Teardrops, raindrops: EN PASSANT by EDITIONS DE PARFUMS (2000)

It is pouring outside today, in that melancholic, chilling winter way; the rain coming down in sheets.


The cat is in the futon cupboard, curled up into a ball; it is cosy in here and I am steeling myself to go out…..



I wondered. What perfume best captures rain?

Perhaps Olivia Giacobetti’s fleeting encapsulation of a lilac bush laden with rain drops in the city park, as you pass by on your way to your destination; that momentary soar in the heart as your brain picks up the flowers’ heartrending, overripe perfume before you even know the source…that sudden mad rush of possibility amid cold emptiness.



Winter is here. Spring is still far off.


Which makes these flowers seem even colder, even icier on the skin in this rain now –  more cruel.



















Sad lilacs.


Cold, ozonic umbrellas reflected in black pools of rain.


Ozone, lilac flowers, cucumber, and wheat absolute comprise the watery essence En Passant (‘In Passing’),  a jolt to the senses after the dead of winter.  An impressionistic, leaf-fresh rendering of what is to come.


An inspired synthesis of the chemical and the natural, this is possibly the wettest, coldest perfume I know.







Filed under Flowers, Lilac, Ozone, Perfume Reviews

26 responses to “Teardrops, raindrops: EN PASSANT by EDITIONS DE PARFUMS (2000)

  1. alabasterwrists

    En passant is also a chess term-between that fact and knowing that this was heralded as a fantastic lilac scent I always wanted to try this perfume. However, I want my lilac perfume to smell as my lilacs do on the bush outside my window-lush,creamy,sweet with just a tad of green: a reminder that Spring (my absolute favorite season) has finally arrived: gone is the harsh, barren winter we experience in Northeast, replaced by warmer, almost tropical, air and the opportunity for renewal and rebirth of not just plants/flowers/trees but individuals as well. From your description I do not think that this is what En Passant personifies. So I will stick to smelling my lilac bush and drinking my cherry blossom green tea when Spring arrives 🙂 !!

    • ginzaintherain

      I think you should. It is ultimately cold and ozonic, and I instinctively can tell that this is not you! (it is emphatically not me either, but I can appreciate it as a scent and imagine it could be heavenly on the right person…)

    • ginzaintherain

      I personally think lilacs are kind of filthy actually, so rank and ripe and thick with something…amazing creatures

      • alabasterwrists

        When lilacs are past their prime they do indeed smell rank. I once had lilac sprigs in a vase on my desk. They were on their way out, so to speak and the custodian of my school entered my room and said “what is that awful smell…..bad glue?” One man’s pleasure, another man’s…… I still laugh thinking about his remark!

  2. janeykate

    I love this blog! I love lilac too though, your description absolutely captures the scent of the lilac trees in my garden. Lovely!
    Jane x

    • Thanks for reading and for the compliment. Lilacs are so gorgeously full and sensual in their perfume, and the combination with rain is even better.

      • janeykate

        I actually ordered a bottle of this from Liberty, thanks to your description! I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival. As soon as I get time I will have a proper look around your blog! I don’t suppose you know if there is anything similar to Jean Paul Gaultier’s fragile do you? I was gutted when it was discontinued!
        Jane x

      • No no no I am worried you will be disappointed. This is cold; depressive; wet. Fragile is a diamond sharp burlesque dancer.

      • janeykate

        Ha, ha! I’m sure it will be great 🙂 And i love trying new perfumes. It may be very different from Fragile, but I have different perfumes for different moods. If I don’t like it, I have plenty of friends to pass it on to. Any pun purely unintentional!
        Jane x

      • janeykate

        OMG, this arrived this morning, and I totally adore it! It’s exactly the scent of lilac after the rain, wherever I am in the world, I will wear it and it will remind me of my garden at home.
        Thank you!
        Jane x

  3. En Passant was the first Frederic Malle Editions de Parfum I ever owned. I adored it when I first bought it years ago but it was a perfume I seldom went to and sometimes forgot I owned. I am sure it is not as good now as it was as I have had it for many years, but now I will revisit it.

  4. Nancysg

    En Passant has so many associations for me. In front of our old farmhouse that I grew up in, were two lilac bushes that blossomed each spring. My Mother was not a big gardener, but she faithfully watered (not much grew in Eastern Washington state without watering) and pruned the lilac bushes. She would bring cuttings into the house to enjoy on the kitchen table. Each year she would hope that there would be a few flowers left to use to decorate the graves on Memorial Day (which was a big family event). Also, this farmhouse was in the middle of wheat farms for miles around. The smell of wheat is distinctively dry and grainy. A scent I didn’t even acknowledge when I lived in the midst of it.

  5. We have lovely lilacs in New Mexico, but lilacs always remind me of my years running a sheep farm in upstate New York, where winter nights of -40 were routine and lilacs in bloom were a sign that winter could no longer actually kill us, which had seemed likely for months previously. Since then, lilacs have always seemed joyously celebratory to me. Your lovely review makes me realize that I’ve only tried En Passant once, and we are moving toward the right season to try it again. I am no fan of the cold and ozonic,but I do seem to recall a lot of lilac sweetness in this one.

  6. My cold wet weather go to perfume is Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay for its pleasantly damp sharpish green smell, a hope that something fresh and alive will come out when the cold dampness fades away.

    I have a decant of En Passant and will need to revisit it to see if I get the same association with cold rain you described.

  7. batkitty

    I agree with your take on En Passant. Lilacs have always meant warm sun, springtime, and humidity in the air, the real end of cold weather and the beginning of the lean into summer. Lilacs are very special to me, and I thought I would love En Passant, but I did not. The dampness I think of with lilacs is always a warm and comforting sensation, and this perfume, with its cucumber and wheat notes, has an almost metallic chill to the damp. That cold hard chill is the opposite of springtime showers and lilacs for me, and it distracts me from the beautiful lilac scent in the perfume. I guess I appreciate the perfume in some way, but I never seem to enjoy wearing it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s