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Living in Japan is a bit difficult for fragrance lovers because a) you can never get liquid samples and b) prices are very high, even at discounters. I was looking at a domestic Japanese on-line retailier, and I saw Habit Rouge EDC for less than half the (full retail) price I paid for HR EDT. So I went for that, and in trying to get to the free shipping point, I found a box of four Guerlain samples, all EDT: Mitsouko, Shalimar, Instant Magic and Insolence. I would have preferred more archetypal names like L'Heure Bleu or something, but the prices were good, so now I am getting to know some new Guerlains.

The Habit Rouge EDC seems a bit smoother than the EDT, but suffers a bit in longevity. However, it is certainly equally charming, maybe more so. Whatever the concentration, I was happy to double my inventory of HR.

I was interested in Shalimar because my sister talked about it when she was in high school. I don't know that she ever wore it, but she and her friends often talked about it. Then, these many decades later, hearing that it is full of vanilla and also related to HR, I was ready for a sample. One thing that surprised me: after dabbing (the 5ml smaples are not sprays) it takes a few minutes for the fragrance to develop. I was almost ready to be disappointed, but then it began to blossom. Later I put some on top of some HR--wow! Sillage and projection like crazy.

Mitsouko--well, what can I say? Its noble heritage is certainly evident even in the modern EDT. I think it has a note that reminds me of plum blossoms, but that is only noticeable from a certain distance. I am afraid to try any of the vintages, for fear of never being satisfied again.

Insolence and Instant Magic-- I know there is much complaint about these more recent creations. However, I find them very fresh and at the same time strong in projection. Just one drop on the wrist is enough to develop a certain ambience, light enough to wear to the supermarket without causing anyone to look askance, but still there waiting for me to pay some attention to it. The Guerlainade is evident here as well, but I can tell this is on a different quantum level compared to the classics. Instant magic seems to have some connection to the L'Instant Pour Homme (which I also like). So you can count me among the satisifed Guerlain fans, even for the modern ones.