L'Instant is sooooo ballet - it's relatively safe, sweet, and pretty if you're expecting the more challenging originality of the classic Guerlains. Yet...I'll admit that I love nothing more in this life, and find nothing more beautiful, that a really, really excellent classical ballet performed by an open, generous, and joyful dancer with jaw-dropping technique. And L'Instant, for me, is the exact perfume equivalent of that ballet moment. It gets around all of my intellectual defenses and just goes right for the innocent part of me that's still three-years-old and can feel wonder.
Favorite perfume ever.
Genre: Floral Oriental
L’Instant introduces itself with a delicious sweet mandarin top note that segues into a tender floral bouquet atop a pillow of powdery vanilla and amber. The floral oriental arrangement tips its hat to Guerlain’s classic entries in the genre, but perfumer Maurice Roucel reinterprets Guerlain’s signature vanilla and amber accord in a thoroughly modern manner. Gone are the dark, smoky, phenolic accent and lascivious civet that underpin the vanilla in Shalimar and Jicky. L’Instant’s vanilla, while suitably soft and rich, is also squeaky clean, bright, and congenial.
The luminous vanilla with its floral counterpoint echoes the structure of Roucel’s own Tocade, done several years earlier for Rochas, but L’Instant’s accord of jasmine, orange blossom, and ylang-ylang is more complex than Tocade’s rose, and aims for a greater degree of sophistication. Both scents are happy, sunny compositions, but Tocade is more of the young filly to L’Instant’s serene adult. In fact, everything about L’Instant breathes an air of decorum and respectability: its gentle radiance, its balance, its impeccable blending and uniformity, and its smooth, yielding texture. All this makes L’Instant a remarkably adaptable fragrance, appropriate for any woman, on any occasion. For the woman who wants only one scent in her wardrobe, L’Instant is an accomplished Jack-of-all-trades.
Such versatility comes with a price, though. L’Instant may never offend, but it will not provoke, or perhaps even excite. Such are its poise and propriety that it risks utilitarian blandness. (Something the more ebullient and slightly less prim Tocade successfully avoids.) Yet as L’Instant’s creamy vanilla-amber drydown spreads out in front of me, it’s hard to deny its unwavering sense of “rightness.”
I got a sample of this at the Guerlain counter, and since the shopgirl said it was a light floral that I would like it. I didn't. I found it very heavy, and very cloying and it actually gave me a severe headache after application. I tried it on several other occasions with the same nauseous headache-inducing results. It has actually left me a little wary on trying other Guerlain frags as this is the only one I have ever had such an ill reaction to (other than Givenchy's amirage). So for me L'Instant wasn't good. More like L'instant mal a la tete. Too bad.
Honeyed, laundry-airy, floral, watery, almondy and barely anisy-green at once. An olfactory reminiscence of Laura Biagiotti Roma to me. I catch the initial sharp mandarin-bergamot-lavender accord which imparts a sort of aqueous, angular and classic-conservative vibe to the juice, even if the latter is on the whole bright, light and modern though decidedly complex. L'Instant is indeed really multifaceted in its floral and ambery flying silkiness. The ylang-ylang is magistrally joined with honey and bergamot-lavender in order to create the vintage feel of the smell while the further soft floral notes (first of all rose and magnolia) imprint airiness, dynamism and joy of life. The dry down is musky-honeyed, floral, with a touch of animal, powder and balsams. Love.
20th April, 2012 (last edited: 21st April, 2012)
I'm a little undecided as to how I feel regarding this particular fragrance. L'Instant de Guerlain fascinates me, yet also leaves me dissatisfied.
First off, it strikes me as being very modern and elegant. To my nose, I tend to get a lot of powdery and musky iris and amber, (this is a review for the EDP by the way).
I read somewhere that this is a rather popular choice for brides on their wedding day, and I can see why. L'Instant de Guerlain is polite, pretty and classy, evidently formal in its approach, but nothing too bold.
It's clean, musky powderiness is what bothers me slightly. I often refrain from using the term 'old lady', yet for once I'll say that I feel this fragrance is too old for a young twenty year old, such as myself. It's a scent for tea parties and reading a book in bed, not something to match my somewhat wild, energetic and partying lifestyle.
In all honesty, L'Instant de Guerlain strikes me as a more modern and a less heavier version of the classic Shalimar and L'Heure Bleue. I noted this similarity when I first smelt it, however it wasn't until now that it occured to me that they are all from the same house.
When it comes down to it, I much prefer L'Instant de Guerlain over and above Insolence EDT and Idylle which leave much to be desired, however my appreciation for Guerlain still lies with their classics, especially those produced before the year 2000.