Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial - Perfume Review
So, the regular Shalimar must have been judged too difficult to wear and understand for a younger crowd, and Guerlain had to come up with a flanker more suited for the tastes of Generation Z or whatever letter we are on now. At least that is what one gleans from the legend: Thierry Wasser was asked by his 17-year-old niece to make her own Shalimar...Aww.
Thing is Parfum Initial smells no more approachable, easy-to-wear or dare I use the word, younger than the original. It simply smells less interesting. Not just the "intimidating" leather note (source) is gone, but also the luminous citrus top, which is what makes the real Shalimar shimmer like a precious multi-facted jewel that it is. And that is peculiar, because citruses are one of the most popular, non-threatening and "young" notes in perfume.
What there is in abundance is orris, with a good old dollop of vanilla and tonka. I suppose Shalimar might be considered "heavy", but to me Parfum Intial, without the lift of the citrus, without the intrigue and intricasies of a complex development, is heavier still. It is blunt, it is a one-accord, if not a one-note composition. That one accord (of aforementioned orris-vanilla-tonka) makes the composition sort of recognizable as a Guerlain, but not all that recognizable specifically as related to Shalimar. I suppose Parfum Initial could be its niece, but she won't be 17 and she certainly won't be a beauty like Vodianova who fronts the campaign.
The flanker lacks finess and detail, and it were these qualities which made Shalimar a masterpiece. To continue the analogy with a jewel, Shalimar is a big and baroque Koh-i-noor type of thing, for sure, but it is carved inticately, carefully, with the finest of instruments, as fitting for such a precious stone. Parfum Intial is the replica (a swear word for LVMH) hammered out of thick glass. Same applies to the bottle.
Guerlain boutique at Bergdorf Goodman told me that Shalimar Parfum Initial will be available in the States no earlier than in fall. I am not motivated enough to investigate further and confirm if that is so and why such delay. The fragrance is available at sephora.fr right now, 47,00€-92,10€.