Shalimar Parfum Initial EDP


Image Sadly, I don’t get on with Shalimar.  I apologise to its fans. It’s not you, it’s me. On my skin it turns to Castrol GTX Engine oil. It’s not good.  However, despite the fact it doesn’t suit me, I do like the “rasp” and the “roughness” of it. Shalimar Parfum Initial was created in 2011 by Thierry Wasser who has a prolific Guerlain portfolio, including the previously reviewed La Petite Robe Noir EDT and EDP. Amusingly, the picture of him on Fragrantica (left) has him wreathed in cigarette smoke.

I was not expecting to like Shalimar Parfum Initial but the Sales Assistant at my local (small) Guerlain counter had laid out a whole load of free samples on the counter and then walked away. Old IScent brushed past with capacious handbag. I only took one.  OK. Two. All right then, I swiped four of them.  It’s love, I tell you.

Shalimar Parfum Initial is unusual in that it is both powdery and green at the same time. Before it has dried on my arm, it smells like a brand new ream of paper, but that impression dies away as it dries.  First impressions once it’s dried is of a Bergamot and Musk merger taking place, the combination of which really seems to work. Bergamot is one of my favourite notes so I was all nostrils a-quiver. However, this is no summer  lightweight.  Against the background of the refreshing but muffled Bergamot, there are delicious hearty Patchouli notes, with raspy Vetiver and pretty Jasmine and Rose.  The Rose is particularly dominant.

There is reportedly a caramel base in the note, but thankfully I cannot detect it.  I get disappointed when a scent I am enjoying goes all sweet shop on me, but that doesn’t happen here.  Shalimar Parfum Initial is different to other scents coming out today.  Its ingredients ensure that this is no “also-ran” in the raft of new launches. It is wonderfully Woody, softened by Musk, but it’s those Green notes that are a real knockout. As it’s Autumn, I am appreciative of the dry, grassy Vetiver which often disagrees with me, but is perfect here. It’s hard to give it a label.  If I had to I would call it a floral Oriental.  But you could also call it a gutsy Green with a prickly Patchouli base. On the Guerlain website it is described as “A radiant amber floral signature”. Whatever you call it, do try it if you get the chance.  This is a modern Guerlain worthy of the name.

6 thoughts on “Shalimar Parfum Initial EDP”

  1. Dearest Iscent
    *Silent shock*
    You… don’t… get… on… with… Shalimar.
    *The Dandy swoons*
    Putting this indiscretion aside (I shall be making my feelings plain on said perfume this weekend) I do agree that ‘Initial’ is both an entirely different scent and an entirely delicious one at that.
    I’d never thought of it as green before but will sniff at it anew and report back…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dear Mr Dandy.

      I do hope these smelling salts will rouse you from your swoon. They smell of Womanity by Thierry Mugler. You’ll be up and out of the room in no time, really fast.

      Yes, sadly I am breaking all the rules lately. I don’t like Iris and I don’t like Shalimar. Having said that, I didn’t like Apres L’Ondee or Mitsouko the first or second time round but now I love them both, especially Apres L’Ondee. There may be hope for me yet.

      Yes I definitely got Bergamot from Parfum Initial. I’m finding it more and more these days, which pleases me no end.

      Your friend

  2. Well, I’ll come out and admit that I’m with you: Shalimar smells musty on me and I don’t much care for iris, either. (Of course, I blame it on being new to perfume as let’s say a hobby, and thus a lack of sophistication.) I passed on the chance to get a sample of Parfum Initial in favor of the Original Recipe, and now I really regret it, as P.I. no longer seems to be available at my local department store.

    Have you ever tried Les Nereides Opoponax? I’ve seen it described as a modern, simplified take on Shalimar. I quite liked it, although it might be a bit sweet for you.

    1. Hello Laurels,

      I’m glad to see I’m not alone. I do feel like a perfume pariah sometimes with my anti Iris stance and dislike of Shalimar (and Jicky)!

      I shall look out for Les Nereides Opoponax. I like it when I get suggestions to try out. Thank you.

  3. As a fellow Shalimar-hater and a wary recipient of one of those samples of this, I was very tardy in trying it. In fact, it was only the news that this was being discontinued that made me try it, just to check I don’t like any kind of Shalimar. Of course IScents was right! It’s lovely. And thankfully we’re now in the ‘sweet spot’ of discontinuation, where there are lots of bottles available at discounters like all and prices are low. Now is the time to buy if you don’t want to have to pay exorbitant prices on EBay in a year or two.

    1. Discontinued? But it’s only just come out? No wonder Thierry Wasser complains about flankers. They probably take a year to create and five minutes to combust.

      I’m glad I’m not alone in not having the Shalimar love. I will go back to it one day, but I do have to get past the Castrol GTX analogy in my head.

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