The thing about Complice is the bottle – possibly the most exquisite I’ve ever seen and held in my hand but never actually owned: a pleasurably weighty and luxurious glass flacon labelled in a flourishing Art Deco script and an elaborately cut glass headdress that rests on top like a nuptial coronet.
The scent itself though – rare, especially in the pristine vintage form I encountered it in once – also has something, despite its familiarity (the more you encounter old perfumes you realize that they too often had a ‘generic’ nature to them in the way that the current scents do: there were a lot of copy-cat, ‘generally pretty’ floral aldehyes about: not every old perfume was especially distinctive or an olfactory masterpiece).
Complice is one of these lady-like, filigréed Parisian florals, with the light, silk foulard of green and spice we’ve experienced many times before in perfumes such as the more idiosyncratic L’Air Du Temps, typical, delicate, yet affecting scents that once breathed their incorrigible elegance on air of the streets of Paris like soft, unravelling secrets. Yes, it cannot be denied that the Complice’s flacon is perhaps more memorable than its delicately forlorn contents of musk and narcissus: its exhalations of peach skins, lilacs and cold, powdered orris. But there is still, once the top note aldehydes fade, an untouchable aspect within the classically constructed blend that makes it appealing – something papery, white and pristine, like the cool breath of February snowdrops.