Scent Sample Sunday: Shalimar Hair Perfume

Scent Sample Sunday: Shalimar Hair Perfume

I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled a bit with Shalimar when I ramped up my interest in fragrance and perfumes. It hadn’t previously been part of my repertoire or my late mother’s — her perfume classic of choice was Chanel No. 5But as I read more and more about perfume, so many writers and commenters waxed eloquent about Shalimar that I kept trying it when I was at any department store fragrance counter, where it was readily available in either eau de toilette or eau de parfum. Nope. It just didn’t click with me. I recognized its quality and its legendary status but it was too heavy, too sweet, too strong, too old-fashioned. Every single time.

Then I found Shalimar Eau de Cologne on sale for $24.99 at CVS, read the Fragrantica reviews of the eau de cologne on my smartphone and thought, what the hell — let’s do this. So I did. I loved it! The eau de cologne of Shalimar is just yummy without being sweet. I get the vanilla, I get the smoke, I get the cedar, I get the leather. Shalimar EDC is luscious but light. Classic but not stuffy. I know, I know, it’s like Shalimar with training wheels, but nevertheless, I rejoiced at finally getting a glimpse of what all the fuss was about.

In 2016, Guerlain launched a “brume cheveux”, or hair mist, version of Shalimar, created by Thierry Wasser. You can still find it online (I got mine at Beauty Encounter) for very reasonable prices. Since our weather has suddenly turned very hot and muggy this week, I thought I would take it out and try it, as hair perfume seems like an excellent solution if one wants to wear a richer fragrance but not feel overwhelmed (or overwhelm others) in the heat. It is like a light Shalimar flanker, with notes that include citrus opening top notes such as bergamot, grapefruit and lemon; freesia, jasmine and rose among the heart notes; and base notes of musk, iris and vanilla. These are the same notes as Wasser’s 2015 Shalimar Cologne, not to be confused with the eau de cologne; and the liquid in the bottle is the same pale pink as Shalimar Cologne.

Shalimar Hair Mist

I’m very pleased with this pretty hair perfume! It goes on lightly but I keep getting nice wafts of fragrance whenever I turn my head. I would say that, after the initial bright citrusy opening, mostly what I smell are the vanilla, iris, and freesia, a very lovely combination. No wood, no leather, no resin or incense, no animalic notes, but still very recognizable as “Shalimar”. The hair mist softens into a powdery floral, and it lasts well.

I’m happy to see the success in recent years of various “hair mists” and that one can now find classics like Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar in this format. They wear very easily and make it possible for more people to enjoy and get acquainted with these classics. I think this hair mist would combine beautifully with whichever version of Shalimar the wearer prefers, whether the heavier, richer formulations or the lighter ones.

Do you have a favorite Shalimar? Which one(s) and why?

Perfume Chat Room, June 26

Perfume Chat Room, June 26

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 26. Continue reading

Scent Sample Sunday: Lady Stetson

Scent Sample Sunday: Lady Stetson

I have decided to seek out, proactively, some black perfumers and black-owned fragrance brands to highlight periodically, because I’ve been so concerned about the racial tensions in my city, state, and country lately, and this feels like something positive I can do through my little blog (I regularly encounter and try to handle issues around racial justice in my actual job). And someone I have recently discovered is Howard Kennedy, a longtime perfumer and “nose”, who created Lady Stetson and won five FiFi awards for “Fragrance of the Year” during his long career. He is one of the rare black perfumers recognized as having made important contributions to fragrance in the 20th century.

Today’s “Scent Sample Sunday”, then, will be Lady Stetson. Continue reading

Perfume Chat Room, June 19

Perfume Chat Room, June 19

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 19, a date also known as “Juneteenth.” Continue reading

Perfume Chat Room, June 12

Perfume Chat Room, June 12

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, June 12. Continue reading

Perfume Chat Room, June 6

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is June 6 and I’m a day late posting this. I’ve never seen a week like this. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: And The Winners Are …

Roses de Mai Marathon: And The Winners Are …

Today is the last day of May, and the end of my blogging “Roses de Mai Marathon”! Thanks, all of you who came with me on this journey — I have loved reading your suggestions and comments. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses

Roses de Mai Marathon: L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is not only one of the most gifted American perfumers, but one of the most beloved. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her, but I follow her doings and have bought some of her lovely offerings. It feels even more important to do so when able, to support our independent artisan perfumers. Today’s penultimate entry in the “Roses de Mai Marathon” is her creation L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses. Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rrose Selavy

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rrose Selavy

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” said Gertrude Stein in 1913.  Rrose Selavy is named for the alter ego of Stein’s contemporary and acquaintance, the Dadaist Marcel Duchamp. I really can’t explain this any better than perfumer Maria Candida Gentile’s website copy, so here it is:

A velvet rose, persistent and unique, dedicated to one of the leading artists of Dadaism: a homage to Marcel Duchamp and to his “double” Rrose Sélavy.

With Rrose Sélavy, Maria Candida interprets the “double” of Marcel Duchamp, and his jeux des mots Rrose Sélavy which sounds in French like “eros, c’est la vie”, or “arroser la vie”, to make a toast to life. Maria Candida pays tribute to Duchamp, making a toast to life with her velvet, soft, fresh, just harvested scent, with its olfactory vibration and which fills the air and the space, tridimensional just like his art crafts. The name Sélavy emerged in 1921 in a series of photographs by Man Ray of Duchamp dressed as a woman. Throughout the 1920s, Man Ray and Duchamp collaborated on more photos of Sélavy. Duchamp later used the name as a signature name on written material and signed several creations with it.

What does this perfume smell like? Continue reading

Perfume Chat Room, May 29

Perfume Chat Room, May 29

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV. As regular readers know, I am in the middle of a “Roses de Mai Marathon” during which I am trying to post a daily review of a different rose scent. That will continue today (post will come later), but in the meantime, please feel free to chat! At an appropriate social distance, of course.

Today is Friday, May 29 and the month of May is almost over. Continue reading