Monastic, cool, ethereal? In many ways L'Eau Froide is anti-Lutens, whereas Passage d'Enfer is L'Artisan Parfumeur down to the most minuscule detail. Though both brands are pioneers of niche, as Now Smell This notes they're a "study in contrasts". The Byzantine plot of a typical Serge Lutens is bringing the exotica of the Moroccan souk into a 19th century aesthete's dream sequence and from there into an urbanite's esoteric scent collection. L'Artisan on the other hand approaches perfumery via a luminous, refined, transparent approach as championed by founder Jean Laporte and perfumers Jean Claude Ellena, Olivia Giacobetti, Anne Flipo and Betrand Duchaufour. Even the ambers in the L'Artisan line are diaphanous instead of thick whereas their woody and "green" fragrances smell the way psithurism sounds.
Still this aesthetic is something with which the average perfumista hasn't come to terms with yet; it will probably take a whole generation to reconcile perfumephiles with "clean" after the horros that have befallen them in the vogue for non-perfume-perfumes in the last 20 years. I'm hopeful. After all being a perfumista means challenging your horizons, right?
Notes for L'Eau Froide (2012): olibanum, sea water, musk, vetiver, mint, incense, pepper and ginger
Notes for Passage d'Enfer (1999): lily, incense, woodsy notes and musk.
Both are available through niche distributors at more or less comparative price-points.