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Fragrances - Frederic Malle - En Passant

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rated 3.8(110 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 3.8
  • 58% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 3.8
  • Price: $$$$

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 4/4/2013 2:14:00 AM More reviews by CobraRose

Age: 56 & Over Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium Eyes: Hazel

A masterpiece. Olivia Giacobetti has both captured the scent of lilac, and gone beyond the single note to create something new. You can actually smell rainwater and the faint fragrance of a bakery with lilac bushes beside it. However, although I appreciate the genius and beauty of this perfume, the aquatic note sometimes gets to me and makes me faintly queasy. I often have that reaction to aquatic notes; I have no idea why.

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rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 3/17/2013 2:36:00 PM More reviews by zeynepd

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Red, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

In one word, ambivalent. Is this the faint image of a slightly honeyed, heady, lazy lilac in a hot country or a crystal clear picture of a dewy lilac in the spring? On me, En Passant is both. However, if I catch wafts of it, it's usually the former. En Passant opens with an airy accord on me, unfortunately a bit ozonic or perhaps even gassy. Soon a beautiful watercolour of lilacs emerges, with cucumber adding a heavenly lightness. The overall image is not something earthy but I can sense the stems, dew and all things natural that seem to surround this lilac. After than there is this push and pull on my skin, revealing new depths and dimensions responding to my body temperature. It makes me think of English florals. Pleasant but not me.

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rated 5 of 5 on 2/18/2013 7:18:00 PM More reviews by chessablue

Age: 30-35 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Green

This brings me all kinds of childhood memories of fresh air and lilacs in the sun. It makes me happy every time and can be the highlight of my day when work is rough and the grey London winter drags into its rainy continuum. I like that it's light and clean but still evocative and long-lasting on my skin, impregnating my clothes in the most amazing way without gassing everyone else. It smells so lifelike that I don't like to wear it in winter.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 11/2/2012 8:57:00 AM More reviews by cocorocha

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Brown

my o my....this is lilac christaline overload....magnificent spring-ey huuuge almost soliflore....
is reminds me of Diptyque's Ofresia...not that they're alike scentways, but thea both hve a gigantic floral,clear,moist quality....whereas Ofresia is all about white flowers, En Passant is a garden of lilacs...with a milky,creamy undertone (Paul&Joe-Blanc, very simmilar)
oh, this is soooo wonderfull.....if I didn't know who did it I could swear this was made by JC Ellena...

very heavy on sillage and drydown is just as same as the topnotes...it vaguely changes through time...worth having that's for sure...

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rated 2 of 5 on 8/7/2012 4:18:00 PM More reviews by yum_yum

Age: 36-43 Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

I thought Olivia Giacobetti's scents were not my cup of tea, but then remembered all the nice L'Artisans she made, as well as Hiris, which is a terrific scent. I guess having a limited range of notes and exploring them in a watery, ephemeral way is not my kind of thing.
This was lilac-cucumber water with a woodsy dry down. Not terrible, but not the type of thing I'd buy at Malle prices. A few of my MUA friends like this, I understand why, but on me it feels flat and lifeless.
The dreamy, delicate beauty stuff just doesn't register; on my skin it's insipid and wimpy -- I do like the lilac note, but that one feature isn't enough.
I don't think it's her best work, much like Carnal Flower doesn't seem to me to be Ropion's best work (and I'm a huge fan of his perfumes and tuberose). I always recommend En Passant for MUA fragrance-boarders who want lilac, because it's a popular choice and, given the perfumer's other great works, it should be given a fair chance, tested on skin.
But for me -- eh -- I'm not sure less is more. It has no 'body', it's a thin, dispirited, floral cologne, albeit an unusual one. The lasting power is better than many of the traditional Guerlain colognes (if I recall correctly, it's been a while...) and the lilac is not all that synthetic smelling or overly sweet, which is great for people exploring this note. But I don't like it. I get the hype, but will never pay niche prices for this. For me, the best summer scents manage to be fresh, a little more 'full' on the range of notes but not cloying, and if it's fairly linear (which En Passant is, on me) I prefer that the centrepiece note is handled with more panache and personality.

Just an idea about what summer scents are all about for me: Bergamotto Marino (Bourdon) which has a middle of great wet florals -- orange blossom and lily I think -- that aren't too loud and a marine overlay, so to speak. Eau de Lalique (Copperman & Ellena, iirc) a much ignored scent, maybe better appreciated by the chaps on Basenotes (beware the dill, some people hate it, I love it). A great pared down summer scent is a LE released a while back, a novelty -- Bombay Sapphire (the gin people) Infusion perfume. Herbal and fizzy, with juniper. Lovely stuff. And if you're interested in Giacobetti, I think her highly original, very dry and papery Hiris is probably the most interesting iris scent ever -- great for summer. Her Navegar is also terrific -- marine-ish without being sickly -- she captured a sea voyage concept rather well.
I wish she'd done with En Passant what she did with Navegar -- that is: supported the featured note with a more interesting framework. As far as 'pared down elegance' goes, it's difficult for me to imagine making something that surpasses Hiris.

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rated 4 of 5 on 6/30/2012 5:03:00 PM More reviews by Labello

Age: Unknown Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

This is a beautiful fragrance. Quite unusual too. I am generally not a huge fan of florals, but i fell in love with this scent. It really smells like fresh lilacs. When the initial flowery fresh note kind of wear off, it turns into a clean scent. Very pleasant and feminine. I can smell the cucumber in the dry down. Unfortunately it does not last long on my skin, but i noticed it lasts very long on clothes so i spray it on and then get dressed straight away so the clothes soak up a bit of it.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 10/11/2011 2:43:00 AM More reviews by sassykzt

Age: 44-55 Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Warm Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium Eyes: Blue

Lilac and cucumber - who would have thought that such a simple accord could be so evocative, even hypnotic?

Olivia Giacobetti, that's who. In her characteristically limpid style, she's managed to bottle the essence of spring. The lilacs are "wet," but there's nothing remotely aquatic about this fragrance. It's fresh, but its freshness is so elegantly rendered that it puts all of the vapid fresh scent clones on the market to shame. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 1 of 5 on 8/31/2011 9:35:00 PM More reviews by fruitfly

Age: 44-55 Skin: Oily, Olive, Not Sure Hair: Grey, Curly, Medium Eyes: Hazel

I love lilacs. Nothing better than driving through New England in the spring and smelling the lilac bushes, many of which have endured more than a hundred years. (Lilacs don't fare well here in Washington, DC, and those that do have an insipid scent.) I was so anxious to try this scent that I called the Frederic Malle store in Manhattan and was graciously sent a sample. I couldn't detect lilac at all...just, oddly, mothballs. And I tried wearing this a number of times. Tragic, considering the many rave reviews. Just more proof that fragrance is highly individualized to each person's chemistry. I would never buy a fragrance without wearing it for a while.

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rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 4/1/2011 11:08:00 PM More reviews by Nickylily

Age: 36-43 Skin: Oily, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Green

I too was so looking forward to this because I have great spring memories attached to lilac and rain in the spring time. But, as others have already written, there is an underlying aqueous and yeast note that is too strong. The lilac is too over powered by it, causing a cloying note that is almost sweet and misplaced. I can see what they were trying for with this, it's just a little too much yeast and water. I enjoy how soft and almost pastoral it is, but the floral lilac note is too subdued. Perhaps my sample will grow on me. I hope so, because lilac is a sublime note.
UPDATE: I prefer making my own En Passant by mixing 1/2 lilac, 1/2 rain and a bare touch of orange blossom essential oils. It is still pastoral, but less aquatic and air freshner like.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 1/19/2011 6:52:00 AM More reviews by GlitzyGlam

Age: 25-29 Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine Eyes: Brown

I was torn between this one and L'eau D'hiver (sp?), but ultimately chose this one because I noticed that it made me all smiley and happy every time I sniffed it. It reminds me of being at my grandma's house when her lilac bushes were in full bloom. I don't sense much cucumber, just a very true lilac without a lot of complexity. And since I don't think lilacs are very rare/expensive, I do think the price is a tad high. Don't get me wrong, I adore this, but I only sense one note, so I don't think it took too much skill to create. It should be noted that I tested this a few times before buying and asked some random people for their opinions, most people said it smelled way too mature for me. But, i love florals and that seems to be my preference these days. This would make an excellent gift for mom, grandma, etc or any true floral lover.

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