I was sure I'd like this, but alas I'm with those who find the sharpness of this lilac unpleasant: on me there's a sour, bitter note that should probably give a "green, true-to-life" freshness but actually smells like a privet hedge. It reminds me of Penhaligon's Bluebell in its bitter green floralcy. But I sometimes want to wear Bluebell!
En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle, 2000
Rated #406 in Fragrances
En Passant opens with a big blast of lilac, and uses cucumber as a weak supporting note (I don't get any of the wheat or orange leaf notes at all). The lilac pretty much dominates from start to finish and I really don't get much of anything else after the opening. Longevity is below average, and projection is average. En Passant is very "feminine" smelling, and probably would smell better on a lady, but I confess that I have discovered I just don't like the smell of lilac much after wearing this one... If you love lilac, then I can easily recommend En Passant without any reservation (just be prepared to touch up frequently)... If not, my advice is to steer clear. A weak neutral from me at 2.5 stars out of 5.
I use this layered with Balenciaga body creme and it adds a wonderful depth to the lilac scent, I think. It also helps it last longer. I am enjoying it during the hot weather as it's such a light fragrance.
l find this to be an almost completely linear lilac soliflore. The scent of lilacs in full bloom is joined shortly after the opening by a watery cucumber note. This adds to the freshness of the blossoms, preventing them from ever becoming too heady or cloying, & without in any way dominating them. l don't get any further development after this, & it gives off soft wafts of sillage before fading out at around five hours. Thankfully l don't get the bread or wheat note that so many have mentioned. This is a lovely & delicate fragrance, perfect for spring, & one that l would recommend if you love the scent of rain-kissed lilacs. l did, however, expect something a little more interesting given the price.
What an interesting smell this is... As usual, the "lilac" note smells to me mostly like a mix of synthetic rose, synthetic lily, something cucumber-ish, and some sort of sweet red berry smell. It's got a round, watery openness that's hard to describe, but does a really good job smelling like a flower. If En Passant were just this, it would basically be a passable aquatic floral, but it's the supporting notes that take it into the "artfully weird" territory. It's got a huge gob of that extremely waxy, almost animalic acacia note made famous in Caron's classics, but really upfront and without Caron's trademark powdery flowers, so it makes for a crazy juxtaposition of dark, thick, and sticky with the airy, watery floral. It's also got tones that remind me of aging plastic, and a pinch of pink pepper that comes through towards the end. All in all, I think En Passant is a pretty brilliant perfume. It doesn't change much over the day, but it's such a deep, intriguing mix of smells that the lack of progression doesn't bother me. My only qualm is that it really does smell weird, which I think limits its everyday wearability, but I'm still giving a thumbs up for sheer artistry.
This is the first time I've shared a perfumer's vision of a fragrance as a representational image. En Passant really is a snapshot of lilacs next to a bakery. Imagine the scent of lilacs early in the morning so their fragrance is watery, delicate and slightly green. Supporting that is an aura of cool, dewy grass and green leaves. For me, this floral/green accord conjures a very specific time and place from my childhood in the upper midwest. This aspect of En Passant could stand on it's own as a fragrance. Now, having piled on all those accolades, I'm about to become something of a carping, philistine art critic: The bread is too bready. Yeah, I can't believe I just wrote that, either. I'm rolling my eyes, too... It strikes me that Olivia Giacobetti was striving for a sort of olfactory photorealism. That's great for recreating floral notes. But the other half of the equation, the bread/bakery accord, is another matter. Adhering to such a realistic aroma of bread -an accord alien to the rest of the fragrance- makes En Passant challenging to wear. As a practical matter, juxtaposing the delicate, ethereal, perfectly packaged floral accords with an opaque, yeasty boule of dough just doesn't work for me. Yes, it's wonderful art. It really is! But I believe the bread/bakery accord needs to be presented in a more idealized way so it integrates with the whole and becomes a wearable perfume.
This is the sort of cool and wet green floral scent you catch in passing as you walk past a windswept garden, or trudge along the edge of a dew-drenched forest. You can smell it in whiffs but you can't quite identify where the heavenly scent is coming from. The water element (presumably from the cucumber note) is well-rendered: crystal in its clarity and refreshingly cool. Projection is excellent, with more than a touch of muguet in the florals. I really don't understand why gender identity needs to be assigned to scents as wonderfully evocative as this. Much like PdN LeTemps d'une Fête in 2006, EN PASSANT is fit for ALL mankind. Not the most compelling of Giacobetti's compositions but extremely well-executed.
FEMININE! I smell flowers and bread. Actually I'm pretty sure it's a single flower, because it's a fairly clear and defined note. The "information" section of the page doesn't mention the flowers, but from the other reviews I've come to understand that it's lilac. The information does mention wheat though, which would explain the bread smell. Although I don't really detect the smell of cucumbers and orange leaves, now that I see that they're supposed to be in their it does feel right. Single flower notes are usually kind of flat, but this here En Passant has personality, like Arnold from Green Acres. That's one charming pig. Regardless of my enjoyment of this fragrance, it's very feminine for a unisex. I had a co worker tell me that it was nice, but she wouldn't have chosen it for me, and that it was a bit feminine. Normally I try not to let others' opinions sway my own, but I felt that it wasn't for me as well. Great fragrance though.
This is a potent sharp lilac. It doesn't match my Pacific Northwest experience of lilacs either. I get the freshness here, and also disconcertingly the odd bread dough effect. I get a slight head ache from it, so I'm trying to give it a fair appraisal. I'm not wow-ed by this..I kind of think it is crying out for heft or depth...instead of being a simple bathroom soap lilac.
Olivia Giacobetti is adept at filling her canvas with a minimum of paint and En Passant feels vividly inhabitable despite its Après L'Ondée-like etherealness. It's a walled garden replete with graceful fronds and murmuring fountains and a quiet vitality breathing through every element, among which sway lilacs brimming with pollen and a few cucumbers damp with dew. Especially lovely is the faint wheatiness diffused throughout, as if drops of Bois Farine (from that other olfactory impressionist, Jean-Claude Ellena), were plink-plonking into a pond hidden somewhere nearby. In case it were needed, En Passant is yet further evidence that Giacobetti is a wellspring of delight. It also smells now like an earlier, greener, breezier rendition of the scene found in L'Ete en Douce (L'Artisan), but I think this original is best for its understated lushness.
En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle, 2000
|By||Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle|
|Bottle Designer||Frederic Malle|
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