Haute Macabre: As Told By a Traditional Witch | Haute Macabre

Haute Macabre: As Told By a Traditional Witch

Please welcome guest blogger Kyle, Ghost of Pestilence, to Haute Macabre. Kyle is a practicing traditional witch based out of Minnesota, animist, artist, volunteer at the bird of prey center, and occultist. She writes today about the original Haute Macabre fragrance, created for us by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and the magical associations she has with it.

The complete collection of the Haute Macabre Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes and hair glosses are currently available for pre-order in the Apothecary section of the Haute Macabre Shop until Monday, November 12. 

Falling leaves grazed with the smoky scented aura of dying flora is the harbinger of every witch’s favorite time of year; autumn. Delivered through the crisp winds, this sensory splendor comes with several treats associated with our traditionally harvested plants. Scents like pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon linger in tea and coffee brews, and bring in a coziness…but overall there’s a brooding atmosphere evoked by the seasoning of the trees. Most importantly, the veil between the living and the dead is thinning.

As fashion changes with season, so do other aspects of our personal adornment. In order to suit us up for the weather change and also connect us with the time of year, our colors and scents start to warm up. The artisan perfumery Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has created a wondrous scent named after Haute Macabre, thats recipe bring the wearer into the midst of this seasonal environment as well as reflect the vibe the HM shop brings with their fun spooky fashions and topics that are released in their newsletter. This scent is my personal favorite, and when I wear it I am instantly inspired to get out in the woods with my cauldron, wand, and offerings for the spirits who are lingering so closely. The perfumes mixture includes: oak leaf, bourbon vanilla, almond husk, aged patchouli, and black leather.

The oak leaf is a powerful note due to its lore from the Druids and carried over into the history of usage in Traditional Witchcraft. Its Jupitarian correspondence allows for the oak to act as a protector and connotes strength, as it is a hardwood. During this time of year, preparing for winter and the changes that autumn brings, these attributes could be very useful. As a ritualistic element, the scent or use of oak promotes protection during crossing into liminal spaces. It’s my favorite species of tree and I craft most all of my tools from its bark.

For anyone who knows a thing or two about alchemy; both the spiritual practices and chemical processes, most tinctures and elixirs are made with a strong alcoholic base whose job is to literally absorb the “spirit” (or essence, which is where the term “spirits” when referring to liquors comes from) of the plant matter that has been saturated for a number of weeks. The use of bourbon in this perfume, to me, is reminiscent of my early days experimenting with plant alchemy and using bourbon and brandy, as brown liquors evoke a sort of smoky atmosphere with a hint of a sweet candy flavor. The vanilla bourbon used in this mixture evokes a sensuous lunar mood; the New Moon and the dark workings associated with it in witchcraft and magick. Vanilla is associated with Venusian correspondences given it’s soft and sexy aroma,
however, I find myself relating it to the Lunar mysteries; perhaps the darker and erotic
aspects in relationship to love and sex magick.

It’s fitting “graveyard dust” is a folk name associated with the next component of the Haute Macabre scent; patchouli. Patchouli is a very earth-rich scented plant, and its planetary association is Saturn. Anything Saturnian will bring you right down to earth…in this case right under the earth! Traditionally patchouli is a substitute for graveyard dirt, and in its dried form I have often found myself catching a whiff of its scent and being transported to hallowed ground, as it reminds me of a fresh dirt smell, but in a pleasant way. The places I have visited and worked with spirits immediately flash into my mind. The patchouli component in the Haute Macabre mix does exactly this. It’s not quite as “hippie invoking” as the basic essential oil provides, but surrounds the mind with images of spirits rising from hallowed ground after working magick in the night at a cemetery.

A sweet, buttery aroma is provided by the almond husk almost as if it finishes off
the darker scents of the patchouli, oak, and leather. It co-mingles exquisitely with the
bourbon vanilla, contributing to the sexy spice overtones of the dark esoteric moods
that the deeper aromas evoke. Almond is associated with Mercurial energies and the
element of air. This inspires wisdom and opens esoteric gateways, which I attribute
with the feeling of entering liminal spaces that comes over me after use of the Haute
Macabre blend during ritual.

Aged leather is not something you would think to find within perfume ingredients. However, back in the old days this was not an uncommon component, and is still used frequently today. Of course, leather comes from animal resources alongside more common ingredients like musks, but what is important here is this aspect of animism that a scent like this brings to the mixture. As an animist and traditional witch, I am constantly finding, blessing, and using animal parts in my work. For myself personally, carrying anything relative to animal spirits is very powerful. Therefore, I feel that the leather almost gives the perfume its extra “spirit” outside of the usual plant spirits that we find in perfume. It also gives the perfume a rustic scent that channels an older goth aesthetic reminiscent of black leather and old occult bookstores.

When purchasing a perfume or any kind of scented spray or aromatic it isn’t as simple as just finding the scent pleasing. Perhaps nowadays not too many individuals take such consideration into buying a scent and placing magickal associations with it. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that a particular scent reminds them of something or someone…but what they may not realize is that very act of reminiscing can spiritually invoke or evoke particular energies. I highly advise any other practitioners to experiment with working magickal rites and even meditations with intense and very thoroughly crafted perfumes like Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Every scent they carry has strong intention and magick put into their blends to purposefully create that invocational and evocative power I keep emphasizing. I have found the Haute Macabre scent to be my personal favorite to wear and also work with magickally. I always keep a little bit of it on me in some way, or carry it in my bag in case I need a whiff of something to bring me to that threshold where the world of the living and the world of the dead meet.

Find Kyle on Instagram as Ghost_of_Pestilence 

The complete collection of the Haute Macabre Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes and hair glosses are currently available for pre-order in the Apothecary section of the Haute Macabre Shop until Monday, November 12. 


4 Comment

  1. Hey Connie!

    Thanks for your information on the bourbon! I merely meant to express that the bourbon is a subtle reminder of my work and alchemy, purly based on the scent and the experience it reminds me of.
    I’ll have you know I am not a person of “lazy information”, I have spent many years of my life nose to the books as a cultural anthropologist and have spent over 20 years working The Craft. I understand your “le sigh” attitude of misinformation culture, but I assure you this “blog”, which I never meant to represent an academic lesson in perfumery (as I am not gifted with the with the intellect and experience of such work), but a personal reflection on my magickal workings and memories that scents invoke/evoke.


  2. The “bourbon” in bourbon vanilla doesn’t refer to hooch or moonshine, but rather to the fact that the vanilla was grown and/or distilled on the Île de la Réunion, which was formerly known as Île Bourbon. Essential oils from Reunion are often of a very fine quality.

    Let’s please keep facts alive in this era of lazy misinformation? Thanks!


    1. Also, I forgot to mention that I may have assumed that during the process in which the perfume was made, the bourbon vanilla was extracted, thus is why the scent is so reminiscent of an alcoholic substance as perfumes have alcoholic content because of the processes involved in making it. But specifically my reference was alluding to my use of bourbon when making my own vanilla tinctures in the past. If you’ve smelled this scent in particular (the HM), there’s an apparent aroma of that, at least to me, thus reminding me of the times I used to experiment with my alembic making tinctures and hydrosols and the aroma filling my homes. 🙂