Sunday, May 6, 2007

Shalimar: Romantic and Seductive

Shalimar is one of the flagships of French perfumery. Created by Jacques Guerlain, it is an extraordinarily rich and spicy oriental fragrance. The name comes from the Shalimar gardens in Lahore, which were created for the Emperor Shah Jahan (who also commissioned the Taj Mahal) in honour of his wife. The flacon is an ornate batwing bottle reminiscent of the fountains in the gardens of oriental palaces. The sapphire-coloured, fan-shaped stopper is inspired by the traditional customs of those mysteriously enchanting countries.

Launched in 1925, Shalimar is exotic and sensual thanks to the blend of bergamot, jasmine, iris and vanilla enveloped by balsamic notes. The scent itself came about quite by accident. Playing around one day, Jacques Guerlain added a new synthetic vanilla fragrance, ethyl vanillin, to Jicky, the perfume created by his uncle. The vanillin unexpectedly intensified Jicky's oriental character, and Guerlain realized he had created a seductive new scent. Shalimar is, indeed, indisputably sexy. Scent expert Roja Dove once described it "as close to the edge as you can go and still stay within the realms of good taste." In fact, during the roaring twenties, it was said that there were three things no respectable woman shoud do - smoke, dance the tango, and wear Shalimar.

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