This is based on my early 2000s bottle with the curved arch based bottle. I have not smelled the newer reformulations so I can't speak about the changes.
This may across dated to some people, but if you're able to get pass the opening, the drydown is a beautiful leathery vanilla with a touch of animalic qualities. The best way I can describe this scent is a nag champa incense with a deeper vanilla note laced with some citruses. Don't be turned off by the word animalic. It's not overly fecal or anything disgusting. If you're looking for a contemporary vanilla, go with Diptyque's Eau Duelle or Guerlain's SDV, but if you're 30+, I think you can pull this off.
Unisex but leaning slightly feminine. Performance is pretty solid and it lasts quite a long time on my clothing. Be careful, this may stain white clothing. If you love the smell of Nag Champa, I think you will enjoy this one. It may take some time to appreciate this scent, but I believe there's a reason why this fragrance has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, I don't wear this as often, but when I do, I enjoy the richness of the musky vanilla and its clash with citrus notes.
Really, what can I say that hasn't already been said? When speaking of one of the all time greats, one is compelled to just honor it.
I have a current formulation and it blows away just about any other newer oriental release. It has stood the test of time and remains intact, near immaculate. I thank seasoned Guerlainophiles for encouraging me to go with a new bottle so that I can experience the freshest top notes, the bergamot and citrus sparkle. Also, the civet note in this is incredibly real-smelling, having worked with civet in dilution and knowing its presence and energy. The opoponax, vanilla, and incense is olfactory paradise.
In 2020, it is unisex, it is very now just as it was in 1925.. It is the legendary Shalamar EDP.
One reviewer described their experience with Shalimar as lemon and kitty litter. Several other reviewers opined that the current formulation has been bastardized. In my opinion both sound about right. I also had angry red welts appear in the precise shape of where the spray hit my arm.
Cacophonous opening of a very harsh bergamot with herbal rosemary and other notes that carefully evolves into the most transporting, bewitching and seductive oriental scent ever. My favorite part of Shalimar is after the florals where a gorgeous rich, resinous amber rises to mix with the creamy, lemon-tinged vanilla, a hint of vetivered leather underneath -- it is TO DIE FOR! Whenever I wear this, I feel blessed.
Endless accolades have been written about this sublime perfume and with good reason. The legend was well known to me prior to my first trial spray at the Guerlain perfume counter. I'm not going to attempt to add much to the many excellent and detailed descriptions which exist here. Classic, exotic, luxurious, complex and with a lovely, gentle, warm and spicy dry down which lasts for hours afterwards.
The love affair soon established, I now own a bottle of vintage (1960's) perfume and a vintage edc and know that I will always have them in my collection. IMO it's very well worthwhile hunting (and paying extra) for the vintage versions.
Tired of sampling (and scrubbing off) the vicious new reproductions of classic perfumes (bearing little or no resemblance to the original versions), I felt a nostalgia for those I remembered as a child, such as Joy de Patou, Hermès Calèche, Arpège, Givenchy III.
Shalimar has always been marketed as a women's perfume and as such I was not at all comfortable about trying it, but that reluctance soon vanished. I would agree with those who say that Shalimar is an acquired taste, but don't give up, it's really worth persevering with. I find that it's entirely wearable for a man (particularly in the evening). The compliments I receive from both men and women confirm that. Tiny drops suffice. For me, it's not an everyday perfume by any means but worn as an occasional evening treat, it's hard to beat. My advice is to let it settle for a while before going out. In a word, it's heavenly.
The only thing i remotely like about it which kinda gives it the benefit of the doubt on my skin is the opoponax note which summoned a little hope during the very "dated" development on my Generation X's skin.
Incense barely peeking in the drydown, just barely and i mean barely.
I was going to give it to my mom but then i reconsidered since this would also smell too dated on her.
"Some things are better left in time....and in time is where they belong"
Until today I have never owned Shalimar, the pillar perfume. I've tried it, hundreds of times, always the EDP and decided it wasn't for me. I own Parfum Initial, L'Eau, Eau de Shalimar, Batwing Shalimar Cologne and the 2015 version Cologne. My favourite is Cologne 2015 and I ordered what I thought might be a replacement bottle that was headed EDT/Cologne. Yes, I thought, that's it, Shalimar Cologne 2015 at EDT strength. It was the EDT that arrived. I had factored that in as an eventuality and I sprayed it on, layered with a bit of the Batwing bottle Eau de Cologne (made for the U.S. market in the U.S.A) and it's very nice, I will use it, but I love the Cologne 2015 as it is closest to Shalimar Eau Legere (DISC) Are we all sufficiently confused now? I haven't even mentioned the Madagascar or the Mexique. There is no escape from Shalimar.
Shalimar is the crown jewel in the Guerlain catalog, the scent that came to define the house and it's use of the "Guerlinade" compound note which found its way into almost all of perfumer Jacques Guerlain's compositions, plus a great many of Jean-Paul Guerlain's as well. Shalimar was named after a garden in Lahore made for Mumtaz Mahal, the same woman for whom the Taj Mahal was also built. The creation of Shalimar was near-accidental too, as perfumer Jacques Guerlain discovered its primary accord by pouring a bottle of ethylvanillin into a bottle of Jicky (1889), the seminal fougère that was originally composed by his uncle Aimé Guerlain, building a fragrance upon another fragrance as Jacques Guerlain was known to do. Therefore like Jicky, Shalimar is technically a fougère as well, since it is built up from that fragrance's structure, but it contains a great many more oriental elements to it, and is thus often associated with the oriental category. If Jicky was the unintentional gender bender progenitor that was loved by a great many men alongside women, and Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) the masculine-targeted shade thereof, then Shalimar is the rounder and more-luxurious advancement of that primary accord pitched to women during the roaring 20's. The scent was originally released in 1921 alongside Chanel No. 5 (1921), and proved to be the strongest competition that iconic perfume had, but went under a numerical designation just as the Chanel did until 1925, because the name "Shalimar" was being contested by another perfumer who claimed to have already used it. When known as "No. 90", the perfume made waves, but it wasn't until it's widespread 1925 release as Shalimar that the legend was born. The overall smell of Shalimar isn't much removed from Jicky, and indeed many of the great oriental and fougère-like compositions made under the hands of Jacques Guerlain share similar traits, not only because of his "fragrance upon another fragrance" crafting or the "Guerlinade" house accord he perfected, but also because it's the style he seemingly preferred. L'Heure Blue (1912), Mitsouko (1919), and Shalimar all have multiple levels of this intertextuality with each other and previous Guerlain efforts from which Jacques drew his inspiration; that was just part of of his unique creative process.
What makes Shalimar stand out from all it's siblings is its plushness, its fullness, the radiance of its notes, which can be a bit much to take for some people. The scent opens with lavender, bergamot, and mandarin, but switches out Jicky's rosewood for aldehydes and herbal rosemary, which makes for the resplendence of Shalimar's opening. This change doesn't make as much difference to the overall character of the perfume as the addition of an actual heart structure to Shalimar, which Jicky sorely lacked. That scent moves from its barbershop opening into a hellish moat of animalic and heady base notes, with only a floral heart inferred by the flip-flop transition between top to bottom. Jacques Guerlain likely wasn't happy with the "presto-chango" suddenness of uncle Aimé's composition, because instead, we go down to the base notes in stages with Shalimar, more like a traditional perfume. Jasmine, rose, patchouli, and vetiver stand vividly in the heart of Shalimar more than they did in the trap door dry down of Jicky, and are joined by a poofy iris note which also replaces the orris of Jicky and helps Shalimar feel a bit more feminine, which was the aim anyway. The tell-tale vanilla note anchoring the accidental discovery that is this perfume's primary accord shows up halfway, bringing in the rest of the Jicky base with new additions of opoponax and peru basalm. Shalimar tries to be a little more polite with its use of animalics, taking musk in place of styrax, and toning down the civet and ambergris just a touch so the other heart notes of tonka, leather, sandalwood, and oakmoss can be felt. I don't get the cinnamon spice or incense notes of Jicky in Shalimar either, and the blending is much smoother, making any note separation a real reach (translation, lots of sniffing to find), which is another master stroke of Jacques himself. Taken on its own merit without comparing it to compositions with which it shares most of its notes, Shalimar is an unusual vanillic oriental fougère-like fragrance that sat right with women in the early 20th century, particularly flappers that liked it's dynamism made possible by rich semi-indolic underpinnings, lady-like aldehydic florals, and oriental smoothness. Wear time varies greatly on concentration, as Shalimar was made in many forms, but a median figure across all iterations is a solid 8 hours of moderate sillage. Something this illustrious isn't a casual wear, regardless of context, so make sure you don't glow like a diesel hot plug by your choice of Shalimar on a casual game night.
All told, Shalimar is still mostly retained by women as the matriarch of grand perfumes, with only the aforementioned Chanel No. 5 to really contest this claim, but guys can totally wear Shalimar too, as the primary accord is rather unisex, but with a slightly heavier dose of "Guerlinade" than usual pushing the smell to be uncomfortably makeup-like if you're a jock type. Still, dandies in France famously have worn Shalimar for years, and if Jicky didn't scare you, I doubt this will either. The reason for the stigma against men wearing Shalimar, like most things in the fragrance world, comes down to marketing. Guerlain had mostly given up on pitching Jicky to women even after making Mouchoir de Monsieur as a manlier substitute, but they stuck to their guns with Shalimar, keeping it in the company of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleu as sort of the "big 3" feminines from the house, creating something of a marketing barrier. Then Jean-Paul Guerlain went off and made the chypre Habit Rouge (1965) with grandfather Jacques' "Guerlinade" in the mix, perhaps moving male interest further away from Shalimar in the process, but that hasn't stopped perfume hobbyists or open-minded guys with a bit of gender fluidity from enjoying it. Bottom line here is if you like old floral barbershop smells, vanillic orientals, and anything with a clean, plush, soapy smell up top, but a substantially musky animalic backbone, you'd enjoy Shalimar regardless of what is between your legs. Since this perfume has inspired so many others high and low, you've likely already bought something descended from it anyway and didn't know. Parfum extrait and eau de parfum are going to be the heaviest take with the most complex dry downs. More vanilla, oakmoss, sandalwood, and musk is present to my nose in the extrait, and the top fades fastest. I find folks enjoying the animalic qualities of Shalimar best suited to the eau de toilette, which seems to let the floral heart and civet in the base breath more freely, at the cost of some development. The folks who want the fougère elements to ring truest are better off with the eau de cologne, since it showcases the lavender and bergamot strongest, then crisply segues through the floral heart and lays upon a drier version of the base that sees the vanilla, civet, and leather turned down in favor of the tonka, oakmoss, and ambergris. Regardless of which version you get, they're all thumbs up from me. Shalimar is a pièce de résistance solidifying Guerlain as one of the greatest perfume houses of all time, and you know I rarely speak in such lofty terms.
I am really in two or even multiple minds on this one. Had a test spray on a strip last summer, liked it enough to spray some on me. Lovely, and not like anything else in my wardrobe. I read all the blurb, info and reviews, and added it to my birthday wish list. Hmm. Be careful what you wish for. Like a summer romance that fades once back in the real world, I wonder if I'd mixed up the scents I tried that August afternoon in Brighton. Or maybe the air is different in the South West.
This smells gorgeous on the dry down, but the couple of hours to get there? A heavy traffic journey in an overheated car with a fractious under- 4 screaming "are we there yet?" Way too intense.
I have to be really careful not to apply more than 2 sprays, or I get burning eyes, instant head ache and can barely breathe. Aldehydes? But my skin always absorbs fragrance very fast, so I have to apply at least 4 sprays to get it to last over two hours. Ok; so a smart exit from the bathroom away from the fog of choking scent, and the first strikingly good and weird stuff starts happening within 10 minutes. A huge burst of cut lemons right next to a smoking wood fire, without any blending of the two. They are absolutely distinct in a way I've not experienced in any other scent. So good, yet so scary. This perfume is taking no prisoners. Something dirty-sexy bleeds through about half an hour later, it's very animalic at this point, bordering on the unpleasant, and I hate it. This feels far too strong to be on me at all, and definitely not out in public, but by then, I'm leaving the house, so too late to back out.
However,....I can't stop sniffing my arms. After an hour the lemons and smoke and dirt have come together to make a truce, and an uneasy peace is agreed. Some days the ceasefire holds and I love wearing this,it's earthy, smoked-lemony and gorgeous. Some days though there are nasty skirmishes and the smell remains over-strong, unblended, raw and industrial.
Some fragrances can only be worn when I am in the right mood for them,(such as Cliquat de Lancome or Ivoire de Balmain), and that always works. The problem I have with Shalimar, is that I can't guess whether its going to be a day of war or peace- the scent reaction to my skin seems to be completely out of my control. Mood doesn't affect her. Overall a bit of a loose cannon. When she was good, she was very, very good; and when she was bad, she was horrid.
Shalimar is one of the most famous perfumes of French house Guerlain and one of my all time favorites. If you want to be clinical about it, the perfume was created in 1925 by Jacques Guerlain, in time when the scent of Orient began spreading through Western Europe. It touched everything, from fashion, art, music…to perfumes. Jacques Guerlain was experimenting with a brand new substance, synthetic vanilla (etylvanilin) and mixed it with different perfume basis. He was happy with the results but when he mixed vanilla and Jicky…magic happened. The spirit of Shalimar was freed from the bottle.
Perfume and its name haven't stopped intriguing our senses and imagination; its effect breaks social taboos. Respectable ladies of the time shouldn't consummate cigarettes, dance tango… and wear Shalimar. They of course did all that in secrecy. There isn't a force strong enough to stop the passion and erotic yearning for life embodied in Shalimar, whose name in Sanskrit means temple of love. Legendary garden where Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal celebrated their love. After Mumtaz's death, inconsolable emperor built Taj Mahal in honor of his favorite wife. Like Taj Mahal, Shalimar is a monument and part of perfume history. It is the first oriental perfume history knows. But that is not the most important thing…because the story of Shalimar has no beginning or end. It is a story of the essence of human desire, the sweet moments of bliss unknown to history but older than time.
It could have been created in ancient Egypt where its lush, intoxicating nature would spark forbidden love between Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Homeland of Shalimar could have been mysterious and magical Arabia because it told more than 1001 tales. I can easily imagine Madame Pompadour wearing it and knocking the entire Louis XV's court of their feet with her beauty, charm and seductive silage. I can even see, with my inner vision, a beautiful creature inhabiting Earth thousands of years from now, smelling like Shalimar and through synthetic explosion in its highly developed brain soaking freely all the beauty of being on this planet and tasting its sensual fruits skillfully captured in a small bottle of perfume. As poet John Keats said: A thing of beauty is a joy for ever, Its loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness. If that is the case, isn't it beautiful?
Think Mae West and Sophia Loren and Rita Hayworth all rolled into one. Pure and utterly rich plushness and rounded, generous bosoms and a warm, talcum-ed girdle. The grande dame of all perfume-land and one of the few scents that I love, but cannot wear. She is truly beautiful and utterly seductive...so much so that I feel as if I am wearing a satin negligee and pink feather boa whenever I put her on. She is more of a woman than I ever could be and almost too hot to handle, so I smell her from a distance and enjoy her all the more that way.
The scent for which the term va-va-voom was invented.
One of the greatest scents in modern history. I've always owned this and always shall. My nose memory cannot tell the difference between vintage and modern. Nor, does it care. Not a scent for the timid. Deep, rich, velvety, and assertive...
I had the chance to test Shalimar EDP (current version), Shalimar parfum de toilette, Shalimar Souffle de Parfum and buy a 70s vintage version Shalimar, the first version of Ode à la Vanille, sur la Route de Madagascar and sur la Route du Mexique.
The current Shalimar EDP was a bit disappointing. A lot of bergamot with some cardamom and then a powdery rose (almost itchy). Then it settles down finally but doesn't give a good sillage. What's funny is that it smells different if you smell it one cm away from another spot.
Shalimar from the 70s is so much better. Both softer and spicier, with an amber, cashmere feel. You get the bergamot and the rose, but nothing is too strong.
Parfum de toilette (mine is from 93) is even softer but powerful with more powdery vanilla. Less itchy bergamot and rose.
Souffle de parfum shouldn't be compared. This is not Shalimar, don't expect Shalimar. There are some common notes, especially if you wear vintage Shalimar on the other wrist. But it's very good on its own! A wonderful floral with some spices and a gourmand dry-down. I'm happy I randomly got a sample of this and I hope I'll get a full bottle. Sillage could be better, though.
The original Ode à la Vanille opens in a very bitter way. It's balsamic. Then it goes towards a powdery bergamot. The acid vanilla comes later. It's a bit sweeter than the vintage Shalimar but quite similar in the dry down. It also has more fruit.
Sur la Route de Madagascar shares a lot of notes as well, but it's more floral than fruity. It's more animalistic. Dirtier in a very sexy way. It has more vanilla than the others as well.
Sur la Route du Mexique opens with more pepper. It's something between rhum and gin, with spices. It might have a more itchy, synthetic feel for me.
Note that the three bottles are exactly the same. You've got to keep the boxes to differentiate them.
The opening of all those Shalimar, except for souffle de parfum, is the biggest difference. The more they dry, the most similar they get.
I'm so glad I have this beauty in my stable finally! I've flirted with Shalimar for a long time, and really wanted to get it, and then by some major luck I was able to pick up a nice big bottle for an astonishingly good price, so I went for it. But really, what more can I say about this that hasn't been said before? It's a beautiful scent and I can understand why so many people love it. The sillage and longevity of this is amazing I could still smell this after eight hours, and it's one of those scents that seems to bloom if you get a bit warm. This is one of the few perfumes I have that has elicited an unprompted oh, you smell nice! from my husband. Normally I have to shove my arm under his nose and ask him to smell it before I'll get a comment. Reading through the reviews, I'm amazed at how this perfume reacts with different people some get leather, some get incense, some get spice, some get lemon. Each time I wear this, it is different. The first time I wore it, it was all soft powder with a touch of citrus. The next time, I got a big burst of citrus at the start, with a hint of leather, before it mellowed into a beautiful, soft, creamy powdery vanilla. The time after that, it was all powder and cream and vanilla, straight away. Shalimar smells sexy and very, very classy but at the same time, there is also something very comforting and approachable about it. It's like you're at a fancy party, and you see a stunningly beautiful, beautifully dressed, elegant woman at first glance, she appears aloof, and you're not sure if you should approach her. So you stay away, and instead she approaches you and flings her arms around you and greets you like a long-lost friend, and she's so warm and friendly and welcoming that you wonder why you stayed away. I love it.
Beautifully put together, it opens with caramel and musk. Flowery notes come in after. This fragrance is /strong/. But it's a little bit of an acquired taste, and not for me. It's all at once too sweet for me, while also not leathery enough.
Top notes attractive notes with the freshness of the citrus flavor (especially the notes of Bergamot). The colors from the floral notes give the overall scent of perfume a special, full of smooth continuous drainage with the presence of iris, jasmine and roses. Creamy soft vanilla seductive, combined with the scent of iris hard to resist, all around flavor and aroma of a food pharmaceutical warm tonka bean, all blended into a unified whole top from which no language can describe.
Queen of the oriental flavor, fragrance Shalimar is a feminine, attractive and timeless for perfume. Perfume scent sexy and smooth screen with sweet vanilla flavor warm embrace of incense and amber. Elegance and persistence, the seductive appeal of Shalimar contained.
Timeless oriental fragrance full of charm and mystery for the girls. Beautiful bottle design and meaningful. Exotic fluidity is also the strength of fragrance.
Sharp bergamot and powder on the opening, a little soapy. Rose and jasmine full in your face, drying beautifully through amber and creamy sandalwood. Tonka, opopanax and leather underneath.
The first 20 minutes are gorgeous - I have my nose to my wrist every 60 seconds so as to not miss a turn in the development.
Although the opopanax powder is quite heady at first - I found it be an acquired taste, actually - it is soon balanced by the incense spice. Later, it settles down into that lovely soft, warm vanilla and tonka base, kept from becoming too sweet by a little leather to dry it.
Definitely a grown-up fragrance with the option of sharing - would love to smell it on a musky male, interesting with a touch deep in a beard, I think.
One of my top 5 favourite feminine fragrances and the first I ever bought blind...
What can I say about Shalimar? I think it is a milestone of perfumery. A classic. I am a Guerlain addict and I love the big 3 (L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Shalimar). I always have an EDP working of those three. I love Shalimar but was first not going to wear it because I associated it with both my mother and sister who wore it. I thought it would be too much for me but it is wonderful. This dark, sweet and smoky scent is wonderful on me and can definitely be worn by a man. 3 sprays will do it; one on the chest and one in each crook of the elbow is enough. Best to apply about an hour before leaving the house as the opening is quite strong and can be alarming with the high dose of bergamot.
The beauty of Shalimar for me is the development of all the notes that come together in the final drydown.
I think that the citrus blast of bergamot with a bit of cedar in the opening leads beautifully into the heart of jasmine, iris and a deep rose scent that is unbelievably rich. The creme brulee vanilla drydown is stunningly displayed on skin for the remainder of the day and I love it at the end of the day when I take my T shirt off and can still smell the Guerlinade and perhaps a bit of civet to make it interesting and personal.
The use of oppoponax and tonka bean are pure genius and make the base absolutely unforgettable.
Everyone must try this just to sample a bit of the brilliance of Guerlain.
This seems like a refined sweeter version of the civet heavy Jicky which is my number one favorite scent of all time.
Good God, what have they done to this once beautiful perfume? This concoction is an abomination of its former self. I had an older bottle for years that I would always return to, received a new one for a present that is so different it is nearly unrecognisable. The cloyingly sickly sweet smell of vanilla off the new formulation is downright offensive, I actually had to wash it off and I have never had to do that before with perfume. What was once one of my favourite scents is now dead and buried. Don't bother buying this, just get a couple of vanilla pods and rub them around your neck, job done.
A lemony, powder-sugared confection. That is how the gourmand quality hits me. Like those little lemon cookies at Easter time covered in powdered sugar. So yeah, this is very powdery. My mom always wore the very powdery Chantilly and this is also very powdery in a similar way. If you associate powdery perfumes with mothers and grandmas, then this will be one of those.
The dry down is where Shalimar really wins me over. It settles into a warmer, more vanilla scent (yet still powdery). I can't get enough of it then. At this point, it doesn't project as much, making it more of a personal indulgence of nostalgia. Not one you're going to wear out to blast the party and club scene with.
My family is mostly show people and jazz musicians, and when I was little there were often colorful characters hanging around, HOW colorful I didn't find out until later.
One of them was an older English lady named Mae, who had a white poodle. Apparently she was the madam in a high-end brothel. Sometimes we'd go to Mae's apartment, which had the most extraordinary smell of years and years of Shalimar permeating every surface + unwashed dog. That was my first Guerlain experience. (The second was a Pekingese that smelled of Mitsouko. True - not trying to be funny.)
So it took a very long time before I could really consider Shalimar on its own merits, and even then, its skanky facet was off-putting to me, because I kept smelling unwashed dog! In retrospect, Mae's poodle may not have been that dirty, and it might have just been her vintage Shalimar. I really never thought I'd become a Shalimar person, even though I have lots of history with the other vintage Guerlain greats.
The Ode a la Vanille (Mexique) ended up being my gateway drug, because the vanilla in that version is so smoky and dense and wonderful that I could stick with it, and now I've learned to love even the skank of Shalimar proper.
I do continue to prefer that limited edition, yet I've come to own and love the EDC, as well, because that version also features a very smoky vanilla, and ends up wearing as mostly that. Plus it's often available inexpensively in the drugstore! Coming around to Shalimar has actually had a fantastic effect on my perfume spending habits, for while I still find new things that I like, when I ask myself, "but would you be likely to NOT wear Shalimar to wear this instead?" it's just a no.