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  1. #1

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    Default Complexity Vs Simplicity

    I'm intrigued to find out the opinions of others on complexed scents and simple scents. I for one can go either way, but i particularly like simple scents, the ones with not a lot of transitions and variations. Two that stand out to me are two of my favs from Tom Ford's private blend, Tobacco Vanille and Oud Wood. I've seen many people talk about they dont like a scent because its very 'linear', linear isn't always a bad thing im my opinion, sometimes i just want to smell like tobacco and vanilla! :-)

    what do you prefer? and what are some of your favourites from each category?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    This is a very important and vital issue. Actually, the concept of simplicity may vary from one person to the other, and you end up with many different points of view. I guess, however, there can be a consensus on the simplicity of Jean Claud Ellena's works. He employs few elements/notes in a creation. Likewise, there could be a consensus on Amouge Gold's (men's/women's) being complex because it has so many notes.

    Linear is by no means simple, IMO. Black Oud is not a simple fragrance although it's somewhat linear. Solifolres can go into phases too, but that's because the central motif (flower or whatever) itself passes into changes. This needs a lot of elaboration. Good topic

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer_Vavoom View Post
    This is a very important and vital issue. Actually, the concept of simplicity may vary from one person to the other, and you end up with many different points of view. I guess, however, there can be a consensus on the simplicity of Jean Claud Ellena's works. He employs few elements/notes in a creation. Likewise, there could be a consensus on Amouge Gold's (men's/women's) being complex because it has so many notes.

    Linear is by no means simple, IMO. Black Oud is not a simple fragrance although it's somewhat linear. Solifolres can go into phases too, but that's because the central motif (flower or whatever) itself passes into changes. This needs a lot of elaboration. Good topic
    Ok, i'll try to clarify as i admit its slightly vague,

    Complex scents, in terms of its various stages and transformations, loaded note breakdown, top notes NOTHING like the bottom.

    Simple scents, in terms of not much change from top to bottom.

  4. #4
    Hob Dobson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by jlouismi View Post
    what do you prefer? and what are some of your favourites from each category?
    I'd say I generally prefer complex scents, with smooth transitions from top to drydown. Knize Ten, Givenchy Xeryus, and MPG Centaure would be my favorites in that group.

    Linear scents work too (l'Occitane Vetyver, Monocle Scent One: Hinoki, Knize Two,) but sometimes hour upon hour of the same thing can get boring or cloying unless you really, really like what you're smelling.

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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by Hob Dobson View Post
    but sometimes hour upon hour of the same thing can get boring or cloying unless you really, really like what you're smelling.
    that might be the problem with some simpler scents, for me personally, i hardly get any differentiation with Pure Malt, smells more or less the same to me from top to bottom, but boy do i love that initial smell! So many fragrances i've experienced had the same outcome on me, i wished the top notes would last longer (i.e Bigarade Concentree) and when i find a scent with great top notes, and is pretty much the same right throughout, i think its a gem. To me scents like these are not trying to do too much... uninteresting, perhaps, but sometimes i like that.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Generally, I like complex scents, just because they tend to be more interesting and stimulating. However, I do make exceptions for "simple" scents that are exceptionally well-made and enjoyable. Sometimes the simplicity is interesting (How do they prevent evolution? How does that citrus accord last so long? Look how the various notes fade at the same rate and continue to harmonize evenly!).

    I reach for these scents when I know I want something nice, but I also know I'll have other things to think about that day.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    I think that with the complex frags you don't have to like all the notes, and perhaps you don't really like one of the notes at all, but it works as a whole. With the simple ones you need to like all the notes and I'd say it better not smell "synthetic" to you either, or else it is not going to be enjoyable. However, I like both kinds, and everything in between. It's just a matter of how well it's done and how "natural" it smells. I like rotating among different kinds of frags.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    no matter whats in but how its done, i really dont like Clinique Chemistry which is one of the simplest scents, on the other hand im not a fan of V&R Antidote ( check notes )
    it must be done well (some le labo are simple and lovely), no matter if it uses 3 or 30 notes
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Let us not confuse note lists with complexity, either. V&R Antidote is often brought up, but truth be told its note list is not really that significant. There are below 30 ingredients listed, and most commercial perfumes these days have well over 30 ingredients. It's really a case of marketing. Many times notes are used in very small quantities - for instance a perfumer might use a trace of nutmeg or mace to butch-up a cinnamon note, although the perfume's note list may very well only list "cinnamon." Why? Well, because I think most marketers want to list only the primary notes people will smell.. if what the customer is smelling is still predominantly cinnamon but just with a bit more body and a hint of the pungency of nutmeg, the marketers will (usually) simply list cinnamon. This allows for a nice short notes list that helps people to understand the scent quickly (and helps to shape their expectations, too!) - a scent which is far more complex than any note list will indicate.

    Another perfect example of this is when "amber" listed as a note. Amber can be just about anything.. it's almost always labdanum, vanilla and benzoin, but can include labdanum absolute, tolu balsam, cinnamon, cloves, other spices, flowers, woods such as guaicwood, sandalwood, etc. So, let's say a scent has an amber accord with 10 ingredients. They could choose to list all 10 ingredients separately (something that is done in Antidote), or simply list "amber." Now think.. either way it is the same scent.. but how does the listing of 10 notes in the base vs just a single note "amber" change our perception of the complexity of the scent?
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    interesting topic. but do you mean complexity in odor or complexity in structure?

    i mostly like complex smells, simple odors are often a bit flat and even when they seem intriguing in shape/character, they can get boring after a while especially when they don't develop much.

    but i admire both simple and complex structures, adorned or sparse.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Quote Originally Posted by gido View Post
    interesting topic. but do you mean complexity in odor or complexity in structure?

    i mostly like complex smells, simple odors are often a bit flat and even when they seem intriguing in shape/character, they can get boring after a while especially when they don't develop much.

    but i admire both simple and complex structures, adorned or sparse.
    complexity in odor i guess, those scents that have various stages and developments...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Depends on the fragrance really. I love complex fragrances (no really, look at my wardrobe lol), but I do like certain linear ones like Pi

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    Creed's Baie de Genievre. Juniper berries and cinnamon. Simplicity, yes. Simple, no. A Classic.
    Last edited by neal; 27th September 2010 at 11:14 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Complexity Vs Simplicity

    I prefer complex! Simple ones can be great though, like JC Ellena who's the master of that sort of thing.

    Linearity can get to me though. Quite a few people talk about TV as linear, but I get more tobacco and vanilla in the opening and then after awhile I mainly get dried fruits, spices, and sap. Maybe it is though, what do I know! As long as I really enjoy the fragrance then I guess I'm fine with anything.
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