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L’Instant de Guerlain for Women – approachable, easy-going and very feminine

One of the most feminine fragrances I wear is L’Instant de Guerlain for Women. I’ve worn and enjoyed it for years. This is something I realized just this morning when I reached for the blocky glass bottle before heading off to a meeting. I like the way it smells and the way it makes me feel, but I also like the way I have come to feel about it. I don’t shy away from big notes or big personalities when it comes to the fragrances I wear, but there is something about the elegant, feminine beauty of  L’Instant de Guerlain that has earned it a permanent spot in my fragrance wardrobe and my heart.

L’Instant de Guerlain was created by renowned nose Maurice Roucel and launched by Guerlain in 2003. The year is significant. In 1994, the Guerlain family sold the company to the luxury goods multinational corporation, LVMH. And while Jean-Paul Guerlain stayed on as in-house perfumer, the decision was made to have outside noses, such as Olivier Cresp (Champs-Elysées), Mathilde Laurent (Herba Fresca) and Maurice Roucel create fragrances for Guerlain as well. Devotees of Guerlain weren’t happy about this. They felt that LVMH was choosing commerce over quality - a slippery slope that would ultimately destroy the heritage and quality of the brand. Over time, the practice of using outside perfumers was largely abandoned. In 2008, Thierry Wasser was named the in-house perfumer for Guerlain and the pitchforks and torches were laid down.

While all of that was happening, L’Instant de Guerlain quietly became a fan-favourite. This fragrance gets big love and rave reviews from women everywhere, and it’s no secret why: it’s beautiful. Maybe not groundbreaking, maybe not a big presence, but oh, what a lovely presence it has!

It opens with a bright, sharp note of bergamot flanked by sweet, juicy mandarin. The fresh citrus start gives way to a floral heart of powdery iris, the note of sophistication, magnolia, a Roucel signature, fresh and lush and lemony-faceted, it’s supported by jasmine and ylang-ylang. I get a whiff of green freshness – perhaps from the honey-tinged black elder. The sweetness of the heart links with the lingering citrus top notes and brightens the floral heart. The base creamy and cozy from vanilla, sweet and warm from amber and rich honey, with a light smokiness, smoothed and rounded by cashmere-like white musk.

The drydown is soft, elegant and very feminine. There is no darkness, heaviness or ‘dirtiness’ in L’Instant de Guerlain. Yes, the famous Guerlinade is there, presented in an updated way - approachable, easy-going and very feminine way.

Roucel has created such a balanced beauty here. L’Instant de Guerlain is complex yet simple, sweet, but not gourmand, with white flowers that dominate but don’t overtake and a sunshine-like radiance that is so alluring, it makes it a must-have in any woman’s fragrance wardrobe.

L’Instant de Guerlain for Women is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Image - wikipedia.com - Detail of Guerlain store, Paris,  by Moonik, 04/08/2012