I really like this although it is not for me--it is too gourmand (trop sucré, trop cuisiné) for me and... I do not like cocoa as a note. That said, L'Instant de Guerlain achieves a real balance between the bright, fresh, "cool" opening and the sugared warmth that follows. When it first came out I tried it on from a tester at--of all places--D.R. Harris in London's St. James' street and as I walked down Piccadilly I kept smelling on myself a kaleidoscope of candies--from boiled sweets to chocolate truffles and everything in between. I thought at the time, "this is what Willy Wonka must smell like." Great for a confectioner, not so much for me, although my wife loved the drydown. This is that wonderful Guerlain pâtissier/confiseur note taken too far for me. Wonderful Art Deco bottle.
L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme comes off as a good balance of fresh, spicy, and woody elements, especially at the opening, after which the citrus freshness fades. The citrus notes listed are bergamot, lemon, and grapefruit, but I don't specifically get any of those. The anise and jasmine also figure prominently in the opening, which is slightly cloying but also intriguing.
The cacao in the heart seems to draw a lot of attention, and if it's there, it's limited, but it's definitely submissive to the some of the other heart and base notes, like sandalwood and cedar. The base has some patchouli to give it an earthy resonance throughout its dry down.
Projection and longevity are both strong, especially for an EDT, though, not, say, in the A*Men or 24 Gold range of EDT power.
This reminds me of Chanel Pour Monsieur in terms of scent and the blend---both very classic, masculine options that work the fresh/spicy/woody blend very well. It also of reminds me of Bleu de Chanel in the sense that the individual notes are secondary to the art of the blend.
It's very inexpensive on fragrancenet ($29 for 50ml, $39 for 100ml) so it's an unusually good value at those price points. This could certainly be a man's signature scent, at the intersection of several categories, and strong, but not overwhelming. This certainly increases the hype for the extreme version, which I intend to try soon.
7 out of 10
This for me is a pleasant, initially dark, wood scent, opening a little sharply (do I detect a bit of oud?), quickly calming down, and brightened with a delicate citrus.
As it develops, a gentle, warm amber accord supports the sweet wood (sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver). This is a sophisticated wood fragrance, in the class of other Guerlain scents in this category (Heritage, for example).
I don't detect any green notes (odd that Turin called this a "green citrus), which makes this for me all the better.
As it dries down. I long for a spice note to develop, as in Derby, but the restraint of the perfumer in not doing so, adds to the spareness of ultimately a fine, warm, masculine wood.
Only because it's not my type of smell does it get a neutral rating. No doubt high quality formulation, just can't get past the powdery, sweetness. I have a full bottle staring at me right now!!(gulp!).
You need to like gourmand fragrances and sandalwood in order to enjoy this. I am not the biggest sandalwood fan (unless the scent is light and dry). At the open, the citrus top notes counterbalance the sweetness, but upon drydown, there is only very sweet musk and strong sandalwood. This combination just is not attractive to me. One thing I've got to admit though is that this is a masterful, smooth concoction. Longevity on me is more than adequate; it's just that I sometimes wish it would go away. I am going to be generous and give this a neutral rating.