Review: Guerlain Shalimar


A few years ago I decided to clean out my fragrance collection and focus mainly on collecting fragrances from Guerlain. It seems a lot of fragrance lovers eventually find their way over to the Guerlain side. Their fragrances are often varying, plentiful and complex.

One of the most well known Guerlain fragrances is Shalimar. In fact most stores that carry Guerlain usually only have Shalimar in stock. It was not my first Guerlain purchase but it has become one of my staple perfumes to have on hand.

Guerlain has a rich history and is said to be the first oriental perfume ever made. In fact Guerlain writes in the description of Shalimar… “Four centuries ago, in India, Emperor Shah Jahan fell hopelessly in love with Princess Mumtaz Mahal. He had the enchanting Gardens of Shalimar built for her and dedicated the Taj Mahal to her as well, one of the seven new wonders of the world. This incredible tale sparked the imagination of Jacques Guerlain, who created Shalimar, the first oriental fragrance in history, in 1925.”


The notes in Shalimar are so rich and varied. The perfume is composed of citrus notes; lemon and bergamot, jasmine, may rose, opoponax, Tonka bean, vanilla, iris, Peru balsam and gray amber.

Shalimar was one that I was sure I was NOT going to love. It just seemed so old lady-ish based on reviews I had preivously read. However, I decided to give it a try and now I LOVE it.


On first spray, while wet on the skin, there is something so strong that I don’t like.  I dont get the citrus notes as strong as I would have thought.

But within an hour, upon the dry down, this becomes this soft, powdery scent. It’s like a warming resinous incense. It makes me think of Buddhist temples I visited in Asia. The temples were filled with incense that had been lit in honor of Buddha and the dead. In Shalimar I get that incensy, oriental fragrance of the balsam and amber.

The dry down keeps changing, first its warm vanilla, than its this firey resin and ends in a bouquet of flowers. The wear of Shalimar is amazing as the scent seems to linger on the skin all day. The final base notes stay behind and envelope you in the amber, vanilla and tonka bean.

This is definitely a strong fragrance for a strong woman or man.



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