En Passant – Frederic Malle

En Passant

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

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14 thoughts on “En Passant – Frederic Malle

  1. Hylda says:

    I have a sample of this one and it’s been sitting in my drawer since forever.I’ve only tried it once, but it made me think of old ladies in their gardens and little girls. It could go either way.Still, I think it’s well done, but I can understand the hand soap comparison. Most hand soaps don’t smell as interesting as a perfume and this scent is not that interesting. Do you know of any Lilac perfumes that are more multifaceted? I’ve never smelled any. but my nose isn’t nearly as worldly as yours!

    • Well, I love lilac but haven’t found my favourite one yet :(
      Although it isn’t a lilac soliflore – my favourite fragrance with lilac as a dominant floral is CDG EDP 2011 (lilac>>saffron>>glue) – very synthetic and avant garde but hugely interesting start to finish and totally unlike any other lilac out there.
      I really wanted to love Ineke’s After My Own Heart just becuase it’s a beautiful name!! Haha, but unfortunately it’s just a clean, simple, soapy lilac yet again. I’d love to discover a brilliant new lilac!

  2. En Passant = YUMMY!
    Portia x

  3. poodle says:

    I love lilac but I have not tried this one. I have tried Ineke After My Own Heart and I do like it. Granted it’s not a complex perfume requiring a lot of thought but it is pretty. The name is fabulous though. En Passant might be a bit too aquatic for my taste. When you said it doesn’t exist or project it was erased from my list. I like to catch a whiff of what I’m wearing. Way too many disappear on my skin.

    • It’s densely aquatic though – not particularly sparse thankfully. It hardly exists, granted I can smell it but nose pressed against hand only. Oh P.S I’ll ship out your goodies ASAP i’m just waiting for some new spray vials to arrive – I hate dabs and it’s all I have left! D:

  4. Kafkaesque says:

    Oh dear. There is nothing I can’t stand more than laundry detergent perfumes. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. But adding synthetic and calone to your description? Even worse!! It makes me want to run away to China and roll around in some spices. Calone….. *shudder* “Loud fabric softener”….. *dry heaves*

    • Sometimes it can be good – paired with glue a la CDGEDP2011. Haha, I probably made it sound worse than it is, but it’s the truth :P You and I have similar taste it seems!

  5. For that kind of money you expect more than laundry detergent or hand soap. Lilac is not my friend, I’ll shall pass… sounds like you did too :)

    • Definitely! Ahhhh have you tried any nice lilacs?
      I did pass, well, I have a freebie of a 10ml, so I’ll keep a hold of that one, as I said, it serves it’s purpose, but it’s not particularly interesting to me :(

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