Perfume Directory

Shalimar (1925)
by Guerlain

Advertisement

Shalimar information

Year of Launch1925
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1246 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

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)
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.
22nd October, 2016
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.
15th July, 2016

Add your review of Shalimar

You need to be logged in to add a review

Shop for Shalimar products online

Shop for Shalimar at online perfumeries

Search Amazon for Shalimar

Member images of Shalimar

You need to log in or register to upload images

Private Notes

You need to be logged in (or register here) to use Private Notes.

Advertisement

Advertisement