Perfume Pen Pals: Guerlain L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme and Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella



Katie,

Trying to get in touch with some non-niche fragrances, I bought Dior Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme and Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella. Those Aqua Allegorias aren't well-reviewed, but I'm finding I never have enough anise-based scents. L'Instant is your idea. And Dior Homme was on an old "to buy" list, so old that I don't remember what it smells like or when I sampled it, but I guess I'll find out.

Dan



Dan,

You've got some fine perfumes coming your way, sounds like. L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme is just beautiful. I was wearing it a couple of days ago. Here's how I've described it in my Fume Finder app:
"Rich and fresh at the same time, L'Instant pour Homme opens on effervescent cream soda with a lemon twist, meanders though grassy anise, then settles into sheer sandalwood. Assured and relaxed.”
Katie



Katie,

Returning from my run, I came upon a box of perfumes at my door. And I'm never happier than at these moments. Which speaks both for my love of perfume and the paltriness of my life. That aside, I've sprayed my sweaty arms up and down and this is my first quick observation (which will surely change over time):

Guerlain Anisia Bella: Some people complain about the anise in this, but I can barely smell it. It's a fresh spicy citrus, vaguely feminine but not interesting enough to be any more feminine than that.


These are supposedly starter Guerlains, but this one specifically smells like a starter for the Herm├Ęs Jardins collection. Which don't require starters. Still, it's pretty and probably fine for summer.

Dior Homme: The bottle is nice! The fragrance? I don't quite understand these modern masculines. They all smell similarly to me. This one feels substantial, like something a man would wear to a business dinner, but a business dinner at which there is no joking around and everyone is too nervous to be hungry.


Thankfully, it doesn't seem to possess that sleazy guy's aquatic-cologne smell and yet I can't help thinking this is what the sleazy aquatic guy's dad wears. Maybe this is the new reformulated version?

L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme: Easily the winner among the three. I've smelled the L'Instant part of my arm at least twice as often as I've smelled the other parts. It's a citrus with substance. It's the rare fragrance that reminds me of summer and yet doesn't remind me of summer when I was 17 years old.


It's light and smooth and hopefully hints at fabulous summers to come. When the best thing about my day won't be seeing a box of perfumes at my door. This is what I'm wearing post-shower.

Dan

P.S. L'Instant de Guerlain update (pour Homme, of course, though I guess you never know with me): I've had it on all night and the citrus left hours and hours ago. It's a smooth, rich sandalwood with a similar trajectory as Gravel. Though L'Instant is deeper and more enduring.

Gravel could be labeled the cologne version of L'Instant and no one would bat an eye. Except maybe to say "the cologne version of L'Instant isn't quite as good." Duh, it's cologne, why would it be as good? Now I'm arguing with imaginary people and their opinions over an imaginary relationship between two different fragrances. Have I gone down the perfume rabbit hole?

Anyway, L'Instant is very, very nice and I've smelled seriously good all night. You're a gem for recommending it.



Dan,

L'Instant pour Homme! Yes! Love that eternal sandalwood drydown. It's so smooth and rich, as you've noted, and also friendly and generous and not too tricksy.

Katie



Katie,

I can't believe how long L'Instant carried on, and not in a fake cheap musk way (the perfume equivalent of hair extensions), but with that warm sandalwood, which somehow seemed to get warmer as time passed. It started out a little quirky and then turned into a fragrance of real substance.

Dan

29 comments:

  1. I don't know what a sleazy cologne smells like. I need to work on that.

    That came out totally wrong.

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  2. I nominate Bleu de Chanel for a hallmark sleazy masculine - it's generic and sneezy. Even Jacques Polge, its creator, said he based it on the smell of men coming out of the airplane toilet: scrubbed and toothpasted-up.

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  3. I would've nominated Bleu myself, except I didn't want to offend anyone who might like it. But now that Katie's struck the first blow, I second her nomination. What a terrible fragrance.

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  4. No need to be coy now, Dan -- you're the one who struck the first blow in your Bleu rant:
    http://www.katiepuckriksmells.com/2010/08/perfume-pen-pals-bleu-de-chanel.html

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  5. Didn't Bleu win a FIFI recently?

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  6. You're right, Paul, it did. And Michael Bolton won a Grammy.

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  7. Paul - yes, in the US, UK and France. I guess Bleu and FIFI share an affinity.

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  8. Have you ever been so taken by how bad a fragrance was that you go back to it again and again? Like a train wreck? Like some type of sick obsession?

    I was at Whole Foods once years ago, perusing their selection of cheeses. One Spanish cheese caught my eye. It was brown. I smelled it, and it was so vile I couldn't stop. Every time I went back to Whole Foods, I would reach for the Spanish cheese for the thrill of revulsion. Eventually, I did this so frequently that it didn't gross me out anymore. Which was a drag.

    I found Womanity so horrible that words fail me. It was kind of exciting. I am not disrespecting anyone who loves this perfume. If this is your stuff, good for you. But oh, how it made me gag.

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  9. Dear Dan, Miss Amber Bunny 1963, and everyone's else:

    Dan - Guerlain's L'Instant is proof God loves you.

    And if you want something "FRESH!" and "CLEAN!" and decidedly masculine, but ISN'T Chanel Bleu or it's ilk, I most fervently assert Parfum di Nicolai's New York.

    It's everything today's Aquatic-huffing brute craves in a masculine fragrance, but with actual style, grace, and a time-stopping hypnotic quality that borders on the obsessive. (Just take my word for it. Or words. Or spastic effusions.)

    Dior, sadly, remains a black hole in my perfume knowledge. Except for my delicious Eau Sauvage, which I wear whilst hiking in forests to make trees bow and scrape to my power.

    Stefush

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  10. Hey, Stefush--

    Yay, you're back! I, too, love Eau Sauvage and can attest to its dominance over trees. Plus, the bottle is very handsome.

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  11. Yeah, see, Nora? The bottle is Teh Sexy! I always feel rich and sophisticated when I use it. Which goes double for Guerlain's L'instant's bottle. That's like witchcraft-level Teh Sexy.

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  12. Nora, for a long time, Jicky was my "dare ya to smell it" yack perfume. But familiarity has overcome the initial revulsion, and now it seems pleasant enough. Then Le Labo Oud 27 seemed crazy, but my nose broke the back of that one, too. I take little "check-in" sniffs from time to time of Gucci Flora to ascertain that it still smells like burnt hair. And it does.


    Stefush, my hiking perfume is either Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure or Cartier L'Heure Promise.

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  13. Gucci Flora sounds horrible.

    As useful as "The Guide," has been, I've been surprised at how one can be mislead. There was my Dzing! incident. And then your description of Jicky! as being fecal. In a bad way. A really, really bad way. And yet, it is described as "lavendar vanilla" which sounds so very benign, and not at all fecal.

    Stop toying with us, Turin/Sanchez. Things might get ugly.

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  14. Nora, "lavender vanilla" is a technically accurate description of Jicky, but it's as evocative as describing me as 5'1" with brown hair. But I've come around to thinking of Jicky as fecal in a good way. And I'm sure it's cleaned up from earlier incarnations.

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  15. Nora I'm with you on Womanity. My initial impression was a cross between WTF and eeeewwww.

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  16. Fleurine--I read one review that described "Womanity," as having a note of caviar. Maybe that's why I picked up on it so quickly after I smelled it.

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  17. All men should at least try L'Instant Pour Homme. The world would be a better-smeeling place if only a small percentage decided to keep wearing it. --AnnieA

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  18. Dan: which concentration of L'Instant Pour Homme do you have? Based on this exchange, I had to try it in Selfridge's on Saturday. I went with the stronger version (EdP?) and really liked it, although about 10 minutes in it seemed to turn into Patchouli Attack. Lovely drydown, though.

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  19. Kristen, I paid no attention to concentration and bought the EdT, which many say is weaker and less satisfying than the EdP. But it lasts all day on me and I'm plenty satisfied, so what do they know?

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  20. Thanks, Dan. I'd never have thought about it except that the Guerlain lady showed me both. I only had enough arm space by that point for one, though. Will go back; it was good...

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  21. Don't get me started on the (apparent) reformulation of Dior Homme, one of the best men's fragrances of the last 20 years. My joints flare up at the very idea that Dior would mess with a perfectly-cut diamond of a scent. (If they have. Until I smell the current stuff and verify, it's all hearsay, and I can't hear the say when I'm plugging my ears. Lalalalala...)

    My Spanish cheese scent used to be Dior's Fahrenheit, the old version. I knew zilch about fragrances, had grown up on the likes of CK One and Eternity, and was completely unprepared for the leathery, tarry, mulchy, peppery stank that flew out of the Fahrenheit bottle. It left me utterly gobsmacked, and revolted. After the fifth or so return to the Dior counter, I had to have my own bottle. My current Spanish cheese scent is Mugler's A*Men. As much as I think the original Angel is bad taste done good, I think A*Men is bad taste done criminal. Burnt coffee and lavender room spray? In...what...UNIVERSE. Would ANYONE. Want to SMELL LIKE THAT.

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  22. Enjoying your Spanish cheese splutterings, Darryl.

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  23. I found a place that has one of the Dior homme bottles with the silver tube in the bottle, Which is the old vintage formulation,
    Should I buy a back up bottle?
    Has anyone smelled the new black tube Dior homme ??
    If so is it much different ??

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  24. Wow, Dan and Katie, I've just been talking about these three perfumes elsewhere. Kismet! I really love Dior Homme for the simple fact that it brings a pretty-boy sensibility to the men's mainsteam perfume market. (I have fairly old bottke--can't speak to apparent reformulation.) I'll part ways on l'Instant pour Homme. Bought it on a plane back from France and Italy when it was first released and tried hard to like it, but it always reads as the wrong side of the everything-to-everyone equation. Maybe if I han't spent so long trying U'd have come to a more peaceable conclusion. I'm so glad y'all are talking about AAAB!! Best of the AA line, it's like sweetened, iced anice tea with a twist. Lovely in my hot climate (LA) but sensational as a sort of homeopathic dose against cold weather. Took it to a snowy winter clime once and it was lovely. Chill on frost. It's quite underestimated and from one of my fav perfumers, Aurelien Guichard. It was an early effort of his and is an interesting glimpse into his future work, from Chinatown to Andy Warhol Silver Factory to Baghari.

    Love your conversation format here! Similar to some old-school literary letters and allows for interesting exploration of ideas. Thanks.

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  25. Hi jtd! So pleased to see you here - I'm a solid-gone fan of your insights on the Basenotes boards. And I'm tickled you remarked on the "literary letters" aspect of Pen Pals - I think of it in the same way.

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  26. Anonymous, buy the back up bottle if you love Dior Homme in its original formulation.

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  27. Hey Katie,
    I bought 2 back up bottles of Dior Homme.
    Fragrancenet has silver tube original formula bottles so I am set,
    I also bought everyones most hated Allure Homme Sport.

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  28. Sounds like you're set, Anonymous, good find indeed.

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  29. Interesting - despite that initial pop of citrus, the plush, warm base notes make me think of L'Instant de Guerlain as a fall/winter fragrance, not a summery one! Which is getting to be a problem now that it's heating up... it's my boyfriend's only cologne!

    Which brings me to humbly ask - can you recommend any a not-too-expensive, clean cologne that holds up well in hot and humid, sticky weather? Something with shades of Earl Grey tea, or at least a good wallop of bergamot, would be great, especially if there was some lavender along for the ride. Trying to avoid ozone/aquatic notes (he says "chemical wasteland"), grapefruit ("too sweaty"), or too much sugary sweetness.

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