It's hard to reconcile the difference between historic Guerlain and the LVMH-owned company. The former gave us Mitsouko; the latter is a serial manufacturer of limited edition perfumes in giant crystal jugs for girlfriends of Russian mobsters and endless flankers for perfumes that should have never been conceived in the first place.
I never liked the original L'Instant in any of its variations, and the flankers came and went without leaving much of an impression. But Guerlain has put some serious marketing effort in their 2007 L'Instant Magic, from the ad campaign to several bottle designs, from the limited edition black lace one to a fancy bee bottle. From the note list L'Instant Magic appears like a floral-gourmand, sort of a L'Heure Bleue for beginners. From the commercial (a model climbing an ornate staircase into the starry night) you'd think it's is a sensual nocturnal masterpiece. The reality is a white musk beast sitting atop a fake iris, almonds ground into a powder and a very generic dry-down that smells familiar, easy to wear, reasonably sweet, and quite mind-numbing.
I've been trying to decide if if my reaction is based on the high expectation I still have from Guerlain. I adore their L'Art et la Matiere line as well as so many others, old and new. Eventually I decided that I'd feel the same way about any perfume that over-promises and under-delivers, and that I'm so over bland generic musks that smell cheap and cost a fortune. I can wear L'Instant Magic, because it's a sweet powdery little thing that doesn't go sour despite the fruity whatever they put in there to make it smell "young". I just don't enjoy it very much.
Elena from Perfume Shrine was equally unimpressed.
Notes: Bergamot, Anise, Lemon, Rose, Fressia, Violet, Carnation, Mimosa, White Musk, Cedar, Sandalwood, Almond, Vanilla.
Guerlain- L'Instant Magic is in a somewhat limited distribution. I think I saw it at Bergdorf recently in a bee bottle. It's easy to find online, though, at about half the price, especially if you go for the smaller quantity.
A deconstructed iris by Tiggy Rawling
Stylized Guerlain by Lilly-Marthe Ebener
L'Instant Magic promotional image from Guerlain's Facebook page.