Hello and welcome! Please understand that this website is not affiliated with Guerlain in any way, it is only a reference page for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

The main objective of this website is to chronicle the history of the Guerlain fragrances and showcase the bottles and advertising used throughout the years.

However, one of the other goals of this website is to show the present owners of the Guerlain perfume company how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

Please leave a comment below (for example: of why you liked the fragrance, describe the scent, time period or age you wore it, who gave it to you or what occasion, any specific memories, what it reminded you of, maybe a relative wore it, or you remembered seeing the bottle on their vanity table), who knows, perhaps someone from the current Guerlain brand might see it.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shalimar c1925

Shalimar perfume was originally created in 1921 by Guerlain. It was re-released during the Art Deco Exhibition in Paris in 1925. I have separate blog posts on Shalimar bottles and its flanker scents.

History of Shalimar Perfume

Shalimar was named after the garden in Srinagar, built for Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan in honor of his wife. 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.

Guerlain filed a trademark for the name Shalimar on 8/24/1926, and noted that its first recorded use in commerce was 4/3/1926. The trademark was renewed in 1966 to include these Shalimar named products: perfume, cologne, toilet water, dusting powder, talcum powder, skin lotion, hair spray and bath oil.  The name was again renewed in 2006 and 2009.

Michael Edwards' book Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances notes that at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925, Guerlain received an award, but it didn't attract much attention. It wasn't until later when traveling to the United States, Madame Guerlain and her husband  learned that Shalimar had already been desired by the American public before they stepped off the ship into New York.

A 1931 ad reads: "And if she seeks perfume, then will she find in the enchanting, the miraculous creations of Guerlain the end of her quest. Who can forget ever the emotion of gorgeous Shalimar . . . the muted voice of velvet Shalimar!' Its fame has gone round the world.."

A 1932 ad reads: " A perfume by Guerlain is the epitome of elegance, the consummate gift among luxuries. For it is a gift which enhances the elegance of women. Shalimar is the reigning perfume of the world. Women of elegance in all the great capitals bow to its power and beauty."


Shalimar proved to be so successful that in 1927 a rival perfume company, DuBarry Perfumery Co. of England who was already using the name for a line of toiletry products in the United Kingdom as filed for opposition against Guerlain's trademark and subsequently a legal battle issued. Throughout the 1920s and into early part of the 1930s, Shalimar's name was replaced by "No. 90", "No. 91", and "No. 92", Guerlain's stock catalog numbers for the perfume, on bottles for export to the United Kingdom.

DuBarry Perfumery Co. (Goldstone Laboratories, Hove), was selling line of toiletry products named Shalimar, by 1930, the line was extended to include even more products than before. I saw ads for DuBarry's Shalimar manicure products and other toiletries in 1916, before Guerlain "officially" launched Shalimar perfume and I still saw ads for Creme Shalimar by DuBarry being sold in 1972.

Villon Perfumer, also decided to cash in on the popularity and launched a cheaper perfume. Samuel A. Klein doing business as Villon Perfumer was blending small amounts of Guerlain's Shalimar with his own cheap perfume blend and rebottling them into smaller bottles. He was advertising these bottles as "Guerlain's Shalimar et Villon Blend, Rebottled by Villon, NYC, Wholly Independent of Guerlain"  and "Genuine Extracts of Shalimar with Villon Blender". A legal battle ensued in 1931, suing Villon for using the trade names of Mitsouko and Shalimar. There was also uncontradicted testimony that scientific and practical tests reveals that there was a marked difference between Guerlain's Shalimar perfume and the contents of the small vials sold by Villon.

Original Fragrance Composition

So what does it smell like? It is classified as an oriental fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: vanilla, leather, bergamot, lemon
  • Middle notes: jasmine, rose, vanilla, orris, patchouli, vetiver, incense, civet
  • Base notes: vanilla, tonka bean and musk

Shalimar made use of the ambreine accord, which is formed between bergamot (30%), vanillin (or ethyl vanillin, 3%), coumarin (9%) and civet, with woody (vetiver, patchouli 4% and sandalwood) and rose notes (Calkin and Jellinek 1994). This was also used in the following oriental ambery fragrances: L'Origan by Coty, Must de Cartier and Obsession by Calvin Klein.

Reformulated Fragrance Composition

So what does it smell like? It is classified as an oriental fragrance for women.
  • Top notes:  lemon, bergamot, mandarin
  • Middle notes: jasmine, may rose, heliotrope, opoponax, patchouli, iris
  • Base notes: orris, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, incense, tonka bean, vanilla, civet, balsam of Peru, benzoin, leather, ambergris

Shalimar was one of the first scents to incorporate the synthetic vanilla compound, vanillin (Methoxy-3-Hydroxybenzaldehyde). Jacques Guerlain believed that the scent of vanilla was an aphrodisiac, so while examining a sample of vanillin, suddenly poured the entire contents into a nearby bottle of Jicky,," just to see what would happen." The resulting concoction was to be named Shalimar.

Perfume Shrine has noted that "Vanillin was first isolated as a relatively pure substance in 1858 by Nicolas-Theodore Gobley, by evaporating a vanilla extract to dryness and recrystallizing the resulting solids. In 1874, German scientists Ferdinand Tiemann and Wilhelm Haarmann found a way to synthesize vanillin from coniferin, a glycoside of isoeugenol found in pine bark (they went on to found a company which now belongs to Symrise and produce it industrially). In 1876, Karl Reimer synthesized vanillin from another source: guaiacol. The laboratories De Laire bought the patent for vanillin and sold the product to Guerlain for their perfumery, first used in Jicky. But, Jicky already contained vanillin along with natural vanilla extract, as well as coumarin and linalool. The secret to the medicinal, smoky yellow vanillin of Jicky, reprised in Shalimar, was the remnants of guaiacol and phenols, lending an autumnal darkness to what would otherwise be a confectionary sweet cream. This is the reason that Guerlain insisted on ordering the impure grade of vanillin even when the chemical process was improved."

Famous perfumer Ernest Beaux, realized that Shalimar was a great perfume and thus complained: "When I do vanilla I get crème anglaise, when Guerlain does it he gets Shalimar!"

Jean-Paul Guerlain has said, “Vanilla is famous as an aphrodisiac and I think that this is true. My grandfather, Jacques Guerlain, taught me how to love vanilla as it adds something wonderfully erotic to a perfume. It turned Shalimar into an evening gown with an outrageously plunging neckline.”

To me, the scent of Shalimar is deep and velvety with the scent of lemon custard spiked with medicinal vanilla. Exotic night-blooming flowers, precious incense and woods blend exquisitely with the animalic notes of ambergris, leather, musk and civet to create a heady aphrodisiac. Shalimar is one of the best selling perfumes for almost 90 years and it's magic is undeniable.

Personally I find that vintage Shalimar perfumes smell the best, as their perfume oils were more concentrated and natural and didn't have the synthetic chemical smell that today's reformulated versions have. The vintage perfumes have a delightful musky, smoky, velvety and well rounded accord that are not comparable in the Shalimar of today due to IFRA restrictions and the fact that the perfumers at Guerlain may not have access to exclusive perfume bases once used in the composition.

If you wish to obtain the earlier versions, I suggest the Shalimar of the 1920s up until the 1990s. They have aged beautifully, like a fine wine. Ebay always has some really good examples, and they are usually at bargain prices.

I suggest getting the perfumes that look dark, syrupy and thick. I find that these last a very long time when applied to the skin and the vanilla warms up nicely. Please remember that the older Shalimar is, the darker it will be in the bottle. If it is light colored, it is probably newer.

If you can find it, a vintage bottle of Scherk's Intermezzo perfume smells similar to Shalimar, but it is a tad weaker and lighter in character, a good substitute if you find Shalimar a little too strong.

Ancillary Products

Shalimar was so popular that Guerlain came out with ancillary products that showcased its unique scent. The first of these was the Shalimar Face Powder.

A 1931 ad reads: " So why do you not hasten to try Guerlain's new achievement, Shalimar Powder? It is scented with the famous Shalimar. ... Guerlain meant this Shalimar Powder to give the skin an effect of surreal loveliness. And his patrons say that it does."  In 1930, Shalimar face powder was then packed in a sealed container which had a “window” of transparent tissue, so that the purchaser could see the actual color.

Then came the Shalimar scented Lotion Vegetale, meant to perfume the hair before or after shampooing, combed through the hair to make it soft and smooth, although men also used it as an aftershave lotion or beard scent too. The 8 oz capsule bottles were sold from 1953 til 1971, earlier bottles were tall and rectangular with a glass ball stopper.. Another hair groom was Stilboide Fluide.

Shalimar Eau de Cologne, released in 1936, in USA in 1937, it came in four sizes initially. “Toilet water in an oval bottle with atomizer top is new, $5.” ( 1939) “Guerlain now has a $5 size of toilet water in all the popular fragrances such as Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, Vol de Nuit, Coque D’Or, Liu, Mitsouko, Sous Le vent and Jicky.” (1940, Drug and Cosmetic Industry, Volume 46) Later the Cologne Spray was launched. A 1950 article reads "Guerlain recommends spraying a room with their famous Shalimar eau de cologne. This is a lighter form of their famous Shalimar. Because it is lighter, it is less expensive and can be used more lavishly."

Shalimar Talcum powder in the frosted bottle was introduced in 1950, it was being put up in a white plastic canister in the late 1960s, then it was sold in a turquoise canister in the 1980s.

Shalimar Dusting Powder was introduced around 1955 housed in a faux tortoiseshell plastic powder box, then inside of a white plastic powder box in the 1960s and 1970s, then in a turquoise plastic powder box in the 1983, then a navy blue and white plastic powder box starting in the late 1990s, and is still being sold today.

Guerlain's Creme Hydratante introduced in 1959, a lanolin based moisturizer, lightly scented and meant to be lavished all over the body, particularly on arms and legs. Still sold around 1967.

Shalimar Toilet Water debuted in 1925 in a splash bottle, succeeded by the Toilet Water Spray (Eau de Toilette around 1959) .

Shalimar Film Spray Body Lotion was a scented, pink, light moisturizing body lotion in spray form created in 1966 and sold until 1975.

Shalimar Capillaque hair spray,  Capillaque was the name of scented hair sprays/brilliantine sprays . A trademark was filed in 1961 for the hair spray and the trademark expired in 1988, but I am pretty sure this was discontinued by around 1971.

Shalimar Body Shampoo was released in 1976.

Guerlain released Shalimar's ancillary products in this turquoise packaging starting in 1983, this line was known as Les Voluptes du Bain de Guerlain and sold until 1999, when the products were given a makeover with a shape hearkening back to the original Shalimar flacon and accented with dark blue plastic and gold trim. Three new products were offered, Perfumed Bath Salts, Sensual Milky Veil.


Shalimar Chauve Souris Flacons: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-chauve-souris-flacons.html

Shalimar Flacon Goutte: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2015/10/shalimar-flacon-goutte.html

Shalimar Montre Flacons: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-montre-flacon.html

Shalimar Quadrilobe Flacons: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-quadrilobe-flacon.html

Shalimar Eau de Toilettes: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/09/shalimar-eau-de-toilettes.html

Shalimar Wartime Flacons: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-flacon-de-guerre-and-flacon.html

Shalimar Limited Edition Bottles:

Shalimar 60th Anniversary Flacon c1986: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-60th-anniversary-flacon-c1986.html


Shalimar 80th Anniversary Années Folles Limited Edition Bottle c2005: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2013/07/shalimar-c2005-80th-anniversary-limited.html

Shalimar Oiseau de Paradis c2009 - http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2014/08/shalimar-oiseau-de-paradis-c2009.html

Fleurs de Shalimar - Collector Flacons c2009: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2015/01/fleurs-de-shalimar-collector-flacons.html

Shalimar - Edition Charms c2010: http://guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com/2015/01/shalimar-edition-charms-c2010.html

These Shalimar products may still be found::
  • Eau de Cologne 2.5 oz
  • Eau de Toilette Spray 2.5 oz
  • Eau de Toilette Spray 1.7 oz
  • Eau de Toilette Gold Bee Bottle 16.9 oz
  • Eau de Toilette Gold Bee Bottle 33.8oz
  • Eau de Toilette White Bee Bottle 16.9 oz
  • Habit de Fete 3.1 oz Eau de Toilette Refillable Spray  
  • Habit de Fete 3.1 oz Eau de Toilette Refill Spray  
  • Habit De Fete Eau de Parfum Spray Refill 1.69 oz
  • Habit De Fete Perfume Spray Refill 0.27 oz
  • Shalimar 3 oz Eau de Parfum  
  • Eau de Parfum Spray 2.5 oz 
  • Shalimar 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum 
  • Eau de Parfum Spray 1 oz
  • Shalimar 0.25 oz Extrait/Parfum  
  • Shalimar 0.50 oz Extrait/Parfum 
  • Shalimar 1 oz Extrait/Parfum  
  • Sensual Milky Veil (Body Lotion) 6.8 oz
  • Shalimar Body Lotion  
  • Silky Moisturising Body Mist Spray 3.4 oz
  • Shalimar Body Cream  
  • Sensual Body Oil 3.3 oz
  • Perfumed Dusting Powder 
  • Bath Salts 17.6 oz
  • Ritual Bath Gel 6.8 oz
  • Shalimar Shower Gel  
  • Voluptuous Foaming Bath Bottle 6.8 oz
  • Deodorant Spray 3.4 oz
  • Hair Gel 0.25 oz
  • Shalimar Light Eau de Toilette Spray 2.5 oz
  • Shalimar Beautifying Hair Gel
  • Soothing Bath Oil Beads
  • Bath Essence
  • Body Shampoo
  • Shalimar Perfumed Soap 
The line consisted of the following products in the late 1960s-1970s:
  • Parfum
  • Parfum Spray
  • Eau de Toilette
  • Eau de Cologne
  • Spray Cologne
  • Film Spray Parfumé
  • Capillaque
  • Bath Oil
  • Déodorant
  • Talc 
  • Crème Hydratante
  • Flanelle pour le linge

Current Bottles & Ancillary Products:

Today you can purchase Shalimar in various forms:
  • 0.25 oz Parfum (Extrait)
  • 0.50 oz Parfum (Extrait)
  • 1.00 oz Parfum (Extrait)
  • 3 oz Eau de Parfum Spray
  • 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray
  • 3.4 oz Eau de Toilette Spray
  • 3 oz Eau de Toilette Refillable Spray
  • 3 oz Eau de Toilette Spray Refill
  • 6.8 oz Body Lotion
  • 7 oz Body Crème
  • 4.4 oz Perfumed Dusting Powder

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