Despite the Guerlain press release that states that the new perfume has little if anything to do with the original L'instant, it in fact appears to us to be a L'Instant rethought. It showcases similar fresh top notes and floral bouquet with the main addition of a delicious, very mellow and rich accord of almond marzipan with slightly grilled edges that brings a certain comforting and abstract gourmand quality to the scent while evoking the elegant texture of a vaporous muslin crinoline dress of the IInd Empire that could have been worn by Eugénie de Montijo. The combination of the nutty facet of almond with florals here is interestingly reminiscent, conceptually mostly, of the rose and amaretto accord in Pucci Vivara (2007).......
Sylvaine Delacourte through the press communication stressed that,
"This new Instant has no filiation with the original L'Instant in its genesis except for a sensation of freshness that cuts across the composition. The first one is a floriental while L'Instant Magic expresses a different type of sensuality thanks to the white musks and the woods. I have nicknamed it the Muscinade in a playful reference to the Guerlinade because both have this typical Guerlain ADN, which means an audacious overdose of certain raw materials, very beautiful natural ingredients that confer a signature and a sillage that are immediately recognizable."
The new perfume is classified as a woody floral and this seems to establish a distinction that is significant enough to erase in principle the connection with L'Instant for a professional of the industry. But it is hard to ignore the similarities and the impression of immediate familiarity one experiences when smelling the scent without having read the press release first. It is also significant to learn that Randa Hammami worked as the assistant to Maurice Roucel on the original L'Instant before being hired by Delacourte for two recent Arabian-style perfume oils, Garden Sensuel and Sensuel Oud and L'Instant Magic.
The sense of familiarity is also due to the reenactment of a beautiful classic. Usually when one speaks of perfume trends one most commonly means a perfume trend that runs through the market across several brands. With Guerlain, there seems to be also the phenomenon of an internal trend to the perfume house, namely a love of almond blossom and the recreation of a vaporous, hazy texture reminiscent of the dreamy iris-y L'Heure Bleue of old that is to be found in the more recent Lights of Champs Elysées and Iris Ganache and which has receded from the modern l'Heure Bleue.
The positive aspect of this signature unifying internal trend within Guerlain is to enable us to experience once again the proverbial richness of the classic Guerlain fragrances and, in particular, as exemplified by the gossamer-like material of L'Heure Bleue. The impression of holding a luxurious, rich material in one's hands is felt anew and it appears nowhere as characteristic as in the new L'Instant Magic. We were mourning the disappearance of this sensation earlier on.
Bar Refaeli Michell Buswell* wearing a sumptuous theatrical evening gown with a train that is like the representation of the ideal texture of a Guerlain fragrance with peerless modernized diffusive power and sillage aptly captures the new perfume.
The opening is but a pretext it seems, green, woody, and citrus-y and smells of L'Instant, tout de suite. The main new attraction, the lightly powdery fruity almond accord allied with florals soon uncoils going through gradual stages of development. The perfume feels like the top and bottom parts of a floral galette des rois that is warm and crispy, opening up to reveal a layer of rich almond filling in between. The green, milky, fire-roasted, nutty, even slightly alcoholic facets of almond-scented glue, a popular scented object found in nearly every French child's memory shift on the skin. This almond heart is surrounded by round florals, rose and freesia. The dry-down is floral, woodsy and musky, very diffusive and sumptuous like the train of the L'Instant Magic ball gown. The so-called Muscinade is lady-like and only shows the suggestive tip of a satin shoe or the lines of elegantly polished shoulders, however the sensuality is undeniably present, more overtly so than in L'instant.
The exceptional texture and projection of the scent allied with the qualities of the inital L'Instant make it a beautiful romantic perfume. It must be said that more than "almond-y facets" we find here an overdose of almond, blossoming in a conspicuous fashion in the shape of a coquette's fluffy swan down houpette. People who disdain almond usually might nevertheless want to try it to see if they might not be convinced by the evident qualities of the scent.
Notes include: bergamot, rose, freesia, white musk, cedar, sandalwood, with almond-y nuances.
You can find the Eau de Parfum at Nordstrom, for $74 and $100. The parfum, which hopefully is even more compelling, retails for $115.
*Note: some sources say it is Bar Refaeli, others say it is model Michelle Buswell. In the TV spot it's clear it is Buswell, so I suppose it is the same person although on the printed ad it looks like it might have been Refaeli. I also think it makes sense Guerlian would have chosen a taller model to wear this incredible gown; Refaeli is 1, 74 m tall versus Buswell is 1, 80 m tall.
(Photos courtesy of Guerlain press service; complementary source: Cosmétique Mag)