Scent has the power to evoke a feeling, to create nostalgia, to reawaken a memory long since forgotten. It is one of our most primal senses and the one most linked to our animal instinct. There is nothing logical about it, however it helps distinguish the most singular sense of being human and what that means in an existential sense.
Shalimar by Guerlain is one of my favorite fragrances. It makes me think of the Orient and the Near East, of ancient civilizations, of Princesses, Sultans, and Shahs, of romance under a large orange moon amongst the gardens of Persian palaces.
Guerlain is one of the oldest perfume houses in the world and it originated in France. Shalimar was created in 1925 and it still reigns as one of the most popular perfumes to this day. It was actually one of the first perfumes to add vanillin as a primary note, as is done frequently today. It was named after a garden in Kashmir, that was created and built in memory of the Shah Jahan’s wife after her unfortunate passing.
As perfumes do, it carries a story.
However, as iconic fragrances do, since its inception, Shalimar has created many stories since.
“In the West, we look at art through life. Well, that’s one way of living. In the Orient they look at life through art. They even drink their tea without sugar, for the same reason that they don’t like a lot of frilly decorations on a painting. I can’t stand butter on my bread for the same reason. I’m allergic to goo and rococo.”
Courtesy of Fragrantica, Wikipedia, The Citizens of Fashion, Les Coulisses Duluxe, Rare Maps