Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Total Reviews: 30
It's a bit odd - sometimes it seems like a floral with some incense , others it's all incense and woods, and others it's like a little sister to Dzongkha - with that incense/wood mixed with a creamy almost meaty smell.

I never particularly like the opening notes, but when it settles I get wafts during the day of something intriguing and complex, which makes me pause.
19th July, 2017
There's nothing I dislike about this, just not in love with it. That being said, I find it to be refreshing and unique. I haven't smelled any other fragrances like this. It reminds me of the effervescence you smell after opening a can of lemon-lime soda. Very light, airy and bubbly like that, with some citrus. I also smell the incense and florals, but its not heavy. Projection is okay, won't fill a room, but should be detectable when walking past others. Drydown lasts into the 6-8 hour range and feels clean and woody, with just a little of the citrus still there.
24th February, 2017
Chilly little incense number that I must admit I can’t warm to, much as I admire Olivia Giacobetti’s delicate palette. This is like the suggestion of the sun through a fog. The fog here being some very sweet musk.
Much of the excitement seems to be in the opening minutes where a limpid lily combines pepper and that cool incense and a suggestion of pine. But soon it narrows to that peppery incense caught in billows of musk. Incense, however faint, is a tenacious note on my skin, so I don’t have any projection or longevity issues, it’s just that Passage d’Enfer bores me – it seems to have very little to say and says it in a little voice. The later stages are more satisfying as the sweetness and pepper subsides and it morphs to mainly a conifers and light incense theme with a creamy, silky aura.
A more transporting and satisfying embodiment of some of the notes present here is to be found in Oriza’s Relique d’Amour where the lily is placed on the altar of a pine-ringed mountain chapel, with the frankincense wafting through the door that’s just been opened.

25th August, 2016
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After working my way through a 1ml sample, I am neutral on this. It is fresh and very light, an aloe and floral scent, a little bit sweet, but as far as cool stone or incense or anything mystical - I'm not getting that at all. I wanted to love it and wanted to smell the things that are in the description and other people's reviews - but I smell something like a cleaning product. It's not terrible, and I could comfortably wear it to work knowing I wouldn't offend anyone.

Eau d'Italie by Eau d'Italie is a similar idea that is much more interesting, and more to my liking. From this line I will stick with Dzongkha, Timbuktu, and I also love Cote d'Amour.
19th June, 2015
Genre: Woody Oriental

Passage d'Enfer wound up disappointing me. It goes on with some intriguing incense and dark floral notes and then...poof! It's gone. After fifteen minutes on my skin, it's undetectable - to me or anybody else. I've had the same problem with Dzing!. Both disappear before I can even decide whether I like them.

So Passage d'Enfer = Passage d'Nowhere on me. I'm giving it a neutral because it smells good while it lasts.
23rd June, 2014
A silvery, shimmery, evanescent thing that features crisp lilies and incense. The incense is crystalline, and the general composition is gaunt, primarily emphasizing the higher-register notes. It’s as if somebody EQ’d out the bass and the mids, but cranked the treble way up; it's light, but luminous at the same time.

Yet, unavoidable for me is a soapy note that overshadows the incense. This seems to come, in part, from the slightly medicinal facets of the lily, but the main source is a crappy dry white musk that really lets the composition down. While white musk bases are essential for such fragile and transparent scents to stay afloat, they do tend to raise questions as to how the composition accommodates them, or how the perfumer solved the problem by building the scent up in other ways. The musk here is simply too pronounced and cheap-smelling when a more indolic or even slightly waxy method would have proved more appropriate.

Although Passage d’Enfer held up much better than I’d expected it to (I was thinking two hours, tops), after the first hour or so, it really did become a borderline industrial scent over the lousy musk. With that said, I’m particularly sensitive to soapy notes in perfume (I loathe them), so my “overly soapy” might be someone else’s “not soapy at all," but in such a narrow, skinny, but otherwise tasteful scent, these problems are both amplified and unavoidable.
11th April, 2014
Light Sour Incense

Passage d'Enfer does not hit my incense spot . I expected something really great after reading about this scent for so many years now. All I get is light sour incense and musk which I guess would translate into lilies, incense and musk . Lilies and incense = catholic funeral . Thanks.... I'll wait for that when I am actually dead.

Pros: Meditative
Cons: Rather funereal"

18th September, 2013
This is a quiet, close-wearing fragrance. I felt it absolutely smelled of white lilies and incense, with occasional turns to a dry, dusky corner. The overall impression is of a Roman Catholic funeral mass...which is a bit unsettling if you have that kind of emotional baggage. I see others have less gothic impressions, and I think it's certainly a fine office scent, or anywhere else you'd need an inoffensive fragrance.
11th May, 2013
While it does produce a very cold scent, something haunting, it isn't strong enough to make it worthwhile.
13th April, 2013
I was initially  expecting some shadowy, almost dark and surly kind of juice but despite the appalling name i found out a sort of smoother, silkier, less spicy and less aromatic e/o irony or pungent sort of 7 de Loewe and Cacharel Pour Homme. Refined, delicate, melancholic and a bit cold (but not metallic).  I detect a touch of chamomille, a whiff of bergamot, a starring cedar,  obviously the airy and meditative olibanum and the notable floral note of lily, few other elements (may be musk) and nothing else. I appreciate the loneliness, the delicacy, the cleanliness of this pleasant meditative fragrance. It has distinction, evocative power but if you are looking for bold, screaming, erotic or loud scents you must make a u turn. It smells to me as a clean and introspective office scent and i don't smell any liturgical or spiritual trait. Faint longevity for this close to the skin concoction.
14th November, 2011
First when I spray this I got NOTHING, then after 20min or so I got incensy citrus notes. Pretty inoffensive and fresh, but it only lasts about 2 hours. If it lasts longer and has more projection its definitely a buy for me.
27th April, 2011
white lily, frankincense, aloe, white musk


With such notes it was hard not to sample. One if the few of its kind without rose and woodiness and I love that. It actually makes for a more unique scent than it would otherwise be if any of the two had been added. The beautiful aloe colours this composition. Less is more as Passage d'Enfer proves. It has a delicate smokiness from the lovely frankincense. The notes stick around to the end with each one taking turns for centre stage while not overshadowing the others. The scent is soft, neither harsh nor abrasive yet it is deep, cold and dark. Its effect is one of inviting coldness. Paradoxical but true :)! It is too dense for me unfortunately. If it was a bit airier, I would be in love with it.


If you like very very dense scents, or "dark" scents as most have come to know them, you just might fall in love with this one. Don't try it if you are not ready for a love affair. You have been warned lol!
01st April, 2011
A superfluous, uninspired fragrance that cannot hold an incense stick to masterpieces such as Villoresi's Incensi, the quirky Messe de Minuit or even the the better ones of the CdG incense series. The name certainly raises false expectations, as this is a light, floral, white musky and heavily synthetic-smelling incense obviously worn exclusively by the pink-robed Holy Order of the Fluffymonks and Giddynuns.
17th June, 2009
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What an odd name for this sort of scent. “Gates of Hell” sounds like a ferocious brew, and yet this is a lovely delicate floral. Think of white flowers, with a hint of green and a soft musk drydown. An aura of springtime is here. Not dry, not sweet, situated mid-point in every way. Incense notes are very light. This is a bit like Mugler Cologne, though not as green and more subtle. Not especially distinctive, and I certainly don't get any pine here.
09th June, 2009
Initially, I loved this fragrance. The simple structure (lily, aloe, musk, incense) was very appealing. Having learned my lesson (I hope) concerning impulse buys, I applied all the rest of my sample before I went to the L'Artisan website to buy. Wow! Today I smell pine and only pine. Little dabs of this juice smell heavenly; spritzes of this smell like pine air fresheners. I guess I need to rethink my rating and my purchase and my way of applying perfume. PS In spite of this review, I kept remembering the day I experienced the most beautiful white lily, so I purchased a bottle. I'm still waiting for Miss Lily to show up!
31st May, 2009 (last edited: 10th October, 2009)
The only things worse about this fragrance than its name are its sillage and longevity. Too bad, because it really is quite pretty.
I get a little mustiness at the very beginning, then it's very faint frankincence and myrrh which I have to strain to smell into its second hour.
25th March, 2009
White lily and frankincense. I am a Olivia Giacobetti fan. Fresh out of the bottle, I can see why many love it but I remain unimpressed. It's lovely with a lily that goes on and on but after about an hour, the original lily note becomes a powdery 50's white floral with a smidge of sweet musk that smells like a drugstore brand. The aloe never appeared on my skin. I will test this again in the spring when I want something much lighter.
30th November, 2008
The L`Artisant says "A haze of light incense to carry you up to cloud nine".
I dont know but maybe this is the paradaise frag.
Its dry, clean and have a "enveloping aura", is nice but not sexy but only unisex.
Good for weekends.
27th September, 2008
rachelsf Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Passage D'Enfer doesn't conjure fire and brimstone falling from the sky as the ground cracks open and sulphur gushes from the abyss. No, more a recollection of the hellish boredom of sitting in middle school choir practice. All the nostalgic references are there: the chipped and polished wood of the pews; the cracked musty dryness of hymn books; the dankness of stone flagstones; a musky damp from 30 woolen blazers that have come in from November rain; the waft of lilies and linen from the alter; the dust blasting out of the steely organ; and the sickly sweetness of lemon sherbet and cola cubes being sneaked between refrains. However, although all the elements of the final performance are there in Passage D'Enfer it somehow never manages to get beyond the choir practice: a competent rehearsal but without the devilish glory of the final chorus.
21st July, 2008
I have been holding out on this one. The intrigue is there for me, no doubt about that. I am a lover of incense fragrances but have only had two in my collection, that of Ambre Sultan (yes, it's incensey as well as amber sexy), and Guerlain's Armenie de Bois (Armenian wood/paper).

If I add one more, just one more, incense fragrance to my group, will it be Messe de Minuet or Passage d'Enfer?

The next poster could possibly sway me!
18th June, 2007
lex Show all reviews
United States
old churchs and castles with some smokeyness, nice but it doesnt last that long on me
31st March, 2007
I wanted to like Passage D'Enfer, as it sounded like my type of experience. But this is one of those problematic fragrances that is too variable on me to be able to use. Sometimes it is an appealing incensy, dusky caravan scent, and other times a dank unpleasant cellar. So this is one of those doppelganger fragrances - one time I meet its higher self, another time its evil twin. I can't diss it for more than that, but it makes it unwearable for me.
15th December, 2006 (last edited: 27th July, 2011)
This is probably my tenth or twelfth L'artisan and I'm trying... REALLY trying to get used to this one. On me, I don't get any aloe or white lily. All I get are the spices and the musk and they mix to give me the childhood image of my grandmother cooking spicy sausage for breakfast on Sunday mornings, with that animalic, musky, heady spiciness. On some, maybe it works, but it just hasn't happened yet on me.
02nd December, 2006
Ethereal, fine, lemony frankincense. Leaves plenty of room for personal chemistry to interect with the fragrance. Lovely, but a bit too light for me. My skin kills light scents.
08th November, 2006
I didn't quite get the incense note in this, though this could be due to skin chemistry. It's a nice scent, slightly floral, but longevity is poor for such an expensive frag.
28th March, 2006
flee Show all reviews
United States
Creepy. Thinking about old castles and churches and how would they smell. Like others described pde do bring that to mind. Well put together but it fade too quickly for me.
23rd March, 2006
Not at all what I expected and certainly not what the name suggests. I was hoping to find a dark, mysterious incense scent but I found all white flowers (dry and piercing) and plain incense (flat). The incense base lasted and lasted though. I would love to see the incense paired with some wood or amber.
28th February, 2006
Starts sweet and flowery and then turns to something slightly herbal
and still flowery... Smells a little strange to me. I didn't notice anything sexy in this scent. I think there's something here that my nostrils didn't get.
12th January, 2006
Passage d’Enfer is a great incense fragrance. It’s one of the few incense dominant fragrances that isn’t too heavy or oppressive; in fact, this one is incredibly short lived and close to the skin. It smells like slightly damp incense with lingering floral notes. The nature of this incense fragrance makes it a bit more ethereal than most others. I will say that I find this fragrance rather flat and dull. I also find it too short lived to give it a thumbs up; 15+ sprays and its gone within an hour.
20th September, 2005
It's very unique. Opens up with frankincense and floral notes over a smoky wood-incense base. I like it at first, but it's very short lived on me and never transforms like other people have mentioned. Seems like it would work nicely in spring and possibly fall. In its last phases before it disappears it becomes very powdery and this irks me a bit. Because it doesn't project very well, the floral notes could be misinterpreted as baby powder.

It's really original and opens up very nicely, but has little staying power and turns a tad unpleasant towards the end of its life. Nice, but not a plausible purchase for me.
17th September, 2005