Passion (Elizabeth Taylor)

Before Elizabeth Taylor's underrated oriental for men was released, she licensed her name to a bombastic fruity-floral chypre called Passion, packaged it in an eighties-goth purple bottle, and made a few million dollars from brisk sales to middle-aged women across America. The masculine (Passion for Men) is actually pretty good, a nice lavender-incense-vanilla accord that smells a bit thin, but still works. Passion isn't nearly as thin, and actually suffers from being too concentrated - this could pass as a perfume extrait - but it smells as good as the masculine, and borrows heavily from the eighties school of bombastic white florals like Giorgio and Poison. It's a sillage monster and longevity marathoner. You definitely get your money's worth from it.

The current formula is undoubtedly changed from the original of twenty-six years ago, and I think it's been cheapened, though it was always cheap. I recall Passion from at least the early nineties, when my grandmother had a big black bottle of it on her bureau. It had a much stinkier and more-citric top note, with probably a milliliter of synthetic civet, sinus-searing and borderline nauseating. The same white floral accord followed, albeit with a more indolic tuberose, and a similar concord grape note akin to the one in Giorgio, thanks to a whopping dose of anthranilates. Today's Passion holds the same soapy floral accord and grape effect, but the citrus and civet are toned down to a whisper, and there isn't nearly as much tension or contrast. When a perfume makes an indelible twenty-year impression, you return to it hoping to pick things up where you left off, as if your last encounter were only yesterday. That just isn't the case with me and Passion. I'm the same, but the girl has changed.

Nevertheless, the incense note that wells up from her powdery drydown is very nice, and I get a reference to the masculine in an herbal-spicy note that follows the florals. I suspect that all of Liz Taylor's fragrances are worn by geriatrics nowadays, with only a select few young men wearing the masculine Passion, and almost no young women bothering with any of them. I'm not losing any sleep over this notion, but I think women my age can pull this fragrance off without any problems, and also White Diamonds for that matter. These broad-shouldered eighties perfumes should get another go-around, especially after twenty years of apologetic Japanese-styled colognes and "body-mists." Ladies, for twenty bucks, why not try it? Maybe you can bring it back.


  1. Fragrantica just did aa feature on this scent. I'm curious to try it now. The description reminds me of Tom Ford's Black Violet, which I enjoy, but not nearly enough to buy again. Do you think there are aany similarities?

    1. No. I've never tried Black Violet, but Passion was released a lifetime before Ford's scent.

    2. Oh definitely. I know that, but he borrows a lot from older frags.

      I actually just found an old bottle of Passion. Not sure how old exactly, but it was in a box with Van Cleef and Arpel's Gem (smells off, so it's probably degraded), Jean Louis Scherrer (which smells absolutely wonderful, but also degraded), and some others I cant recall off hand. Sprayed a little on my arm, and I'm really impressed. Definitely very dark, somewhat sweet, I get incense, and the grape note is very dominant. I'm liking it a lot.
      I know it's not a big deal since this costs about as much as a cocktail or a couple of beers, but I'm really glad I tried this, since I couldn't remember what it smelled like at all (and it's nothing like Black Violet :( ).

    3. It's one of those frags that has probably been diluted a bit over the years, given that it was once a "foghorn," as Luca Turin put it.

      Glad you like it! I prefer the masculine, but respect the feminine version immensely.


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