Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

Fleeting Beauty: En passant by Éditions de Parfum Frédéric Malle


The top note of En passant is perfect lilac,  a multi-layered scent in itself.  This initial whiff triggers a memory of  vintage Diorissmo, perhaps because I tend to perceive lilac and muguet as similar in nature: a sweet, dewy floral over a polleny, dry, vegetal, gently earthy layer of bliss. En Passant is more restrained and less chilly than Diorissmo, and the notes of cucumber and hay (or is it rice? is it bread?) give En Passant a lasting outdoor warmth and freshness. I’m drawn to this  mystery vegetal note in perfume, and have come to attribute it to a  farnesol/coumarin combination that always works for me.

I simply adore this perfume.  My only complaint is that it dries down quickly and almost disappears in about one hour. To get better longevity, I  spray En Passant directly on my clothing.

The fleeting quality of En Passant certainly fits its name. I think of ephemera, all sorts. I think of short-lived springtime. I think of Baudelaire’s “fugitive beauté” in “A une passante: “Ô toi que j’eusse aimée, ô toi qui le savais!” [O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!]

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2 thoughts on “Fleeting Beauty: En passant by Éditions de Parfum Frédéric Malle

  1. Yes – it disappears very very quickly. It is a very pretty scent, as fragile as passing through a garden, just as quickly it goes. But one of the things I love about a good perfume is catching on your clothes when you undress at night, or when you next shower, or on a scarf, and so I have never bought this one.. although I have loved the sample!

  2. I agree, Tangles, –there is nothing like a perfumed scarf.

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