Post by Erica Golding
Hello! My name is Erica, and I’ve enjoyed a lifetime obsession with scent. In all my journeys, I never gave Shalimar a chance on my skin. Shalimar, the bottle waiting patiently at practically every perfume counter, mysterious yet familiar. Recently, I was inundated with a torrent of love for this perfume by fans of all ages, all over the world. In the face of such genuine devotion, who was I to resist? I headed straight to a perfume counter, and my first impressions of modern-day Shalimar EdP are as follows:
Shalimar by Jacques Guerlain for Guerlain 1925
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Citruses, mandarin orange, cedar, lemon, bergamot
Heart: Iris, rose, vetiver, jasmine, patchouli
Base: Civet, musk, tonka bean, opoponax, leather, incense, vanilla, sandalwood
This scent opens with a citronella-like, sharp, insect-repellant bergamot. I just really don’t like the beginning. Much brighter on the card than on my skin. The aroma becomes a little more interesting after settling. Nicely spicy, but with some undertone that comes across as almost rubbery. I’m still not into it, but I admit that I am starting to be hypnotized by the unique, complex puzzle of it all. I keep sniffing, curiously. Later, the fragrance begins to warm into something more harmonious with my aesthetic. I am starting to sense precious woods, amber, and sandalwood, maybe a waft of vanilla as well.
Later still, even more attractive, almost like vanilla pipe tobacco.
Now I understand. It takes about 30 minutes to get there for me, but – wow. Gorgeous and singularly exceptional, yet hauntingly familiar. Woods and amber with a hint of vanilla, but so much more that defies my recognition. Indescribable. A sensual poem.
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Next, I sought out vintage bottles. My first scores were EdC in the “watch” bottle and Parfum in the “rosebud” bottle. I decided to review them side by side:
A quieter, softer opening. Morphs into soft vanilla incense tobacco magic within a few minutes. Fades fast on my skin, a quiet haze that hugs my body closely and shares its presence only with those I allow in that space.
A sharp, bold opening. Spicy, and the citronella note is not as bright as with modern EDP but surprisingly still pronounced. Throw is fairly intense, yet somehow focused for me – not a diffusive cloud of fragrance, but a moonbeam piercing the humid summer night’s sky. The aroma drifts into a powdery stage before reaching the equilibrium of the true intent of Shalimar: a warm, almost indescribable perfume that slows my breathing and makes me feel powerfully magnetic. Sultry, mysterious, dark, thickly sensual.
Photo Stolen WikiCommons
Shalimar lasts anywhere from 5-8 hours on my skin. It is definitely an evening, date-night fragrance by tradition ~ and I am a very non-traditional person, so I wear it whenever and wherever the hell I please! That being said, I often crave it at night and wear it as my midnight aromatherapy.
I hope you have enjoyed my account of how I lost my Shalimar virginity; and I hope that I’ve either conjured precious scent memories of your own, or piqued your interest in sampling this beauty for your own first time.
With warmly fragrant hugs,