- I had parfum initially planned to wear and write about Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau Si Sensuelle, a since-discontinued 2013 reinterpretation of Shalimar that has a comically long name, notes of grapefruit, neroli blossom, and rose with a “sensual hug of tonka and vanilla”, and a painfully lovely flacon of frosted matte perfection:How could I not want this, desperately?
- Upon opening my order for the Parfum Initial L’eau Si Sensuelle, I experienced a level of disappointment unfelt since the Christmas I got the Dino-Riders brontosaurus instead of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. I was probably four at the time, but it was nevertheless very painful.
- It turns out I’d ordered from an online seller who mis-listed their stock of the L’eau Si Sensuelle, so I had received a bottle of the mere Shalimar Parfum Initial L’eau, WHICH IS FINE I GUESS, but I already had a sample, plus its bottle only looks like this: I guess it could be worse, but then again, could it?
- If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken Jewel’s advice and followed my heart, my intuition:
It’s always a good idea to contact sellers first and confirm with them their wares, particularly when it comes to perfumes. If it feels to good to be true, it probably is! Sure, you might mildly perturb them as you inundate them with questions and show your hand as a crazy perfume person, but what is the love of perfume if not a most fragrant madness?
- Since my parfum initial plans were dashed, I ended up wearing a recently procured sample of the Shalimar Parfum Initial, which is similar in composition to the L’Eau, albeit more full bodied. Both take Shalimar’s fabulous vanilla base, strip away most of the smoke and spice, so what’s left is an interplay between complex citruses and a heavenly base of vanilla and tonka. The L’eau feels lighter and brighter, more shamelessly citrusy in the opening and more outright powdery in the dry down. The Parfum Initial, on the other hand, is more linear, almost to the point of being one note, but it’s a beautifully blended note, like a decadent crème brûlée au citron. It lasts forever, lingering at the day’s end like a sweet, powdery echo.
- I still intend to track down a bottle of the L’Eau Si Sensuelle, of course, and I’d love to add a bottle of the Parfum Initial to my collection as well. Should the returns process for my brontosaurus of a perfume disappointment prove too taxing upon my frail constitution, I’ll probably wear the L’Eau as a summertime fragrance, a powdery perfume substitute to a cold glass of pink lemonade. As their current discontinued finds these bottles fetching hefty sums online, though, I would hope that Guerlain considers just bringing the Shalimar Parfum Initial line back. They’re easy to wear, daytime friendly alternatives to the grand dame glamour and old school Oriental ostentation of the original–and still sublime–Shalimar. After all, if you’re going to spend the money, why settle for a pearl necklace when you could have the pearled dress?