Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My Top 3 Favourite Perfumes: Guerlain - Shalimar (1925)

Top 3 Favourite Perfumes:  Shalimar by Guerlain (1925)

A part of my Shalimar Collection
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Jacques Guerlain
 Another perfume within my top 3 would be Shalimar by Guerlain. My top 5 favourite changes regularly but the 3 perfumes I am reviewing are always going to be in my rotation therefore I am calling them my top 3 favourites.

Shalimar is an oriental fragrance with smoky-vanilla being the dominant note, it also contains hints of animalic-leather, citrus and tonka beans. I would describe Shalimar as a smoky, animalic, powdery vanilla perfume.


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The Taj Mahal
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Shahjahan and Mumtaz
Shalimar was composed by Jacques Guerlain in 1925 as a tribute to the legendary romantic tale involving Emperor Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. According to the tale 20 years old Shahjahan as a prince, met a young girl at a bazaar, captivated by her beauty he marries her once he became emperor. Her name "Mumtaz Mahal" means "Jewel of the Palace". Mumtaz and Shahjahan had 13 children together but tragedy struck when Mumtaz died whilst giving birth to their 14th child together at the age of 39. Completely grief ridden and devastated Shahjahan built the "Taj Mahal" in memory of Mumtaz and the love eternal they shared.


The Name:
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The Gardens of Shalimar, Lahore, Pakistan
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No.90
Mumtaz's favourite garden was called "The Gardens of Shalimar", hence inspired the name of the scent. Shalimar has been popular for over 90 years and still continues to be one of the best selling perfumes ever.


Shalimar was also exported under the name "No.90" for a period of time due to a legal issue going on with the original name at the time, No.90 was Shalimar's stock number. Appearantly a rival fragrance company also released a perfume with the same name.

The Bottle:

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My bottle of Shalimar in the Bouchon
Coeur, a 2008 limited edition
The house of Guerlain always had some of the best perfume bottle designs. Personally I love to collect Guerlain bottles as much as I love to collect their fragrances. The bottle known as "Flacon Souris Chauve", meaning the bat in english, was designed by Raymond Guerlain and manufactured originally by Cristalleries de Baccarat. Later on the bottles were also produced by other companies such as Saint Gobain des Jonqueres, Pochet et du Courval, and Cristal Romesni. Shalimar also has various limited edition bottles and also came in a variety of different flacons. According to "guerlainperfumebottles.blogspot.com by Grace Hummel", some of the flacons known to have contained Shalimar at least for a period of time were the bee bottle, the quadrilobe flacon, the amphora flacon, the borne flacon, the bouchon coeur (heart shaped stopper flacon), capsule flacon, the tear drop flacon, and the watch flacon.



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Shalimar Parfum Initial - A Flanker
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Current appearance of the Shalimar flacon
Present day Shalimar is presented in a more simplified and modernized form of it's original Flacon Souris Chauve, I personally prefer the vintage look all the way! I'm not a fan of the plain modern bottle.




The Scent:



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Vanilla - An essential ingredient of
most Guerlain creations
I personally am addicted to Shalimar, I find my self sniffing my wrists like a crazy person every time I wear the scent. There is something strangely delicious, soothing and addictive about the citrus-smoky, animalic vanilla combo. Without a doubt these days Shalimar is definitely a unisex scent, in the past maybe not, male fragrances are sweeter and more floral than ever these days. I am confident to say that Shalimar, originally marketed for women, does in fact smell more masculine than some of the scents marketed for males today, Dior Homme and Black XS for example.


Citrus - prominent top notes of Shalimar
Comparing the vintage to the current version I would say that the reformulation had gone pretty smoothly and Shalimar still smells noticeably like Shalimar. The vintage one however utilizes natural citrus oil which are now banned as well as real animal ingredients and sandalwood therefore there is more depth in the vintage version. The citrus notes of the new version are more lemony and sharp, but overall it is not bad reformulation.

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Smoky, Skanky, Animalic
Sexy Vanilla!
When first applied I get a pleasant combo of delicious spiced bergamot, vanilla, and incense along with a whiff of sexy....yes SEXY civet and leather. I understand now why prostitutes in the 1950's used to wear Shalimar and why this is considered a "Skanky" perfume. About 45 minutes into application the bergamot and citrus notes starts to fade but still lingers there while the vanilla, incense sandalwood, tonka bean, leather, and civet, becomes prominent.......It's like night time is approaching and Shalimar is a skanky French woman having a cigarette by the street corner of Moulin Rogue, good girl gone bad, the fresh top notes are being replaced by the dark, delicious, seductive and animalic heart notes.

This fragrance does last a while on my skin, about 7-8 hours, and towards the end the prominent notes left are vanilla, sandalwood, incense, tonka bean, and a teeny tiny bit of leather, civet and bergamot. It is like dawn is approaching and the women working the street corners must now go home to get her beauty rest and of course count the $$$ she made last night!!!
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Heading home! got some $$$ to count!


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