L’Instant de Guerlain and it’s many flankers.


Kate Apted


Hello there and welcome to APJ.

Do you get lost in the myriad of flankers? Guerlain is most certainly guilty of pumping out copius amounts of flankers each year, but it does not mean they are necessarily bad, inferior or unwelcome.

The lesser known series of L’Instant de Guerlain attracts very little attention in our community. Part of that is the fact they were issued almost a generation ago and are harder to source. I also suspect the range is now considered dated. But you can let me know what you think about that. I do, however, hope they will enter the cannon of Guerlain greats eventually.

Today, I want to showcase four from the series; simply because I own four and they are the only ones I have come across. They are L’Instant de Guerlain (LIdG) eau de toilette, eau de parfum, the Iris limited edition and L’Instant Magic.

L’Instant de Guerlain EdP

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin
Heart: Iris, Jasmine, Magnolia, Black elder, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Benzoin, Honey, Musk, Vanilla

Released in 2003, and made by Maurice Roucel, LIdG edp is very high pitched on opening. There is a note that pierces my brain and makes me not want to smell it for the first hour. On dry down, I get a vague, non sweet honey, powdery vanilla and a creamy white floral mix. Guerlain tend to make their edps more melancholic and introspective, and it is very much the case with the edp. It becomes a skin scent on me after 2 hours. Be warned, though, the amber and ylang ylang become dominant and bring a surprise sweetness later on. Not huge, but present enough to shift the scent out of white floral territory.


Photo by Kate Apted

L’Instant de Guerlain eau de toilette

This came two years later and produced by Roucel also. A livelier interpretation without the honey, no sign of powderiness on the outset and a hefty dose of amber, unlike the edp. Interestingly, the magnolia and jasmine race to take centre stage after half an hour. They make this the ideal big creamy white floral. I can sense the bitterness of grapefruit, which breaks up the white floral dominance. This had oodles of personality and requires a bit of confidence to wear with abandon. The jasmine rides out til the end – HOURS later.


Photo by Kate Apted

L’Instant de Guerlain Eau de Noel Iris Millesime

A limited edition of 2003, L’IdG Iris is just that; iris. I find this edition quite flat, no sign of the sparkle found in other Guerlainade scents and not much to recommend it other than covet status. Given that Guerlain treats iris with reverence and all the delicacy of a book pressed  flower, I find it strange this edition is so lack lustre. I have no idea who the nose is, but there is no signature Roucel edge to it. There is a musty musk underlying the iris, so it may be Sylvaine Delacourte’s rearrangement of Roucel’s notes. By no means a terrible scent, just… flat and quite dark. Opens with the same soft focus, ethereal quality as the Mon Guerlain edts of late, and dries down to a skin level gothic syrup.


Photo by Kate Apted

L’Instant Magic

I confess this is a top 10 of mine. It has all the elements of L’Heure Bleu edt, the happy citrus found in Habit Rouge edt and the white musk Delacourte is so fond of; interpreted by Randa  Hammami. A mix of notes that really should not work, but they do. A little bombastic with its presence and sillage, it is the boldest of the four. I think because it spans a wide range of notes all at once, the mind finds it hard to focus on anything but its whole, big picture. Much like Cologne du 68 takes a bit of everything to bring a bright melange of spring, L’Instant Magic combines all the famous Guerlain ingredients to make a very femme bomb. Expect a long ride with this one.


Photo by Kate Apted

The bottles are all the same shape and style and are quite bottom heavy. I do know they have recently been rehoused in the bee bottles, which takes away some of the unique identity of the range. The boxes are rather uniform, adorned with a circle, within which the name of the perfume is written.

How do you feel about this stage in Guerlain’s history? What are your feelings on the flankers they have released en masse since the turn of the century? Have you tried any of the others in the range, or got your hands on the parfums?

Much love,

Kate xx

8 thoughts on “L’Instant de Guerlain and it’s many flankers.

  1. Not thrilled with the change to uniform bottles, even less thrilled with the ridiculous number of La Petite Robe Noire flankers.

    I have owned every version of L’Instant however. I got rid of the edp and edt, but I still own and love Iris Millesime, Magic and Magic Elixir.


  2. I have long been intrigued by the Magic version but have not actually tried it, and it’s above my price limit for blind buys 😳.Not into the change to the uniform bottles. I like having unique bottles for each scent.


  3. I’ve got L’Instant, it’s in the Bee Bottle. Not got any flankers. I think I’d like the Iris one.
    I’ve got LPRN and the flanker Black Perfecto. and Shalimar and the flanker Souflle.


  4. I’m so happy you mention L’Instant Kate. I absolutely adore L’Instant Magic, my kind of fragrance. I am late to the party as it’s a recent purchase, but I am smitten, it is exactly the perfume I love to wear and I love the longevity. I then purchased L’Instant in the original bottle. I really enjoy it but not as much as Magic. I’ve not sampled any of the other L’Instant flankers.
    I much prefer the original bottle and am not really fond of the bee bottles.
    I don’t mind flankers and understand evolving the scent, but historically I usually prefer the originals from any house.


  5. I hate the move to uniform bottles. Bottle design is part of the fragrance personality. LVMH is a huge corporation; do they really have to become so greedy that they need to make uniform bottles just to save few cents or few dollars on each bottle. Imagine if this was always the trend… could you identify different perfumes in the pictures of celebrity dressing tables we see from past eras if it were not for their unique bottle designs (even for perfumes from the same brand).


  6. I am notoriously bad with flankers in that I cannot remember which ones I have already tried and which ones I still want to try.!!!! I am not too familiar with Guerlain flankers but I did try one of the Black Perfecto and enjoyed it… Or was it Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto?? See? Too confusing for me!!!!🤣😨🙃


  7. I adore L’Instant de Guerlain pour Homme, and would happily sniff the neck of any man wearing, it if didn’t get me booted out of polite society (men are so skittish in this town).


    • I think this was my first Guerlain acquisition and instant love. I still think it is the last good Guerlain mainstream release for men. I am not at all impressed by Guerlain Pour homme and its flankers or Ideal and its flankers


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