Today’s going to be a quickie — Stéphane Humbert Lucas’ Mortal Skin, which was in my sample bonanza from Osswald. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the stage-setting, so here’s the blurb from Fragrantica:
“Niche perfumer Stéphane Humbert Lucas launches his new fragrance Mortal Skin in 2015, the first fragrance of The Snake Collection, unlike the rest which belong to the 777 collection. The fragrance is smoky, oriental – woody.
1st Act: The perfume, languid and colourful, hypnotises me, I am facing two eyes that desire me. Leafy coolness, fruits, the magic of the encounter, The seduction begins.
2nd Act: The perfume rises up and paralyses me, The fangs ooze, wanting to sink into me. Throbbing heat mixed with blue cold, I think I am bitten. Sandalwood, tequila, intoxication.
3rd Act: Bestiality, brutality, journey, The perfume smells of hot ash. Life slips away. It now knows that all is beautiful.
Top notes: blackberry, ink, incense and labdanum. Heart: opoponax, iris, davana, myrrh and cardamom. Base: ambergris, styrax, sandalwood, labdanum, civet, cedar, birch and musk.“
Mortal Skin is delightfully weird at the top — an inky, resiny wonder that smells like Donna Karan’s Chaos reimagined as a wack LE from Comme des Garçons. It’s both a little sharp and a little furry — to me it smells like ink, saffron, and a hint of peach — and over the next few minutes the sharpness fades and we’re solidly in ancient-resins territory, at which point the fragrance becomes very quiet and close to the skin.
It’s very pretty, truly, but I would have loved more presence in the drydown, with more variation to it than resin and musk. As a technical exercise, it’s fun for me (a non-perfumer) to experience the poof! of something so out there and assertive turn into a mellow skin scent, but I can’t help but think that anyone who’d be game for the opening pyrotechnics would be disappointed by the whisper-soft drydown. The ad copy is all fangs and brutality and seduction; the scent, in the end, is just looking to cuddle. The Non Blonde described it as warm like a hug, which is spot on.
Mortal Skin is available from Osswald — (50 ml for $290). For myself, I’ll stick with pining for a bottle of the resin-ambergris glory that is Lucas’ Khol de Bahrein.