Comparing to the multi-faceted masterpieces Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit and l’Heure Bleue, Shalimar is in danger of being the most obvious – a purely seductive indulgence. Even the bottle shows off with it’s fountain-shaped stopper – or is it the feathered crown of a peacock’s head? It is a grandiose show-off of sensuality and passion – not unlike it’s inspirational tragic love story which resulted in the bombard grave known to us as Taj Mahal.
In fact, Shalimar is almost too good to be true. There is nothing in this perfume that is not pleasantly dripping of sweet softness and curvy sensuality. From the sweet and fresh bergamot and curiously smoky top notes through the rose petals and jasmine blossoms softened by powdered iris, carnal base notes of castoreum, musk and opoponax sweetened with amber, tonka and affectionate doses of vanilla. The real beauty, however, and where the genius of Shalimar lies, is in the final dry down – a soft and delicious just-kissed skin,fondled and worshiped by a lover.
From the most memorable creations of Jacques Guerlain, Shalimar is least complex, despite its incredible richness and expressiveness.: it sends a clear message of an indefeasible aphrodisiac. It’s beauty lies in the uncompromising hedonistic attitude and the absence of ambivalence in it’s total romanticism and sensuality.
Smoky leather notes, Bergamot, Orange
Rose, Jasmine, Orris
Vanilla, Amber, Opoponax, Musk, Patchouli, Castoerum
p.s. The only concentration I recommend for Shalimar is the Parfum Extrait. It may be different with vintage Shalimar, but the newly produced ones in other concentrations are a far cry from the love song that is the pure parfum.
Illustration from Karin Kuhlman’s Peacock fractal