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Monday, July 15, 2013

Shalimar: Chauve Souris Flacons

Please note that this is an updated blog post of my original from 2010 which was found on my defunct website guerlainperfumes.webs.com. All photos and information was gathered at that time and published in 2010. Many of my collages and informative photos have been repurposed by other websites (not my own) and do not give credit to where they got them (my blog). In 2013, I had made the move to blogspot, so all previously published articles are now found here - with most being updated with any new info.

Flacon Chauve Souris (The Bat) c1924- present

Shalimar extrait de parfum was presented in several different flacons over the years, and all bottles will have a gilded batwing shaped label. The oldest design is its original one from 1925, the urn shaped flacon, called the "Chauve Souris" by Baccarat (#597).

The design of the bottle was designed by Raymond Guerlain and Baccarat in 1924. Guerlain filed a patent for the bottle's shape in 1926 and again in 1954, and noted its first use in commerce was 1/1/1926. On March 24, 1954, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for the bottle's logo by Guerlain, Inc., New York. The USPTO has given the trademark serial number of 71663184.

"DESCRIPTION  (OCR text may contain errors)
Des. 71,108. Sept. 21 1926.
R. GUERLAIN BOTTLE Filed June 2, 1926 ATTORNEYS- Patented Sept. 21, 1926. s
Application filed June 2, 1926. Serial No. 17,919. Term of patent 14 years.
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, RAYMOND GUERLAIN, of a citizen of the Republic of France, residing at New York, in the county of New York and State of New York, have invented a new, original, and ornamental design for a bottle, which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing shown.
In the drawing:
Figure 1 is a front View
Figure 2 is a top View

Shalimar is said to be the first perfume bottle to have a pedestal and a colored glass stopper, however, as a perfume historian I know this to be a myth as there was a similarly designed bottle used for the perfume Talis by Bourjois, created by Cristalleries de Saint-Louis in 1912 (this bottle was also used for the 1922 perfume, Miss Kate).

Shalimar's signature bottle is made up of clear crystal with a fluted base, and a blue glass or blue flashed glass stopper with "Guerlain Paris" in gold lettering. A very rare example will have the stopper in just plain clear crystal and gold lettering. Roja Dove noted that the early stoppers were also fired using mercury which gave a wonderful violet iridescence to the crystal, but had to be discontinued because of the toxicity of working with mercury as it posed a poisoning threat to the factory workers. Baccarat found a new way to color the stoppers and the mercury paint was discontinued. However, when I contacted Guerlain a few months ago and they stated that mercury was never used in the manufacture of their stoppers.

The earliest Shalimar extrait bottles have small holes drilled into the base of the stopper, which allowed the cording used during the finishing process (baudruchage) to be threaded through and then wrapped around the neck, thus sealing the bottle. Both Baccarat and Cristal Nancy's bottles displayed the holed stoppers. These early stoppers had a hole in the base which the sealing cord was threaded through,  this was used to seal the bottles from 1925-1936.

Bottles made after the 1930s have stoppers that are no longer drilled at the base. These bottles will be sealed with baudruchage cording that wraps around the neck of the bottle and the base of the stopper. A small metal seal emblazoned with the Guerlain G logo is then clamped onto the cording. The loose, twisted ends of the cording is then carefully combed out during barbichage, or "bearding" and then brushed out by hand by the "dames de table" in a process known as brossage which results in a fanciful, fluffy tassel. The "dames de table" have perfected this method so that it only takes them four minutes at a time to finish the baudruchage ritual of each Shalimar flacon.

The bottle design was also copied and used for Shalimar by the glass houses of Cristal Romesnil, Saint Gobain des Jonqueres, Pochet et du Courval, and Cristal Nancy. Cristal Nancy closed its doors in 1931 and was acquired by Baccarat so if your bottle is marked with the Cristal Nancy logo, your bottle was made between 1925 and 1931.

Look on the base of your bottle for acid stamps for Baccarat, Cristal Nancy or Cristal Romesnil, these markings add value to your bottle. The mark for Pochet et du Courval is an entwined HP molded into the base of the bottle.

The Chauve Souris bottle came housed in a lilac flocked hinged box, simulating velvet. The bottle will lay down perfectly in a specifically cut out portion of the box.


  • 20ml/0.676 oz - 10.5cm/4.13"
  • 30ml/1 oz - 14.3cm/5.63"
  • 60ml/2 oz - 15.5/6.1"
  • 80ml/2.7 oz - 16cm/6.3"
  • 125ml/4.2oz - 20cm/7.87"
  • 250ml/8.4 oz -22.5cm/8.86"

Other manufacturers:
  • 7.5ml/1.25 oz - 7.4cm/2.91" (1991)
  • 10cc/10ml/0.388 oz - 8cm/3.15" (1954)
  • 10ml/0.388 oz - 8.2cm/3.23" wide feet (Saint Gobain from 1981-1984)
  • 15ml/0.5 oz - 9.3cm/3.66" wide feet (Saint Gobain from 1981-1986)
  • 16.5cc/0.558 oz - 9.3cm/3.66" (1964, changed in 1978 to 15ml)
  • 20cc/20ml/0.676 oz - 9.6cm/3.78" (1948 )
  • 30cc/30ml/1 oz - 10cm/3.94" (1948, changed in 1979 to 30ml)
  • 40cc/40ml/1.35 oz - 11.4cm/4.49"
  • 60cc/60ml/2 oz - 15cm/5.91" (1962, changed in 1978 to 60ml)
  • 80cc/80ml/2.7 oz - 18cm/7.09"
  • 120ml/120cc/4.06 oz - 16.5cm/6.5" (Cristal Nancy from 1925-1931)
  • 125cc/125ml/4.2 oz - 20.8cm/8.19"

Factice Bottles:

Large Factice (Display bottle, holds colored water, not perfume) stands 15.5" tall X 11" wide with foot measurements of 7" wide. Made by Pochet et du Courval.

Giant Factice (Display bottle, interior is amber colored to look like perfume, but the bottle holds no liquid), stands 17.5" tall x 12.5" wide x 5.25" deep.

Photo comparisons:

Two Shalimar bottles, both 15ml extrait, different designs,slightly different heights, made by two different makers. 

One on the left was made by Saint Gobain des Jonqueres and dates from 1981-1986. See how the foot is much wider and thicker than the other bottle, also note that the label is also slightly different in shape. This bottle is embossed with "SGD Guerlain Paris Bottle Made in France" and has a clear plastic label on the base that reads "Parfum GUERLAIN Paris 15ml 68% vol." and the date code "WX 4PC1" (date probably 1983-1986). .Photo from basenotes member ayelfior.

The bottle on the right is by Pochet et du Courval and dates to after 1978, the base is acid etched with "Bottle Made in France Net Cont 1/2 fl oz"..(Picture below) Photo from basenotes member ayelfior.

Difference in the two boxes. The SDG box on the left is only marked Guerlain inside and is a lighter lavender color, the Pochet et du Courval box on the right has the Marly Horse logo and the box is a darker purple.

Note the label on font reads "Parfum SHALIMAR guerlain 15ml 68% vol". 

This limited edition from 1987 features a beautiful suede covered presentation box, the image on the box is the lattice decoration seen on the vintage lattice designed Habit de Fete flacons.

A very rare presentation, called the Presentation Avion (airplane transportation presentation), used this style of box and was offered on the Air France Paris-New York flights, starting in 1960. The box was slightly different in the fact that instead of laying down inside the box, the bottle would stand up snugly inside a small plinth, in which the box lid would slip over making a cover. The stopper was not inside the bottle itself but was inside a tiny cardboard box which was included in the presentation box. The perfume was sealed with a cork covered in a thin plastic seal. Later, the bottle would sit inside the cut out seen in usual boxes of this type, instead of the plinth. These bottles were made by both Baccarat & Pochet et du Courval, look for their logos on the base, an entwined HP or the Baccarat symbol.

During 1940-1945, because of wartime restrictions, Shalimar was presented in its usual urn shaped bottle packaged in a simple blue and white boxes called presentations de guerre, marked "Conditionnement provisoire du manque d'ecrin-la qualite et la quantite du parfum sont rigoureusement identiques a celles de notre presentation normale."

The New Design:

In 2010, designer Jade Jagger redesigned the eau de parfum flacon for Shalimar. With a clean, modern simplicity that replaces the familiar bat wing bottle.Please note that this is a spray bottle, Guerlain photoshopped the photo to hide the atomizer hardware and siphon tube. The bottle itself is glass, but the blue grey cap is plastic, a black leather ribbon encircles the neck of the bottle. The bottle comes in three sizes.

There has been no change to the original Chauve Souris flacon used for the parfum (extrait).

The Jade Jagger bottle is now used for both the eau de parfum and the eau de toilette sprays for Shalimar, as well as for the Shalimar flanker scents: the Shalimar Parfum Initial line, the Shalimar Ode de la Vanille line, Shalimar Cologne, and Shalimar Souffle de Parfum.


  1. Does all the large 17" factice bottles have a mark on the base of the bottle? I have just seen one but it has no markings. What does that mean?

    Thanks for your answer in advance.

    1. There may be some without markings on the base. I have only seen the 15" tall ones molded with "Guerlain Paris" and the HP symbol for Pochet et du Courval on the base. Smaller sized factices are usually scratched with "Dummy" or "Factice" on the base, or a small label/sticker reading "dummy" or "factice".

      The earlier 17 1/2" tall factices were made of clear glass, later examples have amber glass bottles.

  2. Hi, does the Jade Jagger bottle come with leather ribbon around neck or a satin one with navy elastic? Thanks.


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