Complex emerges from its bottle as a fully-blown green leather chypre with animalic overtones and an intensely bitter edge. Birch tar runs rampant here, and your reaction to this fragrance will depend largely upon how you respond to that ingredient’s smoky olfactory profile. Me, I love the stuff, so Complex is right up my alley. The opening is vaguely reminiscent of Bandit EdP, but whereas Bandit reveals floral elements after its spiky herbaceous launch, Complex is resolutely linear in course, and never veers far from its initial subject matter. After several hours of solid projection and conspicuous sillage, Complex settles into a warm, animalic labdanum drydown. As a composition Complex is bold and uncompromising, and I admire how it keeps true to its materials.
Indeed, I have only one major problem with Complex. Its name? Aramis 900.
I won’t claim that the two scents are identical – they aren’t. But there are parallels, especially in their opening and closing movements. The Aramis too starts out as a brashly bitter, herbaceous, green leather chypre, though admittedly a bit softer in texture and less smoky than the Boadicea The Victorious scent. Ironically enough, Aramis 900 is more, well, complex than Complex in its development. While Complex is staunchly linear, Aramis 900 builds a floral/balsamic accord alongside is leather chypre block, thereby establishing a compelling structural tension. Both scents ultimately arrive at the same labdanum-rich destination, even if the Aramis does take a more circuitous route.
So while they do differ, I believe that Aramis 900 and Complex could easily play the same role in a moderate-sized fragrance wardrobe. The question for any potential purchaser is whether Complex’s relative toughness and monolithic structure appeal enough to merit spending five times(!) Aramis 900’s price. I will tell you in no uncertain terms that the discrepancy in pricing does not reflect any difference in quality. Aramis 900 may be inexpensive and in good supply, but it is a superb Bernard Chant formula and parent company Estée Lauder has treated it with great care. The bottom line: Complex is a good scent, but I’d try both Aramis 900 and Bandit before spending upwards of $250 US on it!
11th June, 2014 (last edited: 12th June, 2014)
A super dry contemporary leather scent which opens with a rubbery note of safraleine and quinolines, with lemon drops, a hint of salt, and a – frankly: horrible - aftertaste halfway between roasted tires, burnt muffins and pencil rubber. Aldehydes, vanillin, a woody aromatic round note which softens and restraines the roasted leather accord. All completely synthetic with no particular efforts to disguise it. To be really honest, not to act as "the tough one", but I do not get the "harsh" and the "challenging" here. It's a nice, plain, a bit clumsy and awkward rendition of leather, where the materials which are usually used to create that note are basically just thrown-in "as-they-are". But the result is nothing raw or harsh, it's rather a pale nondescript rubbery scent with an indefinite "roasted" vibe which I guess should be the leather heart, which lasts for ages. I thought of Portos by Balenciaga and its Clint Eastwood super dry leather drydown – that's an adult and challenging leather to wear. Complex stands to "great leather scents" like a child with fake moustache and a plastic sword stands to Zorro. Jokes aside, in my opinion it's a boring scent even itself – not bad, but dull.
when the going gets weird the weird turn pro
Bitter green notes and a weird animal/ leather combo.Drydown musk and incense !....Sillage and Duration thick as a brick...be ready for a sonic boom...this scent will make you feel freakish weird. Love or Hate fragrance...just glad to have found this gem
Pros: full tilt animalic leather
Whatta strange and stout fragrance! A dry-rubbery-incensey-smoky forbidding concoction. The effect on me is weird and not uncompromisingly appealing (slightly "bewildering") but my rating is for sure in the average because of its uniqueness. An obscure woodsy blast (rooty, earthy, musky, rubbery-resinous, hesperidic, bitter/herbal, steamy and boise) is the prelude to a really powerful leathery/animalic floral accord that is decidedly forbidding with its stark violet undertone. The latter comes out in the final phase and is a kind of dusty and resinous effect finally almost powdery/incensey (or better smokey) but basically sticky in a smoother and more velvety way. There is a stage in which the resinous vibe plays almost plastically and the impetuous smokiness is more than vaguely liturgical. Over this stage a really stout leathery/animalic twist embraces the elements drawing those towards a sort of encompassing carnal warmth anyway still "holy", "turpentinic", basically dry and "ancient". The Boadicea the Victorious Complex's woodsy and resinous obscurity conjures me a tad effectively a sort of Bandit/X Clive Christian's ideal olfactory agreement despite scents a la Profumum Arso, Mona di Orio Cuir (in a far better way), Geo F. Trumper Eucris or Durbano Black Turmaline jump on mind for several of their hallmarks. An interesting one for all the resinous leather/chypre hardcore lovers.
P.S: the more I wear Complex the more I enjoy its qualities (extreme final balance, superb temperament, lofty, almost sacramental, aura, final superb leather-resinous woodsiness. I enjoy it.
14th January, 2013 (last edited: 23rd June, 2015)
I went into this expecting a sharp violet, a filthy leather with strong animalic musks... beautiful!
However... I was wrong. I seriously tried my best to enjoy this fragrance. The first harsh, bitter blast is a very green, dirty smell, and this smell of upturned earth stays as the main feature throughout this scent. I tried hard to pick out the violets, if they are there, they are buried under piles of decaying leaves, it is not sweet or powdery in any way.
I really couldnt smell any animalics and if the base is leather, it is a cheap, very very over worn leather. It is a long lasting bitter earth scent, slightly medicinal, with big sillage unfortunately.
Whilst yes you could describe this as complex, if you were to sniff it on a passer by, you'd probably just think of it as a very pungent, bad cologne.