Shalimar perfume literally means “temple of love” and it lives up to its exotic and glamorous name. Ever since Jacques Guerlain created this amber-oriental perfume in 1925, people can’t resist making it a pride of their vanities – just ask Kate Moss. Even other fragrance makers never shied away from imitating this over and over again. Let’s walk you through the story of one of the legendary perfumes ever created.

This perfume is so legendary that it also made to our top ten list of perfumes of all time for women, which is a tribute to this outstanding fragrance. This is a perfume which no one can go wrong with, its almost 90 years history is a testament to its success. Below is a full review of this perfume.

Shalimar Perfume’s Romantic History

The fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, was famous not only because it was during his rule that Indian civilization has experienced the Golden Age of prosperity but also because of the declaration of his eternal love to his wife Mumtaz Mahal – the Taj Mahal. The Shalimar perfume is a tribute to their love story. Watch this amazing video depicting their story and promo of the perfume.

Legends had it that the Indian prince Khurram (Shah Jahan’s other name) fell in madly in love with Arjumand Banu (Mumtaz Mahal’s other name) when he was twenty years old. He was immediately taken by her mesmerizing beauty when they met at the bazaar where her family worked. She was given the name Mumtaz Mahal, which translates as the ‘Jewel of the Palace’, after he became the emperor. Even after getting married, the two royalties were always beside each other, whether the kingdom is at war or at peace with other nations. Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal were blessed with 14 children but unfortunately, Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to the youngest child. She was only 39 and it tore the Emperor to pieces. Hence, the construction of Taj Mahal began in honor of his beloved wife.

Noteworthy Notes of Shalimar

shalimar perfumeThe Shalimar perfume got its name from Mumtaz’ favorite garden, ‘The Gardens of Shalimar’. Its magic is undeniable because of the prominent scents that the iris, amber, vanilla, and bergamot, among others, brought to this perfume by Guerlain. No wonder, it became one of the best-selling perfumes of all times.

The Shalimar perfume by Guerlain is sensual and voluptuous, deliciously fresh and sweet, as well as very warm and powdery in texture. And all these characteristics are lent by its top note, bergamot. It also contains jasmine, rose and lemon. There’s also a luxurious blend of opopanax, gray amber, incense, tonka bean and Peru balsam. Until today, the classic composition that Guerlain perfume is known for remains the same, both for its eau de parfum and parfum concentrations in its mysterious, black bottle that is sweeping the world off of its feet.

What It Smells Like

For almost a century now, the Shalimar by Guerlain has mesmerized ladies and their admirers with its sensual rich base of amber, vanilla, musk and patchouli. The lemon-glazed top notes perfectly accentuate the fragrant florals – making for a light-hearted yet velvety oriental note. The elegant blend of this iconic love potion is like an enigmatic yet captivating cocktail that lingers for hours.

Think about how Ava Gardner would prepare for her romantic night out with Frank Sinatra. Shalimar would definitely be on top of her perfume list if she wanted to make it as epic as possible. It’s the Balsamic notes that make it so intoxicating and seductive. But the truth is, Guerlain has achieved the perfect balance of heavy and light.

Needless to say, Shalimar perfume is neither for the naive and innocent nor for the faint of heart. You don’t have to have a trained perfumer’s nose to appreciate its sophistication, beauty and intellect but you do need a keen sense of imagination and adventurous spirit if you want to fall right into its spell-binding wonders.

Each Note Has A Distinct Personality

Guerlain Shalimar resonates ever so deeply even after its scent evaporated throughout the night. What are conjured are sensual images of forbidden dreams, old-fashioned romanticism and unbridled passion.

Spritz it out for a little bit and you can visualize yourself walking through the gardens of Shalimar where you are surrounded by an abundance of citrusy lemon, fresh green cedar and zesty bergamot. It would instantly hit your nose with its uplifting nature and would deceptively guide you more towards the path of enigma and intrigue.

As you wander off the luscious flower gardens, be prepared to be swept off your feet by the dreamy jasmine, powdery iris and sweet rose. But the woody patchouli and vetiver would bring you back to earth but still make you feel good about being in love with its complex scents. The comforting woods and romantic florals would make it hard not to plunge in deeper within the immortal garden of love.

Inside the mesmerizing garden, gain deeper understanding of what it has to offer with the delicate touch of vanilla, the smooth tonka bean and the warm amber. The strong masculine scents of musk, civet and leather will put you in a trance.

As you succumb to the captivating opulence of the Shalimar garden, let the sweet balsamic opponax and the smoky incense gently bring you to the other side of its grandiose and eroticism.

Shalimar Hopefuls

Shalimar Guerlain was never a shy scent to begin with. Its complexity from beginning to end simply entices anyone to pay extra attention to it because missing any of its deliciously enchanting notes is something you might regret. No wonder it spawned a flock of imitators wanting to bring that heady dose of vanilla, patchouli, amber and musk to its own set of loyal followers.

The Obsession by Calvin Klein in the 1980s is just one who paid Shalimar that very touching compliment – a perfume with a distinctly similar patchouli-vanilla base with citrus notes on top. And maybe the inexplicable sensory memories it brings to those who use it is something that Thierry Mugler also wants to offer since it offered its own version of Guerlain Shalimar – the Angel perfume. Its sandalwood-patchouli-vanilla base mixed with mouth-watering notes of caramel, honey and chocolate has won the hearts of its own brand of users.

When to Wear Shalimar

Shalimar’s feminine beauty, animalistic elements and overall carnal potency makes it perfect for evening wear, regardless of the occasion. Bring out your inner goddess and you’ll have your lover as your instant prisoner. Just a caveat: he may not want you to wear anything else and you may soon find him putting a ring on your finger because of it.

A Face-Lift for the Classic and the Legend

It’s a legend on its own, set high on the perfume pedestal of all times. Loved by many and worn to excess by both mere mortals and society goddesses, one might think it doesn’t need any more improvement. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?

But whether it’s a new interpretation, a self-reinvention or simply an unexpected change – the Shalimar perfume indulged on a little nip and tuck during its 85th anniversary in 2010. Guerlain had a little help with the jewellery designer Jade Jagger, the daughter of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and fashion icon Bianca Jagger. As a result, a more sensual and equally curvy bottle was born. To top it all, a gem-like stopped is created to the sensationally wonderful Shalimar perfume.

A Perfume Befitting of a Queen

Shah Jahan may have immortalized his devotion for his wife through the Taj Mahal but it is Jacques Guerlain we have to thank for with a perfume that would complement the wonders and romanticism of that love story. As Guerlain himself said, “I felt something so intense. I could only express it in a perfume.”