"Mitsouko was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1919. The creation of Mitsouko was inspired by the heroine of Claude Farrčre's novel 'La bataille', a story of an impossible love between Mitsouko, the wife of Japanese Admiral Togo, and a British officer. The story takes place in 1905, during the war between Russia and Japan. Both men went to war, and Mitsouko, hiding her feelings with dignity, waits for the outcome of the battle to discover which of the two men will come back to her and be her companion.
Mitsouko is one of the well known aromas of chypre olfactory group with cool top notes and oak moss in the base. But it also has a note of a juicy peach, which gives a clear and quite gourmand nuance. It features bergamot, peach, jasmine, may rose, spices (cinnamon), oak moss, vetiver and wood. The fragrance is exuberant, unusual and elegant, not too sweet, nor heavy, it is well balanced."
Mitsouko is a wonderful earthy olfactory fragrance. It is very smoky throughout and quite incense-y in its drydown. There are a lot of notes - warm citrus, jasmine, oak moss, wood to name a few - that are dominant, but, overall, this is a spicy, smoky, woody scent. Mitsouko is quite dry yet comforting at the same time - sometimes, it makes me think of incense burning in church and other times, I find it quite bitter and aggressive. I guess this one's simply a complicated one. Mitsouko is definitely vintage - well, what would you expect from a fragrance created in 1919? - and probably not for everyone. Its complex character - intense spiciness and smokiness and occasional dustiness - requires a person who isn't intimidated by such a poignant parfum.
"Shalimar was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1925, as a tribute to the legendary love story between Emperor Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Before he became emperor his name was Prince Khurram. According to the legend, twenty- year-old Prince Khurram met a young girl, named Arjumand Banu at the bazaar where her family worked. Mesmerized by her beauty, after becoming emperor, he made her his wife as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the "Jewel of the Palace". After the wedding ,the prince and Mumtaz were inseparable, in war and in peace. She had given 13 children to Shahjahan and died during the birth of their 14th child at the age of 39. Her death devastated Shahjahan and had built Taj Mahal in memory of his wife and their undying love. Shalimar is named after ‘The Gardens of Shalimar’.It was Mumtaz’s favorite garden.
Perfume is composed of citrus notes; lemon and bergamot, jasmine, may rose, opoponax, Tonka bean, vanilla, iris, Peru balsam and gray amber. Coolness of the citrus notes leads to floral heart ending with a warm and luxurious trail."
Who doesn't know Shalimar? This is a best seller yet Shalimar is definitely not a scent I'd describe as a "crowd pleaser" - I know a lot of people who love it and a lot of people who cannot stand it. And I can totally see why this divides. Shalimar, if compared to Mitsouko, is a bit less intense but that doesn't mean it's an uncomplicated, easy to wear frag! It is woody and smoky - similar to Mitsouko in that sense - but it is also leathery and Shalimar's got a very distinctive vanilla note. Overall, it is very hard to pinpoint every accord of Shalimar as this is, again, one complex scent, but it is definitely sweeter and more powdery than Mitsouko. It is, in a nutshell, a vanilla frag and the vanilla in this juice is very thick, rich and dirty. Add to that the leathery notes and the mysterious smokiness and... well, you see what I meant when I said this one isn't uncomplicated!
Shalimar is a must for anyone who appreciates darker, sensual scents. Shalimar was created in 1925 and yes, it does feel vintage, but it also feels very relevant and modern. It is a classic, after all, and I expect this one not to age. Ever.
Guerlain Mitsouko and Shalimar are available from Guerlain counters nationwide. Both come as Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum.