Intermission: Sunday in Vintage Shalimar edt
I am sniffing, right now, an amazing concoction of lemon, vanilla and civet that is imaginative, transportive and intoxicating. Perfume connoisseurs talk about how the genius of Guerlain is in the contrast of notes, with characters both sweet and animalic in equal measures of atomic intensity that somehow provide the balance and harmony that translates into beauty transcendent. I think this may what they are talking about.
This vintage Shalimar is deep and embracing but never suffocates you. It’s bright, but never blinds you. It’s dirty but but just enough so that the goddess’ foot leaves the pedestal in order that she may kiss you. How can a fragrance make you weep? Beauty feeds the soul.
Last spring I found an unopened sealed bottle and box of Shalimar edt. Scroll down, (slowly, now) to see photos of the box and bottle as I opened it. The box looks like this: Here is a close up of the label. The linen colored ribbon which seals the box is lovely. It has looping ribbon-like forms in which the alternating words Guerlain and Paris are rendered in script.
The dolphin or dauphin label features beautifully grotesque heads of the pair of sea creatures, flanking the name of the fragrance. Their expressions remind me of grimacing Chinese foo dogs.
The stopper is entirely fashioned of ground glass in the form of a conch shell. If anyone has thoughts on the dating of this goutte (droplet) bottle, it would be much appreciated. Perhaps the yellow label on the bottle holds a clue. I believe the bottle was used for Shalimar edt beginning in late 1920’s.
When I compare the juice side by side with my 1967 Shalimar extrait, this edt is, not surprisingly, lighter, but the drydown remains creamy and buttery, and the balance of civet and lemon is amazing! The vanilla is not as heady as in the extrait, and feels more like the stage where the lemon and civet are holding their captivating dance. When I am in a serious Shalimar mood, I have taken to layering the two versions which takes me to an entirely new level of wonderful.
May you have a Sunday filled with beauty transcendent!
update: three hours after application, here comes the incense. Soft, light, smoky. perfect for this ex Catholic, just reminiscent enough of the majesty of sunday mass and resonates with the incense I burned for comfort during the weeks after Dad died. Not to mention visits to New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and Notre Dame in Paris.
further update: Thanks to Monsieur Guerlain, (I knew he’d have the answer for me!) it looks as if this bottle is dated between 1936 and the early fifties. This makes it extra special for me to know I have a little bit of history from the time Mom and Dad first met, and perhaps from the time Mom started dreaming of having a fragrance collection of her own.
If you aren’t familiar with Monsieur Guerlain’s extraordinary website featuring all things Guerlain, past, present and sometimes future, please go there now:
more discussion on the bottle here: http://www.facebook.com/monsieurguerlain/posts/430125927055239?comment_id=75775139¬if_t=share_reply