I strongly resisted l’Instant when it just came out. It just was so not Guerlain. My first impression of it was of an unwanted (yet pretty) step-sister to the other Guerlain scents. Young and inexperienced rather as opposed to the sophisticated style that the other Guerlain scents radiate. Although l’Instant did not win my heart when I finally took on to wear it for a full day and notice its evolution, I did discover a beautiful magnolia scent – the trademark of its creator, Monsieur Maurice Roucel. L’Instant is a Floral. If anybody tells you otherwise, don’t believe them: this is not a “modern oriental”, in fact, it is not even what I would call floriental.
L’Instant is a scent that revolves around the theme of magnolia: sweet and honey like without being cloying (an element which the citrus-honey note supports); Iris to accentuate the fluffy powderiness; and a benzoin-vanilla base to maintain the sweetness as much as possible.
After application, I instantly recognized something familiar. It took me a while to get it - Tocade! Indeed, the two perfumes do share some striking similarities: both contain magnolia, bergamot, orris and vanilla. Tocade has a lot of roses, and in many aspects this is the main difference between the two. In fact, l’Instant is so similar to Tocade that I am surprised nobody picked up on it before. I will not be surprised if it is a tweaking of the Tocade formula – accentuating the magnolia rather than the rose and being a bit lighter on the powdery notes, with the addition of the new notes – like the crystalline musk and the citrus honey. The two also share in common the clean, crisp synthetic bergamot top note.
As the scent evolved on my skin, I got occasional familiar whiffs of pleasant memories – one originated in a magnolia body milk splash I had about 7 years ago, and the other was almost identical to a festive jar of lemon-scented honey (citrus honey with the addition of lemon flavour). Citrus honey, by the way, is honey which is produced form citrus flowers, and it usually has a much lighter colour and flavour than other types of honey.
Overall, l’Instant is a sheer and cheerful modern floral; Very pleasant and easy to wear even if not at all sophisticated or complex like most Guerlain scents are. I would take this any time over most of the recent (non-boutique) Guerlain launches such as the Aqua Allegoria line, myriads of other fruity, floral and ambery-floral modern releases, and definitely won’t hesitate to pick this one over Insolence in an instant!
The crystalline base adds a somewhat aloof sensuality and sweetness – that is not unlike other modern orientals and florientals (i.e. the base in Addict, Nu, Kingdom and others).
Top notes: Rosewood and lilac notes, Bergamot, Mandarin
Heart notes: Magnolia, iris, citrus honey with some light lemon and orange blossom notes
Base notes: Benzoin, Vanilla, Crystalline Amber.