I think Guerlain did a bang up job of modernizing Shalimar for the tastes of the younger market. Personally, I love the original Shalimar, but from what I smell on young girls around my neighborhood, their tender young noses would likely wrinkle at the smell of all that smoke, leather, balsams, and dirtiness. Some perfumes need to be grown into, and Shalimar is definitely one of those. (Don't worry, girls, she will be still there waiting, still great, when you are finally ready) In the meantime, Parfum Initial is a very good rendition.
Parfum Initial is essentially an add-and-subtract job that was done with taste and thought. Wasser removed the stinky grade of bergamot used in the top notes of the original and replaced it with a sunny orange/lemon combo unlikely to offend young noses. He took away all the smoky leather, balsams, and incense, and added a huge dollop of what feels to me like Angel-like notes, mainly caramel, berries, and patchouli, thus bringing Parfum Initial to the teetering brink of the modern fruitchouli epidemic, but never pushing it all the way in. Finally, he added a massive dose of iris, giving it a plush, vevelty, powdery mouthfeel that puts it in the same family as the great Dior Homme Intense. It is also vaguely reminiscent of Coco Mademoiselle and Angel, but always retains its own character. It smells a bit like Shalimar too, of course, but the overall feel is different, more gourmand, sweet, plush, and uncomplicated. For people who hated the baby powder in the original, this version will also likely provide some relief - it is not nearly as powdery as the original.
For all of that, I don't LOVE love it. The original Shalimar simply blows this out of the water on all levels, and it is an impossible act to follow. Moreover, repeat wearings of Parfum Initial has wearied my nose to it somewhat, and there are some things in it that I'm picking up and irritating me. I find that there is an intensely sweet, almost syrupy note in there (the caramel plus berries probably) that I can almost feel in my throat. It kind of throws the perfume off balance a bit. There is nothing to balance out the sweet syrup in this, and it makes me appreciate the original even more, because at least in that, the sweetness of the vanilla is perfectly tempered by the smoke and leather. Anyway, overall the scent is gorgeous and will appeal to the younger market, and (hopefully) bring a new generation of scent lovers around to the great Shalimar when they are good and ready for her.
Unfortunately I've tested this fragrance just on a paper picked up (and dismissed for a while) in the course of a full "testing day" roaming around for perfumes shops in Rome so I didn't give it a deep immediate examination on the skin while on the contrary tested the "accomplished" dry down just on paper the day after. I just can say that the final aroma seems to ideally combine in an unique elixir several facets from different renowned perfumes as Mademoiselle Coco, Guerlain Bois d'Armenie, Ange Ou Demon (Just partially), Phul-Nana Grossmith, Etro Heliotrope, Hammam Bouquet, Jaipur Saphir and Opium Pour Homme Edp (probably Heritage yet). The Guerlinade is absolutely notable in the notorious "particularly orchestrated" game of hesperides, spicy/incensey/almondy/eliotropic/anisic/organic powder, aldehydes, orris-rose and rooty patchouli lifting up at the beginning some Habit Rouge's and Heritage's nuances. The latter is the key element mastering the white/balmy general muskiness surrounded by soapy and powdery floral notes plus fruits (may be plums, blackcurrant i suppose, orange for sure) and tobacco. The final aroma, compared with the classic old-school Shalimar, is drier, less ambery/animalic, more white/powdery/musky, decidedly spicy/orangy and patchouli centered. The patchouli is basically earthy, delicate, aromatic, exotic and surrounded by powder, white woods and musk. Velvety and romantic.
26th December, 2013 (last edited: 12th November, 2014)
Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain is not a disappointing “very berry cupcake”. Basically, take Shalimar EDC, add a dash of Angel, hit yourself in the head, and there you have it. The composition opens with citrus, vanilla, iris, and spicy leather, and at this stage, the genetics of the Grande Dame dominate the composition. As the fragrance develops on the skin, I pick up liquorice loud and clear. Basically, a huge liquorice root is chasing me around the room, trash talking and spewing obscenities. An hour later, the liquorice thug sulks in a corner and suddenly crazy Auntie Angel shows up with caramel and funky patchouli. Crazy Auntie and I are fabulous friends—we have caused quite a bit of trouble together—and we spend the next four hours trying on clothes and deciding if I look better in the vintage floral dress or the one made out of rubber (it snaps).
4/5 Just try it!
Smells much like Dior Homme Intense. I find it unisex as well. Great take on vanilla and iris. Smells wonderful. It just could last more. Projection is soft.
I haven't been able to try the original Shalimar, just this and the new edt. This has a strong opening that sent hubby reeling, oops. The middle reminded me strongly of flowerbomb, but with a much deeper/smokier base behind it. I like flowerbomb but don't like being hit about the head and neck area with bergamot, so this is a welcome find for me as it smells more well rounded.