Monday, 22 February 2010
Damien Bash Lucifer No 3 - One Helluva Great Sandalwood Scent
According to my blog stats, two posts which have attracted a disproportionate amount of hits in recent months have been the ones about Suddenly d'Or, the own label perfume from discount grocery chain Lidl, and about Jasper Conran Woman, a poor man's Cristalle which I believe deserves greater acclaim. What these two scents have in common that could explain their high "traffic" is the fact that they are relatively uncommon - or more exactly, that there are few reviews, if any, about them in the blogosphere.
So today I decided to write about another little known perfume which could probably do with a bit of PR - Damien Bash Lucifer No 3. I was tipped off about Lucifer No 3 by a Swedish perfumista friend, who was trawling The Perfumed Court for the ultimate sandalwood scent - when she came across Damien Bash, she decided to look no further...
I found a few reviews on Basenotes and MUA, a mini-review by Nathan Branch and - most interestingly - long reviews on TWO Polish blogs, of which more later.
Without further ado, here are the notes:
"Rose, jasmine, frankincense, black pepper, sandalwood, myrrh, labdanum, ylang ylang, and elemi."
Ylang ylang - I had no idea! Another one to add back in...
Now elemi is an ingredient I always have to look up. It is a fragrant resin with a honey-like consistency distilled from a tree native to the Philippines. Its smell is described as a cross between pine and lemon. I found a number of its aromatherapy uses for conditions such as bronchitis and excessive phlegm, but it was the industrial applications mentioned on Wisegeek.com that really caught my attention:
"The resin is mainly used in commercial lacquers and varnishes. Many boat caulks contain the resin as well. In addition, some inks also contain the resin. In China, it is used to make transparent paper."
I smell of boat caulks, how great is that? "Caulks" is as offbeat a term as Lucifer No 3 is a perfume...
So how does Lucifer No 3 smell exactly? Well, the first thing to say is that it is not as dark and sinister as the name suggests. It is about as dark as PG L'Ombre Fauve, which does have the word "shadow" in the title, so let's say we are talking some dappled shade but not pitch black darkness. And Satan doesn't put in an appearance at any stage of the scent's development.
The opening features a pronounced ylang ylang note, yet I managed to miss this entirely(!), perhaps because it is swaddled in a resinous cocoon. For me the opening salvo is generically "medicinal", as with L'Ombre Fauve and SIP Magazine Street. Gradually the frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood notes come to the fore, and it is this latter stage with which my friend was so smitten. Lucifer No 3 is a dreamy, meditative blend of incense and woods - creamy and almost vanillic rather than smoky or rasping - doubtless thanks to the balsamic quality of the resins. It is stronger than a skin scent, but the drydown is beautifully soft relative to the harsh opening.
Several of the few reviewers I found of Lucifer No 3 - mostly men, I infer - complain about the fleeting nature of this scent, but it has tremendous staying power on my skin.
I haven't smelt any of the others from this line, but I get the impression that No 3 is the most biddable.
And would you like to hear Mr Bonkers' thoughts on Lucifer No 3? Of course you would! Well, he declared it to be "the toilet cleaner they use (in the customer toilets) at the craft shop". And given that elemi has a piney fragrance, that is a pretty creditable effort on his part.
Now as mentioned earlier, there are comprehensive reviews of this scent on two Polish blogs: Profumo and Co W Nosie Kreci. I risked an automatic translation tool on the Profumo review and the result was predictably random - the comparison to Opium just about survives the unintentionally humorous mangling by the Google software:
"If I had Lucifer No. 3 compared to an odor, it would be very YSL Opium and its summer limitowanki."
After "caulks", "limitowanki" is the other verbal delight of the day! I own a bottle of Opium Fleur de Shanghai and that is a good analogy in terms of the overall vibe of the perfume, although I'd say No 3 is more incensey and less floral.
Further on, we read:
"Lucifer No. 3 with its aroma of cloves, smooth wood sandałowym ideal to wear for every occasion. Extremely addictive opiumopodobny smell nice golden glow surrounds the vector of spices."
"Opiumopodobny" means "Opium-like" according to the Free Dictionary, in case anyone was wondering if it was a Polish cousin of oppoponax. And yes, this scent is indeed extremely addictive, and you will want to spend the day with nose glued to wrist. If, after eight hours, you have a Devil of a job prising your nose off your wrist, you will understand just why elemi is so popular in caulking.
: - )