DSH Parfums Le Smoking is, to my nose, a happy mix of the bitter, smoked-out leather of Cabochard (Grès) and the sweet hashish vibe of Coze (Parfumerie Generale), two perfumes so hard-wired into the scent memory portion of my brain that it's difficult to judge Le Smoking on its own merits.
Do I love Le Smoking, or do I love the memories conjured up for me by the ghosts of perfumes past that linger in its fabric? It's hard to tell. But I can't see myself not owning Le Smoking at some point. The further I get in this hobby, the more I realize that you just don't pass up on perfumes that trigger you. I'm bored of wearing perfume just because it smells nice. I want the rollercoaster ride, please, and this time I'm keeping my eyes open.
The ghost of Cabochard in Le Smoking makes me almost unbearably sad. But I want to keep smelling it, regardless. The bottle I owned was most likely a reformulation. Like the opening of Le Smoking, it smelled like the cracked, thin elbows on a grey-brown leather jacket. Covered in layers of grime and ash, it was awful, but also weirdly brilliant.
Like Cabochard, Le Smoking has a bit of a sneer on its face, at least at first. The galbanum here does not smell like fresh lime peel, freshly cut green peppers, or mown grass, as it often can. Instead, it smells murky, poisonous, and cold, like smoke drifting across a window pane. There is also lots of dusty tobacco, vetiver, and oakmoss, together creating a pleasantly stale, acrid accord like a column of ash waiting to drop off a cigarette.
The mossy bitterness has been cleverly amended, though, to prevent the fragrance from feeling too much like a punishment. It's much richer and more complex than Cabochard. An errant red fruit note, similar to the one in DSH Parfums Piment et Chocolat and Coze, add a touch of hot, sweet plastic that spices up the ashy leather, and the tobacco seems like it might be driven by castoreum, which brings its own sweet-sour fermented raisin vibe to the table.
But best of all is the generous dose of sweet, sticky sativa bud, smelling fragrantly like a lump of greenish hash resin. Mingling with the earthy oakmoss and tobacco, it produces a fantastically tasty note that pitches a tent between freshly-roasted coffee beans and the warm, trampled grass of a music festival. I wore Coze almost exclusively in early summer one year, and now associate it with all the pleasant things one can do outdoors on a warm morning, such as loll around on parched, yellowing grass, and drink coffee in outdoor cafes. The coffee/dry grass vibe lends a warm, friendly finish to the perfume that's surprising after its chippy start. But, interestingly, although Le Smoking starts out in bitch mode and ends up in the chill-out zone, it is never less than debonair.
Complex and multi-layered, this is a truly daring scent.
It steps outside the comfortable realm of pipe tobacco, warm, cherry/honey humidor and strikes out for the cigarette no man's (or woman's) land, where more than one attempt to duplicate or improve the iconic Caron Tabac Blond has failed miserably.
Le Smoking succeeds admirably.
First a bitter blast of what seems to me a mix of patchouli, vetiver and actual cigarette smoke, it certainly grabs your attention. It then rounds these edges, removing the sharpness and adding a sophisticated, amberish warmth that nevertheless does not abandon the central cigarette smoke accord.
Most creators in the past have gone for the obvious re-creation of the unburned cigarette tobacco, but Le Smoking revels in the actual smoke, rising from a lit cigarette.
The effect is that of a nicely perfumed woman, sitting in a Mediterranean hotel lobby, smoking a very fine gauloise. If Audrey Hepburn were a smoker, it would be she, Givenchy hat and veil in place, waiting for Cary Grant to join her for a tisane.
Tobacco ChypreBlond tobacco bolstered by herbal and balsamic notes hovers enticingly over a classical chypre accord before drying down to a sensual softly leathery skin scent. I am gobsmacked. This stunner from 2012 YSL Retrospective Collection is a throwback to the grand green chypres of yore and a timely reminder that classical perfumery might be down but not dead. Average in terms of sillage/projection it lasts about 4-5 hours on my skin. Not bad really. In all honesty for a scent this good I'm willing to overlook such relatively minor quibbles. In fact I look forward to reapplying it! Notes: bergamot, blackberry, clary sage, galbanum, hyacinth, neroli, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation, Chinese geranium, grandiflorum jasmine, honey, marijuana accord, orris root, oakmoss, castoreum, incense, leather, Peru balsam, tobacco absolute.Pros: Sssmokinn...!Cons: Nothing I cannot forgive"