Queen of Queens – Guerlain Shalimar: Not A Review

I wouldn’t dare to attempt a review of such a classic. Even if I would, I couldn’t, since the classic in its original form does not exist anymore. What is sold today under the name of Shalimar is the only incarnation I know, which makes me sad, because from what I hear, it is not nearly the same as it once was. I intentionally keep from obtaining a vintage Shalimar, because I figure to know exactly what we all lost, doesn´t make it any better. Best to remain ignorant here.
But what I want to do is tell you about my personal impression of Shalimar, as my generation gets to smell it.

The first whiff smells almost indecent, I was  scandalized. (Yes, I am a very prim person!) It didn´t smell good at that first moment, and the animalic notes were pretty dominant for me (how much more intense was the vintage version?!), but…
But it was getting better and better over the next hour, vanilla, smoke, warmth, dirt, powdery softness, a dark, sensual veil, that made me feel incredibly wordly and sophisticated (all the while pushing a stroller and handing out apple slices, mind you!)

What was clear from the start (well, from ten minutes after the start at least), was that I needed this perfume in my collection.  Whenever I have worn it since, it felt just right and I got nothing but compliments.

There is this old saying that a lady never does those three things: dance the tango, smoke cigarettes and wear Shalimar.

I dance a mean tango and I wear Shalimar with aplomb. I´m not going to take up smoking though, two out of three is not so bad, is it?

Never, ever would I have thought myself to be a Shalimar woman. It turns out I am and that makes me just a little proud.

Queen Mumtaz Mahal

Further Information about Shalimar:

Notes include bergamot, lemon, mandarin, rose, jasmine, orris, vetiver, heliotrope, opoponax, vanilla, civet, Peru balsam, benzoin, tonka bean and sandalwood.

It was first launched in 1921, it´s creator was the great Jacques Guerlain. The name comes from the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan, that where developed for Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, who dedicated them to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. The name means “temple of love” in Sanskrit.

For further information on the colorful history of Shalimar, please refer to this excellent article on Perfume Shrine.

Picture Source: reirien.com, lahore.netblog.com, indiannetzone.com some rights reserved, thank you!


About Olfactoria

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26 Responses to Queen of Queens – Guerlain Shalimar: Not A Review

  1. KJanicki says:

    I really wish I was smelling all this animal smoky goodness that everyone else smells! That sounds fantastic. But What I smell when I sniff Shalimar is lemon and vanilla.

  2. deeHowe says:

    If you change your mind about smelling the original, drop me a note, and I can make that happen: deenicholsHowe at aol dot com. 😉

    It’s dangerous business, I’ll tell you straight up—the current extrait will never smell dirty again!

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