Here's what happened: I shattered my beloved Hourglass Mood Exposure blush. That same week the blush was out-of-stock everywhere (it's back now, so I should do something about it). Around the same time, I tried the limited edition Cheek Melange by Laura Mercier, and found myself really loving the purple shade in the middle. A reader suggested (Thank you, Gina!) that I try a MAC blush, Animal Instincts (limited edition, from one of their recent never-ending collections). I did. Just as Gina described it, Animal Instincts is a sophisticated warm plum with a brown base (more so on skin than in the pan), and it was love at first blushing.
MAC labeled Animal instincts as a "Frost", but the glimmer effect is not even a micro-shimmer. It's very subtle, really, enough to serve as an almost adequate substitute to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blush. It's not quite the same, of course, as the Hourglass does seem to have the "lit from within effect" that completely melds with the skin, and the MAC texture is more of a level above the skin, but it's still very elegant and refined.
Bottom Line: give it a chance if it's your kind of color.
MAC Animal Instincts Blush ($22) is a limited edition item. Available from Nordstrom, Macy's and all the other usual suspects.