The Hidden Shalimar

Hello, Shalimar Cologne. You make the beginning of my day tolerable.  Mornings are hard, yes, and when I make it a Shalimar Cologne morning, my day goes much more smoothly. I enjoy it to the point that I want to share my adoration with you!

In 2015, Guerlain launched Shalimar Cologne EdT.  I don’t believe Shalimar Cologne was launched with much fanfare, it was simply slipped into the line up of new offerings for the year. Or maybe it was more heavily marketed in Europe, I’m not certain. What I do know is that Shalimar Cologne is hard to find in the United States.

Here is a wee bit of history. Shalimar Cologne is a flanker of the original, much loved Shalimar perfume.

What is a flanker? The term flanker “refers to newly created perfume that shares some attributes of an already existing perfume. These attributes may be the name, packaging or notes of the existing fragrance.” – Wikipedia.

Shalimar has quite the line up of flankers. Hang with me, there is a bit of a back story, a prequel of sorts, that needs explaining.

Firstly, there is the Queen Bee.

Where it all started  – Shalimar, 1925

Then, a more budget-friendly eau de cologne.

Eau de Cologne, 1937

Finally, in 2003 there is a revival!

Collection Eau Legere Parfumee, 2003

More of the same?

Eau de Shalimar, 2008

In 2010, vanilla was added. Mmmm. Surprisingly enough, Shalimar doesn’t have vanilla until this variation.

Collection Ode a la Vanille, 2010

For the millenials!

Parfum Initial, 2011

For the freshie lovers!

Collection Parfum Initial L’Eau, 2012

Creamy Marshmallows

Souffle de Parfum, 2014

Finally, my favorite, Shalimar Cologne. 

Shalimar Cologne, 2015 All photos from
(Disclaimer: There is a tremendous possibility that I missed one or have a wrong date. Guerlainophiles, don’t burn me at the stake!)

Now that you have been schooled. Let’s get down to why a bottle of Shalimar Cologne will sit on my vanity forever. Today, for this review’s purpose, I perfumed up with a double dab of Shalimar EdP on my left wrist and two sprays of Shalimar Cologne  EdT on my right wrist. I smelled gorgeous, BTW. Let’s say, I gravitated to my right wrist the most.

On my left wrist, Shalimar is a work of pure art, but sometimes, although the work is heartbreakingly beautiful, a person may only want to acquire a facsimile of the artwork on a postcard to remember the experience. This is the way I feel about Shalimar. I only have Shalimar EdP in a small vial.  When I smell it, I scrunch up my nose. I’m not sure what it is in it that makes me hesitate, but it feels dark, hot and beastly. I admit that after an hour, Shalimar turns into a magical, loudly serenading siren with nubby, furry faun horns. Shalimar overwhelms my senses and jars me. I can’t do anything but listen to the fragrance. It’s kind of like music. I can’t listen to music while I write because I concentrate on the music’s rhythms, instruments and undulations and get no writing done.

Right wristed, Shalimar Cologne is a work of art also and astoundingly similar, but different. The difference is that I can move through my day with Shalimar Cologne because it is more breathable and wearable. Every once in a while, I am reminded of it’s presence by a tendril of lemon powder or flowers or a white, sleeping kitty and I smile.  I’m not recoiling from the onslaught of a horned leopard with a flower necklace.

How does Shalimar Cologne smell?
The first 20 minutes is a citrus hurricane with tart lemons and grapefruit. It’s pretty intense as most citrus I’ve experienced only last a few minutes. I also smell powder in the swirly citrus. Then it transforms to a lemon meringue and the meringue swirls are slighty browned and vanillic. I can’t say it’s a gourmand because the lemon meringue is present for only a short while. The piece de resistance is the powder and musk of the dry down. Powder and musk is life for me! The powder is straight from the makeup puff and the musk is clean. This lady’s heaven right here!

The fragrance is extremely pleasant to my nose, but not soft by any means. Shalimar Cologne does not stay close. If you like subtle fragrances, then Shalimar Cologne is not a good choice. Don’t be misled by the word cologne. The fragrance is big and stays for hours.

Why is it hidden?
Ya’ll, I had to stalk online stores for a couple of months before I found a bottle. I even went in person to a Guerlain stockist in NYC and they didn’t carry it. Finally, I found a bottle on Ebay. The seller thought he was selling a regular, old bottle of Shalimar, but I spied the pink square on the box and knew it was the cologne and snapped it up that second. I don’t know why it is so hard to find in the States and maybe it is widely available in Europe, but the hunt was so worth the effort.

Fragrance Notes:
Top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and lemon
Heart notes of freesia, jasmine and rose
Base notes of musk, orris and vanilla

Longevity: 8 hours
Sillage: Moderate to Large

Perfumer: Thierry Wasser

Perfume Rating: ♥♥♥♥ Smells Downright Gorgeous
Southern Perfume Type: The Captivating Cypress

Thank you, Thierry Wasser. You knocked it out of the ball park with this one.

Have you tried Shalimar Cologne? Are you a fan or not? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear your thoughts!

I am not in any way affiliated with Guerlain. I’m simply a fan.



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