The Shalimar flanker Souffle de Parfum from 2014 has now generated its own flanker called Souffle Intense. While the flanker concept is extremely common in perfumery today, so much so that most of the fragrance industry’s new releases are flankers of existing bestsellers, it’s a relatively new idea to launch a flanker of a flanker. At Guerlain, it has only happened once before when the commercially unsuccessful Shalimar Parfum Initial spawned a L’Eau version in 2012, both now discontinued. One could also argue that Guerlain Homme L’Eau Boisée was a flanker of the discontinued Guerlain Homme L’Eau, although some people argued that it was more a flanker of Terre d’Hermès.

Souffle de Parfum is one of just two Shalimar flankers currently in production, the other one being Shalimar Cologne. The idea behind the Shalimar flankers is to remake the bergamot-vanilla accord without the smoky, leathery birch tar note that many people find too “vintage” and dark. As the name suggests, Shalimar Souffle de Parfum was made to be light, and by no means intense. In French, “souffle” can have several meanings, but in this context, it means a breeze or a puff of air. English-speakers are more familiar with the name “soufflé” for the famous French dish made with beaten egg whites which provide a characteristic puffiness to the dish.

When Souffle de Parfum first came out, it was advertised as a "tender floriental", featuring a clean, airy accord of orange blossom, jasmine, white musk, a touch of vanilla, and a watermelon top note, familiar in aquatic fragrances. It didn’t smell much like Shalimar, though, but rather like an Aqua Allegoria version of L’Heure Bleue, quite unique in its way, but just too light to be memorable.

Its contradictory name notwithstanding, the new Intense version is a superlative improvement of the accord. It essentially smells the same, but by some magic, in which everything but the watermelon and orange blossom is amped up, it may now actually be interpreted as a variation on Jacques Guerlain’s classic oriental, as if Shalimar had been turned into a creamy, yellow vanilla orchid in full bloom.

Souffle Intense comes in a darker, less transparent version of the blue Shalimar Souffle de Parfum bottle.
(August 2017)

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