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Stuff We Love: So you want to smell like a superhero

Contributed by
Apr 14, 2017

Maybe you secretly want to be Hellboy, but have you ever wanted to smell like him? Or Lady Death? Or the entire pantheon of American Gods?

Elizabeth Barrial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a supernatural talent for being able to make humans, humanoids and cephalopods smell like anything has ever or never existed. Comic collaborations include Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola, Clive Barker, Matt Wagner, Brian Pulido, Boom! Studios, Top Cow Productions and David Mack, among a galaxy of others. Beth has bottled characters from deviant leprechaun Mad Sweeney of American Gods (oak and aged whiskey) to Sachs and Violens’ titular whiplash bombshell (Roman chamomile, bourbon vanilla and smoky vanilla bean).  

Beth and husband Ted are the evil masterminds behind the BPAL and BPTP—Black Phoenix Trading Post, purveyors of body and atmosphere essentials like Embalming Fluid bath oil and Wererat-Infested Sewer room spray—along with a mischievous crew of goblins who sometimes creep onto the labels. Her love of everything nightmarish and fantastical extends into the realms of other fandoms, such as RPGs, Lovecraftian mythos, Guillermo del Toro, Peter S. Beagle and the Jim Henson Company. For the curious, my favorite Fraggle (in both perfume and Muppet form) is Mokey.

The BPAL booth at NYCC, complete with Hellboy hand bottle holder.

The Lab has been bottling geek and Gothic euphoria since 2002. They usually appear at nerdvana events such as San Diego and New York Comic Con, often in cosplay, always with their weird and wonderful menagerie of scents that may or may not induce the spontaneous growth of tentacles. You know you’re doing something supernatural when a demonic entity from Arkham smells like incense and gingerbread cookies. Social and ethical consciousness smells even more amazing. That the proceeds from some comic collabs go straight to the Hero Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is what makes Beth a real heroine.

So what does Hellboy actually smell like? Beth imagined his signature scent to be “aftershave, candy wrappers, brimstone, and cat. It’s slightly musky, slightly smoky and oddly refreshing, with a strange hint of sweetness.

I can’t wait to smell the next character Black Phoenix will capture in a bottle.