A caress of flowers and woods… That's how L'instant Magic , a flanker to the original L'instant by Maurice Roucel for Guerlain, was introduced to the public last September. The anticipation was mostly accountable to its being a new Guerlain for the mainstream distribution as opposed to their exclusive boutique scents; a challenging feat. Yet the resulting pastiche leaves something to be desired, highligting the all too painful division between both the glorious delicacy of yesteryear such as Chant d'Arômes but also the brave stance of modern additions such as Insolence.
"After a bergamot opening, the fragrance unveils a musky-floral heart with fresh notes of rose and freesia. The white-musk dry-down worked into a ‘muscinade’ (a wink and a nod to the famous Guerlinade) is warmed up with woods and a touch of almond."
Designed by Randa Hammami of Symrise, in collaboration with Sylvaine Delacourte, artistic director at Guerlain, L'instant Magic launched in September 2007. I had resisted reviewing it for months, because I was hoping that I was oblivious to some hidden charm that would reveal itself to me in a flash of apocalyptic glory when I was least expecting it.
However, with the apostasis of several months and numerous trials, I can safely say that it didn't live up to my expectations. Not to mention that the linguistically schizophrenic name irritates me (shouldn't it have been "Magique" since the rest of it is French?)
The fragrance itself fails to capture me aesthetically, but also on a cerebral level: if one wants an almond gourmand ~as surmised by the marzipan paste detectable after the initial burst of Earl Grey tonalities in L'instant Magic~ one needs to see no further than Hypnotic Poison with its dare and sexy attitude; if one seeks a feminine musky floral with a "clean" feel , then Hammami's Cruel Gardenia is so much better; if the pursuit is instead focused on a smooth woody fragrance for women, then Flower Oriental by Kenzo fits the bill with less pretence and more conviction. L'instant Magic tries to be too many things at once, failing to bring a coherence of vision.
The overall effect is startingly un-Guerlain-like with a sweet, rotten fruits vibe which seems so fashionable right now; but whereas the original L'instant by Roucel ~more or less also separated from the Guerlain tradition~ managed to be nuzzlingly pleasant and addictive to its fans, L'instant Magic is a departure to a destination best forgotten where magic has escaped like a djin who left the bottle long ago.
The bottle reinterprets the curves of the original L’Instant, but the base of the bottle and the surface of the cap are black.
The commercial was directed by Jean Bocheux, featuring rather indecently-clad model Michelle Buswell ascending what seems like a never-ending staircase to who knows where and who cares anyway.
L'instant Magic comes in Eau de Parfum 80ml/2.7oz, 50ml/1.7oz and 30ml/1 fl. oz.; Extrait de parfum bottle 7.5ml/¼ fl.oz, Magical Body Lotion 6.8 fl. oz, Magical Shower Gel 6.8 fl. oz.
Available from major department stores.
Ad pic courtesy of Fragrantica. Clip originally uploaded by MollyPepper1 on Youtube