Guerlain Shalimar: Sorry I’m Late



I know, I know! I’ve been doing a perfume blog for three years and never reviewed Shalimar. How can this be allowed? I was getting nervous of the blog police doing a dawn raid on me from crimes against fragblogging, so I thought I’d give it a proper test drive today to avoid arrest.

The reason I haven’t reviewed Shalimar is because I used to think it smelled like Castrol GTX.  It was petrolly on me and I didn’t like it. However, Shalimar is a good example of how taste can change.  I don’t know if this is an age thing now I’m nearer fifty than forty ( gulp), or if it just comes with wider appreciation. When I started the blog I wore Chanel Cristalle more often than anything. The more perfume I try, the more Oomph I seek and I find myself eschewing the light hesperides I loved, at least until hot weather comes ( remember that? Hot weather? No?) Now I wear Chanel Coco it seemed a logical transition to Shalimar after that.

shalimar ad

I tried Guerlain Shalimar EDP today in my local House of Fraser. Immediately there was spice, incense and woods. It was rich and smoky and I went into the posh ladies loos sniffing my wrist like an addict. Once all that settled ( but didn’t leave) I had another sniff. There isn’t a lot of room for the flowers to shine: there is only a mere hint of rose and sober iris. The smokiness was starting to emerge along with the warm vanilla (minus the all too common sugariness. Phew!). By the time I got home this was a smoky, woody vanilla, wrapped in frankincense and sandalwood and I was smitten.  Oddly enough, I didn’t get any animalic civet, but that’s just me.  I find knicker notes in perfume where there are no knickers to be had and can’t spot civet even if they’re mating noisily under my nose.

Eight hours later and I totally get it. Shalimar has found a new fan for life. It almost seems like a cliché to say this is a classic that will never date, but cliché or not, Shalimar has held its own since its inception in 1925 and I need a bottle of my own as a matter of urgency. My only question is why? Why did I wait so long?


Guerlain Shalimar is widely available. You can buy it from House of Fraser, Boots and to name but a few. It’s next on my hit list.


16 thoughts on “Guerlain Shalimar: Sorry I’m Late”

  1. I once smelled a vintage Shalimar perfume (not the eau de parfum) and I could smell easily the animalistic notes. On the contrary a wear daily the todays version of this perfume concentration and I can’t smell that much musk.
    Nowadays reformulations try hard to find synthetic equivalent to animal musk and in that case the reformulation is still very good, but not as «dirty» as the original. Anyway, that’s good, because they don’t kill as much animals, so «hurrah» 😛

    1. Hi Genevieve (such a beautiful name),

      I would love to try the vintage but sadly only had the modern version to sniff. I didn’t get any animalic notes. I agree that no animals should be harmed in beauty products and I applaud the use of styrax as a cruelty free alternative.

      best wishes

  2. Hello Sam. I had a miniature of Shalimar but sadly I can’t handle it. After a while it smelt so much animalistic +Vanilla that I had to run to shower.Thanks to the mall fragrance lady who gave me the mini Shalimar before I invested in a bigger one. I went and bought La-vie-est-belle which I really adore.

    1. Hello dear Cilantro! always so lovely to hear from you.

      I once did not get along with Shalimar at all, but once it dried down I was smitten. La Vie est belle is a good choice. Enjoy!

      best wishes

  3. Interestingly enough I never cared for Shalimar. Until one day last year, 38 degree heat, I had a big spritz of the extrait. Two days later I hopped on a train to Vienna and bought it. I now layer it with the edp that Tara sent me. Meanwhile Portia is at some point gonna send me some vintage.
    So there you go. ❤️

    1. Hello dear Val!

      Always a pleasure when you drop by. Well now, you are certainly covering Shalimar with thoroughness and vigour! And your comment is just one example of how kind hearted and eager-to-share our fellow fumeheads are. Also- YES orientals do work in the heat.

      warm wishes from Wales
      Sam x

    1. Dearest Portia,

      Always an honour when one of my favourite bloggers drops by! You are more influential than you know. You’ve certainly turned my head many times.

      warm wishes

      Sam xx

  4. I have loved Shalimar since being in my late teens. I was lucky enough to sample lots of perfumes in my youth as my father worked all over the world and brought three bottles of perfume home with him each time. One for me, one for my sister and one for my mum. Shalimar has, since that first spray, always been a favourite.

    1. Welcome Melissa! and thank you for commenting. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. I’m taking a week’s break but I hope to be back soon and I hope you will drop by again!

      best wishes
      Sam x

  5. I finally fell for Shalimar when I tried the Eau de Cologne. What a beauty! Maybe I’ll “grow” into the stronger concentrations but in the meanwhile, I’m so happy with the EDC.

    1. Welcome Old Herbaceous! Shalimar cologne is excellent and just the right concentration if you’re not ready to switch your sillage to “nuclear”!

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