Sample Summer: Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau

When Parfum Initial came out in 2011, I wanted to like it– as a lover of all things Shalimar– and, happily, I did. I thought then, as I do now, that it’s a gorgeous take on Shalimar– even if it could never replace the original.

Parfum Initial L’Eau, which I hadn’t been aware of until it arrived in my mailbox, is a nicely done summer flanker to a nicely done flanker. Say that three times fast!

L’Eau goes on like a weird mess (with a bizarre,  acrid,  green accord), but within a minute or so of landing on skin, it’s evolved into an airy, creamy confection, with the grande dame Shalimar still very much legible. The iris is toned down from the fantastic overdose of the original Parfum Initial, and L’Eau is, as the marketing materials claim, both lighter and fresher too. That sugar-spun meringue accord that lovers of the earlier summer flanker, Shalimar Eau Légère, are familiar with is present, through I find that it reads both smoother and drier.

If you’ve been looking for a wear-anywhere, any-weather Shalimar, L’Eau is up to the task.


  • Bergamot, Grapefruit, Neroli, Damask Rose, Iris, Jasmine, Vanilla, Tonka, Rose


My sample of Parfum Initial L’Eau came to me via of my Fragrant Fairy Godmothers, Tara.

17 thoughts on “Sample Summer: Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau

  1. It took me quite a while to love Shalimar Parfum Initial (but now I do), and similarly I’m having a rocky start with l’Eau. Your review is encouraging though. We’ll see…

    1. The opening moments are certainly rocky on both for me, but fortunately those weird notes only last a few minutes! I really like this L’Eau version, possibly even more than the original PI (further wearings will tell), and would certainly snap up a bottle if I came across a good bargain. It’s a little contradictory (maybe even blasphemy) to want an “easy-to-wear” Shalimar… but I’m just glad that there is a Shalimar for every occasion 😉

  2. First off, I must credit Thomas, The Candy Perfume Boy for originally giving me some of this to try.

    I did not get on with that opening either, no doubt because of the grapefruit, looking at the notes. I love the iris overdose in Parfume Initial and have also recently acquired Shalimar Eau Légère, so those 2 flankers are my faves, I knew you’d be the one to disect and appreciate this one though, dee, and you have!

  3. Oh but I must have been on Mars. I had heard of Shalimar PI but not the L’Eau. I really have to try harder at this perfume appreciation thing! 🙂

    The term ‘L’Eau’ always suggests transparency to me. Did you notice that? I see you note creaminess in your description.

    My daughter and I took a spritz from a tester of PI and we both liked it. Lovely looking perfume too, pretty colour and bottle. I have a half-formed plan to finally get a FB of Shalimar the original, but I can’t decide on a concentration, and rather than grab an older bottle from a discounter, I’d prefer one of the newly designed ones, the ones that have a foot (if you know what I mean). All a bit confusing and potentially expensive, so I will probably do nothing! I’m good at that …

    1. I wouldn’t exactly call it transparent, because it definitely has that pastry-shop vibe, but it is certainly less dense than either the original, or the PI version.

      Oh, I know the bottle you mean! I love it so much! If I wasn’t up to my ears in Shalimar (just got a “new” unopened ’67 bottle of EDC for Easter, to back up my other one…) I would certainly buy it in that bottle. Katie Puckrik is quite fond of the EDP version, and I also like the current EDT very much (I’ve got an older special edition bottle).

      PI is really nice, isn’t it? I too love the color of the juice:)

  4. I wish they still sold Shalimar Light/Eau Legere (or do they?). If this is somewhat like, I might give it a try.

    1. It can be had on eBay for a decent price, if you go for the Eau Legere version, but the actual “light” flanker goes for quite a bit more. EL is really very lovely though!

  5. I’m right there with Anne-Marie: I’ve heard of Parfum Initial, but not the L’Eau version. I thought the Parfum Initial was OK, but not as good as Shalimar, so I didn’t pay it much mind. This sounds like an interesting variation.

    1. I hadn’t heard of it either! In fact, when my sample arrived, I at first wondered it it was somehow mislabeled. LOL, but research (and sniffing) quickly set me back on track.

      It’s a really nice flanker, though I’ll always prefer the original 🙂

  6. Dee, you have done it again! I had dismissed this, since I wasn’t in love with Parfum Initial (didn’t hate it, just didn’t see the need for it), but you have made this sound so good. I admit to being worried about that grapefruit note, but I’m going to give it a go.

  7. Haha, I have only just caught up with the nicely done flanker, never mind the summer flanker of the flanker! Too many scents, too little time, as ever, but thanks to your heads up, I will look out for this one now.


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