All Hail Shalimar

Shalimar. Queen of them all.

An enduring experience is the true magic of Shalimar: any person during the past 90 years has been able to unstopper a bottle and let out a rush of pure delight – a warm, sparkling, sexy genie who ends the night in a gush of pure feminine plushness. This olfactive adventure has bewitched countless men and women, lasting almost one hundred years. Shalimar reigns supreme.

Released four years after the birth of my grandmother, Shalimar was a perfume she still delighted and luxuriated in up until the end. As an 18 year old, I vividly recall watching her in some bewilderment when I saw her untrammeled delight upon unwrapping her Christmas gift and seeing its archaic-looking bottle. When sprayed, Shalimar alarmed me in its turgid explosion of powder and vanilla. It smelled like my grandma. It smelled like “old people.” It smelled warm, and it was 1998. Cool and unisex was the order of the day; CK One was still ruling pop culture with its steely gaze, along with all of the aqueous, ozonic, androgynous scents of the 1990s. I myself wore Calvin Klein TRUTH.

An appreciation of sweetness and the dustiness of talc was still a decade and a half away for me.

The wearing of Shalimar is my homage to my grandmother. When I wear it, the delight I feel upon uncorking it is most-times overlaid by my awareness of her. I remember that Christmas moment and my lack of understanding of it then, juxtaposed with my desire to pay tribute to her now, and then I am swept away by the scent of sparkling lemons, and I anticipate with pleasure what I know will follow: feeling enveloped in warmth, elegance, and a sexy, velvety, vanillic plushness.

My grandmother was a woman of her time: always put together and dressed to impress, she never wanted to be seen with her hair out of place, or without makeup on her face. Even as she passed 70, 80, 90, I could smell that powdery scent on her clothes, in her hair, and on her skin. She clearly knew the power of Shalimar to create a mood you could put on like your very best dress.

Shalimar is a classic. If you don’t know it, you should. I slip into Shalimar like I slip into my favorite blue jeans: paired with black flats and a sense of inner elegance, you can’t go wrong. Wrapped up in lemons and lace, sweetness, wood, and warmth, donning Shalimar is like pulling the finest pashmina around your shoulders and stepping out with confidence, grace, and the inhabitance of total luxury.

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