En Passant is a lilac – instantly a sweet, almost violet tinged lilac: delicately aquatic and pollen heavy. It’s a true to life representation of a bush of flowers, just a subtle tinge of greenery and a light but heady aroma. I love the literal “pollen” notes, its texture is damp and dewy and it’s emotion completely innocent and joyful – I really like it!
The thing that concerns me about En Passant is that at times I think it merely smells like a good body wash or a hand soap – only when I stop and think about what I’m sniffing do I find it interesting. This becomes more apparent as a cucumber aquatic note and a hint of melon come in, drenching the lilacs in a densely synthetic blob with a slight sunscreen vibe. I hunt for the infamous “wheat” notes, and whilst I do get it, I find it to be almost a mirage, easy to go unnoticed.
The lilac accord seems to be a combination of lilac, rose and lily, with maybe a very subtle orange blossom too? It sounds like a bouquet but it’s blended into a pretty blunt soliflore – and whilst I really like the outcome, it’s partnering notes unfortunately make it a little too simplistic to keep me keen.
The aquatic overload does settle down thankfully – but still: the minimalistic combination, the delicate quality of the almost laundry-esque lilac accord and the awkward calone style “filler”, keeps En Passant uncomfortably balancing on the line of “very lovely” and “smells like hand wash”.
I have a little 10ml bottle of this and I will never need more – at times it does exactly what I want: practically not exist or project on my skin so that I can enjoy wearing perfume without really having to smell it – a very very rare occasion but one that pops up once in a blue moon.
A very lovely, naturally heady aroma of a lilac bush meets a loud fabric softener… an unusual combination of lilac, wheat and cucumber meets a slightly soapy, synthetic creamy scent almost unidentifiably “floral”… the pros balance out the cons so I shall define it as “nice”.
En Passant 50ml Frederic Malle – £90 http://www.liberty.co.uk