I know it’s the middle of May and this is more of a cold weather perfume, but we’ve had a very snowy spring so far so I broke out the vanilla perfumes again.
Pictured: Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial (EdP).
Shalimar Parfum Intital (from now on: PI) is a flanker to Guerlain’s famous Shalimar. PI was released in 2011, perfumer is Thierry Wasser. There were two more PI flankers: Shalimar Parfum Intital L’Eau (same bottle, pink tassle) and Shalimar Parfum Inital Si Sensuelle (pink feathers instead of tassle). Now, the whole thing is a bit complicated, because Si Sensuelle is supposedly a LE bottle for L’Eau and juice should be the same. However, from the bottles I personally have smelled I could swear Si Sensuelle smells a lot more gentle and sweet. Yet at the same time I am not sure if I could tell apart PI and L’Eau in a blind test…
The whole PI line got discontinued a while ago, but as of now you can still find all three versions in some stores. It is still in the “freshly discontinued and being sold off” phase and not the “longer discontinued and highly sought after” phase. If you’re thinking of blind buying because you see a good price I would recommend getting Si Sensuelle. Well, unless you already know what PI smells like in which case it’s not a blind buy.
Now, what does it smell like? It is clearly related to Shalimar. I heard it was intended to be a beginner’s Shalimar. In that case it failed because I’m not sure if you could get into it if you didn’t already love Shalimar? The start is very tart bergamot and dark green notes. It almost punches you into the nose, going WELL HELLO HERE I AM! When that wears off you get unsweet vanilla, iris and a very indolic jasmine. Honestly I think it is quite stinky. The indole, you know. Si Sensuelle has a lot less indole which is why I recommend it for blind buyers. You don’t want to blind buy this one here and get hit by all the indole if you didn’t expect it.
The somewhat stinky flowers are the longest phase. After four hours you are left with softer notes, the typical Guerlain tonka bean, a hint of caramel and musk. All of those are fairly light. This is a cozy, cuddly phase. If you want only this phase better check out the new Mon Guerlain which smells like a Guerlain base without top or heart to me.
So, don’t get me wrong, I like PI. It’s just I have to be in the mood for the little stinker. But I’m also not super surprised the PI line wasn’t a mainstream hit, to be honest. For a softer, more easily likable Shalimar flanker, try Shalimar Cologne EdT.
Like I said above, I can’t tell much difference between this one and the L’Eau version. Si Sensuelle is lighter. And with that I have reviewed all of the Shalimar flankers I could get my hands on. I’m lacking the Ode a la Vanille ones. One day I’ll review the actual Shalimar as well. Maybe. 😄
And now for some Guerlain news: a couple of their scents are going to be repackaged. They will lose their regular, unique bottle and will from now on be sold in bee bottles. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for sales of old bottles. 😉