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madmen_s01e10_shalimar_bornunicorn (4)Carol McCardy (Kate Norby) and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) are getting dressed for a night out. Carol comments on Joan’s perfume: we learn that she wears a classic – Guerlain Shalimar, perfect for a seductress like Joan.

Created in 1925 by Jacques Guerlain, it’s undeniably one of the most famous perfumes of all times. According to Fragrantica, it opens on citrus notes (lemon, mandarin orange and bergamot), has floral middle notes (jasmine, may rose, iris) and balsamic base notes (sandalwood, opopanax, civet, musk, leather, incense and Tonka bean).  It’s a perfume I could never wear (my skin doesn’t love it at all) but I can see why it’s so popular and beloved. Its Indian inspiration (Shalimar was the name of Mumtaz Mahal‘s favourite garden) and the fan-shaped bottle designed by Raymond Guerlain in collaboration with Baccarat have certainly contributed in creating an icon.

GUERLAINSHALIMARADSShalimar advertising campaigns have always focused on the oriental inspiration of the perfume, as shown in the pictures above. From left to right: 1929 illustration by Lyse Darcy; 1959 illustration by Jean-Baptiste Charnotet; an illustration (possibly from the 1930s) with a veiled woman; a 1975 ad inspired to the Jazz Age.