Friday, March 26, 2010

Guerlain Shalimar

Shalimar Shalimar Charms EditionVanillic, incredible enveloping warmth, powdery softness, heady danger, just the faintest hint of smoke...but take care. Too much may kill you and those around you--only the smallest amount of this EDP on the skin can tantalize, draw others in like a faintly shimmering tiny diamond on a necklace at the throat's hollow, but too much can be scary and gaudy.


I don't get the bergamot note at all here. All I smell is vanilla, powder and smoke--and the sweet myrrh note, which gives it the slightest twinge of herbiness. The other thing to say is that this fragrance is supremely artfully balanced, a composition that weighs the elements agains one another playfully yet creatively.

Later on in the drydown, you get almost the sense of a shimmering, milky veil of stars floating around you that is quite heavenly. It is dry yet creamy, and certainly dreamy. Like being haunted by a vision of a past lover. And I guess that's the point, since this perfume--as the story goes--was composed to give a scent to Shah Jahan's grief at the loss of his princess. Here's what the Guerlain website says:

"C’était au Nord de l’Inde, il y a quatre siècles. Il s’appelait Shah Jahan. Elle avait pour nom Mumtaz Mahal. Il était si éperdu d’amour qu’il voulut faire, de sa vie, un perpétuel jardin de délices. Ainsi jaillirent de terre les Jardins de Shalimar. Le récit de cet amour fou a enflammé l’imagination de Jacques Guerlain qui, en 1925, créa Shalimar, le premier parfum oriental de l’histoire. Subtil mélange de fleurs et de sensuels accents ambrés boisés, Shalimar est devenu à jamais l’essence de l’amour et de la féminité rayonnante."

So, Like the Taj Mahal, this is a valedictory scent, the smell of fantasy and longing mixed with grief. More the smell of the memory of love than the smell of love itself. Fascinating. And a monument monumentalizing a monument.

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