Shalimar De Guerlain: A Perfume Legend

In 1828, Pierre-François-Pascal-Guerlain uttered the golden rule for the Guerlain designer brand: “Make good products, and never surrender quality. For the rest, have simple ideas and apply them scrupulously”, Shalimar is a worthy illustration of this. This perfume, created in 1925 by Jacques Guerlain, is the product of pure chance. Indeed, it is said that this legend was born by adding a dose of vanilla to a bottle of his famous perfume Jicky.

A perfume inspired by a love story, that of Shah Jahan, emperor of the Orient, who imagined a magnificent garden named Shalimar, in hommage to his late wife. This translation of “the temple of love” went perfectly hand in hand with this perfume and its romantic undertones. Presented for the first time in 1925 during the Exposition of Decorative Arts in Paris, in a bottle created by the crystal-makers of Baccarat, Shalimar of the Orient aroused desire, extended an invitation to the discovery of the senses, evoked a kingdom of nothing but sensuality and the celebration of the female body. “To wear Shalimar is to let your senses take over”, said its creator. One of the designer’s incontestable best sellers, this icon would leave no one untouched, not even Serge Gainsbourg. Perfume of temptation, of desire, that makes you want to get even closer, Shalimar appeared in films like Cukor’s “The Women” in 1945, a comedy of deception and lies featuring a seductive perfume-seller.

An icon of the Guerlain house, this magic potion has gone through the years without getting a single wrinkle; “Shalimar Parfum Initial”, the newest addition to the line represented by muses like Nora Arnezeder and Natalia Vodianova, has been able to hold onto the same formula that made Jacques Guerlain’s original masterpiece so bewitching. Serge Gainsbourg said it all in his famous song “Initials BB” by singing “She wore nothing other than a little bit of Guerlain fragrance in her hair”. Twenty years after his death, Guerlain payed him homage by using this ode to women for its last advertising campaign.

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