My mate Chairman Meow not long ago told me about this fragrance being sold for a song at FragranceNet. I was interested but at the time I’d just returned from Europe and was already thinking about our next adventure in Korea. There has been plenty of chatter about the differences in the Ode a la Vanille range with Madagascar (known as ShaLemur by the perfumistas) coming out as the clear winner from the group. Today’s offering has been called too close to the original, uninspired and lackluster. Well, I think that depends on what you are after and your expectations….
Shalimar: Ode a la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique by Guerlain 2013
By Thierry Wasser
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Caramel, chocolate, incense, iris, opoponax, vanilla, tonka bean
Here’s the deal for me. I love Shalimar. They all sing to me on some level. Shalimar: Ode a la Vanille Sur la Route du Mexique (hereafter known as Mexique) is pretty, furry, sweet and glamorous. Close to Shalimar original? Yes, they could be sisters, where the others are probably cousins. How I think though is that Shalimar original has changed over the years too, the Shalimar we bought in 1930, 1970, 2011 and now in 2014 are all different. Sometimes the differences have been subtle and at other times the fragrance bears a more distant relationship. Though I have no knowledge of how Thierry Wasser works, or any of his reasonings, my mind has made some completely unsubstantiated jumps to conclusions. Please read the following paragraph as a story, not as truth:
I think Thierry Wasser has been playing around with Shalimar to try and get it back to what is more like the original intent of Guerlain. Over the years the tweaks and turns, the different perfumers, the availability of ingredients and now regulations had changed what we bought as Shalimar in 2011 to something still lovely in and of itself but at a far remove from the sensual, dusty, creamy, furry, animal, confection that it was. Having smelled his recreation of the original Shalimar at the Osmotheque in February I wonder if he was inspired by being able to make his houses mainstay fragrance as close as he could to the original formula. So did he, Mr Wasser, then decide to see if he could reinvent the masterpiece? Are we now getting the batches that were made as test runs? Could these be the lead up to what I think is one of the loveliest Shalimars in my coillection, 2013/4, where the growl is back, the lovely and brilliant opening already infused with a tiger that stalks the fragrance till the very last gasp in dry down? Are these the beauties that were lovely but not Shalimar enough?
Photo Stolen Flickr
So here I am with a 5ml atomiser of Mexique from My Perfume Samples. I have worn it a coup0le of times and the first hour and a half is mesmerisingly beautiful. I spritz before work and find myself transported to another world, this is like Shalimar: Taste of Fragrance. What was already an ice cream laden gourmand has become a modern chewy choc-caramel lolly, similar but dry and lacking the HUGE zing of citrus that is so Shalimar, Also missing from Shalimar and found in the Mexique is a furry, mannish, animal purr: a darkness. I get a quirky amberish, macaroon type sweetness that is both crispy and gooey simultaneously, like big coffee sugar pieces that you crunch in your mouth with the dregs of your coffee. It also seems slightly weightless, as if it’s missing some of the important base notes and its lifespan is also considerably shorter at under 4 hours fragrant on my skin, leaving a trail of sweet nothings for a little while longer.
Do I love Mexique? Is it different or special enough to FB? To be honest, I have just ordered one.