When I was growing up, my mom would take me shopping to the mall in San Bernardino which was about an hour from where we lived in the Mojave Desert. The two of us would stop by my dad’s business and he’d hand me a $20 bill to spend. It was his way of showing love and affection, something that tended to be difficult for him back then. I recognized it for what it was and appreciated the gesture.
It was always fun to spend a day away with just my mom (no brothers!). We both liked browsing through baby clothes, despite the fact there were no babies to buy for. Ever the clothes horse, my mom would happily buy me cute clothes, although we didn’t always agree on styles. And she’d buy me the same high quality Olga lingerie that she wore.
A trip was not complete, however, until we’d visited the perfume counters. I was perhaps 15 or 16 when I first discovered Shalimar by Guerlain. My mom liked it, too, although she’s always thought it smelled better on me. She would buy this rather expensive French fragrance for me as a teenager just as she would for herself. I remember her also wearing Chanel #5, L’air du Temps, Emeraude, and a few others, while I soon zeroed in on Shalimar as “my” fragrance. I had worn Charlie in junior high, along with most other young teens. I also tried another Guerlain fragrance, L’heure Bleue, a few times. But Shalimar just seemed to suit me. And it still does over 30 years later.
Several years ago I realized that one of the main top notes in Shalimar is bergamot which also happens to be the flavoring in Earl Grey tea which I’m pretty obsessive about. I mentioned this fact to my daughter, Lisa and she replied that she’d always thought Shalimar smelled like Earl Grey. Good nose, apparently. I suppose it makes sense that both would appeal to me. Shalimar was developed in 1925 and has remained popular ever since. In reading reviews of it from various sources, it seems quite common for women to discover it and then wear it almost exclusively for decades. I think for those to whom it appeals at first, it is almost addictive and nothing else ever quite measures up.
The fact that Shalimar came in such a pretty bottle no doubt added to the charm for me. Unfortunately, Guerlain decided to change the bottle a few years ago. It’s still lovely but I miss the romantic look of the older version pictured above. I kept one of the older style bottles and I keep hoping that one day they will return to that classic style.
Well, it’s late and I’m rambling so I guess I’d better wrap this up. Scent is one of those things that can bring memories flooding back and for me, Shalimar will always remind me of pleasant times. Since it’s pretty much the only fragrance my kids have ever smelled on me, I suspect it will always trigger memories of “mom” whenever they catch a whiff of it.