You can't say that Guerlain aren't keeping Thierry Wasser busy. This year saw the release of the third version of Homme, a new Aqua Allegoria and an exclusive, limited edition entitled Abeille De Guerlain. Now two more creations arrive bearing his signature: an eau de toilette of his own Idylle, as well as a reinterpretation of one of the undisputed classics of all time, Shalimar.
The former is sold as a softer, "more feminine" version of the eau de parfum, and in a sense, this isn't far from the truth. The floral bouquet and the citrus undertone are, indeed, granted greater prominence, but they're my least favourite aspects of the edp anyway. I prefer the ambery-mossy conclusion, which is distinctly suppressed here in the edt, creating an effect that I find 'girly' rather than feminine.
Thankfully, the Shalimar is a more praiseworthy effort. Its initial burst of bergamot, civet and vanilla-infused amber pays respectful homage to the original, but then proceedings veer off in a slightly different direction. The tangy, fruity top notes are sweeter and more pronounced. The vanillic base is gentler. And the oriental notes are kept to a minimum. The result is pleasant, transparent and not particularly long-lasting, as though Lahore's famous gardens have decided to lighten up for just a few hours and spare foreign tourists the full onslaught of heady Asian exoticism. Having said that, the inspiration for this new juice seems to have come from a place much closer to home, because with its brighter, wispier and arguably more modern tone, it instantly calls to mind another fairly recent release from one of Guerlain's main competitors. Which one do I mean? Well, let's just say that Ode De La Vanille is something of a misnomer; a more accurate name would've been Shalimar Eau Premiere.
[Shalimar - Ode De La Vanille review based on a sample of eau de parfum; Idylle review based on a sample of eau de toilette; both samples obtained in 2010; fragrances tested on skin.]