Perfume Directory

Shocking (1937)
by Elsa Schiaparelli


Shocking information

Year of Launch1937
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 61 votes)

People and companies

HouseElsa Schiaparelli
PerfumerJean Carles
PackagingLéonore Fini
Parent CompanyTod's

About Shocking

Shocking is a feminine perfume by Elsa Schiaparelli. The scent was launched in 1937 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean Carles. The bottle was designed by Léonore Fini

Shocking fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Shocking

"Da Bomb" of civit fragrances

I've wanted to test for years; with such a notorious reputation, who could resist? I dabbed it on several hours ago, knowing that I had no plans to leave the house so would not have to worry about smelling like raw sex while walking through the grocery store or similar.

I don't know the age of my sample, but if the amount of musk and civit in the base is any indicator, it's vintage.

The opening was surprisingly light and soft; a bit green, a little tart. Within a few minutes, the floral notes (jasmine was most prominant to my nose) began to appear. They were lovely! Not too sweet, very smooth. I didn't notice honey but maybe the honey accord is what makes these florals so soft.

The basenotes began to unfold very quickly on my skin. Civit and musk front and center within an hour of application. Those two notes plus sandalwood are the main players here. The floral notes are still present but are upstaged by this very deep base.

I love it! This is old-school sexiness that still feels contemporary in its earthiness.

Best as a special-occasion fragrance. Very strong sillage and I don't doubt that I'll still catch whiffs of this twelve hours from now, it's that potent.

Pros: Sultry, animalic, dark
Cons: Too intense for some noses"

21st September, 2013
(B)old aldehydic floral

Smells like old piss right out of the gate, with dormant aldehydes bubbling through to the surface. I'm pretty sure my vintage sample has lost some quality over the years. The chypre base is intact, deep forest floor-green and a touch animalic. The honey glazed floral element however is noticeably muted.

I'm disappointed. Schiaperelli Shocking has been lauded by certain quarters as superior to Chanel's iconic No.5. I'm afraid I don't share the sentiment even with all the blanks filled in. As bold as it is, it stills smells perfumey in the classical floral style, unlike No.5's more avant garde position. Don't get me wrong, it IS good. But No.5 is in a different class altogether. History is indeed written by the winner.

Pros: Ballsy
Cons: Somewhat dated"

17th September, 2013
Shockingly teenaged girl who smells like a mouthful of bubble gum--granted, a 16 year old with a taste for fragrances a bit more pricey and classic than her peers, but still a fragrance for a kid. In my opinion, not suitable for a grown woman. I was excited to try this in my first sample package I ever ordered. I'd done research on classic scents and found Shocking among the ones I wanted to try. I tend to like classic scents (pre-1960 or so), and apparently, scents more on the masculine side, or at least not on the girly side. Out of a half dozen scents new to me I ordered in my sample package, this was the only one I absolutely could not stand the smell of. It reminds me of some sickeningly sweet yet aldehydy atrocity I would have worn in high school. My man, whose tastes in fragrance are more or less diametrically opposed to mine, said it turned him on because it reminded him of getting laid in high school. If you like classic scents but tend not to like sweet scents, you'll want to try this, but you may hate it as I did. For reference, my absolute favorite scents are No. 5, Cuir de Russie, Arpege, L'Heure Bleue, Shalimar, Le de Givenchy, and Acqua di Parma.
13th January, 2013
SHOCKING – Schiaparelli – 1935 [floral fougere]

One of the most original scents I have ever encountered. At first I am taken back to the oil used by Caswell Massey for their discontinued Chrysanthemum potpourri – dark fall scents, the smoke of burning leaves mixed with their sweetness. The dry down is akin to wildflower honey with every so often a whiff of tobacco.

One of the few masculine scents based on florals that is eminently wearable.

Top Notes: Hyacinth, Ylang Ylang, Narcissus, Tarragon
Middle Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Muguet, Carnation, Honey
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Musk, Civet, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Vetiver, Ambergris

01st May, 2012 (last edited: 22nd March, 2013)
mumsy Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I've been waiting to smell this for quite some time. I don't think I would wear this particularly as it is way too floral for my taste, but my goodness they knew how to pack a punch in those days. This bottle is a mini with the squared off white S in the pink square on the label. It's a powerful blast of sophisticated florals, rounded off with a honeyed note keeping the florals under a sweet control. Just as you think it is all getting just too much, the propolis side of the honey wins and herds all the florals to one side so that the chypre base and the woodsy musk can play.

I find with many of the scents from this period, they were not trying to be shy at their first dab. That was to be put on in the privacy of the private dressing room and the full monty enjoyed by the wearer. They then subdued themselves to time with the exit so that the then relatively tamed force of longevity remained with the wearer for the whole evening of dancing, to reappear later in bursts when the lady got flushed.

Mine is an old sample, and I may need to obtain a later one to compare. This one doesn't last as long as I would have expected.
14th March, 2012
My sample of the vintage version came from a generous Basenoter … I did not realize the extent of her generosity until I Googled for some information about Shocking and found that this is one of those fragrances whose values have soared. I was SHOCKed…

Sweet! Honey sweet… with lots of florals. This is an exuberantly perky, feminine, perky-feminine fragrance. The florals form a delectable bouquet of rose, jasmine, and lily of the valley. I can’t pick out the individual floral notes, but the group of florals smell really good. The base is as enjoyable as it is standard: It’s a nice smelling sandalwood / patchouli / amber / musk that presents no surprises, but had good sillage and longevity. Shocking is a bit synthetic and maybe even a little cloying (if over sprayed), but it also exhibits life and vitality in refreshing excess. It’s an enjoyable fragrance.

22nd June, 2011

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