Perfume Survey

I just thought this would be a fun thing to do on a slow day. So here are my answers to a quick little fragrance-oriented survey.

1. Let’s start this easy, what’s your favorite perfume?
This is sadly anything but an easy question. I have a lot of favorites and my favorite perfume changes every so often. But there is one consistent contender and I trot it out whenever this question comes up; Spiritueuse Double Vanille. People ultimately go into asking what that is and who makes it and what it smells like. So SDV, wonderful smoky vanilla, and great conversation starter.

2. Favorite notes in perfume?
Another hard question as I tend to like how notes play off of one another rather than focusing on one note in particular. My opinions of which notes I like also changed day-by-day and month-by-month. But I suppose if we just kept it general, the one note I tend to love in fragrances; natural vanilla. It must be natural or at least smell very convincingly natural, because the synthetic stuff has recently fallen out with me.

3. First perfume you ever wore?
Chanel No. 5 and it was not pretty. I was playing with my mother’s perfumes and got curious about¬† how Chanel No. 5 would smell like on me. So I sprayed it several times all over my head–just like they do in the movies! Bad idea. No. 5 is very potent and soon I was gagging and wheezing in the middle of a giant cloud of perfume. No. 5 and I have made up since then and now I think she’s a lovely classic.

4. First perfume you ever owned?
I’m not going to count body sprays here so the first perfume I ever owned was Nina by Nina Ricci. Fresh out of college. Wanted a perfume. Saw this pretty little bottle and though this smelled the best. I’ve since matured a bit in tastes but Nina remains one of the best fruity floral perfumes out there.

5. Worst perfume you’ve ever tried?
Depends on what ‘worst’ means in this case. Most annoying? Couture Couture by Juicy Couture. Worst smelling? Secretions Magnifiques. Worst composed? Vampire by Parfums de Coeur. I’ve smelled a lot in the past year and I’ve discovering that there’s no catch-all ‘greatest’ or ‘worst’. It’s all relative and can all be categorized. But split things up and get more specific and I can answer. So if you were to ask me, ‘worst bottle design?’ I can humorously tell you that Burberry Brit’s tartan brick is still the champion.

6. One perfume that stirs up a memory?
Perfumes tend to remind me of times, places and events rather than people. Prada’s Infusion d’Homme reminds me of my childhood spent in an apartment in Vietnam and the bars of soap I used to play with as a kid. It’s a balcony in the middle of a busy city. It’s a bucket and the sounds and smells of mid-afternoon marketplaces. Voices rising up and trying to drown each other out. And it’s the funny way soap slips and slides in a bucket of water.

7. Least favorite note in a perfume?
Again, any note in a perfume if used and blended well can add a beautiful dimension to the fragrance. But since we’re here, I tend to have consistently bad luck liking anything with civet in it. It takes me some time to get used to the perfume, to finally work past the animal in the fragrance and start appreciating it. I usually come around, but civet really gives me a run for my money.

8. How do you apply your perfume?
If it’s a spray type, I mist my arms and my chest and sometimes the backs of my knees. If it’s a splash type, my wrists and neck.

9. Heavier or lighter perfumes?
I’m a lightweight who likes lighter fragrances. If it’s a heavy fragrance then I will purposefully go light on it. I know a lot of people may not like the fragrance as much as me and I think going light on a heavy scent works for the both of us since they probably don’t want to smell me and I like it when I have to get close to my arm in order to smell something. Total lightweight.

10. Why do you like perfume?
I think it’s a beautiful art, and it’s fun to smell things and try to figure out what’s in them. I picked up and started this blog as a hobby, and it still remains a hobby for now. I haven’t stopped enjoying perfumes and smells and perfume makers haven’t stopped making new scents. So long as there’s perfume out there, you’ll find me, trying to smell it.

If you’re interested in doing this survey too, just copy and answer the questions! You can post it up on your own website or post it as a comment to this post. Go nuts.

Boadicea the Victorious Complex

Now, hey, I love Boadicea the Victorious’¬† Pure. I love the smelly excursions of this niche house. I just wish their stuff wasn’t so dang expensive for what you get. And then there’s Complex, which I think should have been named “Perplexing” instead.


In Bottle: Whoa, I think we have a contender for weirdest, most off-putting scent now. I know everyone gives Secretions Magnifiques that honor but Complex has the dirty, unpleasant smell thing going on right up front. Commendable, though I’m not so sure about wearable. And I’m talking abut unironic wearability here.

Applied: Bitter and green from get go with a very obvious and very loud civet presence. All this wrapped up in a thick blanket of choking smoke. This stuff isn’t for the weak–and I’m weak. I guess. It’s off-putting, it’s alarming. If I didn’t know they were trying to make this a wearable fragrance, I’d be saying Boadicea is trolling us all like Etat Libre d’Orange did. I’m sticking out with this one though. I refuse to let it call me a wuss. Complex is powerful, it’s a big projector too so while you wear this, wear it with confidence. Or wear it somewhere with lots of ventilation and not on an airplane. As I wait for the dry down, Complex does relatively little with its time as it remains predominantly animalic with a brush of sweet violets wavering in and out during the mid-stage. The violets do little to endear this fragrance to me, as the sweetness mixes with the smoky animalic personality of Complex to create this mess of fragrance that doesn’t go together at all. Dry down is marked with more civet (hey, it’s a strong component) as the fragrance ushers out with a bitter parting of the violets and the green. Meanwhile, you’ll be scrubbing for many a day to get the smoky civet off. This fragrance, to me, smells like baked roadkill. Which, I can’t decide, if this is better or worse than sweaty armpit. I’m going to say better–just barely.

Extra: I want to believe they did this on purpose–this making of a fragrance that challenges the concept of perfume and of–well, just smelling decent. I suppose if you are into fragrances that are, or should be, unwearable you can add Complex to the list.

Design: I do love the way Boadicea the Victorious bottles their fragrances. Pretty glass entrapped in intricate metal vines. The designs are reminiscent of Nordic and Gaelic art. Quite beautiful and interesting.

Fragrance Family: Dirty

Notes: Violet, labdanum, leather, musk, civet, basil, sage.

I never thought I’d label another fragrance under my imaginary ‘dirty’ fragrance family. But there you go. Complex is a powerful, high sillage smoky animalic with brushes of sweet violets and a really weird personality. Not my thing, can’t see myself wearing this, hope I don’t end up in an enclosed space with someone who does.

Reviewed in This Post: Complex, 2009, Eau de Parfum.