Scent Notes: Inside the Making of Santal Auster Parfum Extrait

Scent Notes

Weclome to volume 2 of Scent Notes, the new series in which I give you a sneak peek into my creative process as well as my musings on fragrance in general. Scent is such an immersive thing that is so directly connected to memory and the feelings that evokes that I want to share the background and inspiration behind the scents I make.


When I originally created Santal Auster in last year’s aftershave release, I was looking for a particular type of powdery, light sandalwood scents that would linger closely to the skin and also blend well with other scents. So much so that it spawned Rose Santal, our most popular scent. But in the year since it was originally released, I’ve thought quite a bit about how it would be best represented as a fragrance while also developing how to improve the aftershave scent while staying true to the original.


For the initial release in the Chatillon Lux Parfums line, I envisioned Santal Auster to be something that was daringly complex yet seemed deceptively simple: the translation of sandalwood in a moment of time. It is intended to be a sensory experience with the smell of real, natural sandalwood, freshly cut, combined with precious oils of oud, amyris, styrax, patchouli and castoreum creating a unified scent that evokes a hidden, secluded temple filled with burning sandalwood and the types precious oils one would use to anoint the holy and the royal. Applying Santal Auster feels like performing a ritual both with the evocative notes and in that it is a closely held, intimate scent.


When deciding upon the concentration, despite the high cost of the oils, a 30% extrait strength suited the fragrance perfectly. Due to the woody, powdery, incense and musky nature of the scent, it does not project strongly like some modern, department-store-type scents that fill a room, but rather lingers on the skin for the entirety of the day, playing coyly with those who pass by, drawing them in to your allure. Imagine it to be an accessory that you wear all day or something special that you share with those around you, but only those special enough to belong in your inner circle.


The main note in the scent is mysore sandalwood, the classic sandalwood scent that is rich and slightly sharp, but with a subtle underpinning of silkiness, which is enhanced and fortified with castoreum, a nod to the musky pomades worn by ancient Egyptians, as well as amyris, known as the sandalwood of the West Indies. The powdery notes are enhanced with styrax and patchouli that give the sense of incense, not the dorm-room type, but rather what one would expect in an exotic ceremony. Finally, adding the precious oil of oud is necessary to fully complete that rich, complex Middle Eastern flair.


When creating Santal Auster, my goal was to create a modern take on something simple, creating a feeling that escorts you back to another time and place, but also feels relevant and full of life both in the present day and for the distant future.


I am really excited about how the scent turned out and have worn it nearly daily since completing it, which is rare, as I often grow weary of scents during the development process because I spend so much time sniffing them. But even after a year of development, I still look forward to wearing it. Additionally, I have slightly updated the aftershave/toner/salve version of the scent, as well, to add for longevity and projection with some fixatives and the same sandalwood essential oil used in the Parfum Extrait.


I hope you are as excited as I am to share this new scent with you.

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