Perfume Directory

Shalimar Eau de Parfum (1925)
by Guerlain

Advertisement

Shalimar Eau de Parfum information

Year of Launch1925
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1336 votes)

People and companies

HouseGuerlain
PerfumerJacques Guerlain
PackagingRaymond Guerlain
Parent CompanyLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Parent Company at launchGuerlain

About Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Meaning 'Temple of Love' in Sanskrit, Shalimar is an oriental fragrance with notes of bergamot and vanilla.  Jacques Guerlain was inspired to create Shalimar by the story of Indian Emperor, Shah Jahan, who created a beautiful garden (called Shalimar) to please his queen.

Shalimar Eau de Parfum fragrance notes

Reviews of Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Cacophonous opening of a very harsh bergamot with herbal rosemary and other notes that carefully evolves into the most transporting, bewitching and seductive oriental scent ever. My favorite part of Shalimar is after the florals where a gorgeous rich, resinous amber rises to mix with the creamy, lemon-tinged vanilla, a hint of vetivered leather underneath -- it is TO DIE FOR! Whenever I wear this, I feel blessed.
26th December, 2020
Endless accolades have been written about this sublime perfume and with good reason. The legend was well known to me prior to my first trial spray at the Guerlain perfume counter. I’m not going to attempt to add much to the many excellent and detailed descriptions which exist here. Classic, exotic, luxurious, complex and with a lovely, gentle, warm and spicy dry down which lasts for hours afterwards.
The love affair soon established, I now own a bottle of vintage (1960’s) perfume and a vintage edc and know that I will always have them in my collection. IMO it’s very well worthwhile hunting (and paying extra) for the vintage versions.

Tired of sampling (and scrubbing off) the vicious new reproductions of classic perfumes (bearing little or no resemblance to the original versions), I felt a nostalgia for those I remembered as a child, such as Joy de Patou, Hermès Calèche, Arpège, Givenchy III.

Shalimar has always been marketed as a women’s perfume and as such I was not at all comfortable about trying it, but that reluctance soon vanished. I would agree with those who say that Shalimar is an acquired taste, but don’t give up, it’s really worth persevering with. I find that it’s entirely wearable for a man (particularly in the evening). The compliments I receive from both men and women confirm that. Tiny drops suffice. For me, it’s not an everyday perfume by any means but worn as an occasional evening treat, it’s hard to beat. My advice is to let it settle for a while before going out. In a word, it’s heavenly.

10/10 in all respects.


06th December, 2020 (last edited: 07th December, 2020)
No Thank you.

I'm glad i only got a 30 ml decant.

The only thing i remotely like about it which kinda gives it the benefit of the doubt on my skin is the opoponax note which summoned a little hope during the very "dated" development on my Generation X's skin.

Incense barely peeking in the drydown, just barely and i mean barely.

I was going to give it to my mom but then i reconsidered since this would also smell too dated on her.

"Some things are better left in time....and in time is where they belong"




05th December, 2020
Tried sample of Eau de Toilette in small set; nice longevity and hints of wonderful scents and notes that don't QUITE reach fruition. Definitely going to try as EDP.
08th October, 2020
Until today I have never owned Shalimar, the pillar perfume. I've tried it, hundreds of times, always the EDP and decided it wasn't for me. I own Parfum Initial, L'Eau, Eau de Shalimar, Batwing Shalimar Cologne and the 2015 version Cologne. My favourite is Cologne 2015 and I ordered what I thought might be a replacement bottle that was headed EDT/Cologne. Yes, I thought, that's it, Shalimar Cologne 2015 at EDT strength. It was the EDT that arrived. I had factored that in as an eventuality and I sprayed it on, layered with a bit of the Batwing bottle Eau de Cologne (made for the U.S. market in the U.S.A) and it's very nice, I will use it, but I love the Cologne 2015 as it is closest to Shalimar Eau Legere (DISC) Are we all sufficiently confused now? I haven't even mentioned the Madagascar or the Mexique. There is no escape from Shalimar.
28th November, 2018
Shalimar is the crown jewel in the Guerlain catalog, the scent that came to define the house and it's use of the "Guerlinade" compound note which found its way into almost all of perfumer Jacques Guerlain's compositions, plus a great many of Jean-Paul Guerlain's as well. Shalimar was named after a garden in Lahore made for Mumtaz Mahal, the same woman for whom the Taj Mahal was also built. The creation of Shalimar was near-accidental too, as perfumer Jacques Guerlain discovered its primary accord by pouring a bottle of ethylvanillin into a bottle of Jicky (1889), the seminal fougère that was originally composed by his uncle Aimé Guerlain, building a fragrance upon another fragrance as Jacques Guerlain was known to do. Therefore like Jicky, Shalimar is technically a fougère as well, since it is built up from that fragrance's structure, but it contains a great many more oriental elements to it, and is thus often associated with the oriental category. If Jicky was the unintentional gender bender progenitor that was loved by a great many men alongside women, and Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) the masculine-targeted shade thereof, then Shalimar is the rounder and more-luxurious advancement of that primary accord pitched to women during the roaring 20's. The scent was originally released in 1921 alongside Chanel No. 5 (1921), and proved to be the strongest competition that iconic perfume had, but went under a numerical designation just as the Chanel did until 1925, because the name "Shalimar" was being contested by another perfumer who claimed to have already used it. When known as "No. 90", the perfume made waves, but it wasn't until it's widespread 1925 release as Shalimar that the legend was born. The overall smell of Shalimar isn't much removed from Jicky, and indeed many of the great oriental and fougère-like compositions made under the hands of Jacques Guerlain share similar traits, not only because of his "fragrance upon another fragrance" crafting or the "Guerlinade" house accord he perfected, but also because it's the style he seemingly preferred. L'Heure Blue (1912), Mitsouko (1919), and Shalimar all have multiple levels of this intertextuality with each other and previous Guerlain efforts from which Jacques drew his inspiration; that was just part of of his unique creative process.

What makes Shalimar stand out from all it's siblings is its plushness, its fullness, the radiance of its notes, which can be a bit much to take for some people. The scent opens with lavender, bergamot, and mandarin, but switches out Jicky's rosewood for aldehydes and herbal rosemary, which makes for the resplendence of Shalimar's opening. This change doesn't make as much difference to the overall character of the perfume as the addition of an actual heart structure to Shalimar, which Jicky sorely lacked. That scent moves from its barbershop opening into a hellish moat of animalic and heady base notes, with only a floral heart inferred by the flip-flop transition between top to bottom. Jacques Guerlain likely wasn't happy with the "presto-chango" suddenness of uncle Aimé's composition, because instead, we go down to the base notes in stages with Shalimar, more like a traditional perfume. Jasmine, rose, patchouli, and vetiver stand vividly in the heart of Shalimar more than they did in the trap door dry down of Jicky, and are joined by a poofy iris note which also replaces the orris of Jicky and helps Shalimar feel a bit more feminine, which was the aim anyway. The tell-tale vanilla note anchoring the accidental discovery that is this perfume's primary accord shows up halfway, bringing in the rest of the Jicky base with new additions of opoponax and peru basalm. Shalimar tries to be a little more polite with its use of animalics, taking musk in place of styrax, and toning down the civet and ambergris just a touch so the other heart notes of tonka, leather, sandalwood, and oakmoss can be felt. I don't get the cinnamon spice or incense notes of Jicky in Shalimar either, and the blending is much smoother, making any note separation a real reach (translation, lots of sniffing to find), which is another master stroke of Jacques himself. Taken on its own merit without comparing it to compositions with which it shares most of its notes, Shalimar is an unusual vanillic oriental fougère-like fragrance that sat right with women in the early 20th century, particularly flappers that liked it's dynamism made possible by rich semi-indolic underpinnings, lady-like aldehydic florals, and oriental smoothness. Wear time varies greatly on concentration, as Shalimar was made in many forms, but a median figure across all iterations is a solid 8 hours of moderate sillage. Something this illustrious isn't a casual wear, regardless of context, so make sure you don't glow like a diesel hot plug by your choice of Shalimar on a casual game night.

All told, Shalimar is still mostly retained by women as the matriarch of grand perfumes, with only the aforementioned Chanel No. 5 to really contest this claim, but guys can totally wear Shalimar too, as the primary accord is rather unisex, but with a slightly heavier dose of "Guerlinade" than usual pushing the smell to be uncomfortably makeup-like if you're a jock type. Still, dandies in France famously have worn Shalimar for years, and if Jicky didn't scare you, I doubt this will either. The reason for the stigma against men wearing Shalimar, like most things in the fragrance world, comes down to marketing. Guerlain had mostly given up on pitching Jicky to women even after making Mouchoir de Monsieur as a manlier substitute, but they stuck to their guns with Shalimar, keeping it in the company of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleu as sort of the "big 3" feminines from the house, creating something of a marketing barrier. Then Jean-Paul Guerlain went off and made the chypre Habit Rouge (1965) with grandfather Jacques' "Guerlinade" in the mix, perhaps moving male interest further away from Shalimar in the process, but that hasn't stopped perfume hobbyists or open-minded guys with a bit of gender fluidity from enjoying it. Bottom line here is if you like old floral barbershop smells, vanillic orientals, and anything with a clean, plush, soapy smell up top, but a substantially musky animalic backbone, you'd enjoy Shalimar regardless of what is between your legs. Since this perfume has inspired so many others high and low, you've likely already bought something descended from it anyway and didn't know. Parfum extrait and eau de parfum are going to be the heaviest take with the most complex dry downs. More vanilla, oakmoss, sandalwood, and musk is present to my nose in the extrait, and the top fades fastest. I find folks enjoying the animalic qualities of Shalimar best suited to the eau de toilette, which seems to let the floral heart and civet in the base breath more freely, at the cost of some development. The folks who want the fougère elements to ring truest are better off with the eau de cologne, since it showcases the lavender and bergamot strongest, then crisply segues through the floral heart and lays upon a drier version of the base that sees the vanilla, civet, and leather turned down in favor of the tonka, oakmoss, and ambergris. Regardless of which version you get, they're all thumbs up from me. Shalimar is a pièce de résistance solidifying Guerlain as one of the greatest perfume houses of all time, and you know I rarely speak in such lofty terms.
19th November, 2018

Add your review of Shalimar Eau de Parfum

You need to be logged in to add a review

Shop for Shalimar Eau de Parfum products online

Some of the links we use are affiliate links, meaning if you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission, which helps us keep the site running

Shop for Shalimar Eau de Parfum at online perfumeries

Search on eBay


Member images of Shalimar Eau de Parfum

You need to log in or register to upload images

Private Notes

You need to be logged in (or register here) to use Private Notes.

Advertisement

Advertisement