L’Instant de Guerlain: Nice to Meet You, Iris


 From yesterday’s High Street fluff back to majestic Guerlain, and L’Instant de Guerlain to be precise.  I have on loan the Parfum itself, in its tiny glass bottle (see photo) and enormous box.  By the time I opened the box, removed the inner sleeve,  and removed the 7.5ml bottle from its little case, it seemed like a tiny Queen on a huge throne  Using the glass stopper as a dabber, I wore this on my throat and forearms (putting a scent on my wrists means it gets washed off many times over the day).

I was amazed to see that L’Instant de Guerlain does not contain violets. My very first thought was violets and then iris. In fact, after a few moments I decided this was a little like smelling Apres L’Ondee through several layers of musk daubed white chiffon.  It’s warmed up with a little honey and some magnolia. It’s classy and timeless: you could wear this as a teen and as a 90 year old Grand Dame. There is powder too, but it’s a mere velvety muffler, rather than an old lady’s make up case. It’s a muted Iris/Violet with the light musk softening any sharpness or earthiness

Now I feel that at this point I should pause for thought on the matter of iris. I love iris the flower, and my much beloved late grandmother was called Iris, so I have always associated it with love and beauty. However, in the world of fragrance, I have not got on with it at all. I have been encouraged to persevere, despite the fact that Malle’s Iris Poudre utterly repels me and even suffocates me. I recently tried Maitre Parfumeur et GantierFleur D’Iris and didn’t like that either. I also tried Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile and didn’t much care for that either (although it did defrost me somewhat with it’s prettiness).

Recently my friend and co blogger Lisa Wordbird, whose writing you will now be familiar with, gave me a curious experiment which cured me of Iris phobia. Spraying Guerlain Apres L’Ondee on one arm and Frederic Malle L’Eau D’Hiver on the other, I do believe I finally saw the light. Sniffing one then in the other in rotation brought out the best in both of them and made L’Eau D’Hiver (one of my earliest reviews), much more floral and prettier than it was when I first encountered it. So as my esteemed fellow blogger The Perfumed Dandy told me recently “Never give up on a note”.  Sometimes I guess you just have to look at it from a different angle.

So could I accuse L’Instant de Guerlain with its honeyed, musky Iris notes to have converted me into an Iris fan? I almost think I can.

Disclaimer: I still can’t bloody stand Iris Poudre though!

6 thoughts on “L’Instant de Guerlain: Nice to Meet You, Iris”

  1. Dearest Iscent
    Hip hip hooray!!
    We have an iris that you not only can bear but enjoy.
    Callooh callay oh happy day.
    It’s been a long while since I sniffed l’Instant, but could that violet at the beginning be a complex nod the violet scent that Guerlain use in their make up that isn’t violet at all?
    Now you’ve got me thinking about this and I will have to try it again.
    I think it might be the magnolia-benzoin-musk and the quality of the honey.
    Anyway, the important this is you have an iris you can wear, to bad it’s a parfum.
    Oh well, back to Boots tomorrow!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  2. The Perfumed Dandy is right, though. Never give up on a note. For YEARS oakmoss made me gag and patchouli made me think of Brut aftershave. Then Borneo 1834 turned me on to the potential of patchouli and Miss Balmain finally got me through the pain threshold with oakmoss. I literally had to force myself to wear Miss Balmain for a day in order to let the perfume develop on my skin and show me the beautiful chypre base beyond the bitter oakmoss top notes.

    I have found that I go through very distinct phases and periods of mania for one thing. I have done gourmands, glamorpusses, orientals, citruses, leathers, woods, masculines, watercolours (JC Ellena) and I’m currently deep in chypre.

    And yet there is always a place for perfumes like L’Instant, which simply smell good and are gently kind and easy to wear.

  3. Oh. This perfume is in my wishlist for a while along with Chanel No. 19 Poudré (yes, I’m among those who like powdery perfumes), L’heure Bleue, Mitsouko and Jicky!! Great Review.

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