Stéphane Humbert Lucas – Mortal Skin

mortalskinToday’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.

4 Comments
Ms.Chris August 20, 2015

It is really not "all that." It's a 2 trick pony, which would be wonderful if it was a little horse, but it's a pretty damned expensive bottle of scent that should deliver a great deal more than it does. I hated the copy that heralded it so I almost didn't try it; however, I reminded myself to grow up and stop acting out. So, we get our resin. I was longing for ink, something metallic, something that was vaguely poisonous, yeh, evenly greenly or acidly venomous but there was just resin. Well, more specifically labdanum which (on me) has a vaguely dirty, suggestively unwashed body that has been hanging out for weeks in an opium den sort of smell. I like that but it's not very original or particulary enjoyable in hot, humid weather. I sat it out and then the musk, the ho hum, non-powdery musk took over after a few hours. This is not a clean, laundry musk nor is it a cottony musk. What comes to mind is MKK without the humanity. It isn't cozy, it's not lewd, it's just THERE, like someone's leg close to yours on the bus or the train. Not touching, not intruding, just reminding you by an extremely vague warmth that it's close. Yawn. I don't even like the bottle which reminds me of some middle aged man's fantasy of something that he would like to see on a Dominatrix's dresser. No doubt you'll break down and at least get a sample, then you'll remember me saying, "not worth it." The Perfume Cop in me says, "move along, move along. Nothing of interest here for you."

Neyon August 19, 2015

This sounds really compelling, certainly unusual, mysterious and spiritual...the bottle suggests something glamorous yet ancient

Ann August 19, 2015

Hi, sweetie! I've read a bit about this and been intrigued. (By actual reviews, not the over-the-top ad copy, ha!). But one thing that concerns me: When I read "inky wonder," I think of Byredo's MMInk with a shudder -- the first scent I ever tried that nearly made me feel sick, and had me making a beeline for the heavy-duty Tide. So maybe Mortal Skin wants to cuddle AFTER it's made you toss your cookies, eh? Does it resemble that Byredo, do you think? 'Cause if so, I'm staying far, far away.

Portia August 19, 2015

The top sounds so good and I can always do with one more hug March. Portia xx