Tender Touch – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Skin on Skin

By Tara

Skin on Skin is the fragrance in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Explosions d’Emotions collection that appealed to me the most. I liked the name and quite a few of the following featured notes: Iris, suede, velvet leather, saffron, whisky, lavender, rose and musk.

skin on skin

Released in 2013, it was part of the first batch of three Eaux de Parfums in the series, which now number six in total. They come in squat 125ml versions of the original L’Artisan bottles with more luxurious packaging, for a significantly higher price than the standard line.

“Skin on Skin awakens our animalistic instincts – to touch, to get closer, to smell…A carnal creation to be used without moderation.”
– L’Artisan Parfumeur website

Now please disregard what you’ve just read.

The problem with Skin on Skin is that if you approach it expecting the sexy, animalic, aphrodisiac suggested by the above advertising copy, you are likely to be disappointed.

It’s a shame because Skin on Skin is a very pleasing perfume, even if it doesn’t make the earth move.

In fairness, the name isn’t wholly inappropriate because it wears like a second skin; silky and clinging. Rather than a heated entanglement in the throes of passion, it’s a tender embrace full of affection. It’s spooning on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It has a soft focus, fuzzy aura. Far from being carnal, it’s the kind of fragrance you might wear for comfort; something unobtrusive and calming to relax with.

Skin on Skin is recognisably the work of Bertrand Duchaufour. It lies somewhere between his Traversée du Bosphore and Safran Troublant, also for L’Artisan.

The iris is very nicely done, a little cool to start with but not too dry or too sweet, not too rooty or too metallic. It stands at the mid-point of the iris spectrum.

Saffron combines beautifully with the iris (as it usually does) to give it extra interest, brightness and some heat. I would say there is as much saffron as iris, so if you’re a fan of that particular spice you might want to check out Skin on Skin for that reason alone.

Over time it becomes warmer and more lactonic which increases its skin-like properties. It doesn’t alter much until the base when I detect a touch of vanilla.

I don’t get any lavender, whisky or “velvet leather” but it does have the feel of supple suede sprinkled with baby powder. A syrupy rose adds a steady trickle of sweetness.

It has low to reasonable projection and good longevity. I would say it leans a little more towards the feminine.


Skin on Skin won’t set the world alight but it could work well for those who fancy an understated, creamy iris/saffron perfume. I enjoy wearing it, especially on days when I’m taking things at a slower pace.

Have you tried any of the fragrances in the Explosions d’Emotions series?

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23 Responses to Tender Touch – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Skin on Skin

  1. Vanessa says:

    You’ve got this one off to a ‘t’, T, and thanks for letting me try it. Much preferred to Amour Nocturne, the only other one I know from the range. That was weird, like Le Feu d’Issey gone wrong. I love saffron, though I hadn’t noticed it was specifically in this perfume. I must dig out my sample and see if I can detect it…

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, V. I thought you might like it because it’s quite subdued. I get very noticeable saffron but see what you think when you re-test.

  2. cookie queen says:

    HI Tara! I tried this just the once and thought it was pleasant enough. I do however much prefer to try something after you ahem written about it, I see much more in it then. Doesn´t mean I suddenly love, it is really more of a guided tour. Great xxxx

  3. cookie queen says:

    ahem? I think not. “have”

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi Tara. Your review has given me reason to go and try this properly. It sounds lovely.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Sandra,
      I don’t think the collection was a hit with perfume people but this one is very nice. Hard not to like an iris and saffron combination.

  5. Alexandra says:

    This doesn’t immediately call me (your beautiful review aside): I am still wary of iris and rarely enjoy it (Cuir Ottoman being a rare example), but then I do like both Bertrand and saffron very much. Having said that I haven’t tried the line – I think my issue is that I admire the original LAP line up so much that when it comes to their higher end line I expect something a little more exciting…

    • Tara says:

      Lovely to “see” you Alex. If you’re not keen on iris then you may struggle here. I know you love your big orientals. I’m a fan of the original L’Artisan line too. It’s a shame this is in such a big bottle and at a premium price.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I really, really love saffron as a note – and iris when it is sueded and fuzzy rather than rooty. And for some reason, I’ve been craving softer scents this past year, so I have to say you make this one sound quite good and worth seeking out. Have you tried Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue, and can you say how they would compare? I’ve been wearing that one a lot.

    • Tara says:

      In that case, this may well work well for you Suzanne. It’s been a while since I tried Iris Absolue but I’d say Skin on Skin is quieter, less rooty and in addition to the saffron there’s a dash of syrupy rose early on.

  7. Asali says:

    Awww, ‘It’s spooning on a lazy Sunday afternoon’ cute and very true. You’re spot on with regard to a much more intimate sensuality, rather than the ‘carnal creation’ of the ad-copy.
    I tried the gun powder one (thanks to Vanessa) and wasn’t very impressed, but I like skin on skin. I find I do need to actively pay attention to get to know it, but it’s definitely interesting enough to do so:-)

    • Tara says:

      Nice to hear you’re in agreement Asali. I think it’s probably better sprayed than dabbed. Sorry about that – I ran out of atomisers. I can’t say I feel any need to try the rest of this line.

  8. YAY!! This is by far my favourite of the new look L’Artisan. That bottle is the most awkward thing to spritz though, I can’t imagine how hard it must be for people with small hands. I think my bottle is about 20% empty because when it’s on my desk I reach for it almost automatically, I had to put it away because it was getting a little TOO much wear. Maybe it’s time to bring it back out.
    It has good longevity for a L’Artisan too.
    Always nice to read one of your reviews Tara,
    Portia xx

  9. Ines says:

    I tried them all and I must say I wasn’t very impressed. 😦
    And I generally have a high opinion of L’Artisan perfumes…

    • Tara says:

      Yes, I think very highly of the original line too, Ines and own a number of them. It’s shame this collection didn’t generally live up to expectations.

  10. Michael says:

    Nice one Tara. To me, most of this Esploosions line are different versions of a fruity mess (lovely if you like fruity notes) but this one is a little different and its my favourite. I agree, it’s very much a lactonic saffron tinted second skin. I do wish it had just a little carnality though.

    • Tara says:

      “A lactonic saffron tinted second skin” is a good description. I agree just a little carnality in the drydown could have really added something.

  11. Undina says:

    I think Skin on Skin is nice but it’s too close to Traversée du Bosphore that they had to kill in order to re-introduce it in the form of a much more expensive Eaux de Parfums and because of that I’m boycotting this perfume.

    • Tara says:

      Traversee du Bosphore is still showing on the UK L’Artisan site so I don’t know if it’s been discontinued but ifthey did kill it off for this that would be an awful shame.

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