Shalimar (1925)
    by Guerlain




    Average Rating: 4

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    Shalimar Fragrance Notes

    Shalimar information

    Meaning 'Temple of Love' in Sanskrit, Shalimar is an oriental fragrance with notes of bergamot and vanilla.
    305 was inspired to create Shalimar by the story of Indian Emperor, Shah Jahan, who created a beautiful garden (called Shalimar) to

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    130ml Perfume
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    90ml EdT
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    Reviews of Shalimar


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    Showing 1 to 6 of 202 reviews.

    theUntrainedNose's avatar



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    Old formulation: My mother had a sample in the late 80s/early 90s, and I remember loving it, the opulent spicy fragrance which I associated to winter and warm coats.

    New formulation: I recently tested it at a department store. It does smell quite differently, still with the same inspiration, but the new version is a worthy fragrance in its own way. If I could, I would own both formulations.

    The new formulation started with a combination that reminded me of the older Shalimar, spicy, warm, almost oily (in a good way), only not as round. Maybe a bit more angular and less oily.

    As it dries, it becomes very different from the older one. The woods and sandal came to the front and in my opinion created a sour phase which previously did not exist. I quite appreciate this phase. Then amber and incense too, it becomes a little less sour and rounder, but still quite different from the older Shalimar, woodier, airier and not as oily. After a while the sour disappears and it is woods, amber, incense and a few spices in a rounded, warm, more "behaved" version of the older one.

    Still a dense perfume, but different. As I said, I actually like both.

    01st November, 2014

    Oldbiddy's avatar



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    I own the EDC from Walmart. When i first sprayed it on, i smell a plastic shower curtain smell. This changed over time to a strong powdery orange creamcicle smell mixed with vanilla and maybe some sweaty keys out of someones sweaty pocket?!
    Gotta try it again later.

    K, tried it again and now.....I really like it...no plastic shower curtain or sweaty pocket scent at all. Strange how ones nose picks up different things each time. One thing i did differently this time was shake the bottle a little before applying....don't know if that mattered or not? This time i pick up more citrusy smells....which i adore by the way, but is that bergamot in the mix making it smell kind of like an orangy lemon? Oh, and vanilla, which i like, but i really, really would like to be able to pick out the leather note...which right now i am having allot of trouble doing...i would wear something with mainly just that note if i could just smell it. So far, love it tho...powdery lemony orange vanilla...thats what i pick out.

    22nd July, 2014 (Last Edited: 09th August, 2014)

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Oriental

    I don’t have much to add to the discussion where this classic is concerned. All I care to do is draw attention to the brilliant treatment of opopanax. Much has been said regarding the unique quality of Guerlain’s vanilla, displayed most prominently in Shalimar and Jicky, but for me the enigmatic, spicy-sweet, resinous quality of opopanax is equally responsible for Shalimar’s allure. The interplay of vanilla and opopanax established in Shalimar’s base notes still resonates in compositions as recent as Diptyque’s Eau Lente and Nicolaï’s Maharadjah, but I have yet to experience an interpretation that trumps the original’s exquisite balance. I wonder if it’s even possible to fully comprehend the oriental fragrance genre without becoming familiar with Guerlain’s enduring paragon.

    03rd July, 2014

    bFlay's avatar

    United States United States

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    Shalimar is unequivocally the most cloyingly sweet, baroque perfume on the market today. Some old fragrances become classic standards that are timeless. Others survive by being "a name" in popular culture. The overwhelmingly sickening sweet synthetic vanilla and talcum powder of Shalimar that projects and punches EVERYBODY within 20 feet of the wearer (literally) is actually indecent and offensive. Goes beyond a statement. Beyond boldness. Beyond good taste. I can't think of another fragrance that is so overpowering that I'd have to tell someone I can't stand to be near them. Long after escaping the vicinity of a Shalimar cloud, it's all you can smell. Your battered olfactory senses causing a headache and thoughts of "does this meal smell like Shalimar?" or "have they cleaned this restroom with Shalimar?" and so on. The domineering pervasiveness is actually rude then.

    30th June, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    Ah, the ur-Oriental. Sitting down to write a review of Shalimar kind of feels like looking up at the top of Mount Everest and wondering how the hell even to begin the ascent. It seems to cover (in one single bottle) a lot of the themes and notes people go looking for in separate perfumes - you want vanilla, it's the textbook example, you want smoke and incense, well you got that too, you want amber, it is the mother of all modern ambers, you want animalics and leather, ditto. If you also happen to be the type of person who is interested in freaky notes, like baby diaper, burning tires, tar, and slightly rancid butter, then, why yes, Shalimar also has you covered.

    It's not an easy perfume to love right off the bat. Don't get me wrong, Shalimar is easy to love, but the actual falling in love bit is not immediate. It took me ten days of wearing it before I could even tolerate it, let alone love it, but I got there and in end, it clicked for me, and that was it. Pure love. The everlasting kind. Whenever I see someone saying, oh I just don't get Shalimar, or oh Shalimar hates my skin, you know what I am thinking? You're just not trying hard enough. Put your back into it. If you can't commit a week or ten days out of your life to understanding Shalimar, then not only are you cheating yourself out of experiencing one of the best perfumes ever made, you are also missing the opportunity to "get" most orientals that came after Shalimar.

    For, once you unlock Shalimar, you start to see that Serge Lutens' Ambre Sultan is just a snapshot of a portion of Shalimar (principally the amber and herbes de provence) blown up 150% and turned sideways. Etro's Shaal Nur is an abbreviated essay on the incense and opoponax in Shalimar. Mono di Orio's excellent Vanille is a modern take on the woodsy vanilla of Shalimar. You can spot echoes of Shalimar in Chypre Palatin (vanilla and animalics), Fate Woman (bergamot and powder) and Bulgari Black (vanilla, rubber, smoke). Whether perfumers are aware of it or not, most of today's grand orientals refer at least in part back to the ur-Mother Oriental herself.

    Forgive my wittering on. For all of that, Shalimar smells absolutely wonderful, grand, lush, smoky, sexy, comforting, and warm. The opening, as I've mentioned, is jarring to the nth degree, especially if you're not used to it. I don't know whether it's the particularly stinky grade of Bergamot that Guerlain use, or the way it clashes with the vanilla, but the top notes smell curdled and rancid, like when you pour lemonade into cream. The vanilla itself smells tarry and burned, like rubber tires piled high and set on fire. Somehow, somewhere underneath all of that, there appears a slightly horrifying note of soiled diapers, or at least baby powder that has been caked into the creases of a baby's bottom. It smells sort of unclean, and is pungent enough to singe your nose hairs off.

    Here's the odd thing - after you get used to Shalimar, you start to actively crave the weird opening. When you begin to go "Mmmmmmm" rather than holding your breath, this is a sign that you've crossed the line. Welcome! It's like a Shibboleth for hard-core fans of Shalimar - we're all over here at the other side of the line, and everyone else is pressing their noses to the glass, shaking their heads and saying, "I think you have Stockholm Syndrome"

    After the "horrific" first half hour (for which you may want to refrain from sniffing your wrists if you are smelling it for the first time), it is an easy ride from there on in. Sweet, smoky vanilla poured on top of a long, golden, powdery amber, with accents of leather, smoking resins, and animalic musks. It has this neat trick of smelling comforting/familiar and yet ultra-sexual at the same time. It lasts all day and, in my humble opinion, is just fantastic in whatever concentration and vintage you wear. Yes, the vintage parfum is the deepest and smokiest, but we can't always be wearing that (for reasons of finances as well as time and place), so it's good to know that Shalimar is still recognizably the same Shalimar in the weakest EDC as it is in the parfum - thinner, yes, but still, you wouldn't mistake her for anybody else. For me, it is true love, and a top five perfume forever. It is like my second skin.

    10th June, 2014

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Rich, somptuous, baroque chypre masterpiece. There's pretty everything in it, a comprehensive symphony or perfumery basics. Splendid talcum-powdered drydown, gentle as a lady asleep. Not much to chat about this!

    10/10

    04th April, 2014 (Last Edited: 26th April, 2014)

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