Created by Jacques Guerlain in 1921, Shalimar was inspired by the by the legendary love story of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s love for Mumtaz-Mahal, his third and favourite wife.
Born into a family of Persian nobility, Mumtaz-Mahal was just 14 when she met Prince Khurram, also know as Shah Jahan. Their connection was immediate, but it would be five years until they married because court astrologers had to set on a date that was favorable for a happy marriage.
Mumtaz-Mahal and Shah Jahan were a real love match with a very deep and loving marriage that ended when Mumtaz-Mahal died in child birth with their fourteenth child. Shah Jahan was inconsolable with grief after her death. He went into secluded mourning for a year and when he next appeared in public his heartache had aged him. His hair had turned white, his back was bent, and his face worn. As a symbol of his love and devotion for Mumtaz-Mahal, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in her memory. He also built the Garden of Shalimar in Lahore, Pakistan in her honour.
It is the garden, with its canals, fountains, trees and fragrant plants that gives its name to the scent. And what a scent it is. A sparkling opening of lemon and bergamot lead to a floral heart of exotic jasmine and opulent rose made irresistibly seductive by rooty iris. Creamy vanilla at the base is warmed by Peru balsam and resinous opoponax – they curb the sweetness too so that it is never gets cloying, but becomes a dark, rich sweetness that counterbalances the sparkling citrus at the top. This is what makes it so magical. The drydown is rich, dark and smooth, with a slight powdery feel from the iris.
An iconic scent, Shalimar is as legendary as the love story that inspired it. At over 90 years old it is as wearable now as it has ever been. And while it has often been imitated, riffed on, and mutated it has never been surpassed because despite having been reformulated over the years it still has the same magic Jacques Guerlain gave it, especially in the Eau de Parfum concentration. To wear Shalimar is to feel beloved.
Notes: lemon bergamot, jasmine, rose, iris, Tonka bean, vanilla, iris, Peru balsam, opoponax and gray amber.