Shalimar: The Next Generation
Shalimar, Guerlain’s 85-year-old fragrance success story, has gotten its fair share of updates over the years, although most of them have been superficial. Since the 1925 debut of its original Baccarat-crystal flacon, the perfume has found its way into a tall, blue-tinged cylindrical glass bottle, a more streamlined “bat-winged” vessel, and of course last year’s beveled glass edition from jewelry designer Jade Jagger. It’s Jagger’s incarnation that now hosts an evolution of the juice itself in the form of Shalimar Parfum Initial, a younger version of the original eau. As the story goes, in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser was asked by his niece to compose a Shalimar “for her”—and presumably not for the ladies-who-lunch set that is still loyal to the imposing vanilla, iris, sweet myrrh, and Tonka bean scent. A challenge then presented itself to Wasser, to update the perfume without distorting it—to “transpose but not betray” its fundamental essence. The result is a fruitier, floral adaptation that has new hints of bergamot and rose but retains the rich, warm-and-spicy base of its predecessor. That core opulence is still there but now it whispers, rather than shouts.
Photo: Courtesy of Guerlain