Shalimar EdP opens with a astringent citrus accord of bergamot and lemon and then moves into a lovely vanilla scent.
When the incense arrives and melds with the vanilla the scent does become quite alluring.
Though as it evolves you begin to smell leather and civet which also mix's in with the incense in a unpleasant way. At this stage it starts to smell acrid like mothballs or bug spray.
The scent is complex and has many facets of development with floral notes adding to the above notes.
I like some elements of the fragrance like the vanilla and incense. But what kills my interest is the dated mothball/bugspray like accord coming from the civet and incense.
I quite like this. However if I have to speak my mind free from the pressure of knowing that it is sort of a perfume legend and all, I would rate this as one of the old perfumes. It's nice but could be better, or, it smells somewhat dated to my nose and I wouldn't want to wear this too often. My aunt used to wear this, this alone, -who owned only this.-25 years ago also didn't help me too much shake the perception of Shalima being OLD.
If I am over 55, I wouldn't want to use it since I am sure this scent will add more age. I think anybody who is still young can try this one without feeling too self-conscious. She will stand out smelling gorgeous and above all, special.
It is just my personal opinion, but I believe that scents can make the wearer seem aged/dated since the famous and old perfumes have popular smell of the era which everybody can associate with those period.It seems especially true those era are closely put together. Whenever I smell of Estee Lauder Beautiful, the wearer is almost always over 35. Really powdery one like Chanel No.5 or Soapy one like White linen is frequently worn by 50+ yo ladies. Anybody sticking to wearing Thierry Mugler's Angel can be seen 30+. The more broadly popular the scents were, the worse the effect, I reckon since mass of people recognize them. but, less known scents that were created a century ago, still can smell very fresh due to rarity.
I began wearing Shalimar after spending a lot of time around one of my friends who wore it every day. I thought she was so feminine and classy, and that's the way it makes me feel. I believe it is the vanilla and opoponax that got me addicted to it. I'm so glad that my husband also LOVES this perfume. To me, it is as classic as Chanel No. 5, which I'm actually not that fond of.
I'm going to assume the notes on this site are quite incomplete because I don't see anise, black pepper, or cinnamon listed and all three have a presence in this fragrance. The top is bergamot with pepper and anise, a bit too spicy for my taste but very well-blended leading straight into the heart of it which is slightly flowery, slightly powdery, slightly spicy and slightly creamy. This middle lasts quite a while and there's a hint of incense, smokiness, and leather throughout but as with any well-blended Guerlain you'll only catch some of these facets some of the time throughout the day. This is so well-done that I can't get enough of that scent despite the fact that I find it too spicy for me. The incense gets a bit stronger as the middle drags slowly along but it never really dominates on me. Coming to the end phase of the fragrance, many hours later, a touch of dryness or leatheriness remains but there's a lot of creaminess and a touch of spiciness acting as dominant notes. It almost smells like warm milk with a bit of cinnamon and just a touch of vanilla. I would eat something that smells like this. The Guerlinade is most certainly there too. Overall I love the smell of it and though a man could get away with wearing it in extreme moderation I don't think i'll be wearing it often just because of how uncomfortable I am smelling anise or pepper all day. It's no wonder this great fragrance is a classic of perfumery!
I'm told that what I'm smelling here is a recent EdP.
Shalimar is usually instantly recognizable; a cavalcade of notes that somehow manage to synchronize perfectly. But versions of this scent tend to vary quite a bit, and in this particular one there’s a medicinal, metallic effect that cuts through the standard citrus to meet with a powdery vanilla, producing what I'd describe as redolent of effervescent candy. It reminds me a little bit of sherbet lemons—the same candied sweetness that walks a fine line between sour and sugary, only here the sour notes are rendered in a more industrial, disinfectant style.
What’s strange about this version, though, is that it doesn’t bear much of a connection to the Shalimar that I’m more familiar with—that civet-y, marzipan-style scent that’s top loaded with crisp citrus notes. This version is gaunt by comparison, and seems to veer more towards clinical sterility than confection. I don’t dislike it (I actually don’t like Shalimar very much, so this might even be a step-up for me), but I’m not entirely clear what its aiming for or how this version wandered so far away from the original fragrance.
Old formulation: My mother had a sample in the late 80s/early 90s, and I remember loving it, the opulent spicy fragrance which I associated to winter and warm coats.
New formulation: I recently tested it at a department store. It does smell quite differently, still with the same inspiration, but the new version is a worthy fragrance in its own way. If I could, I would own both formulations.
The new formulation started with a combination that reminded me of the older Shalimar, spicy, warm, almost oily (in a good way), only not as round. Maybe a bit more angular and less oily.
As it dries, it becomes very different from the older one. The woods and sandal came to the front and in my opinion created a sour phase which previously did not exist. I quite appreciate this phase. Then amber and incense too, it becomes a little less sour and rounder, but still quite different from the older Shalimar, woodier, airier and not as oily. After a while the sour disappears and it is woods, amber, incense and a few spices in a rounded, warm, more "behaved" version of the older one.
Still a dense perfume, but different. As I said, I actually like both.
I own the EDC from Walmart. When i first sprayed it on, i smell a plastic shower curtain smell. This changed over time to a strong powdery orange creamcicle smell mixed with vanilla and maybe some sweaty keys out of someones sweaty pocket?!
Gotta try it again later.
K, tried it again and now.....I really like it...no plastic shower curtain or sweaty pocket scent at all. Strange how ones nose picks up different things each time. One thing i did differently this time was shake the bottle a little before applying....don't know if that mattered or not? This time i pick up more citrusy smells....which i adore by the way, but is that bergamot in the mix making it smell kind of like an orangy lemon? Oh, and vanilla, which i like, but i really, really would like to be able to pick out the leather note...which right now i am having allot of trouble doing...i would wear something with mainly just that note if i could just smell it. So far, love it tho...powdery lemony orange vanilla...thats what i pick out.
22nd July, 2014 (last edited: 09th August, 2014)
I don’t have much to add to the discussion where this classic is concerned. All I care to do is draw attention to the brilliant treatment of opopanax. Much has been said regarding the unique quality of Guerlain’s vanilla, displayed most prominently in Shalimar and Jicky, but for me the enigmatic, spicy-sweet, resinous quality of opopanax is equally responsible for Shalimar’s allure. The interplay of vanilla and opopanax established in Shalimar’s base notes still resonates in compositions as recent as Diptyque’s Eau Lente and Nicolaï’s Maharadjah, but I have yet to experience an interpretation that trumps the original’s exquisite balance. I wonder if it’s even possible to fully comprehend the oriental fragrance genre without becoming familiar with Guerlain’s enduring paragon.
Shalimar is unequivocally the most cloyingly sweet, baroque perfume on the market today. Some old fragrances become classic standards that are timeless. Others survive by being "a name" in popular culture. The overwhelmingly sickening sweet synthetic vanilla and talcum powder of Shalimar that projects and punches EVERYBODY within 20 feet of the wearer (literally) is actually indecent and offensive. Goes beyond a statement. Beyond boldness. Beyond good taste. I can't think of another fragrance that is so overpowering that I'd have to tell someone I can't stand to be near them. Long after escaping the vicinity of a Shalimar cloud, it's all you can smell. Your battered olfactory senses causing a headache and thoughts of "does this meal smell like Shalimar?" or "have they cleaned this restroom with Shalimar?" and so on. The domineering pervasiveness is actually rude then.
Ah, the ur-Oriental. Sitting down to write a review of Shalimar kind of feels like looking up at the top of Mount Everest and wondering how the hell even to begin the ascent. It seems to cover (in one single bottle) a lot of the themes and notes people go looking for in separate perfumes - you want vanilla, it's the textbook example, you want smoke and incense, well you got that too, you want amber, it is the mother of all modern ambers, you want animalics and leather, ditto. If you also happen to be the type of person who is interested in freaky notes, like baby diaper, burning tires, tar, and slightly rancid butter, then, why yes, Shalimar also has you covered.
It's not an easy perfume to love right off the bat. Don't get me wrong, Shalimar is easy to love, but the actual falling in love bit is not immediate. It took me ten days of wearing it before I could even tolerate it, let alone love it, but I got there and in end, it clicked for me, and that was it. Pure love. The everlasting kind. Whenever I see someone saying, oh I just don't get Shalimar, or oh Shalimar hates my skin, you know what I am thinking? You're just not trying hard enough. Put your back into it. If you can't commit a week or ten days out of your life to understanding Shalimar, then not only are you cheating yourself out of experiencing one of the best perfumes ever made, you are also missing the opportunity to "get" most orientals that came after Shalimar.
For, once you unlock Shalimar, you start to see that Serge Lutens' Ambre Sultan is just a snapshot of a portion of Shalimar (principally the amber and herbes de provence) blown up 150% and turned sideways. Etro's Shaal Nur is an abbreviated essay on the incense and opoponax in Shalimar. Mono di Orio's excellent Vanille is a modern take on the woodsy vanilla of Shalimar. You can spot echoes of Shalimar in Chypre Palatin (vanilla and animalics), Fate Woman (bergamot and powder) and Bulgari Black (vanilla, rubber, smoke). Whether perfumers are aware of it or not, most of today's grand orientals refer at least in part back to the ur-Mother Oriental herself.
Forgive my wittering on. For all of that, Shalimar smells absolutely wonderful, grand, lush, smoky, sexy, comforting, and warm. The opening, as I've mentioned, is jarring to the nth degree, especially if you're not used to it. I don't know whether it's the particularly stinky grade of Bergamot that Guerlain use, or the way it clashes with the vanilla, but the top notes smell curdled and rancid, like when you pour lemonade into cream. The vanilla itself smells tarry and burned, like rubber tires piled high and set on fire. Somehow, somewhere underneath all of that, there appears a slightly horrifying note of soiled diapers, or at least baby powder that has been caked into the creases of a baby's bottom. It smells sort of unclean, and is pungent enough to singe your nose hairs off.
Here's the odd thing - after you get used to Shalimar, you start to actively crave the weird opening. When you begin to go "Mmmmmmm" rather than holding your breath, this is a sign that you've crossed the line. Welcome! It's like a Shibboleth for hard-core fans of Shalimar - we're all over here at the other side of the line, and everyone else is pressing their noses to the glass, shaking their heads and saying, "I think you have Stockholm Syndrome"
After the "horrific" first half hour (for which you may want to refrain from sniffing your wrists if you are smelling it for the first time), it is an easy ride from there on in. Sweet, smoky vanilla poured on top of a long, golden, powdery amber, with accents of leather, smoking resins, and animalic musks. It has this neat trick of smelling comforting/familiar and yet ultra-sexual at the same time. It lasts all day and, in my humble opinion, is just fantastic in whatever concentration and vintage you wear. Yes, the vintage parfum is the deepest and smokiest, but we can't always be wearing that (for reasons of finances as well as time and place), so it's good to know that Shalimar is still recognizably the same Shalimar in the weakest EDC as it is in the parfum - thinner, yes, but still, you wouldn't mistake her for anybody else. For me, it is true love, and a top five perfume forever. It is like my second skin.
Rich, somptuous, baroque chypre masterpiece. There's pretty everything in it, a comprehensive symphony or perfumery basics. Splendid talcum-powdered drydown, gentle as a lady asleep. Not much to chat about this!
04th April, 2014 (last edited: 26th April, 2014)
Love the history.....love Guerlain....don't love or even like Shalimar. Instead of smelling sultry and seductive, I smell like an old ashtray. The smoky notes just overwhelm on me.
As many others have already said, shalimar is a classic, perhaps the most classic of them all, and equaly a work od a genius perfumer. For me is smells more msculine than feminine, what is no surprise after Prada pour Homme Intense, Eau Sauvage Parfum, Burberry Brti for Men, Tom ford noir and many scents in the same oriental veil. Shalimar seems a blueprint for so many scents we all know and that's why I cannot perceive Shalimar as dated, old fashion and even less, praise God, old lady-grandma-ish. No need to go through the notes, it has been done very well indeed by some Basenoters. I just think everybody really keen on fragrances should try Shalimar. It is beautiful, it is an art form, it is perfection. I feel very fortunate to own an EDP bottle of this relic and yet so present, uptodate scent that is Guerlain Shalimar.
Shalimar is a scent I'd been avoiding. Somehow, it had 'old lady' tones in my mind. However, I've been progressing in my journey, I've discarded the idea that a scent fits with a particular age group. Yes, some scents are classic and have been worn for many years by people and so you may know an older woman whose been wearing Shalimar for 5 decades, however, that doesn't define the character of the scent.
In the case of Shalimar, it's been around for so long because it is that good. I've been wearing the current EDT with great pleasure. It's a scent that envelopes me like a fur coat, in fact, a bit like fur that remains on the leather which has been sueded and worn soft. This scent is warm, familiar and full of smooth vanilla laden leather. I recently acquired a bottle of the vintage EdC and find that it is creamier still. It's got the typical feel of Guerlain, a powdery feel, but I don't feel like that is as strong as in some of the Guerlains, it is more creamy than powdery to my nose.
This is a wonderful scent for most any occasion, though I suspect it will perform less well in a hot and humid climate. It is a powerful scent to my nose, not something that the wall-flower would want and I believe a man could easily wear it as well.
02nd January, 2014 (last edited: 05th September, 2014)
I've tried to enjoy Shalimar for its smell. And its history. And its importance. And its benchmark status. But no. I'm afraid I think Shalimar smells gross. That's not to say it isn't important and possibly a great perfume. But I still think it smells gross.
Lately, I've been sampling the EDT, which is heavy on the baby powder and talc, fuzzy with lavender and a weird plasticky musk that smells like a diaper, as well as a realistic musk that smells like baby poo. And there's vanilla, too.
I prefer the EDT because it focuses on the powdery aspects, letting the poopy diaper fade into a powdery spiced vanilla, which is the smell for most of the day.
I've also tried the extrait, which highlights the poopy diaper musks and is just terrifying.
Oh well, I've given Shalimar MANY chances, and I get why people love it, but I just don't want to walk around smelling like a poopy diaper sprinkled with vanilla and cinnamon in a cloud of baby powder. Maybe I'm losing snob points, but I'm fine with that...
Typical example of a fragrance that you need to let grow on you before you can fully appreciate it! Fist time I tried this... a very strong, very dirty, almost bitter vanillic leather aroma hit me and I found it quite pungent and almost overbearing. But after a few days, and other applications... I really had to agree with everyone here in that this is quite an elegantly made, beautifully blended, sophisticated fragrance, and I can see why many call this a masterpiece. There is not much more to add to what others have said, but I would say to first time users please give it a few tries on your skin and leave it the time it needs to fully appreciate it. Trust me, if you do this you will be rewarded, but be patient and you will see why so many people call this a masterpiece.
to be honest, I buy Shalimar only for the gorgeous bottle at first. I dont sniff it, just get this pretty flacon. how bad Guerlain could be?
real badass. the opening is not my favourite part (at fact, the least. its rather offensive), but the rest, especially the dry down is something to die for. the vanilla and incense is really prominent (but the seller said, "its woody spicy". never trust a seller women. especially when they already tried to sell a BOSS Bottled) usually I detest vetiver, but on this one its controlled beautifully, ended with strong Vanilla that just perfect. it have strong projection and stays for really long time. the bad side is, like most Guerlain is on the banal opening. if you survived the first minutes, a very beautiful scent awaits you
Pros: projection, longevity
It really has grown on me
the other sitting in a meting I was distracted by a whiff of the most delicious perfume, I surreptitiously sniffed the people within distance and none of them had warm woody tones with a hint of spice. As my head dropped to my chest to retrieve my pad I realized to my surprise that it was me. I would never have guessed applying Shalimar in the morning inhaling the burst of powdery vanilla and rather sweet fruit that what would remain through the day would be be a lovely spicy base with a hint of rose. I love the combination of sandalwood patchouli and jasmine and rose, though some notes are fainter than others. I wear it because of what it becomes and for how long it lasts, if I could change it I would add more strong green patchouli and maybe a hint more of rose.
Pros: it gets better as the day wears on
Cons: first whiff is deadly sweet"
Oh Dear Lord, Smells like FLY Spray :(
after reading the background to this Fragrance and that of the good reviews I decided to try some of this on to check to see if was all that of the hype some people give this Fragrance. I was looking to give it to my Daughter for Christmas if it was good.
I had imagined myself telling my daughter about the story behind the fragrance etc too
but when I sprayed this on my arm, oh dear lord.. I nearly fainted... they didn't have any of the EDP so I used the EDT... my MRS didn't like it either, she thought it was horrible... it smelt like fly spray..
non the less, it was now on me so I watched if throughout the afternoon and into the evening..
it powdered down a lot better after an hour but still with that faint smell of fly spray in with the powder...
it lasted very well, 8 hrs +... but hell, would you want it on you for that long?
very disappointed :(
Pros: dries down nicer than original burst
Cons: Smells like Fly Spray"
Great in bottle, less so on skin
My bottle of vintage Shalimar arrived today and when I removed the stopper, an absolutely heavenly and complex aroma of florals and woods and citrus filled my nose. Yet when I put it on, I smelled ... well, like an old lady. Just because I AM one doesn't mean I have to smell like it! I'll try it again, but so far I'm not sure I'll be wearing this grande dame, happy though I am to own her.
Cons: A familiar scent to many"
Shalimar eau de parfum reformulation
After finding out that my idol Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite wore Guerlain's Shalimar I immediatly bought a bottle I was just 14 back then in 1993.
it was a gorgeous warm powdery kind of a heavy perfume I loved the vanilla and the exotique feel of it,
it became my signature perfume for quite some time.
Now 20 years later I bought a bottle of eau de parfum and i still like it but i do smell that it is not what it used to be
I've been reading up on some reviews here on Basenotes and at Bois de jasmin's blog finding out it was reformulated i still like it but thers something missing.
the reformulation seems to be milder and doesnt stay with me aslong as the 1990's Shalimar I once knew did.
I love Guerlain for its history and perfume know how and tradition its my favorite house but i feel robbed.
It is still gorgeous and really really beautifull but this is not the old Shalimar I knew
Shalimar is a perfume associated mostly with women from an older generation, so as a young man, 20 years of age, I perhaps can offer a more unique perspective of one of the jewels of the House of Guerlain.
Let's quickly look at the key notes found in Shalimar:
Top: Mandarin orange, Cedar, Bergamot, Lemon
Heart: Iris, Patchouli, Jasmine, Vetiver, Rose
Base: Leather (?), Sandalwood, Opoponax, Musk, Civet or Civetone (?), Vanilla, Tonka bean
First off, you might be sick of hearing this, but, like all Guerlain perfumes, Shalimar is a deeply personal thing. This is because Shalimar is definitely not your typical woody/oriental perfume. A quick glance at the notes makes this more obvious. Cedar, typically a heart or base note, is used as a top note, and this gives a distinctive woodiness right off the bat. Vetiver and patchouli, which are now typically used as base notes. These help to cut the citrusy scents of the top notes and brings a bit of balance and, more importantly, complexity into the perfume. In the base notes, civet or civetone (the synthetic alternative to the natural ingredient, now banned for ethical reasons) brings a strong animalistic scent to the perfume.
Next, my initial introduction to Shalimar was when my grandmother used it. To me, it was the epitome of sensuality and luxury. It has amazing projection and longevity, and merely a few drops of the perfume would last the rest of the day.
Finally, I am using Shalimar because it works well on me. For reasons unknown to me, when Shalimar touches my skin, the top notes go off quite quickly, only lingering as time passes. In contrast, the musky and powdery base notes project very well, with the dominate notes being vanilla and tonka bean. This leaves a powdery and, almost, creme brulee-ish scent on me.
Pros: Excellent projection and longevity, legendary scents, top grade ingredients
Cons: Varies greatly with personal tastes and body chemistries"
Disgusting and intrusive.
22nd June, 2013 (last edited: 15th September, 2014)
A warm temple of mysterious love in a bottle...
As a perfume hobbyist, some iconic scents of ladies department also come into my collection. And as expected, Shalimar ranked as top priority on my purchase list.
So, as I recalled the first time I sprayed Shalimar, my immediate reaction was: wow, it's indeed warm and sensual. The aroma was so complex so should you want to give a try--you should try this one with caution.
Yes, not every chick can wear this, even for some first-timers this would definitely too much too handle. A possible headache or confusion (due to trying to identify the notes LOL) may result.
The longevity is truly outstanding, tested on my wrist and it lasted 8 hours and more. After a warm spicy mixture of scents decorated the earlier stage, a slight jasmine followed shortly but not too powerful. As it dried down vanilla note appeared and lasted, clear and sweet.
Mysterious, as I remembered this one. Just like its name, Shalimar best translated as a warm temple of mysterious love. So, undisputedly this one suitable and enjoyable only for a more mature women not for teens.
Even though I still have no idea if my wife (Estee Lauder Pleasures Exotic, Kenzo Flower, Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil) or my mom (YSL Rive Gauche for women, Thierry Mugler Angel) would love to wear this or not. My overall scoring was 8/10.
Pros: Warm & heartfelted scent, great longevity
Cons: Complex aroma on immediate spray not suitable for younger users, standard bottle & packaging
Love this perfume
Shalimar is my go to perfume for every occasion. It's classic.
Try with caution: not everyone can wear this, on some it will make me feel queezy and give me an instant headache!
I just bought a bottle of the cologne being a bit shy to try a stronger concentration and I am absolutely loving this! The lasting power of the cologne is truly impressive it wears on way beyond what I imagined, a good 8 hours. In the dry down I love the burnt creamy vanilla that appears, smells like heaven. Love this but may not wear to work! Sexy, vampy and mysterious is the name of the game here not cookie cutter scent of the week.
Hmmm... Shalimar. Ladies smell so nice when they wear it. This is a scent that can bring about many memories. I can recall being a young teenager and being completely intoxicated by a friend's mom's perfume. This stuff MADE her a "hot mom". I remember the bottle...
I bought some for my girlfriend. She's in the roller derby, and I was looking for something that would go well with her sport. We've gone through many sweet, fruity, herbal, and sporty scents... tried a few Etat Libre d'Orange, and a couple of samples of various Tom Ford. I settled on trying out the Shalimar because of its longevity (not while wearing... I mean in the sense that it's been around since the 20s), its attractiveness, and the way it can match up with a sport like roller derby: It's dark, dangerous, sexy, and packs a punch, but can keep its wits about about it in social situations.
Shalimar comes in with the lemony top note, but does not last long. This dries down into something smoky and subtle, seductive. To me, it gets my mind racing on things like sex, making out, etc. The woman who wears this should wear in confidence that your man will notice.
I don't know what the formula was like in the 20s, but I would love to find out. Buy yourself an extrait or at least the EDP. Any other "strength" and you'll not get the full idea of what this scent is supposed to be.
I would even wear this myself if I paired it up with something Versace Baby Blue Jeans or put the smack down on it with Amouage Ciel Man.
This one's a sultry winner, ladies.
(update) I have been wearing this myself lately. I am really enjoying it. The extrait is the way to go...
Guys, this smells good and I would recommend trying it. I know it's for ladies, but this can and WILL be quite masculine when worn by a guy... period. It smells nice, and you will get compliments... it seems that this is more unisex than anything else....
17th March, 2013 (last edited: 07th April, 2013)
First try of Shalimar...
...there it sat on my skin. The flagship of Guerlain. The first spritz is very lemony of course, but you also get a sniff of cedar which reminds a bit of church pews and old fur coats. I knew at the first whisp this was a great Old World Perfume. A legend. History.
The hesperidics are quite elusive and the scent changes remarkably into smoky vanilla. I don't get that much flowers. The smokiness makes me think of a Walpurgis Night bonfire. Shalimar has an aura of wisdom, of a significant other. It's one of the few perfumes that really make my mind wander. True dramatic beauty.
Who knows what the vintage version was like, but even the reformulation is aweinspiring. Luca Turin said, Shalimar makes 80% of todays fragrances appear trivial.
Of course I now own a bottle. And what a timeless beauty that bottle is, don't you think? When did blue and yellow ever look that good together?
I'd dare say: Greatest perfume of all times! Too special for me to wear it every day, but good to know I have it!
Floral Bug spray. No other way to describe it. The jasmine tries to make an appearance but is hidden by the bug spray.
Just opened my bottle of Shalimar Pure Parfum and applied a few dabs...omg it is so sensual and beautiful and warm; heady and intoxicating---so luxurious. Wow!