Shalimar Parfum Initial by Thierry Wasser for Guerlain 2011

Hello there APJ Family,

In 2011 there was an enormous flurry of excitement, Guerlain and relatively new comer to the reins of their fragrance division Theirry Wasser, decided to reinvent with a sideways flanker the most famous of the houses fragrances; Shalimar. Flankers are a tricky problem for frag houses, too close and why bother, too far and WTF has this got to do with the original. I understand that it is better to have a pre-existing fan base, brand recognition, history and visual cue to spur your product forwards into the stratosphere of over 1300 new releases from brands big enough to have registered their launches on BaseNotes in 2012. Still it’s a tricky concept.

Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain 2011

ShalimarParfumInitial FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, orange, green notes
Heart: Rose, jasmine, iris, vetiver, patchouli
Base: Vanilla, white musk, tonka bean, caramel

One of the Fragrantica commenters 100mlEDT says: Entirely representing the outer trappings of the original and giving it rose coloured glasses. I thought this a masterly summation and am quite jealous that I didn’t think of it myself. A softer, younger, lighter and ultimately more wearable version, in today’s fragrant world, than its older, more full-on sister. I would also recommend Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain for those who like the idea of being a Shalimar woman, with all the history and structure that is implied, but who really don’t like the fragrance.

After the first hour I think you could even wear Shalimar Parfum Initial in close work proximity, it is not a sillage or scent bubble monster and wears very close on my skin, just the occasional waft as I move or if I stick my head down my top. It stays at this almost fragrant stage though for hours and I loose all traces of it somewhere 5-7 hours, depending on the day. If I wear Shalimar Parfum Initial by Guerlain at night I can sometimes still get a faint whiff next morning.

ShalimarParfumInitial art8ambyPhoto Stolen art8amby

Further reading BoisDeJasmin and 1000Fragrances
CheapSmells has a 60ml Gift Set with lotion and bag around $80
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/ml

How do you think this flanker rated? Did you read the further readings? Who do you agree with more, BoisDeJasmin or 1000Fragrances? I loved both the arguments and they have left me thinking hard about expectations and the global fragrance market. You?

Whichever way you swing I hope you do it in the company of people you love, or at least fragrances you love,
Till tomorrow,
Portia xx

Shalimar Parfum by Jacques Guerlain 1925

Hey Hey All,
I am wearing one of my Shalimar 1970-80s Parfums for the last time. It came in a lovely gold tone basket weave atomiser. The parfum version of the one pictured below. Unfortunately they don’t make the parfum inserts for this case anymore, or at least I can’t find them in Sydney, Australia. So instead of Boo Hoo-ing I’m sending my Shalimar far away to a new home where I know it will be treasured and used to the last dregs.

From Fragrantica
Shalimar was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1925, as a tribute to the legendary love story between Emperor SHAHJAHAN and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Before he became emperor his name was Prince Khurram. According to the legend, twenty- year-old Prince Khurram met a young girl, named Arjumand Banu at the bazaar where her family worked. Mesmerized by her beauty, after becoming emperor, he made her his wife as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Jewel of the Palace”. After the wedding ,the prince and Mumtaz were inseparable, in war and in peace. She had given 13 children to Shahjahan and died during the birth of their 14th child at the age of 39. Her death devastated Shah Jahan and had built Taj Mahal in memory of his wife and their undying love. Shalimar is named after ‘The Gardens of Shalimar’. It was Mumtaz’s favorite garden.

Photo Stolen eBay

In times of major events, stress, fun, worry, happiness, even going down to the shop or cleaning through the years this case and parfum have been right there with me. There’s not even 2ml left now but the juice is still perfect.

How does it smell? Well the first waft if you spray on your chest is a big fat animalic, citrus and vanilla rush so filled with the animals that unless you are prepared it can knock you a bit silly, and the rush isn’t over in a minute like many modern perfumes, no way! You get a full 40 minutes of this deliciously deranged magic. All warm and cuddly vanilla, spicy citrus and just got home from work, then gym and about to have sex manimal. GRRRR! How was this ever an elegant womens fragrance? Such raw and sexy content. Now that I know the term, “Ho Panies” I can’t get the image out of my nostrils, this is sex bottled.

As we mosey along together the rich powdery iris and vetiver take centre stage, still with all the musk and civet squaring up with the incense, resins and woods. I think I miss the patchouli because it’s so unlike the ones used today and I must be mistaking it for something else. Hours and hours of this section as the beautifully blended magic works through its own accords in Shalimar’s own time, I have never noticed a pepper note but there is definitely one lurking around and through today. In the very mild winter we are having I get nearly a full afternoon from this section before it starts heading towards the sweet vanilla, suede and wood dry down that anyone who loves Shalimar will know so well.

Photo Stolen eBay

You can read excellent Shalimar reviews with some fun historical data at PerfumeShrine and BoisDeJasmin

Love to you all, thanks for dropping by, see you tomorrow,

Portia xx

Shalimar EdC by Guerlain 1925

Hiya Perfumistas,

As some of you already know Jacques Guerlain created Shalimar in 1925, inspired by the legendary love story between Mughal Indian Emperor Shah Jahan and his lowly born wife Mumtaz Mahal. He loved her so much that when she died he nearly bankrupted his empire by building the Taj Mahal as her tomb, when he started work on a matching black granite edifice on the opposite shore of the river in Agra his sons imprisoned him and kept him incarcerated till his death. Having been twice to the Taj Mahal, the second time spontaneously bursting into tears as it came into view and having to take a seat while my BFF Kath photographed, I think Shalimar a fitting tribute to a love that tore a family, a man’s mind and nearly an empire apart when it was done. I have loved it since my Mum and her friends wore it when I was a child.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Today I decided it was time to have an opening ceremony for my incredible Vintage Shalimar EdC find, pre 1990’s but after the bar code was introduced because there is a b/c at the bottom and some Arabic writing there too. Anyone? Still in the lovely shiny embossed gold with matte navy and white box.

Photo Stolen Shopping

Oh boy! OH BOY! It goes on with a rush and susurrus of vanilla that took me so completely by surprise that I missed the entrance of the citrus which all of a sudden appeared and became nearly the sole focus; with vanilla still in the background.

About 15 minutes of these lovely citrus notes and then they are overtaken by the base, there seems to be no stopover in the floral department at all, like it’s been quickly and quietly swept under the carpet. Now it’s back to the incredible woodsy inedible vanilla with unpickable stuff lurking around trying to get noticed but being crushed under the jeweled bootlet of vanilla and wood.

Quite a different experience to my vintage or current parfum or my current EdP , still Shalimar but bolder in some ways and less pronounced in others. Even its staying power is quite good at 2 hours so far and no sign of diminution. I am at around 2 hours starting to get a light leather though, newish leather but soft, curling around the vanilla and giving it a fresh depth. I am reading my book and coming back to type every so often when new facets of the fragrance manifest, what a lovely way to spend a winter afternoon.

Interesting, at about 2.5 hours there is a definite floral intrusion over the top of all else and through it, now that the flowers have decided to make their presence known properly it seems they were there all along but just happy to bide their time filling the fragrance out softly. The extremely powdery iris and soft jasmine/rose accords. I am in heaven.

At just over 3 hours I am left with a sweet, woody, maybe patchouli I can’t quite read it because my Shalimar EdC has become so whispery quiet, still there but I have lost the ability to parse its notes. That was so good, so perfect, I think this is my favourite Shalimar incarnation that I own. It has been a satisfying ride and I am replete.

We are at around 4.5 hours and I just got a citrus and vanilla waft as I turned the page of my book. Still there still humming along. EdC! 4.5 hours! Ridiculously wonderful. Thank you Guerlain.

Thanks for coming along on my fragrant mental wanderings, that you do makes me happy. I hope it brings you joy as well.

On the Perfume Posse today my mate David Watson and I have done a LIVE VIDEO SNIFF. So gay it hurts. Go see.

Do you have a Shalimar story to share, I love them.

Portia xx

Australian Perfumers: Howard Jarvis of Bud Parfums

By Evie C.

Portia recently discovered the wonderful Bud Parfums, based in the Australian state of Victoria.  Howard Jarvis, Bud Parfums’ founder, was kind enough to let us add him to our series on Australian perfumers.  Enjoy!

Howard Jarvis developed his love of fragrance early – at the age of three he was found eating jasmine flowers in his grandmother’s garden.  Despite his early interest, however, he lived several different lives before finally deciding to seriously pursue his love of perfume.  He was variously a bricklayer, builder, photographer, naturopath, homeopath and herbalist.   He even consulted to the Sultan Brunei on medicinal uses for Brunei’s rainforest plants.  By the time he decided to focus on fragrance, he had 15 years experience as a naturopath and a long-held fascination with the oils of Australian native plants on which to base his company, Bud Parfums.

Jarvis says he is self-taught as a perfumer but names Jonathan Midgley of Brisbane-based fragrance laboratory Damask Perfumes as an important mentor.  “My mentors and inspiration come from the genius of Jonathon Midgley and avant-garde perfumers who buck the trends like Jean-Claude Ellena and Christopher Brosius. These three are changing perfumery as we know it into something finer.”  Jarvis also cites independent perfumers Andy Tauer and Neil Morris as favourites.  “I do admire the boldness and the perfumes of Tauer and Morris. They’re both introducing people to new experiences.”

Jarvis is not a huge fan of mainstream perfumes. “Mass market perfumes seem to be a little boring at present. I see the same things rehashed with a new ad campaign. I was impressed by the difference of Angel when it first arrived.”  His personal signature scents are constantly changing, he says, “I have a brief ‘fling’ with each new perfume I create. I’ve had a long ‘affair’ with Shalimar ever since I was knee-high. Our perfume Sophia is a tribute to the beauty of Shalimar.”

As to the business of making it as a perfumer in Australia, Jarvis says, “Australian perfumers can make a living, however it takes years to build a reputation or become known by the rest of the world. Blog sites are fast changing this situation – the world is now as small as the click of a mouse.”  Bud Parfums is presently primarily an online business.  Jarvis says he will continue to run online for another two years until his customer base is large enough to support opening a shop.  “My plan is to have a 19thcentury apothecary where tourists can come to Warburton and watch me making perfumes.”

Bud Parfums’ devotees include all types and range in age from 8 to 90 years old.  “We sell slightly more perfumes internationally than in Australia,” says Jarvis. “The Europeans love rich, deep, dark perfumes, while Brazilians love fruits. Our Asian customers enjoy light, airy, soft scents. I think climate and cultures influence perfume buyers.”

Jarvis has a line of perfumes for men and women with names ranging from the strident – ‘Ugly Bastard’ – to the delicate – ‘Elysium’.  His latest scents, ‘Scarlet’ and ‘El Diablo’ were the result of a long Warburton winter.  “Each day here it either rained or snowed. I was craving spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove etc. Scarlet is a gypsy dancer and El Diablo is her torrid partner. It took a long time to fine-tune both and I only just managed to have them ready for the cold European Christmas. Our German friends at loved them both.”

Jarvis says he can still be found nibbling on jasmine flowers from time to time and no doubt they’ll continue to aid his inspiration as he brings more Australian scents to life.

Howard Jarvis of Bud Parfums


Scent Stories: No. 5 and bulshie biker parents

Chanel No. 5

Since starting a quest to find a ‘signature’ scent, I’ve been probing those close to me about the perfumes they wear and why they wear them, trying to get at what it is that connects someone with a particular scent so decisively.

While I’ve been desperately trying to find some systematic way of finding ‘the one’ – looking to ‘best-of’ lists from the doyennes of perfume criticism, casting around for a ‘genre’ that might gel, trying to nut out which ‘notes’ offend or enchant – I’ve realised that for many (most?) all these things are immaterial and the connection is much more visceral.

Take my sister for example.  She has been a committed Chanel No. 5 wearer for some years now.  Chanel No. 5 is the scent my mother used to wear when we were kids but my mother and my sister are by no means cut of the same cloth and so I was intrigued as to why she had connected with this perfume. Surely there wasn’t a sentimental attachment?

My sister quickly set me straight.  She explained that Chanel No. 5 was a buffer against the daily slings and arrows she encountered in her work as a teacher and some-time security guard.  She described how she kept her No. 5 in her glove box and would spritz herself before going in to school. A whiff of No. 5 helped her get through parent-teacher conversations such as the one with the Bandido biker-gang parent who called to complain about his 13-year-old daughter’s classroom tiffs.  “Mr. F,” she said elegantly “if you can’t stop yelling expletives, I’m going to have to hang up on you.” With her wrist to her nose and Chanel No. 5 wafting upwards her feet were in Tempe but her head was firmly in Paris.  The same technique helped her brave all manner of insults from drunken Saturday-night crowds determined to get past her as she worked security at busy Sydney pubs.  It was a little touch of class, she explained, in an otherwise brash and bumpy world.

My sister-in-law, conversely, had a more traditionally sentimental attachment to a scent.  On the eve of her mother’s funeral, a friend had called to talk and asked about the perfumes her mother had worn regularly.  On the day of the funeral, the friend turned up with a large bottle of Marc Jacobs’ Lola, one of her mother’s favourites, so that my sister-in-law could always have a little sense of her mother close by. Similarly, Portia has a very strong connection to Shalimar, his mother’s favourite. Even as he aims to sample and love every perfume ever released, he will no doubt always come back to Shalimar.

And so, as I continue to work on the world’s most anally-retentive method of finding a signature scent, I live in hope that some defining moment may one day choose it for me.  Here’s hoping you all have suitably lovely and distinctive moments in your perfume closets. I would love to hear about them if you feel inclined.  Evie C.