Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Limited edition fragrances, especially when they present a variation on the existing composition, lead one to regard them with suspicion. Whatever the changes made, one cannot expect the effect to be dramatic. Yet, while L’Instant Eau de Noël Iris Millésime released for the winter of 2005 is not an altogether different fragrance from L’Instant de Guerlain (2003), the addition of woody iris and dewy floral notes results in an interesting twist on the original.
The original L’Instant was created by Maurice Roucel, the nose behind fragrances like Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne and Parfum, and Gucci Envy. L’Instant is both of Guerlain tradition and of modern trends. …
The classicism of the composition rests on its pairing of sparkling cool top accord with the warm vanillic base, with variations on this theme being evident in Jicky and Shalimar. Yet, these accords are constructed in a modern manner, with mandarin sweetening the velvety tartness of bergamot in the top notes, and powdery musks and sweet amber replacing dark animalic and balsamic notes of the base. Creamy richness of classical Guerlain vanilla is made even creamier and lighter, almost like a soufflé.
Both the original and Iris Millésime layer sparkling hesperidic notes over an elegant jasmine sambac and ylang ylang pairing. While in the original, the effervescent citrus fade quickly displaying the rich powdery main accord of amber, vanilla and musk, Iris Millésime prolongs the development of its composition. Woody amber shines through the layers of sheer floral notes, with the earthy tonality of iris lending a cool effect. A delicate spicy touch, almost like a faint whisper of green sweetness of tarragon, appears slowly, persisting stealthily into the drydown. Cutting through the richness of vanilla is a translucent lemony note, which harmonizes nicely with the citrusy aspect of magnolia.
The drydown of the original is comprised of musks, with a rich and powdery feel. However, Iris Millésime dries down to a drier composition, with the iris note lightening the final result. While L’Instant Eau de Noël Iris Millésime will not convert those who disliked the original, it is an interesting option that moderates the creamy vanillic character and instead emphasizes the floral twist of L’Instant. Having vacillated on L’Instant because of its richness, I find Iris Millésime to be quite a successful variation.
L’Instant Eau de Noël Iris Millésime is available at Sephora as well as any retailers carrying Guerlain such as Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodmand, Saks 5th Avenue.