Perfume Directory

Shem-el-Nessim (1906)
by Grossmith


Shem-el-Nessim information

Year of Launch1906
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 31 votes)

People and companies


About Shem-el-Nessim

Shem-el-Nessim is a shared / unisex perfume by Grossmith. The scent was launched in 1906

Reviews of Shem-el-Nessim

rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Floral-to-vanilla complexity

A beautiful neroli-bergamot freshness combines with delightful geranium-jasmine floral additions in this traditional but very well blended opening. In the drydown a nice rose and ylang-ylang merge into a base of white musk, patchouli and a nice cedar-vanilla base. There is colourful development on my skin over time, with high-quality components and good silage and projection. I get about five hours of longevity. In all is classicity this is delicious, especuially on a nice spring day.

23rd October, 2013
There’s no denying that this and L’Heure Bleue spring from the same gene pool – they both have the same melancholy sweet subtlety born of the heliotrope-sandal notes that are their foundation. This is great for reveries, introspective days when its quiet sophistication will prompt the mind to slip away to an ever-so-tempting elsewhere. One of those scents that play with time, stretching the mental experience of it to a lovely stasis. Lovely twinkly, powdery fadeout.
23rd July, 2012
I'm rubbish at detailed reviews, but this reminds me of L'Heure Bleue, minus a heavy play-doh note I didn't like in LB, and with amped up florals. Great stuff and full bottle worthy (oh if I could afford it all, I would!)
22nd November, 2011
redrose Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Absolute gorgeousness, seduction in a bottle. The opening florals envelope you with soft luxury, and I felt as though I were stepping into the most beautifully scented bath I could possibly imagine. The sultan's favourite, being prepared and anointed before being led into the boudoir! And as the scent unfolded, the cedar, sandalwood and soft musks support the rose and iris without overpowering them. Many other floral and oriental notes are in there, too: it would take numerous wearings to be able to name them all, if it were even possible. And I'm not sure I'd want to. Shem el Nessim is all just too romantic and dreamy and perfect for me to wish to analyze it too much. I leave that to the scientists. I'll just let myself be carried along in its spell.
I agree with Grossmith that it embodies the spirit of the Edwardian era, when feminity was celebrated. I can't really see this as unisex, although if any men are brave enough to wear it, they'll get plenty of attention.
For me, its longevity varies. I first tried in summer, when the dry air combined with my own pale, dry skin to evaporate this beautiful perfume after only three hours. Now, though, it's autumn, and the air is more humid, and almost six hours after dabbing it on it's still strong.
The final drydown is so similar to the original, much-lamented L'Heure Bleue that they could almost be mistaken for each other. There is nothing sharp or modern here, and if you're strictly a 21st century, minimalist perfumista, you probably won't go for Shem el Nessim. But if you love the unabashed fullness and richness of classic and vintage perfumes, do give this a try.
I love it and would buy a FB today if only it were not so expensive. But ... luxury and authenticity don't come cheap, and with Christmas not too far away, I'll be leaving strong hints for Santa.
13th November, 2011
I'll make it short... I find this disappointing. It is strongly hinting at L'Heure Bleue, but does not in the least manage to create a similar magic. I am not convinced by the iris note here either leaving a stale undertone on my skin. Get L'Heure Bleue instead!
09th July, 2011
This smells of old fashioned luxury because that’s what it is.
Grossmiths say “this fragrance reprises the original orris formula, using Florentine iris, known for its rarity and expense, costing three times more than gold bullion.
Originally created in 1906, this rich, luxurious creation typifies the L’Origan style with its warm, soft, powdery, floral aspect. A scent which personifies the Edwardian era, in which femininity was fêted.”
It is a very feminine perfume and opens on a strong symphony of florals, all underpinned by soft powdery iris.
At first it is rather overpowering although lovely, but makes you think unless you are Marilyn Monroe on a night out wearing a full length satin gown, you will not be able to carry it off. It soon settles into a sumptuous, comforting, soft and very romantic scent and I can detect the faint fresh notes of bergamot and neroli weaving in and out of the riot of florals.
As it progresses it adds gentle wafts of sandalwood, cedar and musk but remains, to my nose, dominated by the lovely orris.
Shem el Nessim is the Egyptian festival of spring. The term literally means to smell the breeze and I am not sure this really speaks to me of the essence of this scent. This is the smell of the late morning breeze of a hot summer, redolent of the rich perfume of jasmine, roses and patchouli, and promising a searing hot day to come. It is for wearing when you have the time to lounge and be languid, not for the energetic time of the rebirth of nature.
And despite the floral nature of Shem el Nessim, this is a scent for a woman and not for a girl. I imagine Nigella Lawson wearing it at a dinner party with Charles Saatchi, or Carrie wearing it to the Opera with Mr Big. I see it worn by the voluptuous concubines of some powerful potentate, fanning themselves as they lie languid on couches, dressed in the finest silks and always ready to be called to the room of their powerful lover.
I got my sample from the wonderful Les Senteurs in London, the centre of the universe for perfume lovers everywhere and one of the few places you can obtain this. And if only I had some invites to some grand gala dinners, or some witty sophisticated dinner parties to attend I would buy the whole bottle in a flash. This is the scent of luxury and sophistication, but sadly my normal social whirl offers few occasions to wear something this decadent. So I am going to hoard my little sample and save it for some glorious occasion which will be worthy of its delightful opulence. I have a couple of gowns that will go with it, now all I need is somewhere to go.

I should add that the longevity is low, after around 4 hours there is just the whisper of the scent left on my wrists. Just perfect I suppose for an evening out, by the time you arrive home there is just the faintest echo left close to the skin and only apparent to those who are really intimate. Unlike Marilyn I don’t like to sleep in my perfume, but for those of you who do, you can always reapply.
20th January, 2011 (last edited: 22nd January, 2011)

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Perfumes launched in the same year as Shem-el-Nessim (1906)