Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Fragrance Friday: Complex by Boadicea the Victorious

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So you might remember that last week, John and I jointly reviewed the animalic, dirty supreme Hyrax from Zoologist. It is intensely ~fragrant and is not a scent we’d suggest to those with new “noses” to fragrance. However, we both thought it was marvelously blended and a fantastic example of a heavier scent that comes together well.

This week, I wanted to take a look at another heavy scent that… did not quite work so well for me. Our first of three fragrances and three fragrances only that we’ll be reviewing from Boadicea the Victorious is Complex.

Boadicea the Victorious is an English niche house, particularly known for their admittedly fantastic perfume bottles, as well as a range of daring and pricy scents. Their first scent came out in 2008, and they are still releasing fragrances as of 2020. I preface we will only be reviewing three scents from this house as we had already purchased these products prior to May 2020. After watching this video from He Smells Like Rome, we are not comfortable with reviewing any additional product from this house.

But let’s get back to Complex, created by John Stephen. Complex is, as the name implies… complex. It took me a few minutes to try and frame how I wanted to craft this review because I have nearly a page full of descriptions I wrote down over the HOURS this scent lasted. That said, here’s a look at the notes first.

Complex Notes

Basil, sage, resin, leather, violet, incense, musk, olibanum, oud.

While the notes seem like they would be a seemingly straightforward leathery, slightly dirty, aromatic, do. not. be. fooled.


We need to establish this now. There are strong fragrances. There are beast mode fragrances. Their a “god”-tier beast mode fragrances. And then, way, way, way up in the stratosphere above them all, is Complex. Do not spray this on without accepting that you’re going to smell like this for a good day or two, and your clothes will carry it FOREVER.

Also, be aware that you will gas out the entire room. I sprayed it on at one end of our apartment, and a few minutes later Jeremiah hollered, from the other side, wondering what the hell I just sprayed. This stuff is like wrecking ball strong, and it only takes a little, little bit.

As for the scent. Very harsh leather notes and sharp sage on application. It’s a smoke bomb. Yeah, there are other notes listed in this, but lololololololol, you’re never gonna smell them. Violet? HAH. This is honestly more than a bit eye-watering. Half an hour after spraying and I felt like a biker that’s been out riding all afternoon in the summer and has stepped into a dive bar at 5 pm to get a smoke, a cold beer, and a decent burger.

But that’s just the beginning.

An hour in and you’re a smoke monster. A giant, fire-breathing smoke monster. I really want to know, who in their right mind buys a whole G-D bottle of this stuff? Complex turns you into DROGON. THIS IS A SCENT FOR DRAGONS, NOT MERE MORTALS. Perhaps the only acceptable time I could think to use this is during an open-air Halloween party and you’re literally Drogon.

Sometimes you can make a fragrance that is too strong and chokes the life out of everything else around it. Complex is one of those fragrances. This might even be what causes the zombie apocalypse because it roused the dead from their eternal slumber it’s so strong.

If you really, really, really must try it, we recommend you only grab a sample, which you can find here.

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.

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  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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