Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

With the recent launch of Shalimar Parfum Initial, I felt it only proper to try out Shalimar Eau de Parfum ($123.00 for 3 oz.) first. It’s an iconic scent, not just for the brand, but in the world of fragrance. For a truly excellent read on the history of the scent, check out Perfume Shrine’s. It comes in a wide range of concentrations and product types; from the most concentrated (Extract, $131 to $322) to accessorizing products like perfumed body powder ($64).

The notes of Shalimar are bergamot, lemon, jasmine, rose, May rose, iris, incense, opopanax, tonka bean, and vanilla. It opens with an intense burst of the bergamot where the crisp citrus gives it a very cool feel, but it warms up quickly with a heady smokiness that’s marked by spice and leather. As it progresses, the final scent on me is a sweetened, spicy vanilla with the warmth and coziness of amber and sandalwood. It’s not the sweetened vanilla of a dessert, but richer, deeper, less sugary and cloyingly sweet. It is rather powdery on me, more notably in the earlier hours of the scent and decreases over time until it’s all but vanished by the third hour.

It’s not a shy scent, and it’s one that instantly says, “Pay attention, you don’t want to miss a note.”  There is a great deal of complexity from beginning to end.  Perfume is so very personal and often has to do with just what sensory memories are evoked when it is spritzed. I cannot relay any stories of mothers or grandmothers who wore and loved this scent; I actually have no memories for or against–no one I have known has worn it (and it is a scent you would remember!). I don’t like it on me until about two hours in; then it’s that right level of headiness that I like but with more of the tonka bean and vanilla pulling through with less emphasis on bergamot (which I don’t usually like).  The scent lasts on me for eight hours or so.

The inspiration: “The setting: Northern India, four centuries ago. His name was Shah Jahan. Hers was Mumtaz Mahal. Dazzled by her beauty, he idolized her; so madly in love was he that he wanted to make her life a perpetual garden of delights. And so sprang from the earth the Gardens of Shalimar. The story of their boundless love fired the imagination of Jacques Guerlain who, in 1925, created the world’s first oriental fragrance. A subtle mix of flowers and sensual amber-woody accents, Shalimar has become the eternal essence of love and radiant femininity. Wildly Guerlain, marvelously classic, it continues to fascinate young women just as it conquered every generation that came before.”

See more photos!

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum

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26 thoughts on “Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum Review & Photos

  1. Killerteeth

    That bottle is exquisite!

  2. Tyler

    You should check out the “Ode a la Vanille” edition of Shalimar if you are not a fan of the bergamot (which plays a huge part in the composition of Shalimar, and her brother, Habit Rouge). It’s very cozy from the start. and a more simple olfactory experience.

  3. I think I bought a mini bottle of this when i was a teen. It felt like a grown up and powerful scent to me.

  4. MC

    Shalimar is one of my mother’s signature whenever I smell it, I remember her getting ready for parties where she’d dress up to the nines and spray herself down with Shalimar.

  5. Ryan

    I just tried this for the first time about a week ago. And oh my God… Its amazing. I fineally smell the difference between a quality perfume and a normal perfume. This has so much depth and smells so real. I do not know the ingredients but to me it smells like a true blend of essential oils. Not even super expensive perfume has the depth of this. I have to be honest…. when I first smelled this I was horrified. lol thats the best way I can explain my reaction. I sprayed it on a tester (it has been 6 days and you can still smell vanilla and sandalwood stong on the tester) and after an hour or so I began to fall in love. My second time trying it my opionion COMPLETELY changed. Its like my brain needed to make room for such exellence before it could understand it. If you don’t believe me then think of it this way; Only a great perfume lasts almost 100 years and still remains relevent.

  6. M.

    This was my mother’s signature scent, and I just can’t pull it off – it’s baby powder and artificial vanilla flavoring on me. I like the deep, rich, Orientals, but not this one.

  7. zoe77

    grandma perfume. icky.

  8. Dana

    Thanks for reviewing this perfume! It’s one of my favorites 😀

  9. Valerie

    it took me a while before I purchase my first Shalimar I should have done this before because I received so many compliments since then. Shalimar is a very sophisticate perfume and rich. For me the top note last 30 minutes and could be deal breaker for some but please wait and then you will see the beauty of Shalimar!

  10. Lucie

    The idea of Shalimar and it’s rich history is so unique, I wish I loved it. Sadly I get no oriental spiciness-just powder and baby wipes. :( Would love to smell what Shalimar was like before it was reformulated!

  11. Debra

    The eau de toilette is less intense. I prefer it to the parfum since my body chemistry (oils, whatever) tend to strengthen certain scents. Shalimar is my favorite fragrance, with Chamade (also by Guerlain) a close second.

  12. Jimmie

    Shalimar is like the femme queen realness ball category winner of women’s perfumes. So commanding, you don’t have to knock on doors – it’ll do it for you!

  13. Debi

    I’ve loved Shalimar since I was a late teen and still wear it. The original is my evening perfume for that sultry oriental fragrance. Their newer version is a bit lighter and sweeter, more of a day fragrance. Both are classics!

  14. This fragrance was a coming of age parfum to be worn in this high school I attended….I personally did not own it, but there was a group of Catholic school girls who wore it back in the early ’80s. It smell very seductive and was a way to attract the guys who attended the all boys school across the street. I just remember Shalimar being a strong fragrance.

  15. aurora

    Shalimar is one of the classics although I think it is a little bit too heavy for my taste. I love your little historic input on the perfume. Thank you for it. Have a lovely day.

  16. Ioanna

    One of my signature perfumes… LOVE from first sniff! Btw this is a bottle designed by Jade Jagger.

  17. Devi

    Shoot, I hate perfume with the most passionate of hatreds, and I would never pay that much for a bottle… so tell me why I really want to buy this now? o_o It seems positively empowering and enthralling, and judging from your review and everyone else’s reactions, it seems like a worthwhile investment. Or at least something that I should go test out.

  18. Angela

    Thanks for the review Christine. I enjoy reading them. Might you include more perfume reviews in the future? It would be great to read more, especially scents for the fall/winter season- i, too like the orientals as others have said, it would be great to read more. i enjoy wearing viva la juicy and burberry brit in the fall and winter. never tried shalimar, i’m afraid it will smell “Grannyish” on me.

  19. Rexcatz

    It was my mother’s signature scent and I have loved it since I was a toddler. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to wear it. It’s still a favorite even though I have become a fragrance junkie.

  20. Brenda

    I find it a bit too much for me year round, so I wear Eau de Shalimar which is a bit lighter, younger but still the essence of Shalimar. In the winter I would wear Shalimar, if I had it:) I do love it though.

  21. VJNS

    I’ve worn this fragrance forever. It’s so timelessly beautiful and instantly transports you to a place of perfect love. Every time I’ve worn it, I get longer snuggles from my family and longer hugs from friends. It’s magical.

  22. Roar

    No matter what else I try, I always come back to this. Scents tend to all end up smelling like Playdough on me, but this one retains the fragrance it comes with.

    It is a classic and I hope those who call it a grandma scent will someday have a scent that they love and associate with someone in their life.