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Shalimar's sunny interior is lined with fragrances for body and home, as well as teas and herbal tinctures handcrafted by the shop owner.
We love perfume, but shopping for it? Not so much. Department stores are too bustling for us to focus, and besides, we don't like smelling like everyone else.
Now a nondescript little bungalow on Melrose lets us find our signature scent in peace. Shalimar: Apothecary of Scent is a mirrored, chandelier-dotted shop full of prestige imported fragrances like the Profumi di Firenze line from Florence, which friendly staffer Michelle helped us sample by spraying a bit on paper fans, then waving them in front of us. The experience was so special, especially when wafts of Brezza di Mare, a seawater-bergamot-lime scent, brought back harbor walks in Portofino.
What really sets the shop apart is its array of subtle home scents, like Nicolaï perfumes, started by a grandaughter of French scent-maker Jean-Paul Guerlain. Beautiful glass lamps ($85 to $135) that look like crystal perfume bottles burn scented oils such as the refreshing Un Soir en Sicile (grapefruit, lemon and black currant) and the spicy Maharadjah (lavender, sandalwood and patchouli). And incense from Paris-based Mariage Frères is delightfully intense and clean-smelling, since it contains no charcoal, just ground tea and herbals.
Fragrance is hard to buy as a present, but these atmospheric scents will make great hostess gifts. At least that will be our excuse when stopping by Shalimar again and again.
Shalimar: Apothecary of Scent, 8568 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 310-652-6406 or apothecaryofscent.com
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