Human (therefore mortel) Tenderness vs. Cold Church Stone
The opening moment of Mortel on my skin, is dominated by the bracing earthy spiciness of black pepper, flanked by the warmth of pimento and the nutty roundness of nutmeg. The spices are hard to miss, but they are not sharp or aggressive at all. Instead, they induce a fuzzy warmth to the opening of Mortel.
During the first half hour, the frankincense and myrrh are already on the stage. But they're firmly wrapped in this warm cashmere shawl of spices, and don't have the aloof church incense vibe as CDG Avignon, Heeley Cardinal, etc. This fine-tuned warmth of spices manage to bring a human element to the otherwise cold frankincense and myrrh, without setting the resins on fire.
With time, the spices gradually loses the warmth and turn into an uplifting aromatic sheen over the cold resins. Complemented by this aromatic brightness, the frankincense and myrrh now fully display their shimmery, cool woodiness and date-like creaminess respectively. But again, they are never sharp as frankincense and myrrh sometimes can be. Instead, they form a diaphanous, pellucid skin scent of incense, cool but never aloof.
Mortel has a close-to-skin sillage almost right from the beginning, and it lasts around 6 hours on my skin. While I don't particularly mind its performance, I do agree that it's probably the weakest in this department among the five new releases of Trudon.
And this overall weak performance did impact my initial assessment. As I was smelling them together for the first time, Mortel was easily overwhelmed by its siblings and I didn't think much of it. It was until later, when I wore it on its own, that I started to grasp its lovely nuances.
While Mortel doesn't pack the same icy punch as CDG Avignon or Diptyque L'Eau Trois, it makes up for it by showing a tender heart. I especially appreciate its transition from earthy warmth to an aromatic coolness prompted by the spices, which feels like watching orange melt glass slowly cool down to a crystalline craft.
Although I suspect that fans of hardcore incense fragrances might find it a bit too soft, I do think Mortel is solidly made, and its "human (therefore mortel)" tenderness might even distinguish itself from other austere, cold-like-church-stone incense perfumes. I'd definitely recommend it as a more approachable incense fragrance.