A childhood spent in the American suburbs leaves you with some interesting hard-wired associations, and no matter how hard you try, you can never quite pry all of them out. So when I first smelled L'Instant de Guerlian, its particular blend of orange and not-quite-edible vanilla tweaked a couple of dormant synapses from my late childhood that brought forth a particular item from mall food court: the Orange Julius, a proto-smoothie thing that I used to sometimes drink in between bouts of Ms. Pac-Man at the arcade in Denton, Texas. These drinks were (sort of) blends of orange juice and vanilla ice cream and several other ingredients; I really don't know exactly what went into them. They really didn't taste that great after the first couple of sips, but I loved the way they smelled.
The idea works much better as a perfume, where the brightness of orange counters vanilla in a this lovely, glowing daytime scent. I detect the hand of creator Marice Roucel in this perfume's references to edible sweets, especially in its distinct honey note, which I recognize from his work on Hermès' 24 Faubourg. L'Instant takes a different tack from 24, however, in its slightly bitter and soapy qualities. These notes pull the perfume off the dessert cart and land it squarely on the bathroom vanity: L'Instant's vanilla base is emphatically not crème anglais.
Even though L'Instant comes loaded with tropical florals, its laundry musk says "daytime" to me. This may be a failure of my imagination rather than of the perfume; but, to me, it limits L'Instant's use to certain hours. It's also, probably, a little too noisy for work, at least in many environments. But it's a bottle of sunshine, and it wears like all the good Guerlains, with amazing tenacity and radiance. It's also, most emphatically, not expensive. L'Instant represents that most egalitarian of notions, the "pillar" fragrance--something intended for all of us. Even if L'Instant is not really my thing, I can get behind the idea--and I do like L'Instant much better than Dior's inedible vanilla monster Addict.
The problem of how to square this kind of egalitarian thinking with current ideas of luxury seems to have vexed the suits at LVMH past embarrassment. If you equate exorbitance with luxury, then it follows that most people can't have it. This seems to be the tack that Guerlain has taken, anyway. So, like a record company coasting on its back catalogue, they give the punters the old stuff, repackaged--but no new juice, unless it's hellaciously expensive and mostly unimaginative. Why does Guerlain's marketing department only aim at teenagers and dowagers? And when did they decide we're all rubes?
Sadly, I don't know if Guerlain knows how to make a perfume like this anymore. I also suspect the house does not want to, even if it could.
I finally smelled Terracotta, and it turns out that it's L'Instant's base, with something sort of coconutty added. So my last statement was wrong, in the most cynical way possible.
I still wouldn't drink it.
26th May, 2016 (last edited: 08th June, 2016)
It took me a few applications to decide if I like it enough to wear it. I sell a lot of vintage and always stick to perfume rather than EDP or EDT. That being said, a dear customer, now friend of mine sent me the EDP of this. I wore it the first time and thought not unpleasant. I wear Vol De Nuit, Shalimar, Mitsouko, Magie Noire, or Creed Angelique Encens most days so this seems more updated and similar to Bright Crystal Versace but not as sharp. I wore it a couple more times and decided it was a great everyday fragrance for when I just couldn't pick a fragrance to wear.
I agree with several reviewers about it being inoffensive and a little bland. My favorite Vintage Guerlains seem to be quite the opposite to the casual perfume sniffer. I bought a couple of EDP bottles because it works on those days I don't wake up thinking I know exactly which vintage Guerlain I want to start the morning off with. Amazingly I always get complimented when I wear it. Not so with my favorites lol!
It lasts longer on the skin longer than most perfumes ( not L'Heure Bleue or Mitsouko of course) so it is an inexpensive fragrance in my list of go to's.
I smell honey, almond, vanilla and something a little sharp on the dry down much like many newer fragrances. I guess that makes it updated or not dated 😊
Upon initial application, I perceive a rather bright, sharp citrus note that must have been a combination of the mandarin orange and bergamot. I did not particularly like the citrus note the first time, but I may change my mind in subsequent wearings. I did not perceive an apple note in the opening, but this too could change in subsequent wearings as I often find it takes me several wearings to really pick out as many notes as possible given my level of experience. I highly anticipated the heart and base notes after reading other reviews of this fragrance, and once they arrived, I was not disappointed!
In the heart notes I perceive a quite green, fresh, strong magnolia note accompanied by a smidgen of jasmine, both of which seemed to float upon the most deliciously soft, lightly sweet honey note. I think I also detect a tiny bit of ylang-ylang which adds to the light sweetness of the honey note. The parfum really begins to blossom quite beautifully with the heart notes.
In the dry down, I am able to pick out a sensual amber, a slightly smokey vanilla, a rich, naturalistic honey, a tiny bit of musk, and still a remnant of the fresh, green magnolia. The base notes were warm and very nearly gourmand but not quite. Together the heart and base notes make L'Instant a true standout amongst parfums that feature prominent magnolia and honey notes. This is the best, most naturalistic, warm and rich honey note I have encountered in a parfum outside of Elie Saab's Le Parfum Intense EdP.
I truly love both the heart and base notes in this EdP. I do not understand how anyone could describe L'Instant as either cloyingly sweet or heavy in any way. I found it to be a quite LIGHT and inoffensive scent. It is quietly elegant and truly unobtrusive. Compared to some of my classic Guerlains such as L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko, L'Instant is an extremely demure fragrance, and I cannot imagine it would offend anyone given how lightly and airily it wears on my skin. As for age appropriateness, I think any woman in her twenties and upward could easily wear this fragrance.
I cannot say I have ever smelt anything quite like L'Instant before. It is elegant, classy, and very FRENCH smelling. I like it very much, but I wish it were a tiny bit more assertive. Unless someone were standing within an arm's distance of the wearer, I do not think L'Instant could be detected.
Maurice Roucel has added a new "classic" to Guerlain's stable of classic fragrances. I think I would like to have the matching body lotion for this in order to give it a bit more oomph, though. This is so, so feminine, soft, elegant, and ladylike. I think it would be suitable year round.
Again, I would like to emphasise that it is NOT heavy, cloying, or overly sweet. The sweetness in it is very light and very naturalistic as opposed to synthetic. It does not have a sugary, candy sweetness to it at all. In short, it is simply gorgeous. I definitely recommend everyone give L'Instant EdP a test. It is back up bottle worthy and even signature scent worthy.
The opening blast reminds me of an odd combination: apricots and drying latex paint - that somewhat strange, sour accord.
It disappears within five minutes and what I am left with is a nondescript, light fruity vanilla. Neither the amber nor the florals ever arrive.
It almost veers off to the generic oceanic woody accord so blatantly copied by hundreds of perfume houses, but stops just short.
Neither good nor bad, just blandly uninteresting.
Turin gave it four stars and called it an "eclectic floral."
This one dedicated to Lady who attention Class and Sensation and in My opinion this is the reason why this GUERLAIN fragrance is always Darling. Classic,Soothing,Sultry,Wonderful,Oriental,Sophisticated with Very French Style.
All notes are like Symphonic Orchestra. The opening notes is Fresh and a Little Young.The heart possess an Intensive Floral and Extreme Femininity and Soft in the End.It sounds really Romantic for me.
It creates a lot of LOVE reactions.When you wear it You close your Eyes and feel You are a queen in Your Lover Heart.It is a Great Evening scent for a Classic Lady in SPECIAL Occasions. Suitable for COLD weather.Overall a HIGH CLASS Choice.
Longevity?Very Good on my skin.