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 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 sandaƂowym 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.
: - )


The Left Coast Nose said...

Well, here's to you going out on a (scent) limb to review something rare... I think I might like this scent very much, as you describe it. And let me just say-- off-roading onto Polish websites-- and bringing back "Opiumopodobny"--you are fearless!

Vanessa said...

Thanks! I have actually driven a fair bit in Poland for work so it is more of a little swerve to me than "off-roading" as such. Not least because of the frequently occurring phenomenon over there of the "koleiny" - a specific type of road deformation caused by HGV tyre indentations.

lady jicky said...

We do not get many of the scents you talk about here but.. I think I have seen the Jasper Conron here and I shall have a big sniff!

lovethescents said...

This has been on my radar for ages but is impossible to get/find, except at the $$$$$ Perfumed Court. Thanks for reminding me how much I want to try this!

Vanessa said...

Lady J, Do have a sniff of the Jasper C to see if it grabs you. Over here gift sets with lotion are selling at £9.99, so it is a real steal!

LTS, there's a split of this on Wiki at the moment for $19, but the person doesn't ship internationally, as they don't like queuing. I may do a "post" sometime about people's aversion to Post Offices.

lovethescents said...

Hey flitter! I see there's another wiki split in the UK too! No price listed though. I'll have to inquire :-)

A post on the post office woes is a great idea. Too many people, particularly in the US, won't ship abroad. Unfortunate because they have such a selection!

Anonymous said...

First off, I'd *love* to incorporate "limitowanki" in my day-to-day vocab. Absolutely.

I think I must have smelt Lucifer the Third somewhere along the road, though it may have been Ye Olde Satanic One or Two instead. This is why I don't like numbered fragrances. Give the thing a proper, ridiculously contrived name so I can proceed to mock it mercilessly, for chrissake!

Anyway, I recall I quite liked it, though other things overshadowed it at the time (I think that was the day I was extremely smitten with Helmut Lang's Anvers 2-another one of those hardly-reviewed ones)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I meant to add: aren't you part of the Scent Splits Google Group yet? *Much* more convenient for actual at-cost splits, and more willingness to ship across the Atlantic, too.

Vanessa said...

I say, Arachne, "Limitowanki" is an absolute delight, isn't it?

I have not smelt Ye Olde Satanic One but I read on Basenotes that it was quite fierce.

Anvers 2 is fab, I quite agree! Wore it last in June in Paris. You've got to love that rhubarb note!

I should check out that Google Group you mention. I think Lovethescents is a member and it had just slipped my mind.

Anonymous said...

Dear Venessa,
Well, I would say regarding the comments you have made about different scents, I find it absolutely fascinating that we have someone like Mark Zuckemberg and then we have someone like you who seats around and smells fragrances and state her!
And they say GOD doesn't make a mistake.
Boy were they wrong; How it must feel to live in your head.

Vanessa said...

Hello Anonymous,

Bonkers about Perfume is a little left field, I'll be the first to admit (there's a bit of a double entendre in the title...). Perfume sniffing is of course a subjective matter and I certainly don't claim to be an expert. I hope, however, to stay the right side of monster and mutant, and I also hope - but am not entirely sure - that your comment was meant in good part!

Anonymous said...

What I find fascinating is that we have someone like Mark Zuckerberg who turned an idea into an empire. And then we have someone like you, a little insignificant insect who simply buzzes around with opinions.
And they say God doesn't make a mistake.
Boy were they wrong!

Vanessa said...

Hi Anonymous,

I think you made a similar point last year - see above. It seems a strange coincidence that two people would reference Mark Zuckenberg in that way, so am assuming it is you again. My reply from 31st March 2011 still stands!