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I used a 3ml sample of Shalimar so didn't have the beautiful bottle, I like the perfume but not enough to spend so much money on it so I'll have to admire the bottle from afar!! The sample I had was a spray phial so I was able to get to know the perfume well, I used it regularly as my perfume for over a week and enjoyed sampling it because I had heard so much about Guerlain fragrances from friends and female relatives.
The top notes are bergamot and a bouquet of fresh flowers. I would say those two fragrances are apparent for the whole time I'm wearing the perfume, bergamot is one flower fragrance I can identify and it's quite strong in Shalimar all the way through. I think Shalimar is quite a heavy perfume and the top notes would be too strong for people who like more delicate perfumes, I like both and appreciate the fullness of Shalimar and can understand why it is a classic fragrance that has remained almost unchanged for nearly 100 years.
The middle notes are jasmine, iris and rose and once I read that I could smell the jasmine and rose. I don't know what iris smells like (I know it's a flower!!) but it was described as powdery and clean in the perfume description and there are definitely those two sides to the perfume so that must be the iris. I think the jasmine is in the fragrance from the beginning but it gets stronger towards the middle, it adds to the oriental smell and also helps Shalimar to be a very long lasting perfume as is common with fragrances that contain heavy jasmine.
The base notes are vanilla, iris (again), opoponax and tonka bean. The tonka bean and vanilla supply warmth to the perfume and that's true, I can't smell any vanilla in it and couldn't identify tonka bean but you can tell a fragrance comes across after you've been wearing the perfume for a few hours that warms the oriental scents up and mellows the fragrance. I had never heard of opoponax before so had to check on Wiki and I've learned that adds warmth and sweetness to perfumes that are oriental in their fragrance, I still wouldn't know what it smells like but I can tell it has given these characteristics to Shalimar.
Designed in 1925 Shalimar is a refined oriental fragrance perfect for evening wear / This feminine scent contains a blend of bergamot lemon patchouli and is accented with vanilla sandalwood and musk /