Thursday, 28 November 2019

OMNOSTRE by Chatillon Lux

One of the Christmas rituals that I’ve always loved is sitting down in front of the television and watching an old MGM musical, especially if it’s Meet Me In St. Louis. Whether this is as a family or in sole ownership of the remote control, you’ve got to have a heart of stone not to feel your spirits lift as Judy Garland launches into “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. This year I’ll have an addition to the experience in the shape of Chatillon Lux’s Omnostre, their 1904 inspired fragrance, and it promises to bring the film’s glorious spectacle vividly into focus as we visit the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

If we travel back a little further to 1851 then we’ll find ourselves in London’s Hyde Park and at the first “World’s Fair”. It was the brainchild of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, and was designed to showcase “manufactured products”. Now, if you remember that the famous perfume company Grossmith was awarded a medal at this “Great Exhibition” then it becomes clearer that it was far more than just machine parts and pistons. It was attended by an incredible six million people, a third of the British population at the time, which is why subsequent mountings of the World Fair in different countries were seen as huge occasions.

In 1904 the World’s Fair came to St. Louis in Missouri, although it went by the slightly less attention grabbing name of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. You really have to bear in mind that we were in the pre-social media age and that even telephones were looked upon with bafflement. Newspapers, magazines, and films are the way that people would experience different cultures, races, and countries. So, can you imagine just how exciting it would be to have “strangers from another continent” visit you in real life. It’s hard to picture this in today’s technological age but, back then, it was breath-taking.

When Shawn Maher launched Chatillon Lux it was with the desire to create fragrances that took inspiration from his home city of St. Louis. The name is a combination of the St. Louis pioneer Henri Chatillon and his wife, Odile Delor Lux. There are many great moments that Shawn could have chosen but he was naturally drawn to the 1904 World’s Fair, which also features in Meet Me In St. Louis. “Imagine the mystery and wonder that filled spectators as they experience sights, sounds, and scents that went beyond anything they had ever imagined.” Omnostre is masterfully evocative with its attention-grabbing elegance.

The fragrance opens with a rush of aromatic citrus thanks to a cardamom touched bergamot almost exploding onto the skin. This green aspect continues with a note of petitgrain, and even a glimmer of galbanum, before a dryly spiced pink pepper completes the first impression. As the fragrance develops you start to see the mystical pairing of earthy vetiver mixing with resinous myrrh, but there’s also the merest hint of rose in the centre that links perfectly with a powdery iris. Notes of cedarwood, spruce, and tonka bean blend elegance with sensuality and, alongside a final flourish of fountain-washed stone, Omnostre truly places you in the heart of the World's fair with its magnificent merging of cultures.

Omnostre is available from the Chatillon Lux website at chatillonnlux.com priced at $8 for 5ml and $60 for 57ml. All prices are in American Dollars. [Sample provided by Shawn Maher]

[Image from Meet Me In St. Louis © Turner Classic Movies]

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