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Épine Mortelle – complex and intriguing and beautiful - January 14, 2018

Red Rose by Andrele Bohner, Nov. 18, 2007 - Wikimedia Commons


“So, what do you think” I asked the sales assistant.

She wafted the blotter back and forth under her nose a few times before answering.

“This one is a challenge,” she said finally.

“How so?” I asked.

“I like a smooth, creamy rose…not this. It’s dark and a little strange not what I think a rose fragrance should be,” she said.

I thought about that for a moment as I put my nose to my wrist and inhaled Épine Mortelle deeply again. Was it what I think a rose fragrance should be? I dunno about that, but I do know it’s an exceptional rose fragrance that brings out some kind of primal longing in me.

“I’ll take two bottles,” I said.

The SA was taken aback.

“Are you sure?” she asked, “It’s not for everybody.”

“I understand” I said, handing her my credit card, “but the people I know will love it.”

Épine Mortelle is part of the Back Label Collection from LM Parfums, the niche line founded by fashion designer Laurent Mazzone in 2011. Regular readers are already familiar with the line from Kay’s posts on Ambre Muscadin and Patchouly Bohème, and Épine Mortelle is another reason to pay attention to LM Parfums.

It opens with dark, warm and spicy from pink pepper, black pepper, Sichuan pepper, bitter, earthy cumin and spicy-sweet nutmeg. The spiciness is tempered by licorice-like anise and angelica. The angelica is key here. It’s herbaceous, but also earthy, and sweet with powdery aspects that give Épine Mortelle an unusual beauty. The earthy powderiness of angelica is carried into the heart by a note of violet, opening the way for the roses: the sensuous Damask rose and the opulent, creamy, May Rose. These two complementary roses have honeyed, fruity, spicy aspects when combined that add dimension and depth to them. Simply put – they are better together. Blackcurrant adds a tart, sweetness that enhances the roses, making them darker and richer, while a note of mimosa adds a soft, vanilla-like sweetness that tips the fragrance into gourmand territory. Musk and vanilla at the base softens it so that the drydown is elegantly gourmand and, I think, very feminine. And, as an Extrait de Parfum of 20% perfume concentration, this juice has depth and staying power. No faded roses here.

The LM Parfums website describes Épine Mortelle like this:

"In the pursuit of the absolute essence of this dark, but comforting fragrance, I was walking inside this long and tortuous hedge maze.

I thought I was lost but these deadly thorns finally revealed themselves to me.

Suddenly, the absolute essence appeared from this angelic Rose."

As for being ‘challenging’, I find it complex, intriguing, unusual and straight-up beautiful.

Reading this now, I have to say that Épine Mortelle captures this beautifully. I didn't find the fragrance ‘challenging’ the way the SA did. Instead I found it complex, intriguing, unusual and ultimately beautiful.

If you love rose-based scents, there are hundreds of the out there, but not one of them is like Épine Mortelle.


Épine Mortelle is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.