tijon

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shalimar by Guerlain: Review and History Info for an Iconic Oriental

Shalimar...its sonorous name reverberates long after its smell has evaporated, conjuring images of prodigal sensuality and old-fashioned romanticism like no other; holding us spellbound in a mirage of forbidden dreams.

Beginnings With a Legal Battle No Less

And yet, the very name which means "temple of love" in Sanskrit, was jeopardised soon after the perfume's introduction in 1921! It proved to be so memorable that a rival company decided to cash in on its popularity and launch a perfume of the same name. This resulted in a legal battle which had Guerlain temporarily rebaptise the fragrance as No.90 (its number in the illustrious catalogue of the house) on their export bottles, thus rendering them rare collector's items. Luckily for us, things soon fell into their ordained place in 1925, marked as the year of the official launch, and Shalimar haunts our dreams to this day, being the progenitor of culinary fragrances with its plush vanilla but also an iconic true oriental with its deep labdanum shadows. A quintessentially French interpretation of an Oriental: It's no accident than even Ernest Beaux, no ordinary perfumer himself, complained: "When I do vanilla I get crème anglaise, when Guerlain does it he gets Shalimar!"

The Legend of the Creation & Its Times

In the best Guerlain tradition of evoking passionate love stories for most of their perfumes, Shalimar is said to be inspired by the homonymous Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan, part of which was laid by love-sick Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1619, where he promenaded with his most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. After Mumtaz died in childbirth three years after her husband succeeded his father to the throne, Taj Mahal was built as the world's finest mausoleum in her honour in Agra. Even if this story is the brainchild of a brilliant copywriter, it resonated with the times perfectly.

Today the East stands in our Western mind as the symbol of tranquility and introspection, but in the roaring 1920s the East conjured up images of unbridled passion, exoticism, khol-eyed beauties and addictive substances. It was the time when Herman Hesse published Siddharta, the West's first glimpse of Buddhism, and F.Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby, a paean to the newly established American prosperity and its pitfalls. Theda Bara had already lain the path to cinematic vamps to follow, such as Pola Negri and Clara Bow with her bloody-red dark cupid's lips immortalised on black and white vignettes, while Paul Poiret had produced his own phantoms of the harem paving the way to modern fashions. It was the time of Les Ballets Russes, set to music by Stravinsky and Poulenc with sets painted by Picasso and Georges Braque. In short Orient was meeting Occident at the seams.

 The Secrets of the Shalimar Formula

It was at this juncture in time Jacques Guerlain was intrigued by the newly popularised synthetic vanillin or Methoxy-3-Hydroxy- Benzaldehyde.
Vanillin was first isolated as a relatively pure substance in 1858 by Nicolas-Theodore Gobley, by evaporating a vanilla extract to dryness and recrystallizing the resulting solids. In 1874, German scientists Ferdinand Tiemann and Wilhelm Haarmann found a way to synthesize vanillin from coniferin, a glycoside of isoeugenol found in pine bark (they went on to found a company which now belongs to Symrise and produce it industrially). In 1876, Karl Reimer synthesized vanillin from another source: guaiacol. The laboratories De Laire bought the patent for vanillin and sold the product to Guerlain for their perfumery, first used in Jicky.
By the late 19th century, semi-synthetic vanillin derived from the eugenol found in clove oil was available in the market. After the 1920s vanillin was synthesized from lignin-containing "brown liquor", a byproduct of the sulfite process for making wood pulp, but for environmental reasons most vanillin produced today is made from the petrochemical guaiacol: most popular method today is the two-step process practiced by Rhodia (from 1970s onwards), in which guaiacol reacts with glyoxylic acid by electrophilic aromatic substitution. The resulting vanilmandelic acid is then converted to vanillin by oxidative decarboxylation. Vanillin proved to be so successful that it became the sine qua non of the food industry, resulting in its inclusion to everything, especially in American produced chocolates and beverages; a concept that might be blasphemous to the traditional Swiss and Belgian ideas of chocolate making.

Jacques Guerlain always felt that the aroma of vanilla was a powerful aphrodisiac, a notion that is almost a prerequisite of orientalia, and completely in synch with the demands of the times. So curious to see what would happen ~or so the story goes~ he dropped a large dollop of vanillin into a bottle Jicky, Guerlain's revolutionary and popular aromatic fougère. But Jicky already contained vanillin along with natural vanilla extract, as well as coumarin (a substance isolated from tonka beans in 1868, having the smell of cut hay) and linalool (a naturally occuring in over 200 species terpene alcohol, isolated here from rosewood), its trio of guardian angels in the halls of fragrance history. The secret to the medicinal, smoky yellow vanillin of Jicky, reprised in Shalimar, was the remnants of guiacol and phenols, lending an autumnal darkness to what would otherwise be a confectionary sweet cream. This is the reason that Guerlain insisted on ordering the impure grade of vanillin even when the chemical process was improved.

It was the fusion of vanillin, coumarin and opoponax along with labdanum, however, which provided the basic accord of Shalimar and accounted for its haunting aura. Thus Jacques Guerlain pushed the oriental theme of Jicky to new extremes, creating the emblematic oriental and the flagship fragrance for Guerlain. Luca Turin in his older French guide compared its place in perfumery to the Revolutionary Etude by Chopin: a classic loved and played to excess, but of which a new interpretation or a unexpected coming-across has the power to move even the most nonchalantly unconcerned.


How Shalimar Smells the Way it Does

Guerlain's Shalimar opens with the violent zest of bergamot, backed up by sweeter hesperidic accents, quickly melding into an embrace of flowers that soon set the stage for the sensual and warm undercurrent of the muskily sexy base. The bridge of patchouli and vetiver, with a touch of what seems like mediterranean thyme, provides the movement that compliments the chilly astrigent feel of the citrus, uniting the prickly, balsamic elements of the drydown with a dash of leathery quinolines (materials with a harshly pungent, bitter green scent) into a sustained basso continuo that endures for hours; on skin as well as on clothes. 

Shalimar's feminine beauty comes from the orchestration of its softly powdery and animalic elements that heave like an ample bosom: the golden dust of heliotrope, the hazy veil of opoponax, the balsamic goodness of warm, slightly spicy benzoin and Peru balsam mingling with the vanillic softness, the carnality of musk...You can wear this clad from head to toe and it still seems like you're completely naked.

Comparing Vintage & Modern Versions of Shalimar

In vintage formulations, the bergamot is brighter (and natural) and the muskiness more pronounced, rendering Shalimar a very sexy fragrance that is unashamedly and calculatingly seductive: according to Roja Dove" it was said that a lady didn't do three things: smoke, dance the tango and wear Shalimar". Never was a perfume so close to the edge of respectability while remaining within good taste. Later re-interpretations, especially in recent years, have detructed from the animalic element of the base, due to substitution of ingredients (the catty potency of civet in particular, as well as making the bergamot top synthetic due to photosensitizing concerns) and additionally conformity to modern tastes for lighter fragrances. The result nevertheless is harsher, thinner and with a less "flou", plush ambience about it.
The extrait de parfum used to be the undoubtedly supreme choice in Shalimar, the epitome of a dark oriental, while the Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum were lesser mortals; but in the interests of securing a rich-smelling vintage bottle I highly recommend the Parfum de Toilette concentration that circulated during the 1980s: it presents the best aspects of the vintage with a price-tag that can be met (bottle depicted in the above ad). Also, if you happen across an eau de cologne bottle, don't knock it: it probably comes from the 60-70s and it is as potent and as rich as a current Eau de Parfum concentration of any given fragrance.

Bottle Designs & How to Date Shalimar editions
Throughout its life, Shalimar extrait de parfum continued to be sold in its original crystal bottle with blue glass stopper the shape of a ventaille. The original urn shaped flacon was designed by Baccarat in 1925, but it was also copied and used by the glass houses of Cristal Romesnil and Pochet et du Courval for Shalimar later on. The identity of the glass can be seen at the base of the bottle: acid stamps for Baccarat or Cristal Romesnil, an entwined HP for Pochet et du Courval. For brief periods, Shalimar was featured in both the oval shaped flacon that also housed Jicky, Après L' Ondée and Liù (in the late20s and 30s) and in the Jicky "quadrilobe"-stopper squat bottle (in the 1940s) .
The parapluie (umbrella) design, a simple ribbed elongated bottle, was introduced in 1952 by Pochet et du Courval and was popular well into the 60s, with paradigms circulating into the 70s and even the 80s.
In 1968 a cylindrical bottle enameled with white and blue designs was introduced for the Eau de Toilette, while the Eau de Cologne concentration was presented in round bottles (called "disk bottles") with a round label and a pyramidal stopper along with most of the well-known fragrances of Guerlain circulating well into the 70s. The gold cylindrical bottles with the glass refill inside them were introduced in the 1980s, re-interpreted in the Habit de Fête gold-toned bottles with silver studs for the -then- approaching millenium.
In 2007, a limited edition in black was issued named Shalimar Black Mystery, but apart from the bottle, the fragrance remains the same.

Two especially valuable and beautiful presentations are:
1) the Marly editions, starting from the 1930s and continuing into the 1950s, featuring the red Marly horse logo on both bottle and box. The logo echoes the Marly marble horses on the Place de la Concorde, originally ordered by Louis XV for the park of Château de Marly and sculpted by Guillaume Coustou between 1743 and 1745.
2) the very rare Presentation Avion (airplane presentation),offered on the Air France Paris-New York flights, starting in 1960. The extrait bottle would stand up (instead of down) inside a small plinth, in which the box lid would slip over making a cover. Additionally the stopper was inside a tiny cardboard box included in the presentation and the perfume itself was sealed with a cork covered in a thin seal. Both Baccarat and Pochet et du Courval made these bottles, differentiated by their markings on the bottom of the bottle.

Last but not least, an easy rule of thumb, is that on old bottles the label simply has Shalimar surrounded by gold border, while on newer bottles there is also the name Guerlain underneath. Also, recent bottles are flatter, non fluted and with the blue ventaille done in a simpler design than before.

Notes for Guerlain Shalimar: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, rose, jasmine, orris, vetiver, heiotrope, opoponax, vanilla, civet, Peru balsam, benzoin, tonka bean, sandalwood

Flankers/derivative versions of Shalimar by Guerlain (with linked reviews & comparison with original):
Shalimar Eau Legere/Shalimar Light
Eau de Shalimar
Shalimar Ode a la Vanille
Shalimar Parfum Initial
Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau
Limited editions of Shalimar (without change in the perfume formula itself):
Eau de Shalimar Flower
Shalimar Charms edition & Eau de Shalimar Charms edition
Shalimar Fourreau du Soir
Shalimar extrait de parfum in Bacarrat quadrilobe flacon 2011 edition





Pics via parfumdepub and ebay/collector Cleopatra's Boudoir. Illustration by Erté, c.1930 via Prints.com

56 comments:

  1. Ah now Shalimar, this is the sort of perfume that turns people into perfume obsessives I think!

    It's definitely one of the first Guerlain's I became interested in, that and Apres L'Ondee.

    This is a really interesting and in depth piece- thanks very much for sharing it with us all.

    I never knew another company had tried to use the name Shalimar- I don't blame them because it's a good one. Still I'm very glad this is Shalimar and not number 90 to us.

    I so wanted a black Shalimar bottle.

    I think Jaques Guerlain would definitely be on my fantasy dinner party list (you know who would you invite if you could from the past or present).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Abigail16:56

    I don't recall EVER seeing so much info and details on Shalimar before, so thanks a lot for going to such lengths for us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Helg I swear someday I am going to be picking up a book of perfume history by you. Shalimar what other fragrance could stir so much history and controversy (well maybe Chanel 5, but totally different reasons)? And that black bottle was gorgeous and ironically they were actually selling it at my Costco.

    ReplyDelete
  4. debrajean17:39

    wow, just what i was looking for, thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous18:59

    Joining in the comments that you have provided the definitive Shalimar review. I have never been a Shalimar girl, but those classics deserve the thorough treatment.
    Aline

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mike Perez19:39

    When I joined Basenotes I heard so much about Shalimar (even guys who wear it) that I almost felt scared to try it. What if I hated it?

    I finally bought my first bottle of Shalimar earlier this year - it was the Eau de Cologne formula and it WAS NOT love at first. The biting almost pungent top notes were almost off putting. But every day, I kept trying it. Within about a month (while I simultaneously was introduced to Habit Rouge) I was addicted. Now, Shalimar is my go-to fragrance when I climb into bed. To me, it's the perfect scent to dream to.

    I have samples of the EdT and Light (previous one) to try next. I'm working my way up to the parfum and I guess NOW I've gotta try to find the PdT, after your comments about it.

    To me, my favorite part is the civet. I think I like it even better than Jicky.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fascinating review perfumeshrine!

    I 'm glad you also reviewed the vintage. I scored a vintage of Shalimar in parfum on ebay last year which is more affordable than Ondee or Mitsouko. I read somewhere someone say "You 're either a Shalimar girl or a Mitsouko girl, but you can 't be both", I couldn 't agree more with this. I am a Mitsouko girl of course (see my profile 's favorite perfumes section) however, I 'm glad I have the vintage Shalimar parfum, it 's beautifully preserved (although some evaporation had occured it was sealed with box). As you mentioned I was surprised by the vibrancy of bergamot citrucy topnotes, I love the gorgeous multifaceted vanillic amber base which is leathery, animalic and incensy.
    Why anyone would buy those expensive poorly executed and overtly sweet vanilla niche fragrances when we still have Shalimar, the greatest vanilla/oriental ever created and still available at a decent price.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for the compliments Rose and I couldn't agree more on the status of Shalimar into the path of perfume obsession: it's so...mythical. One has to try it and try it on many occasions and on many different conditions so as to appreciate its complexity and its sensuality, especially in the vintage formulations.
    Jacques Guerlain could make women seem beautiful in the dark: what's better than that? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Abigail,

    your wonderful compliment is very welcome, thank you.
    I started thinking about it again when I scored a bottle of Shalimar Light (which will be the next review) a few months ago and it never left me since...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jen,

    among my many projects I am expecting to be able to compile a historical overview at some point. I find it fascinating.
    That black bottle was wonderful to look at, so pity you didn't get it. I hear ml for ml wasn't that different from the regular editions? (or am I grossly mistaken?)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Debra,

    you're very welcome, glad it helped! And welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aline,

    among the many who have reviewed it, I hope I put my little piece of the wall too.
    Thank you for your kind words. Those classics have withstood for a reason, whether we are the ideal audience or not (I am a Mitsouko and Chant d'Aromes girl myself)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mike,

    it is legendary and there are not two people who have the exact same experience of it, because oddly enough it does have a little nuance according to different skins. (in this case it's true, not just polite dissing, LOL)

    I agree that civet is gorgeous in that one in the older formulae, although I prefer the animalistic roar of Jicky in parfum.

    The Light will be reviewed next so stay tuned!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Emmanuella,

    thank you for the wonderful compliment. Glad you enjoyed it!
    I am a Mitsouko girl as well, yet this one has a curious magnetising effect that makes me crave it sometimes. The vintage extrait is magnificent, there is indeed a difference with the newer batches, which is a pity.
    Good score on Ebay, enjoy!

    Ah...the rather juvenile vanillas...they're good for times of economic crises, I have heard.
    Plus, they appeal to bosom-men ~bottom men are a whole different story ;-)

    And what is rather alarming: I hear they're starting to rise the price of Shalimar as well, along with their other numerous overpriced offerings. Grrr...

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderfully informative post!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you so much for stopping by (welcome!) and giving me such a compliment!
    Glad you found it useful :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you so much for this. I would say that this is to perfume reviews as Shalimar is to perfume.

    I introduced my best friend to Shalimar recently. She's in her late forties and had never smelled it. We were in a flea market and came across a well-preserved miniature bottle of the vintage extrait. She loves it now, and wears it, and I couldn't help but wonder how it was that someone like her (cultured, smart) had never tried Shalimar? Not the "Eau" or "Light" -- though I'm sure they are quite nice -- but the real thing. She knew of it, of course; she just had never thought to actually try it. I wonder if Guerlain isn't missing an opportunity here.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What do you consider vintage to be (the years?)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear P,

    awww...What a wonderful story about introducing your friend to it! It's strange how people have heard of it (that and No.5) and many haven't tried it: why, I wonder. Guerlain has it everywhere but maybe the way of marketing it has been suffering in later years. Let's hope they manage to make it more approachable: not just a landmark and a legend, but something that gets actually worn a lot. (although I am a little wary of too much modernisation)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear K,

    good question!
    I think anything preceding the 90s can be considered a good vintage (because if we take the wine term, it denotes different dates, not a generic vague term, as so often mentioned).
    The 60s batches are very good to my nose, as is the PdT from the 80s: I love them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello, E -- Lovely, lovely review. I see Shalimar EdT at the corner drugstore here all the time. Is it worth trying at all, or should I keep looking for some vintage?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you J!
    I think if you aren't familiar with Shalimar, a taste of the new juice won't hurt. Then do try to find a bit (just a bit) of a previous batch and do a mental comparison. It's very interesting concerning the advance of tastes and the course of perfumery in general.
    I think the discounted Shalimar Eau Legere (today's review, up now) is quite worthy of procuring and it's rather inexpensive online. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's amazing how such exotic stories and history could fit into one little bottle. What a great article- so informative... thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You're very welcome, DC!
    Indeed, it's fascinating to see how history and exoticism inspire some of the legends of perfumery: whether the stories perpetuated are true or not, the circumstances that gave them birth are very real.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "You can wear this clad from head to toe and it still seems like you're completely naked." How very, very true that is, you put your finger right on it. I've always been put off by its excess; alas, I am one who cannot pull it off. But how just your characterisation: Shalimar is Guerlain's answer to the persistent pleas for sex-in-a-bottle by the consumer public, and how well they execute it. It doesn't need nubile naked-things rolled around in bed-ridden disarray, now does it? : )

    ReplyDelete
  26. D,

    well, isn't it a completely accurate description (modesty aside on this, LOL)? They did intent it to be seductive and very naughty. (I got a completely out of boundaries comment while wearing it!).
    And that makes the naked clips redundant, I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What are your sources? Specifically the part about De Laire Labs buying the vanillian patent

    ReplyDelete
  28. Eric,

    thanks for asking. The part you're asking about appears in "Perfumes, The Guide" (not in the Shalimar review but in the book)

    ReplyDelete
  29. It doesn't seem that Guerlain makes the old bottles with the stoppers anymore, just the spray bottles. Is that correct?

    ReplyDelete
  30. !!!!! So exciting to be dinking around, reading your lovely reviews, and to suddenly find the answer to my unasked question!

    For years I had picked up the beautiful tester bottle of Shalimar edt in department stores, sniffed it longingly, and immediately put it back down: ugh. Patchouli. Sharp, overwhelming, nasty old-lady smell, I thought.

    Then I fell in love with Shalimar Light, and while cruising ebay, found a 7.5ml mini bottle of Shalimar parfum de toilette and snagged it for the unbelievable bargain price of $10, with free shipping, thinking that perhaps a vintage version might be more wearable for me. It is. It is gorgeous - smooth, warm, and almost unbearably sensual, like wearing a heavy satin gown over naked skin. I kept doing research online, trying to find out when Shalimar was released in pdt, and I had found nothing. Until today, when I wasn't even looking. Thanks so much for the information and the beautiful review.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gregory,

    the stoppers seem to be on the extrait de parfum flacon, as always, but not on the other versions (they come into sprayer form now). The design of the cap is also indicative of the age of Shalimar: the ventaille vs. the "attached design".Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Carol,

    I am so happy that I have helped you out and so out of the blue too!! Talk about a lovely coincidence :-))
    And thank you for your kind words on the blog too!

    Shalimar used to be soooo gorgeous in its older batches! The extrait de parfum was the most decadent thing imaginable. And those Parfums de Toilette were really glorious, dense, caressing, like a plush warming blanket over womanly shoulders...Alas time has wrinked its beautiful face due to reformulations...Luckily Shalimar Light retained lots of the old's great assets and can be still found online, as is the parfum de toilette verion.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Marcianne04:40

    Hmmm...I love reading perfume reviews. I am a total amateur, though, and can find myself getting more and more intimidated as I read through them. I love Shalimar, but the version I own is of the garden-variety, bought off the shelf at Nordstrom or Macy's or wherever. Does that mean it's so inferior that I can't possibly know what the "real" Shalimar smells like?

    I was in high school in the 80's; the first perfume I fell hard for was Poison. Subsequent loves included Magie Noir, Chanel No. 5 and Angel. I still love all these scents, but strangely, not on myself. What is that about? In the case of Angel, I fell in love with it, wore it for 3-4 years, and then literally, over the course of a couple of weeks, I couldn't stand it on myself. It was just so...cloying. I still love it on other people, and many times after smelling it on someone I resolve to buy myself another bottle. Alas, when I go to the perfume counter and try some on, I just can't tolerate the smell on me, following me around all day.

    Same with Chanel No. 5. I loved it in high school (actually I cringe now to think of how I doused myself in such mature scents at such a young age!) and recently became re-enamored of it after smelling it on a friend on a few occasions. I went ahead and bought a bottle, thinking I couldn't possibly go wrong. Wrong! I love it, and on certain occasions it works, but in general I just find it too strong on me, and the scent hounds me instead of invigorating me, as I believe scent should.

    In recent years, I've gravitated toward "foodie" scents...I guess they are considered unsophisticated, but they tend to be the only scents I find pleasing on myself, hour after hour. I especially love chocolate as a perfume scent. One I love is Index Fleurs de Chocolat, which of course has been discontinued; but recently I've begun to perceive its limitations.

    I mentioned Shalimar above...if I use just a tiny bit, I find it pretty lovely...but it doesn't engender that passion I've experienced in the past...I'd love to find a new "signature" fragrance that is versatile enough to wear every day, that becomes a part of me, like my Tiffany 18K gold Elsa Peretti heart necklace, simple endless hoop gold earrings, and 18K gold toe rings. I never take them off and consider them an organic part of me. It pleases me to no end to wear them day in, day out, in the ocean, in the shower, in bed. I'm that type of person and I'm looking for that type of fragrance.

    Given the above, I wonder if you could point me in the direction of some scents that could raise my perfume sophistication bar, so to speak, while of course, still satisfying that all-important criteria of a personal scent: the experience of constantly catching an elusive whiff of the most scrumptious, exciting, desirable smell...and realizing it's ME!

    I'd be so grateful for any suggestions you have. What do you think of Annick Goutal's Eau de Charlotte? In doing a little Internet research it seemed like I might like it, but Nieman Marcus didn't have it in stock. I'm interesting to hear what you think.

    Sorry this is such an incoherent mess. I'm not even gonna bother editing it...it's a blog, right? Thanks for reading!

    Marcianne

    ReplyDelete
  34. Marcianne04:51

    Me again...I just re-read my post and wanted to clarify what I said about recently beginning to perceive the limitations of Index Fleur de Chocolat...I meant that maybe it's begun to seem a little immature, a little candy-like, a little, well, unsophisticated.

    Oh, and yeah, I realize the metaphor of wearing my 18K toe rings in the ocean and in the shower won't exactly hold true with perfume for obvious reasons...but hopefully you know what I meant! ;-)

    Thanks,
    Marcianne

    P.S. I love your writing...you are so expressive, evocative, and lyrical.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Marcianne,

    first of all welcome to the site and thanks so much for your compliments and recounting your personal experiences/quest here! Hope you enjoy it here, relax and feel free to ask any question at any time! :-)

    Re: Shalimar. I think the current version is inferior to the older ones, as it used to be really sublime. The extrait de parfum still holds beauty, but the comparison is a little sad for those who have known the vintage version.
    Still, with your appreciation of the foody aspects and with your marked like for the concept and scent I would seriously consider testing (and perhaps adopting) Shalimar Light: I have a review (and comparison between versions and the current Eau de Shalimar that substituted it) on this link. With its lemon cupcakes opening on a very sensuous smoky-vanilla base, I think it's a great scent for all the time. It does become part of you, which is exactly what I infer from your quest described. (and yes, I got what you're saying, it's a lovely thought!)

    Other than that, I would also suggest adopting the body products in Angel: really the body lotion and cream are plenty in their own right and they don't smell as potent as the Eau de Parfum does (which is indeed much too much to drag around all day long*).

    I'm afraid I don't particularly appreciate EdCharlotte which you mention. Something seems off to me, all the times I have tested it, but other people love it, so do test for yourself if you can.



    *(BTW, I have had this phenomenon of not standing to smell myself with something I really really love with Aromatics Elixir: it's so good when caught on someone else, but on one's skin it's a little too much. Luckily I have found the EDT and body products can help me out)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Marcianne05:37

    Thanks so much for the response and suggestion. I'll definitely check it out and let you know what happens! And I'll keep my eye (well, nose) out for a chance to sniff that elusive vintage Shalimar...I'm so intrigued to find out what I've been missing!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Cindy20:19

    Thank you so much...I loved the history. I have a bottle of Shalimar in the box, still sealed and can't seem to find the possible date or type of bottle, without opening the seal on the paper that covers the box and hope you can help. The paper label over the ribbon strip that says Guerlain says "Extrait Shalimar No 20.090 Guerlain Paris France". Thanks for any help..

    ReplyDelete
  38. Cindy,

    thank you. I suppose if the numerical numbers is in the 20 thousands, it shouldn't be too rare.

    Why don't you go ahead and open it and return to tell us how it smells? Live dangerously, life is short! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm thinking of buying that perfume for myself...:-) it's masculine on my skin. 'Live dangerously, life is short!'

    http://bleauog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  40. Juraj you wont regret buying this wonderfull perfume. It's my favorite for more than 5 Years.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Juraj you wont regret buying this great women perfume. It's my favorite for more than 5 Years.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Probably my "holy grail" perfume. I was lucky enough to try some vintage extrait from 1962. As the essay above describes, it was more "animal" then. In fact, structurally, it actalled smelled like a little animal... like a little brown mouse.... was sitting on your skin. It was apparent to me that the vintage was meant to seem "furry"... a great winter luxury item, exactly like a mink coat.

    ReplyDelete
  43. If you are a perfume blender, you might try to blend your own dupe of SHALIMAR, just to see if you can come close. You can't, but it's an illumninating experience. What you will find, as did I, is that one cannot overestimate the degree to which civet "makes" Shalimar "happen". Without the civet, the woods and citruses are sharper and more angular... But add civet generously and suddenly everything is rounded... That breastmilky, baby-diaper-y roundness is all about how civet "sands" down the sharpness of the upper notes.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous00:01

    Hello, thank You for the great post about Shalimar. Although I've a question: do You know the exact years, when "No 90" was produced? Is it 1921 - 25? Thank You, Natalia

    ReplyDelete
  45. Anon,

    I believe so, though I can't be totally sure. Literature wants it so but I have no specific codes for the early 1920s bottles.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anonymous18:37

    I discovered "Shalimar" when I was a student at UCLA during the magical 60's. I remember other girls asking me what perfume I wore and I didn't want them to "copy" me so I said it was called "My Skin".
    I grew up with the story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal as my father was a descendant of the Moghul Empire.
    One day my Afghan husband walked into Guerlain on the Champs Elyssee to buy me some perfume. They told him "but, monsieur, you must have an appointment". He told them he came all the way from Afghanistan to buy it for his "bride"....they even gave him some gifts including the most beautiful pink cream for the skin called "Creme De Jour".... I wish they still made it. 40 years later my oldest daughter remembers the scent of that cream when she was a baby.
    My husband told me how he smelled Shalimar for 45 minutes when I was only 24 and he sat in a car with me driving up to theLake in Kabul, Afghanistan. I think I will probably leave a note for Shalimar to be sprayed on me in my coffin. Why not? My mother was 97 years old and we bathed her in rose water. Setara

    ReplyDelete
  47. Setara,

    that's a powerfully moving story you shared with us, thank you!
    By all means, finding a signature scent (and one which is so steeped in special memories and moments that are defining) is no small deal.
    Enjoy your treasure! And thanks for stopping by :-)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Cheryl Luhrs14:27

    The 1st time I smelled Shalimar I was a child. My oldest brother, Joe, brought back several bottles as gifts for "Mom", his wife, wife's mother, etc. I was instantly very taken by it's fragrance and over the year (I am now in my 60's) my perfume of choice has never lessened. My 'hubby' over the year has made several of my Christmas's very special by giving me Shalimar perfume.
    Back in the '80's I purchased a bottle of "Red Dot" Shalimar, which I traded for a bottle of the "Blue Dot", thinking I could just run back out and buy another bottle of the "Red Dot". Boy was I surprised to find that it was no longer available and immediately regretted giving up my bottle with the Red Dot label. I could instantly smell the difference between the two. Regardless, it is by far the most wonderful perfume ever created and still takes me to 'magical places' every time I dab a bit on. Thank you for the great article re: the history of "Shalimar"

    ReplyDelete
  49. Cheryl,

    that's a beautiful sharing of your memories of this great classic, thank you! And so glad you enjoyed the article.
    It's a real shame that an edition we love is to be found no more after a few years. I know what you mean about the red dot bottle...
    At least you still find the magic in it and will always will. That's precious :-)

    Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks for all the info here! Dear husband bought TWO vintage bottles (60s & 80s eras) of the parfum for me for Christmas this year (isn't he wonderful!). We are both Shalimar addicts! We were wondering if there is a proper way to open/untie the vintage bottles w/ the cords holding on the stoppers w/out actually cutting the cords. Any info/suggestions you or other readers can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  51. CRS,

    you're welcome, thanks for stopping by!

    I have been lucky in managing to open Chanel extraits without cutting the cords (a gentle tugging at the string and not too warm hands melting the wax seal do the trick) I haven't been equally fortunate with Guerlain. It should be doable, if one persists, though. I have found that just cutting a tiny bit of the string on one side might have the rest "hang" gracefully without making it look too messy.

    Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Good evening ladies,gentlemen..
    I have been reviewing your comments and notes these past few days. My late mother was a collector of fine fragrances, from Shalimar, Chanel, Jean-Charles Brosseau, Boucheron being her FAVORITE Oh my, Ralp Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio and I'm still going through bottle after bottle, having not a clue and overwhelmed by how many one woman could own. I found these closed sets in a big box tucked away at the bottom of her Walk in Closet. Sooo many Boucheron items and classic gift sets. There must be 3 bottles of Ralph Lauren just sitting on her bathroom counter amongst the Boucheron, Shalimar and some I have never even heard of.

    Most of these from me reading your reviews are PRE-Green Dot (other than the Boucheron they're more recent I think??), Ingredients Printed, One Shalimar is from 1967.. Sealed.. Never opened or touched. I have a Chanel Cristalle, nothing on the box except the size 60ml Export Sticker on the bottom, and is stamped 19 F. So much for the 4 digit batch codes. So now I have a bit of education, I thank you all.

    I felt it only right to guide you to these vintage and classic formulas as My mother LOVED fragrances, Oh I've got a Yves Saint Laurent 6.7oz of Paris Eau de Toilette, original '83 box?? Nothing on the box,, the bottom of the bottle has a sticker, batch code, Paris... So yes there is a Treasure Trove of delightful fragrances from the past.

    I'm not in the perfume business, after these are gone.. Thats it.. I know my mom would have wanted others to enjoy what she did... I don't know if this against policy to post here, i'm sorry .. But its a win win for all those who LOVE the classic fragrances. My Ebay name visioneeringltd, more than welcomed to look me up and take a gander of what is there. No, it isn't discounted... You all taught me that. *winks*

    I thank you for your time..I hope these fine fragrances find a new home.

    Visioneer

    ReplyDelete
  53. Good evening ladies,gentlemen..
    I have been reviewing your comments and notes these past few days. My late mother was a collector of fine fragrances, from Shalimar, Chanel, Jean-Charles Brosseau, Boucheron being her FAVORITE Oh my, Ralp Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio and I'm still going through bottle after bottle, having not a clue and overwhelmed by how many one woman could own. I found these closed sets in a big box tucked away at the bottom of her Walk in Closet. Sooo many Boucheron items and classic gift sets. There must be 3 bottles of Ralph Lauren just sitting on her bathroom counter amongst the Boucheron, Shalimar and some I have never even heard of.

    Most of these from me reading your reviews are PRE-Green Dot (other than the Boucheron they're more recent I think??), Ingredients Printed, One Shalimar is from 1967.. Sealed.. Never opened or touched. I have a Chanel Cristalle, nothing on the box except the size 60ml Export Sticker on the bottom, and is stamped 19 F. So much for the 4 digit batch codes. So now I have a bit of education, I thank you all.

    I felt it only right to guide you to these vintage and classic formulas as My mother LOVED fragrances, Oh I've got a Yves Saint Laurent 6.7oz of Paris Eau de Toilette, original '83 box?? Nothing on the box,, the bottom of the bottle has a sticker, batch code, Paris... So yes there is a Treasure Trove of delightful fragrances from the past.

    I'm not in the perfume business, after these are gone.. Thats it.. I know my mom would have wanted others to enjoy what she did... I don't know if this against policy to post here, i'm sorry .. But its a win win for all those who LOVE the classic fragrances. My Ebay name visioneeringltd, more than welcomed to look me up and take a gander of what is there. No, it isn't discounted... You all taught me that. *winks*

    I thank you for your time..I hope these fine fragrances find a new home.

    Visioneer

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hello. I'm wondering what the clear bottle stopper indicates (instead of the classic Blue fan stopper)? Also, I'm looking at a bottle of perfume made in 1998. Will I be disappointed?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Can someone explain what the clear bottle stopper indicates, as opposed to the classic blue fan stopper on the shalimar bottles? Also, I'm looking at a bottle of shalimar perfume from 1998. Will I be disappointed? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous06:59

    The rival company that had products called Shalimatr was a British company called Dubarry, and the British exports were still called no. 90 in the very late fifties, i think the dispute came about after the war, as i have a four ounce Baccarat bottle of no. 90, and it is from the fifties. I know this because I worked for Guerlain as a beautician , my boss being Comte Henri de la Briere, who was in charge of exports. I also worked for Charles of the Ritz, and Dior's perfumes were sold under licence by them. I do not consider myself an expert, but it was my job, and I remember every detail , and still have some of the stock lists. I remember when plastic covers were introduced to cover ground glass stoppers, and tha only the large Dior bottles( 2 oz. ) were made by Baccarat, and it was all so much more classy and elegant.

    ReplyDelete

Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu below the text box (Anonymous is fine if you don't want the other options) and hit Publish! And you're set!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin