Perfume Review: Shalini
Shalini was created for the designer Shalini Kumar by Maurice Roucel, the perfumer who brought us such scents as Musc Ravageur, Iris Silver Mist, 24 Faubourg and Tocade. Shalini Kumar wanted the perfume to evoke her childhood memories of tuberose and butterflies in her garden. The limited edition Lalique crystal bottle of Shalini is meant to represent a butterfly wing. Such 2.2oz bottle costs $900.00, thus making Shalini one of the most expensive scents on the market.
I must admit that I was prepared to dislike Shalini, despite the fact that it was created by Maurice Roucel, one of my favorite perfumers. I am not a big fan of tuberose and I find the price of the scent quite irritating. I still maintain that Shalini is not worth that kind of price tag, that no perfume is worth that kind of price tag, but…but the fragile, airy exquisiteness of this fragrance came as a shock to me. Shalini to me is the most beautiful tuberose or even the most beautiful floral scent in general to be released in the last couple of years, perhaps one of the loveliest florals ever. If there wasn’t already a scent with that name, this perfume should have been called La Chasse Aux Papillons. Shalini manages to evoke the image of carefree life spent chasing butterflies much more successfully than L’Artisan’s creation.
The start of Shalini is bright-yellow, sunny and radiant. Tuberose is paired with orange blossom and, even though there is no mention of it in the list of the notes, I smell a hint of indolic jasmine. As the fragrance develops, it acquires the most enjoyable gently-hesperidic accord, the scent not so much of lemons as of lemon blossoms. It is a mouthwateringly fresh accord, which gets sweeter as the orange blossom becomes more prominent. Tuberose note is present at all times, but it is unusually light here. Nothing carnal in this particular tuberose; in Shalini, it is innocent and ethereal. From the bright yet translucent top notes, to the wonderful gossamer-like quality of the middle notes, to the gentle, angelic drydown of flowers, subtle musk and even subtler sandalwood, Shalini is a study in transparency and lightness. This scent is a gauzy fabric fluttering in a summer wind, delicate, light, diaphanous… It is a scent of endless, languid summer, of the world where the sun is forever shining and the sky is perpetually blue…“…At the top of the hands the dazzlement of butterflies, the upflight of butterflies whose light has no end.” (Pablo Neruda)
The gentle beauty of Shalini breaks my heart. Finally I fell in love with a tuberose scent, only to realize that I can never own it. $900.00 or even $400.00 is quite a lot more than I am prepared to pay.
Shalini is available at Bergdorf Goodman and Aedes, $900.00 for 2.2 oz, in a Lalique bottle pictured above. Aedes also carries it in a less fancy, but still very attractive bottle, $400.00 for 1oz.
*The painting is Shade by Jennifer Markes, from piersidegallery.com
Tomorrow- Musc Ravageur by Maurice Roucel (Editions de Parfums).