I keep a perfume journal (really just a book of lists), and within that journal is a much scratched upon list of classic fragrances to sniff. Shalimar was one of the first to be scribbled out, as I was able to test it in the early stages of my fragrance obsession. It was the EDP, and it was nice, but I didn’t buy it. I took a few notes in said journal, and occasionally bid on an older bottle on eBay, without any luck.
Later, I asked my mother what her mother wore (my grandmother died when my mom was young), and discovered that Shalimar was her signature scent—this didn’t surprise me. In addition to being an enormously popular scent during that time, this woman was tall and exotically beautiful; she modeled, designed clothes, recorded an album, smoked, and died young. She fit the bill for the kind of woman I envision wearing Shalimar.
Mom bought a bottle of the EDT, for mostly sentimental reasons, and I was looking forward to hearing her report. The next time she called, she told me that she didn’t like it (“laughably horrible” would be an understatement of her experience). I said, “SEND IT TO ME!” and was distressed to learn that she had already gifted it to an old friend. This so traumatized my ears, she offered to buy me a bottle.
“Well,” I said, “what I’d really like, if your going to buy it for me, is the pure parfum.” Which led to my first bottle of extrait (yes, there is more than one bottle in my collection now).
Shalimar has become almost a holy grail for me; it’s intoxicating from the first to the last (well, I could skip the first 10 minutes), and I consistently wear it as my “night scent”. It probably seems insane to some, to think of wearing to bed a perfume that costs $125 for 7.5ml, but at this point, fragrance is for me and about me. When I go to bed, I want to feel beautiful, sensual, exotic, and cozy all at the same time. Shalimar fits the bill.
Above image is my grandmother, Anna Texiera, around 1950.
NST on Shalimar—enjoy!
5 thoughts on “Guerlain Shalimar”
Dee- I bought a tiny mini (current) of the parfum and just received it today. I think I finally ‘get’ Shalimar. In the past I’ve sprayed from the tester parfum bottles at nordstorm and the last time it became too much (causing my husband to remark :”it is nice, but each note is an opera” ). Today I applied a drop and am swooning and I can see this becoming a top 5 perfume.. It’s so sensual and lush, yet comfy and cozy..Now, I need to start bidding on some vintage-I can only imagine how gorgeous that will be…*sniffs and swoons and wants to drown in Shalimar*
You are SO right: the only way to wear the parfum (the superior concentration, IMO), is to dab. Isn’t it astonishing? The parfum was the first one that I tried, a gift from my mother, once I learned that it had been her mother’s perfume, and it stole my heart instantly. I can see why, even after all these years and reformulation, it’s still so beloved.
I have a bottle of vintage, and after smelling/wearing it, the current formula felt thin and synthetic in contrast. I only rarely pull it out, because it ruins my ability to appreciate the new one for weeks at a time! 🙂 Congratulations on your mini-bottle, I hope it brings you pleasure for years to come!!!
Your grandmom is gorgeous btw..
I think so too, though I never knew her. She died when my mom was only 15, so she’s perfectly preserved as a stunning, classy, 30-something. It’s tragic, yet romantic (those things seem to go hand-in-hand).