For a fragrance released in 1937, Elsa Shiaparelli's Shocking is surprisingly 'nouveau' to my nose, but definitely brings with it all of that 'Golden Years' charm and grace.
One could imagine the Baroness in The Sound of Music wearing this ... it's beauty is regal!
The use of a heavy Civet note often dates a fragrance (Patou's Joy and Desprez' Bal a Versailles immediately spring to mind) and if not carefully used illicits the response of "ugh, cat pee" from many a nose. Civet is, however, used very successfully in combination with my favorite floral note Tuberose ... imho at least :). I can't see it's exclusion, for example, from something like Versace's Blonde doing that fragrance any favors.
In Shocking, the Civet is beautifully toned by the addition of Honey creating a gorgeous platform for the floral notes of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Rose and Narcissus to intermingle and project. While being rather floral heavy, Shocking has the curious attribute that it could very well be a modern 'masculine' floral ... a virtue demonstrated by quite a few classics, Patou 1000 and Lanvin Arpege also falling into this category.
If I had to describe Shocking in a single word it would be 'smooth'. The Aldehydes sparkle all the way through this beauty, doing their job of lifting and invigorating. In a prime example of the art of superlative blending, none of the notes here gets a chance at being in the spotlight ... rather they all swirl together creating the effect of a piece of olfactory silk, rippling in the breeze. This is definitely something that all parfumistas should have in their collections ... even just a 1ml sample to refer to every now and then. Not for the meek and mild ... if your preference leans toward lighter frags avoid this one completely. This fragrance demands confidence from it's wearer and will reward with heaps of attention!
Shocking is undeniably glamorous ... as at home in the glittering salons of pre WW2 Vienna as it would be at an Oscar's Ball in 2012.