Perfume Reviews

Negative Reviews of Shalimar by Guerlain

Total Reviews: 24
mushroom Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Good God, what have they done to this once beautiful perfume? This concoction is an abomination of its former self. I had an older bottle for years that I would always return to, received a new one for a present that is so different it is nearly unrecognisable. The cloyingly sickly sweet smell of vanilla off the new formulation is downright offensive, I actually had to wash it off and I have never had to do that before with perfume. What was once one of my favourite scents is now dead and buried. Don't bother buying this, just get a couple of vanilla pods and rub them around your neck, job done.
11th November, 2015
I ordered a bottle of this over the internet, and thought it must have been a knock-off because it smelled so terrible on me. I gave it away, but have since tried it again at a department store to make sure it wasn't just a bad bottle, and it wasn't. There is something in the opening that reacts badly with my skin. After about 30 minutes it calms down, but still doesn't smell great. I had a bottle of Shalimar back in the early 80s and did not have a problem, so I am thinking it is something they have added to the newer formulations. The newer version is truly terrible on me and I cannot pick out anything on the pyramid that normally reacts that way with my skin. My friend asked me please not to stand too close...
07th July, 2015
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.
07th May, 2015
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bFlay Show all reviews
United States
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.
30th June, 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...
15th December, 2013
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"

04th October, 2013
Disgusting and intrusive.
22nd June, 2013 (last edited: 15th September, 2014)
I'm definitely in the minority here but I don't like this fragrance. When Shalimar is mentioned I hear perfect, classic, wonderful. When I try it all I get is vanilla, plastic, and dead cat. What am I doing wrong, folks?
04th September, 2012
One of the ugliest, most pervasive scents known to man, next to cat pee.

The staying power is, of course, excellent.
21st January, 2012
I dont quite like it. I blind-bought it because it was oh-so praised here on basenotes. That was a mistake. It smells pretty much like joss sticks and reminds me of red-light-establishements (thou ive never been in one :). As KatiePuckrikSmells stated in her YouTube-Review the smell was considered "a perfume with a bad reputation" and that "there are three things a "Lady" never did [..], wear shalimar", this is pretty much spot on. Its not western-classy but oriental-brothelesque.. thumbs down.
01st January, 2012
redrose Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I used to like Shalimar, but since being given a bottle of the EdP two years ago, I seem to have gone off it. What a shame! I know it's supposed to be one of the greats, but I now seem to find it rather unpleasant, in fact somewhat nauseating. The best I can say is that it smells that lemon talc, but then I don't like lemon or talc! I love the person who gave it to me, so I'll keep it on my dresser, but wearing it now actually makes me feel ill. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!
14th July, 2010
I was so looking forward to trying this and was terribly disappointed. It went on acrid and finished one-dimensionally sweet (to my nose). Very sad.
10th June, 2010
OctoberO Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Oh dear. All rotten lemons on me, I'm afraid - migraine-inducing ones. Such a shame that a Grand Dame as distinguished as Shalimar has rejected fact, come to think of it this smells exactly like a Grand Dame's decaying fruit bowl - Miss Havisham's!
10th May, 2010
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The EDT of Shalimar smells like a cheap mess on my skin, although it was intended, and is regarded, as a masterpiece by many people coming from a respected perfume house. I have yet to find a Guerlain I can wear.

Initially, I get a whiff of lemon and kitty litter. When it dries down I get a strong powdery scent with a little bit of cat litter in the background. When I sampled this I got the mental image of a grey tabby cat wearing a bonnet and wire-framed glasses selling lemonade out of its litter box. Why does my chemistry always sour up the classics. (Sigh)
07th May, 2010
Suffocating, sharp, nauseating, sickly sweet...reminds me of stale sweat heavily caked with the sort of dime store bath powder popular in rest homes. Discordant wood tones reminiscent of dusty antique chests rotting in some stifling airless attic. The stuff of violent dizzy retching headaches ... alongside Youth Dew, Royal Secret, Galore, Hope, Interlude, Ciara and that ilk. Yet something unique about Shalimar that makes it more offensive to me than just a scent which simply disagrees with my personal chemistry... I can't stand it on anyone else, either. Seriously, I can pick it out at twenty paces.
14th September, 2009
I couldn't believe how much I HATED Shalimar. I love the "old lady" perfumes — especially Guerlains — and I expected to love this, but I could not get it off me soon enough. Overwhelming, cloying... yuck.
08th April, 2009
Well, I am astonished at how much I don;t like Shalimar. I always though I would love it, as I respect Guerlain (often wear Vetiver), appreciate leathery/powdery (Cabochard), don't mind citrus ( wear Boucheron Homme to do dirty type housework) and sometimes love vanilla (eg in Dior Addict) though its done to death everywhere these days.

But Shalimar, after the gone-off baby powder smell, just seems confused and dull, as if I'd put some fridge cleaner in the vacuum bag.
09th March, 2009
CatB Show all reviews
United States
I was so excited to try this after reading all the reviews here, but I was disappointed. It smelled very powdery, dry, and old lady-ish. I was so sad! I really wanted to like this, but it just reminds me of Chantilly - ew!
17th December, 2007
I cannot wear Shalimar. She opens beautifully, delicate, warm and airy all at once, then settles down to powder. I'm not a fan of the powdery fragrances; they smell like little old ladies to me, and this one becomes powdery on my skin almost instantly. If I put my nose to my wrist, I can detect lovely, warm vanilla with a rich layer of opoponax, but out where it can be smelled faintly by others in my personal space, it smells like somebodies nan. This will never be for me.
26th May, 2007
I've tried to wear it so many times, but have now given up. Hopefully a friend will tell me they like it one day & I can pass my bottle on.

I find it far to cloying and overwhelming and it's not my body chemistry, even sniffing the top of the bottle makes me want to gag.
29th April, 2007
There must be something wrong with my body chemistry. I simply cannot wear this. I tried and ended up throwing away the sample I was given. there is something to heady, not to mention heavy about it.
29th January, 2007
I tried to like this scent. Everything about it seemed so glamorous, from the bottle and the history, to the story of it's inspiration. But on me, it seemed too heavy, cloying, almost. I'm not sure why, as the notes seem lovely. But something about it made it a scrubber for me.
18th October, 2006
There's something about this perfume and me that do not click. I was really looking forward to smelling this, but maybe it's due to my young age that makes me not like something in here.I think it's the Iris. Normally I love the smell of fresh iris's but there is something weird and not really fresh in this scent. Smells kind of oriental and way to spicy for me.
23rd January, 2006
I am very disappointed in the recent bottle of Shalimar EDT I purchased recently. It is very different than the Shalimar my mom wore in the 1950's. Too much cardamom, not enough vanilla.
I don't understand why Guerlain changed the composition of Shalimar. If something works; why fix it?
09th July, 2005 (last edited: 24th March, 2018)