One of my favourite quotes in perfume lore is about Guerlain Shalimar, from Ernest Beaux: “When I do vanilla I get crème anglaise, when Guerlain does it he gets Shalimar”.
Had a haircut yesterday. Had to get ok from GP to do it. Split-endy ragtail now gone. I could manage trimming my fringe, but a ‘real’ haircut is beyond my talents. In place of the hot mess, I now have chic – at least I’d like to believe that. I’m back to my short, graduated bob (shorter in back, comes to points at chin). Interestingly, the highlights from ages ago are actually growing out quite nicely. I wore Guerlain Shalimar to salon. Being masked up in Shalimar was sort of perfect and perfectly ironic.
The notes list for this perfume is sort of like reading the Cliff Notes of perfumery: bergamot, lemon, iris, jasmine, rose, patchouli, vetiver, opopanax, tonka bean, frankincense, sandalwood, musk, civet, ambergris, leather and vanilla.
Shalimar wasn’t my first Guerlain. That would be Vol de Nuit. I have a long and happy relationship with Mitsouko which for a period was all I wore. I guess you could say Guerlain is my house, as I’ve yet to find a fragrance that isn’t at least decent on me. Even Shalimar Parfum Initial (which I consider a shunda and has nothing to do with Shalimar) was ok on me.
But Shalimar. It’s sort of in a different galaxy. I feel different when I wear it.
I think I’ve said it before on Posse that on me Shalimar is the best, the most wonderful, most beautiful lemon floor wax. At least it is for the first hour. It dries down to something a bit more orthodox, what with the flowers, resins and that vanilla. But there’s pong there, under it all.
It’s that opening that really hooked me, however.
Never fails. When I need to return to some sense of equilibrium I’ll spray on a bit of Shalimar. When I need to gird my loins for some reason Shalimar is it. When I need to feel like I look better than I know I do (ie, like when my hair hasn’t been cut for seven months) clearly I wear Shalimar.
When I exited the salon post haircut, back to some small semblance of what I hope was ever so slightly chic, Shalimar wafted alongside in confirmation that the world was a bit less upside down.
So, what do you spray on when you need that oomph, when you need to feel stronger on the inside than you think you look on the outside so that you can at least act like you look like a million bucks?