The Snake Collection by Stephane Humbert Lucas – Act 2: Poisonous Kisses
After a night of desire, passion and lustrous atmosphere from Ambery Snakes, it’s time for the sun to rise. It’s dusk when the night-blooming flowers are the most fragrant. A calmness settles.
Act II is about Stephane Humbert Lucas’ two fragrances from “The Snake Collection” that are his interpretations of the brighter side of the snake’s personality. One is inspired by an ancient Chinese legend of a serpent goddess and another from “the delicious poison of a passionate bite”. I find the inspirational sources for each of these are quite clear as they are easily distinguishable tells through the olfactive form.
Lady White Snake by Stephane Humbert Lucas: Yin and Yang
Rainbow-coloured shimmering eyes and white body, this snake captures both the innocence and the sensuality of carnal and indolic white flowers. Lady White Snake by Stephane Humbert Lucas is inspired by Bai Suzhen, a Chinese mythological figure that can transform herself into both a beautiful and mystical woman and a white snake. After one thousand years of disciplined training in Taoism on Mount Emei, the white snake, Bai Suzhen, is transformed into a woman by the essence of the Dragon King of the East China Sea. She decides to go out into the human world and do good deeds in order to become immortal.
Despite the immortality and all of the power she possesses, she still craves a simple thing we humans usually take for granted, love. As a bridge between this fragrance and Bai Suzhen is the contrast between purity and the snake’s evil nature.
Such a bright and joyful opening! There’s a sweet fluffy pollen-like feel with a sunny day-like Orange Blossom. A touch of juicy Mandarin that is a bit zesty as if you just peeled the actual Mandarin. This is just a beautiful trap for sniffers because it changed quite dramatically after a moment of these happy vibes.
Like an evil creature who has two faces, the darker side starts to reveal itself as the indolic white florals start to rise up. A naughty and dirty type of Tuberose and Jasmine rises like a King Cobra, revealing the decadent head with a hypnotic hissing. A whisper of the lush Magnolia gives a little freshness to it but like a whisper, it doesn’t do much.
The floral heart gets a bit greener as it gets the warmth from the skin evoking the carnal side of the two big white florals. This is that type of Tuberose that I truly love. It’s not that dreamy, lactonic type that I associate with many feminine-leaning fragrances out there. This is rather a bolder and statement-making Tuberose and Jasmine that radiate the experiences and confidence.
The longer it lingers and dances on the skin, the more dominating, demanding and dangerous it gets as the Leather feels almost like a new skin of the Snake; shiny, pure and “white smelling”. The Musk here is a cleaner type so it balances out a bit of the dirt from the floral heart. Amber here is something new in Mr. Lucas’ work. It’s not so dense and dark. In fact, it’s more powdery here, giving a little warming effect to the scent with a bit of vanillic and a bit of balsamic tone.
All in all, this is a very natural and very well constructed white floral-centred composition! Usually, when you use a lot of white florals and do not find the right balance, it can get soapy or even synthetic and cheap smelling. What he did here is balance different types of white florals; cleaner, greener and brighter ones with the more carnal and nocturnal ones. I feel like this is the best way to utilize the florals making them smell natural and smooth blending concoction.
Venom Incarnat by Stephane Humbert Lucas: A Passionate Bite
A passionate bite that feels like a kiss. Venom Incarnat by Stephane Humbert Lucas is the embodiment of an irresistible love potion. A mystical, bewitching and fascinating elixir to conquer the heart of one who catches the scent in the air. It’s addictive, mouthwatering and lavish. One bite is enough to paralyze your whole body and the venom turns your blood into flaming lava.
A red bottle tells us exactly what the scent is about. The simple thing I can say is that this smells very red! It’s like that from the beginning to the end. The opening is bright red and dries down to intensely deep ruby red that can be seen in very well-aged Bordeaux Rouge.
Venom Incarnat opens up with a basket of freshly picked Strawberries with a caramel sauce on top. Mouthwateringly gourmand! It’s very sweet and juicy. Just for a few minutes, tart Raspberry comes to play lifting the feel up. The gluey sweetness takes a step back.
Thank you to the Cedar note that comes to balance out the elastic texture by giving it a woodsy backbone. The composition gets warmer as well as warming spices such as Vanilla and Cinnamon come along and makes the feel smell like a delicious dessert full of berries and gluey caramel. It doesn’t get so sweet as Tonka gives off the bitter-sweet feel with a little touch of Tobacco. This mid-stage reminds me a bit of H Mamba but much brighter and not densely Ambery.
As it warms up on the skin for around an hour or so, it changes quite dramatically. Leather, Russian Leather! It’s dense and harsh in texture with a smoky facet to it. Though it doesn’t give off much of Birch Tar because there’s a lot of sweetness that covers up that facet. A little green and piney vibe is supported by the Fresh type of Patchouli. The dry down turns just a bit in the “fruitchouli” direction but never ends up there, at least on my skin.
There’s something very distinctive about the quality of the Leather Monsieur Lucas has in his creations. I find it to share similarities with other Leather-based products. It’s ambiguously elastic, flexible and soft in texture but also quite fragrant. The weight is not too heavy or too animalic. Like a well-oiled Leather.
The opening was quite a shock for me as I’m not a big fan of caramel or overly sweet fruity notes but after it settles and blends in with other notes here, it’s an incredibly satisfying odour. I doubt this would work for me if there was no aromatic Leather and a bit of bitter-sweet Tonka here.
Summary of Stephane Humbert Lucas’ Snake Collection
I’d say that these two are the easier ones to approach in the entire collection. The gourmand done right like Venom Incarnat can be worn anywhere due to its wearability and mass appeal factors. It’s also quite unique compared to his other work that I’ve been discovering so far. This is probably the only gourmand he created under his own brand.
Lady White Snake on the other hand is something I did expect from Monsieur Lucas; daring, different and moody. He doesn’t often do florals but when he does, this is something I’m very delighted about. He took the darker side of the indolic flowers and made it lustrous with Leather.
In the next act, which is also the final act, we have a tropical fruity scent that feels like a sun kiss and another is the brown essence with a desert-like amber accord. One of them is in my top 3 favourites from the entire collection. As a bonus, I’ll also cover the previously launched release that is exclusive for Harrods, “H Mamba”.
Venom Incarnat and Lady White Snake by Stephane Humbert Lucas are available in only 50ml bottles. Each retails for around $212 USD.