Negative Reviews of Shalimar by Guerlain

    Find out more about Shalimar by Guerlain in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    bFlay's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    rogalal's avatar

    United States United States

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    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...

    15 December, 2013

    TrueBlue's avatar



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    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"

    04 October, 2013

    the reaper's avatar

    Venezuela Venezuela

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    Disgusting and intrusive.

    22 June, 2013 (Last Edited: 15 September, 2014)

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    Floral Bug spray. No other way to describe it. The jasmine tries to make an appearance but is hidden by the bug spray.

    26 January, 2013

    Cricketkitty's avatar



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    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?

    04 September, 2012

    hyblaean's avatar



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    One of the ugliest, most pervasive scents known to man, next to cat pee.

    The staying power is, of course, excellent.

    21st January, 2012

    Dayum's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    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's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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!

    14 July, 2010

    irislove's avatar



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    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's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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 me...in fact, come to think of it this smells exactly like a Grand Dame's decaying fruit bowl - Miss Havisham's!

    10th May, 2010

    AntFarmer's avatar

    United States United States

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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)

    07 May, 2010

    4eversummer's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    14 September, 2009

    tsar_perknip's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    08 April, 2009

    newgabe's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    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.

    09 March, 2009

    CatB's avatar

    United States United States

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    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!

    17 December, 2007

    tessera's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    26 May, 2007

    sagittarius's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    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.

    29 April, 2007

    ErynnsMomi's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    29 January, 2007

    SnowRose's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    18 October, 2006

    totalparfumlove's avatar



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    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.

    23 January, 2006

    miraculousbeads's avatar



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    nah, this fragrance is somewhat passe. I smell it on old ladies.

    09 July, 2005

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