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Lamplight Penance (Chatillon Lux) **** leather rum


Reading the backstory to Chatillon Lux fragrances, I was prepared to be skeptical and ended up enchanted. Instead of serving up fake Frenchness, St.-Louis–based owner-perfumer Shawn Maher dreams up (divines, more like) names and fragrances based on the very real local character of Henri Chatillon (1813-1873), a hunter and scout with the American Fur Company who married the daughter of a Sioux Chief. The fragrance depicts the older and widowed Chatillon, redux from his adventures on the Oregon Trail, safely remarried into a prominent local family, living a double life of the mind when flashes of high adventure intrude into his sedate present. I say “depicts” without irony: the smell fits the story, a disturbingly discordant accord of fruit and leather notes that feels like a chance encounter of objects belonging to different lives. One imagines a realist painting of pomanders, a saddle, and a crystal decanter full of brown liquor. Lamplight Penance is one of those apparitions conjured up by independents who never got the memo on good fragrance manners, and who instead follow their own trail under stars no perfumer ever saw. Delightful. LT


Sample kindly provided by Chatillon Lux

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© 2018 by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez.