When I composed Lamplight Penance, I was inspired by Henri Chatillon’s longing both for his life for adventure and, more importantly, his dearly departed love, Sni Mato (Bear Robe, translated). With Valentine’s Day upcoming, I wanted to revisit their love story and celebrate this incredible woman who brought butterflies to a man who had calmly handled even the most treacherous situations in his life as a trail guide and adventurer.
The leader of the Oglala band of Lakotas during Chatillon’s adventuring years was Mahto-Tatonka (Bull Bear, translated), a powerful and revered chief whose bravery and skill was widely known. He had a daughter, Sni Mato, who was said to have both great beauty and the intelligence and cunning of her father.
Chatillon, unlike many of the frontiersman of the time, treated Sni Mato as his devoted wife, not a mistress. He helped raise their children, provided for them and was held in the highest esteem of both Mahto-Tatonka and his brothers-in-law.
To celebrate Sni Mato, whose life ended early due to illness and whose spirit was celebrated in the tradition of the Lakotas, with the sacrifice of a pure white horse, as seen in the post-mortem portrait that Chatillon commissioned when he returned to Saint Louis (and kept hidden in the floorboards of his attic, as told in the Lamplight Penance story).
This fragrance contains top notes of flowers that can be found in Sni Mato’s native South Dakota, including bright, radiating lily and an intoxicatingly rich daffodil, with a hint of the earthy scent of prairie dew glistening below.
In the more recent tradition of Valentine’s Day, I have a cocoa-heavy, semi-sweet chocolate note as the base for this bouquet. The deep, narcotic undertones of the daffodil flower mingle with the rich silkiness of the chocolate, while the bitterness of the cocoa supports the earthiness that grows the floral top notes into a shimmering bloom. This is a powdery, period-specific cocoa note. Before milk chocolate, ambergris was used to import creaminess into chocolate, so this will be more of a powdery, ambery and vanillic chocolate note.
Sni Mato will be available on February 1 at 8:00 am Central and will be one run only, so when it’s out, it’s out. There will be aftershave, toner and EdP available through Chatillon Lux, Maggard Razors, Top of the Chain and West Coast Shaving, plus Declaration Grooming will also be making a matching shaving soap.
On an unrelated note, I hope everyone has a wonderful 2019. As I’ve said before, this year was a great one. And while receiving a four-star review from Luca Turin for Lamplight Penance and having Santal Auster named by CaFleureBon as one of 2018’s best fragrances, I believe the best is still yet to come. Be on the lookout soon as I start to break down the elements of Nefertiti, coming in May.