Passage d'Enfer fragrance notes

    • Aloe, White Lily, Myrrh, Frankincense, White Musk

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Passage d'Enfer

I am rather fortunate to have run across this older formulation hexagonal bottle of Giacobetti's Passage d'Enfer, and while I can't speak for any subsequent formulations, what I have in my possession is a staggering beauty. The inclusion of lily and muguet really sends the olibanum in a new direction, as if I am on a veranda with a lit incense on an early May day. It reminds me of pondering the passage of time through seasons, the thawing of snow and spring ephemerals pushing through to make their brief, gentle appearance, bearers of the fragility of life.

This "passage to Hell" feels to me more like a waking moment of beauty in both joy and suffering, night and day, light and dark. Perhaps this passage is more to confront the reality that Hell is created in our own minds, and once we come face to face, we are liberated, and here we are on the other side: a relief, a true conclusion that it isn't any real place at all...

Maybe one would find this fragrance funereal should they be in a frame of mind to reach for that association or maybe they have ingrained scent associations, but I find nothing sullen or grim about this beautiful, nuanced creation. There are raw cedar and coniferous undertones, a musk as white as its flowers, vernal, fecund, luminous, almost opalescent. Still, delicate, and truly personal, Passage d'Enfer is a fragrance for sitting and reflection, and goodness knows I need those in my life.
9th March 2022
I don't understand this one
I get synthetic doom and an insect repellent cloud of sadness from this.
In reality the notes and the “idea” of this conceptual fragrance should appeal to me.
I get no incense..
nothing but a cloying heavy plastic or vinyl …
It's a shame I like other offering from this house.
On paper it sounds great
why it works this badly in my nose is a mystery.
Possibly I'm interpreting the “passage to hell”smelling more interesting or compelling..
burning flowers…
lilies wilting in cellophane..
was that the intention?

4th July 2021

Passage d'enfer is an almost pure incense fragrance to my nose. There is a light touch of flower to fresh up the scent, some woody notes and some musk. But they all serve to complement the incense. The scent doesn't change much during the wearing, juste a bit more woody while gradually fading. The sillage is close and it lasted at least 6 hours on me.

The incense in Passage d'enfer is actually quite impressive. It's so realistic that it immediately makes me think of Chinese temples. Due to this fact, to me it's more an ambiance fragrance than an actual perfume that I'd wear in person. But it worths trying especially for incense fans.
12th January 2019
I am not sure what formaldehyde smells like or if it even has a scent but with passage d'enfor I imagine myself laid out in a coffin, after some dastardly deed being perpetrated upon my soul(whether deserving or not) and the mortician's assistant has sought to compensate for whatever ghastly aromas my decomposed body might be giving off (after having been discarded in a swampy water grave and rigor mortis has set in,) by pumping me full of this funeral home chemically smelling substance which is now oozing out my pours causing those who weep over me cover their noses. (A little too dark for me).
26th September 2017
It's a bit odd - sometimes it seems like a floral with some incense , others it's all incense and woods, and others it's like a little sister to Dzongkha - with that incense/wood mixed with a creamy almost meaty smell.

I never particularly like the opening notes, but when it settles I get wafts during the day of something intriguing and complex, which makes me pause.
19th July 2017
Passage D'enfer is a private, indwelling drama. It feels like being borne underwater by the sheer weight of lilies heaped upon your body by a mass of unfeeling mourners on the riverbank. From despair, hope: amidst the morbid holy white flowers, the motionless incense, the reservoir of salt that gathers on the verge of crying, and a thick veil of musk. From all of these comes, at last, a sense of strength and solace. It feels like looking your demons in the face and yawning. It feels like moving through the grime invisibly, bearing your sorrows with a light step.
18th March 2017
There's nothing I dislike about this, just not in love with it. That being said, I find it to be refreshing and unique. I haven't smelled any other fragrances like this. It reminds me of the effervescence you smell after opening a can of lemon-lime soda. Very light, airy and bubbly like that, with some citrus. I also smell the incense and florals, but its not heavy. Projection is okay, won't fill a room, but should be detectable when walking past others. Drydown lasts into the 6-8 hour range and feels clean and woody, with just a little of the citrus still there.
24th February 2017
Chilly little incense number that I must admit I can't warm to, much as I admire Olivia Giacobetti's delicate palette. This is like the suggestion of the sun through a fog. The fog here being some very sweet musk.
Much of the excitement seems to be in the opening minutes where a limpid lily combines pepper and that cool incense and a suggestion of pine. But soon it narrows to that peppery incense caught in billows of musk. Incense, however faint, is a tenacious note on my skin, so I don't have any projection or longevity issues, it's just that Passage d'Enfer bores me – it seems to have very little to say and says it in a little voice. The later stages are more satisfying as the sweetness and pepper subsides and it morphs to mainly a conifers and light incense theme with a creamy, silky aura.
A more transporting and satisfying embodiment of some of the notes present here is to be found in Oriza's Relique d'Amour where the lily is placed on the altar of a pine-ringed mountain chapel, with the frankincense wafting through the door that's just been opened.

25th August 2016
Dry, peppery, cold incense...

This fragrance is a typical Olivia Giacobetti composition. She has the ability to do an incense fragrance extremely well. This one is no exception.

The name alternatively means Gateway to Hell or Rite of Passage. I think the second name is more fitting as it also is the name of the street in which the original L'Artisan Parfumeur boutique was located.

What we get here is a very dry, cold incense that has musk, lilly, and dry frankincense. It is extremely wearable, but very light. I would recommend it for lovers of incense.
26th October 2015
After working my way through a 1ml sample, I am neutral on this. It is fresh and very light, an aloe and floral scent, a little bit sweet, but as far as cool stone or incense or anything mystical - I'm not getting that at all. I wanted to love it and wanted to smell the things that are in the description and other people's reviews - but I smell something like a cleaning product. It's not terrible, and I could comfortably wear it to work knowing I wouldn't offend anyone.

Eau d'Italie by Eau d'Italie is a similar idea that is much more interesting, and more to my liking. From this line I will stick with Dzongkha, Timbuktu, and I also love Cote d'Amour.
19th June 2015
This one is quite a surprise. Having expected something funereal, or, from the name alone, something like burning sulphur, l find it's a rather fresh & beautiful breath of spring. The incense has a shimmering quality, with a pronounced green floral note running through it, more like lily of the valley than lillies, to my nose. l get a strong impression of green shoots peeking through the cold, wet earth, & l even smell the stone slabs forming a path between the flower beds. lt's soft & quite linear, with just a hint of musk in the base, & lasts around nine hours before fading.
Delicate & quite lovely, for me this would make the perfect incense for the transition from winter to spring.
1st April 2015