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No Greater Excellence
If a greater perfume than this exists, it's got to be Roja (Haute Luxe) by Roja Dove--at least in my personal sniffing experience. But even Roja can't eclipse the sheer wonder of Shalimar in its most glorious form, the original extrait. It took me a long time to understand this perfume, years to collect every version, months to study it, compare it. Then, one day, I put on the extrait and it was as if clouds parted and a choir of angels sang. Not the boring kind of angels. These were wrapped in furs (magic ones not from animals) and had wings of gold. The real Shalimar is an experience of bliss awaiting the perfumista or perfumisto lucky enough to snag a well-preserved bottle of the extrait then glory in the Lemon/Bergamot top and thrill in its civety heart and base. From Jacques Guerlain's notes, Thierry Wasser reports the extrait has: bergamot, lemon, jasmine, rose, orris, opopanax, tonka bean, birch tar, patchouli, incense, vetiver, civet, castoreum, vanilla, musk. I can smell them. Given the restrictions on today's perfumers, such a scent will never come again. At least it once was made and can still be enjoyed--the reigning excellence in perfume, even in its age.