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.
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.
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.
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.
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?