Sometimes it's so hard to come up with a detailed evocative description and a full review of a perfume. All I feel like saying about Mortal Skin by Stéphane Humbert Lucas is: "I love it and I want a bottle. Right now, if possible.". But I doubt I can keep my blogger card this way, so instead I'll try to make some sense and explain myself just a bit more eloquently.
(Not a good start, I know)
Mortal Skin hits a similar spot for me as does Dans tes Bras (Malle). No mushrooms, no violets, a different kind of wood (though the effect is not dissimilar to the cahmeran in DtB), so what is it? It's skin. A skin scent, human and beast, that has been infused with labdanum and incense. It's touching on the exotic, but unlike Stéphane Humbert Lucas's bold 777 line, we're in a different realm now, where the lights are dimmer, making it a bit hard to see what's real and what's a fantasy. It's also haunting and animalic.
Mortal Skin is also spicy, but not in a kitchen/alley behind your local Indian buffet way. It's got the most subtle cardamaom that blends with the various incensy notes and the wood, so once again I'm reminded of Maurice Roucel's work in Dans tes Bras, especially as the fragrance blooms and engulfs the skin (our weather lately has been a serious perfume accelerator. Every time I left an air conditioned space I've been wafting things all over the Tri-State area). The impression, though, is not of a big-boned perfume but of a musky, delicious, almost-sweet-but-not-quite, and warm (like a hug, not the inside of my car when parked).
Another tip for sampling this Stéphane Humbert Lucas creation? Ignore the note list. the ink that's listed as a top note is not just elusive, it also appears to me very late in the game. Blackberry? nope. Ambergris? more civet and musk musk musk. And if I absolutely had to label Mortal skin I'd list it under incense. The bottom line is the way the composition of Mortal Skin works with a real mortal skin. Mine, in this case, but also the husband's, who brings out more spice. Which reminds me that this perfume is gender-free, easygoing and informal despite its complexity, and the animalic sensuality of its base seals the deal.
Stéphane Humbert Lucas- Mortal Skin ($290, 50ml) is available from Osswald NYC, and Luckyscent. The sample for this review was supplied by Osswald.
Art: Edward Okun- Fraulein Leopardus for Jugend Magazine, 1906