Heya Perfume Posse! Portia back again from Australian Perfume Junkies. It’s no secret that my first and foremost perfume love is Shalimar. I have a lovely collection of many strengths, from many years, in quite a few of the bottles, flacons and cages that it came in. When I was lucky enough to fall in love with an Indian man he took me to his home state Rajasthan and showed me many of its wonders, so many of them in these videos, I learned the story of Shah Jahan and his great love Mumtaz Mahal and how he nearly bankrupted his kingdom in his grief for the loss of the woman he loved. We traveled to some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring castles and India holds an incredibly special place in my heart.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Even though this was my Mother and her friends fragrance, and that is a huge part of my love for it, Shalimar will forever remind me of the magic of India, its people, history, stories, architecture, art and music. In 2010 my BFF Kath and I traveled quite a bit of the route that Varun and I had and I returned to the Taj Mahal, as we came through the gates to the full view of it I was so moved that tears poured from my eyes in unashamed and soundless gratitude and I had to sit down to pull myself back together, and I was not the only one, many people did exactly the same as I completely overcome by the magnificence that love built.
Shalimar by Jacques Guerlain 1925
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these notes
Top: Lemon, bergamot, mandarin, citrus, cedar
Heart: Jasmine, May rose, vetiver, patchouli, iris
Base: Tonka, incense, iris, vanilla, civet, musk, opopanax, sandalwood, leather
Shalimar smells like nothing else on earth thouggh many fragrances have tried. I can’t explain its beauty to you any more than I can try to tell you how I think. You must go to your nearest store, the modern incarnation is still beautiful, transportative and wonderful, though different. Or grab a sample/decant and live the magic yourself.
Photo Stolen WikiCommons
FragranceX has a fabulous selection
Beauty Encounter also have a great range
Surrender To Chance have a selection starting at $3/ml
If you’ve enjoyed today’s post do come o9ver and say howdy at Australian Perfume Junkies. We always love to see new people and contin ue the conversation over there.
Loads of love,
That is interesting Eldarwen22,
I have never put it into a time category before but now that you mention it, Shalimar is a good fit with mid-seasons, still I wear it all year. What strengths do you have?
My full bottle is the EDP version and my little decant is vintage EDT (I think, will have to look at it again)/
I know loads of perfumistas Poo Poo the current EdP but I think it lovely. softer, less growly, more citrus, soap, powder and leather than the old days. So wearable.
I do like Shalimar and own a full bottle and have yet to but out my little vintage decant. Shalimar always seems to get lost in the shuffle for me. Probably because it is more of a transition perfume, Summer to fall or winter to spring.
Shalimar is my precious, too. I only wish that, for this particular film, they would have picked an Indian model, or at least one a bit more Indian looking, like the (gorgeous) guy.
TOTALLY on board with that. Imagine Ashwarya Rai playing the lead. AH MAY ZING. They definitely dropped the ball there but the man, OH YES PLEASE. Even though I don’t think he’s Indian either.
Yep, he looks more like Italian, or even southern French. But still, at least he is not blond! (And I insist: could he be any more gorgeous?)Totally agree about Ashwarya Rai! She would be the perfect face for Shalimar.
Totally, yes dark and brooding. Why aren’t we advertising moguls, we’d rock at it.
I was thinking the same. We’d make quite a team!
Hi! I enjoyed your post about Shalimar and India, would love to go there some day. As for the perfume, It took me forever to realize that I love Shalimar. I find it the most wearable of Guerlain classics, although at first I was drawn to pretty much every other perfume by Guerlain but the Shalimar! I have a vintage EdT, and I like wearing it just for myself. The current version I find a bit too strong though.
Interesting that you find the modern incarnation too strong. They must have amped something in it during a reformulation that doesn’t agree with you. Glad there is a Shalimar that you love though,
Sorry for your friend Minette. I have never heard of a perfume that has different effects years after. I might try some of the perfumes I didn’t like in the past
Nice to see another Aussie, YAY!
Do go and retry things, you never know.
thank, you, alex. i appreciate your comment.
oh, yes, things can smell quite different on us after a few years. we are always changing – in fact our bodies replace all of their cells every seven years. and when you consider how we change our diets, supplements, medications, and companions, it’s really no suprise. that and the fact that as we sniff more and more things, our palates become more sophisticated. we recognize different facets and can appreciate them, even if we don’t love them.
as portia says, do retry! it’s another type of adventure. enjoy!
just remembered… my first introduction to shalimar parfum was in the late ’80s, on a friend who died last year. it smelled incredible on her, just stunningly beautiful. the first time i tried it, it didn’t work on me. but thankfully, years later it did, and still does.
WOW! What a compliment Minette!! Was he a hottie?
Sad to read about your mate but isn’t it interesting how our body chemistry over the years can change the way perfumes smell on and to us. When I did my cosmetology course back in the 1980s we were taught to sell with this technique, getting people to retry things previously dismissed. It was surprisingly effective becausde people were expecting terrible but if it was now working they would LOVE it.
ha, unfortunately, no! wouldn’t that have been nice?! interesting technique! i wonder if it works because the “shock” factor is missing the second time around and we can relax into it. dunno.
thank you. it was hard to learn that she’d died – she was (is – i don’t believe “we” die, just the body) a funny mix of cultured and bawdy, and had an incredible eye for decorating and making things beautiful. she also introduced me to ysl opium back then. she’d helped open one of the first ysl boutiques here in the u.s. and had gobs of samples.
Ha ha ha! It would have been amazing if he was completely gorgeous too. You would have swooned.
There was some Psych reason it worked but I don’t remember the theory behind it, just that it often worked.
She sounds like an excellent friend. I am still completely undecided about any spiritual matters, so I live as if what I do matters and when I’m gone that I will leave positive ripples. WOW! Opened the YSL boutiques, she was clever too.
yes, positive ripples! that’s exactly what i hope to leave, too! love it. maybe our waves can meet somewhere over the oceans and collide and mingle and spread warm, loving vibes across the planet.
a sweet tribute to a worthy scent, portia. love this one, too. and it earned me the strangest/best compliment ever – a man told me he wanted to just attach himself to me so he could keep smelling me because i smelled so good. i had layered shalmiar edt with the parfum, and it was a fairly humid and warm day. i thought maybe it was too much, but apparently not for him. there really is nothing like it. that first blast when you smell it again after a while is just fabulous.
Howdy, Portia! I want to love Shalimar, really I do, and on paper, it sounds so perfect for me. But despite my many attempts over the years, it’s plain to see that she does not like me, no way, no how! Although I have had a little better luck with the Ode Vanille one and the LE Route du Mexique one, but just a little. A great post and wonderful photos, nevertheless!
So sad to read that Shalimar doesn’t work for you. There is consolation though in the fact that there are a SQUILLION other fragrances. I think the imagery and movies are enough, wear a fragrance you love and watch them, he he he.
Portia!!! You read my mind. I keep going through phases(especially during fall and winter) when I want to wear nothing else.. I fell in love with Shalimar through the current parfum so I agree with you that that’s a great place to start.
Subsequently I got a decant of vintage PDT ( I actually enjoy the current parfum better – more oomph..;-)).
Then last weekend I found a partial bottle of vintage parfum at a vintage store and can I just say swoon! Though as you rightly describe on your blog, each version is like the same production with the scenes rearranged.. The vintage parfum has a lower voice but to me is surprisingly more wearable, round and full and the vanilla is more pronounced and beautiful. It is impossible to compare the versions though because each version smells slightly different at different times so a reliable comparison is not possible..:)
Loved reading your emotional connection with Taj Mahal and with Shalimar. I’m going to India after 3 years this December. I would run all the way there right now if I could. 😀
great to read your Shalimar story. We are Shalimar twins, I think there may be a few of us around. We should start a Shalimar Lovers FB page and go visit each other on our holidays, how fun would that be?
Aaaaah INDIA! December is a great time there, where will you be traveling?
Mainly Bombay as the base, as my parents and sister live there right now. And hopefully if everything works out Kerala (Cochin, backwaters). Also Madras. Hyderabad and Bangalore are on the wishlist but will probably not happen..I really want to go to Delhi with my husband as we both spent a portion of our childhood there but have never gone there together- that will have to be on the next trip.
WOW!! What a trip! I’ve done the Kerala backwaters and through the tea plantations there, so much diversity in one small state. We did Madras in Summer for a wedding, stifling is an understatement, OMG! I thought I was going to die.
I’m thinking a week in Rajasthan on my way back from Europe in February. Fingers crossed.
Madras in summer would have been a torture I’m sure…lol. One doesn’t need to even walk to break into a sweat..:D I like the idea of India in December, though I really miss the mangoes! Rajasthan is beautiful- I think I visited Agra and Jaipur in one big trip when I was around 8..:). We were thinking of Udaipur/Jaipur this trip but realized it would be too cold..
I think I’m going to just miss you in London too- I read somewhere that you’ll be there in Jan (we are flying back via London)..
Bugger! We probably won’t get to London till the end of January, maybe even early feb. It’s such a great time to travel I think I wil try to go always north in Winter.
Don’t worry though, one day we will meet.
BTW I love Udaipur, last time we were there we were upgraded to a suite at the Lake Palace. It was so gorgeous. Incredible place.
Shalimar is my precious one too!
It holds such a special place in my heart, for no other reason that it fills me with happiness, and confidence. Shalimar is smiling and caressing, warm and inviting, and fun to hang around with! It’s as close as I’ll ever come to a signature scent. 😉
BTW, your post is so evocative and beautiful. I love it that you don’t try to describe what the fragrance smells like but urge the readers to go sniff, right now! So right. I would add: try it on skin please!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve never been to India, but I can relate to that feeling you describe of being overwhelmed by the beauty of a place/piece of art so much that one has stop and pull him/herself back together.
Without going into the details, I am one embarassing companion for an artistic rendez-vous!!!!
Anyway, I’d love to visit India one day… thank you for the vicarious escapade! 😉
We are embarrassing art/travel/event companions, I have embarrassed most of my loved ones at some point with overflowings of emotion. Excitement, stress, tiredness and a magical anything can induce tears or Stendhal Syndrome.
Yes, I too think it as close as I’ll ever come to a signature, it has been a signature at times in my past. I’m putting some vintage parfum on right now.
Portia and Zazie, I understand completely about being moved to tears (and more) by great beauty. I tried to see a much-loved painting several times but missed it each time (it was out on tour at other museums). And so a few years ago, when I finally saw it in New York, I just stood in front of it for what felt like an hour, with tears of joy trickling down my face. People around me probably wondered what was wrong with me, but I cared not a whit. I think it’s a wonderful thing to be struck so deeply by something beautiful.
A couple of times I too have been struck like that with art, sometimes with the much loved but at other times everyone really is asking why I am a mess. Sometimes it’s the way light, youth, abundance or lack is depicted, it can be Screen, Architecture, Book, Paint or Photograph. Oh well, I’m living this life for me, not them. It always gives them a good story afterwards though and that is a good thing.
Ok, it’s settled. We three should go museum hopping together!
Please, count me in! Music sometimes moves me so much, that I have to stop and change to some disco from the 70’s, in order to get back on track. And the simple thought of a beautiful painting, film or play can still bring tears to my eyes years afterwards. Clearly crazy, or at least pretty unstable, to some less sensitive people’s eyes – which is fun in the end, as Portia pointed out.
I see just one tiny problem: we are scattered on 4 continents!
Well, I suppose that gives us plenty of opportunities to visit new, interesting and beautiful places… 😉
I forgot to mention moments in the car listening to music and sobbing like a baby. SO CATHARTIC!!! Always feel a million $$$$ for about a week afterwards.
Yes, I bet we do wonders to our skin being like that. And yes Zazie, we must spread our sillage around the globe. 🙂
We ARE on 4 continents. How amazingly cool is that. Ann and Zazie I was in both your countries this year. One day I hope yto come to Brazil Solanace, will you have tea and a sniff with me if I come visit gang?
I’d rather have a few caipirinhas with you, but if you insist on the tea, we can arrange that too. 🙂
This is the one that started it all for me. From my grandmother’s vanity in her beautiful calm luxurious house a far cry from my own chaotic childhood… This scent was a respite and a door to dreaming for a life beyond. Just the promise was enough.
Sometimes promise, or the promise, can take you further than you’ve ever dreamed. Shalimar has taken me around the world and i have returned the favour.
I’m glad you had moments of light in a chaotic childhood.
Dear Portia – It was the other way round with my mum and me. I was a teenager and spending that grant on perfume again (!) and discovered Shalimar. I used to swan around swathed in this, marvelling at how different it was from anything else, and feeling very grown-up. My mum used to steal spritzes of it. Years later, whenever asked what her favourite perfume was, she would reply “Shalimar”. Not long before she died, she was given a huge bottle by her boyfriend but never opened it. I now have that bottle, but can not bring myself to wear it – not just because of my memories of her, but also because I am frightened it just won’t smell the same as that very first bottle which made her and me fall in love with it! But perhaps you might have tempted me to do so …….
Great story, Mum’s are special. I say keep the special bottle and buy yourself a new parfum, wear the new parfum and look at the bottle. Or open the damn bottle and enjoy it like crazy. Either way you will be happy and sad,