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Guerlain Eau de Shalimar versus Shalimar Light
Left Arm: Guerlain Eau de Shalimar EDT (the newest formulation)
Right Arm: Guerlain Shalimar Light EDT (also labeled Eau Legere Parfumee)
I have seen all kinds of confusing information about how earlier releases of a light version of Shalimar (variously called Shalimar Light and Shalimar Eau Legere) are different than the newest "light" release called Eau de Shalimar. I already had a manufacturer's sample of EdS, so in a recent order, was able to score a manufacturer's sample of SL/SEL. To clear up any packaging confusion, here is what I have...the paper folder that holds the sample of Shalimar Light has a picture of a curvy Shalimar-shaped bottle with a blue cap and blue colored glass. The juice in the vial is light honey colored, not blue. The paper folder also has BOTH names--Shalimar Light and below it, the words Eau Legere Parfumee. So, I think it is safe to assume that this Shalimar Light was the most recent release BEFORE Eau de Shalimar. Shalimar Light is available at the online discounters. Eau de Shalimar was only at department stores the last time I checked (a few months ago).
The reason for the long introduction--many people say the older version is better than the newer one. One Guerlain fan here on BN remarked that there were actually THREE releases--another Shalimar Light in a clear bottle that came before the blue bottle version, and that this juice may be different also (this would have been the very first release). At any rate, this comparison is for the 2nd and 3rd releases only. And to be very brief--after a full wearing of both, I can't tell the difference between the two. I think they are the same formula with different packaging. If there are any differences, they are so subtle as to be undetectable on my skin. The only thing I can say about it is that MAYBE the older juice was a bit more harsh, and this would probably be due to the age of the juice and its storage conditions rather than any real differences. Another BNer said it very well--buy the Shalimar Light and save a few bucks (paraphrased). I would agree with this as long as I trusted the retailer who is selling the older, discounted version.
The fragrance itself is very pleasant. It starts with a sweet and sour lemon blast that reminds me of lemonade or lemon sorbet. This sweetened lemon stage tones down very quickly and is joined by a light vanilla. I wouldn't say it is an edible lemon-vanilla combination, but it is very welcoming, refreshing, and not overly sweet. I actually wish this stage lasted for much longer--if it did, I would probably want a full bottle. Sadly, it fades within an hour, and the result is a very dusty, dry vanilla with a hint of tart lemon for the rest of the drydown. There are some florals also, but I can't distinguish any particular floral note. The effect is sort of "perfumy" (I wish I knew what actually caused the "perfumy" note in fragrances). There is also a dry, almost baby-powder note, so it is possible that the powder is what gives it that "perfumy" edge. I hesitate to say it might be orris, because most orris I have smelled is a bit sweeter and more "rooty" to me. However, orris is a good candidate for the powder note. Longevity is actually quite good. I applied the equivalent of 3 good sprays to each arm, and after 12 hours, the soft vanilla base is still apparent on my skin. Sillage is moderate--I was able to smell it when working at my desk typing or writing.
The nod to Shalimar is obvious in the drydown, especially with the light powder and vanilla. I never noticed citrus in Shalimar, but certainly Jicky has beautiful citrus in the top notes, so I see a family resemblance with the use of lemon also. On my skin, though, Eau de Shalimar is significantly drier than Shalimar or Jicky, and I am not sure I would classify EdS as an oriental. Eau de Shalimar is really more like a traditional cologne than a light oriental. I think it would be great for warm weather or day wear. It is a very solid offering by Guerlain, but I am not terribly bowled over by it. Of course, it could easily be one of those that grows on me until one day I realize I really love it.
21st October, 2008