fan of indie fragrance company Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (known affectionately across the web as BPAL), and I have actually had my eye on this fragrance--no pun intended--since BPAL first released their Lovecraft Collection A Picnic in Arkham a few years ago. There are 14 fragrances in this collection, by the way--Shoggoth is just one of them. I was delighted when BPAL allowed me to select a fragrance for review because I knew exactly which one I wanted, which is no small feat considering the vast array of scents they offer at any given time.

image source
One artist's interpretation of Shoggoth

BPAL describes Shoggoth as:

An amorphous, radiant, incandescent scent. Ever changing, protoplasmic and primordial: white amber, green coconut meat, iris, palmarosa, Chinese peony, lime, water lily, snowdrop, muguet, lemongrass, osmanthus, wisteria, glassy musk, and hinoki.

Coconut, lime, water lily, muguet (aka: lily of the valley), lemongrass, musk...notice anything here? If you're a longtime reader of this blog, then you know that those are pretty much my favorite fragrance notes of all time, and they're all in one fragrance. All in one fragrance! Now you see why I wanted this so badly...

Right out of the bottle, I get lots of lime and sweet, young coconut. In fact, that's about all I get: lime and coconut. But after a few minutes on the skin, the watery floral notes start coming out to play, and then the lemongrass kicks in. 

After about 30-40 minutes on the skin, this fragrance truly changes (as promised) and it's so much more lovely and complex than that first whiff from the bottle. The sharp lime softens, the lemongrass becomes a little less pronounced and the coconut slowly fades into the background. The muguet, peony, water lily and wisteria all come together to form what I can only describe as a soft, powdery, floral fragrance with a tropical undertone, all resting on a bed of clean musk.

Projection is moderate with this fragrance (it doesn't enter the room before you do) and the staying power is surprisingly long for me considering the notes. I can easily get 4-5 hours when I apply just to my wrists and neck. And if you're new to BPAL, one or two dabs of their fragrances go a long way, so one bottle should last you a very long time. 

FINAL VERDICT: I think that, at first, you might be slightly disappointed in this fragrance (if you were hoping to detect more than lime and coconut), but this is one of those fragrances that needs to develop on the skin before it can truly be appreciated. So have some patience with this one and hopefully you'll find it was worth the green, glowy-eyed journey. If you're a fan of the notes in this fragrance, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the end result. By the way, my boyfriend absolutely loves this scent on me, and he rarely likes what I like. Score!

You can purchase Shoggoth directly from the BPAL site here.

Do you own Shoggoth or any other BPAL fragrance? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

A sample of this product was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. All reviews on are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews. For more information, click here.


  1. I am a long-time BPALer (since maybe 2008?) - if you're on their forums, my username is the same :). Actually BPAL and nail polish were my gateway drugs to makeup as a hobby - they're still my two largest collections, haha. I'll skip this because coconut doesn't play nicely with me, but I'm stoked to see them getting more widespread press rather than just perfume blogs!

  2. Cool review- conjured up images of Ray Bradbury sci-fi stuff for me. Interesting to hear how these different notes come out over time. Wonder how that happens? Maybe molecular size of scents? I'll check this company out.

  3. Great review! I need BPAL like I need oxygen!! My love for this perfume oil company is infinite!!!

  4. Awesome review! I wish there were more comments. I've been a mad BPALer since I first read the Snake Oil review on Makeup Alley 11 years ago. My collections is into the hundreds and I still can't get enough.

    Don't forget to check out the sister company Black Phoenix Trading Post for the most beautiful atmospheric room sprays, fragrant hair gloss and (my favorite) fragrant bath oil, which I use as daily moisturizer. Super silky skin, it sinks right in all complete with Beth's totally unique fragrances.

  5. I haven't heard of this brand but I'm definitely going to have to check it out, seems like there is something for everyone.

  6. Wonderful review. Very scent inviting can almost smell the coconut and lime through your description.


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