Well, technically, Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau Si Sensuelle. That’s right – a flanker of a flanker of a flanker.
I don’t care. Laugh all you like! I love this stuff.
And get this – this was my first Guerlain. EVER. It was my neural pathway to the original mothership oriental herself, i.e., real Shalimar. (Every time someone says that a flanker was their introduction to the original fragrance, a Thierry Wasser gets his wings.)
I can’t believe they just discontinued this little beauty, the bastards. I know that people are a bit sneery about this being a flanker of a flanker, but, honestly, it is just a fabulous smelling perfume. Whereas Parfum Initial is heavy on the iris/berry/patchouli and more than a few degrees closer to Dior Homme Intense than Shalimar, this one reads as a true Shalimar Light.
L’Eau is also, dare I say, a whole lot better than Parfum Initial. It is like a summer sketch of the original Shalimar using only the gauziest of notes. The heavy, stinky bergamot opening of the original, which can be utterly frightening to the unindoctrinated, has been replaced by sunny, zippy orange, neroli, and grapefruit. It smells like lemon tart or lime cheesecake sprinkled with candied rose petals. The opening is so irresistibly delicious and aromatic, you will want to drink your wrist.
The scent, being simple and direct, reaches the heart and base very quickly, where it stays in a lightly spiced, lightly creamy vanilla register for the duration. The lime cheesecake smell is utterly delicious. It makes me ridiculously happy.
Of course, don’t go into this expecting Shalimar – there is no smoke, heavy vanilla, leather, civet, or amber here. But this works fantastically as a sort of summer cologne-style version of Shalimar when you want to stay on the lighter side of things. Highly recommended, and stock up while you can still find this in shops. Knowing Guerlain, they will probably re-release this or Parfum Initial in the bee bottles in twenty years and try to charge us all $450 a bottle for it. So….buy it now.