Perfume Directory

Shalimar (1925)
by Guerlain

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Shalimar information

Year of Launch1925
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1272 votes)

People and companies

HouseGuerlain
PerfumerJacques Guerlain
PackagingRaymond Guerlain
Parent CompanyLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Parent Company at launchGuerlain

About Shalimar

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

Shalimar fragrance notes

Reviews of Shalimar

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.
09th April, 2018
I think of Shalimar as the more elegant and refined version of Jicky.

It is a signature worthy fragrance that can easily be worn by men. Get it while it’s still readily available.

Only caveat, it takes time to understand and appreciate Shalimar, vintage Shalimar makes this process easier.
26th March, 2018
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?
15th October, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2017)
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.
01st October, 2017
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...
23rd May, 2017
I had the chance to test Shalimar EDP (current version), 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.

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.
29th April, 2017 (last edited: 01st August, 2017)

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Shalimar By Guerlain 3.0 Oz Eau De Parfum Spray New Tester Perfume For Women

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Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Toilette Spray Refill for Women 3.1 oz

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 Shalimar Guerlain Paris Women's Eau de Cologne Natural Spray  fl oz

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SHALIMAR by GUERLAIN Perfume for Women EDP 3.0 oz NEW IN BOX

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*NEW* Guerlain Shalimar Perfume for Women 3.0 oz Eau de Toilette Spray NIB

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SHALIMAR by Guerlain 1.6 oz / 50 ml EDP Spray Perfume Women - New in Sealed Box

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SHALIMAR by GUERLAIN Perfume for Women EDT 3.0 oz Spray NEW tester with cap

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SHALIMAR by GUERLAIN Perfume for Women EDT 3.0 oz NEW IN BOX

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Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum 10ml Glass Spray EDP .33oz Travel SAMPLE Perfume

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Shalimar Perfume by Guerlain, 2.5 oz Eau De Cologne Spray for Women NEW

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