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.