(Review based on a sample decanted from the original B Never 2 Busy 2 Be Beautiful version.)
Instantly smoky and smoldering (vetiver, I assume) in a non-sensual way. Rather it is very familiar and comforting. There is also a slightly sweet underlayment of literal tobacco, maybe, and a hint of leather? Neither note is named.
I am reminded immediately of an old field office my Grandfather worked from, basically a glorified old, wooden shed. I donít think he smoked, but maybe his business partner did. So, these early stages are an old, slightly dusty sun-warmed shed in which someone has smoked a tobacco pipe daily for 20 years. Slight cedar undertones and amber slowly begin to emerge, with a bit more sandalwood incense, the notes swirling and shifting. It doesnít change a lot from here on out, nor do I want it to. And throughout, I still want to class this as tobacco...
I sought this out based on my love for Gorillaís Breath of God, in which, as everyone seems to know, Exhale supplies the smoky vetiver structure. My love for Breath of God is unshakable, but this surpasses it. To be honest, I canít disentangle Exhale, as I am experiencing it, from Breath of God, beyond the smoky incense both share. ďIncenseĒ may appropriately describe aspects of both, but they are very different types of incense. Perhaps most surprising is that I donít get amber or sandalwood notes in Breath of God at all. Also, Exhale is very warm, where I find Breath of God to be cool (but never cold).
There is no way I could rate this anything other than thumbs-up. The scent is a stunning, intoxicating, reverie inducing thing of wonder. Projection and silliage are decent-to-low. Longevity is average. Fortunately, reapplication shouldnít be a problem as the Lush/Gorilla oil is so inexpensive (this, of course, assumes that it is ever restocked online).
Interestingly, while sniffing myself for this, I encountered a bit of Montaleís Dark Aoud, which I sampled yesterday (and which apparently persisted through many hours and a shower). They are not similar in the least, but are oddly complimentary. I might attempt to layer them one day. Hope that isnít heretical...
Exhale, accidentally layered with Inhale gave birth to what have become one of the most praised deliveries by the guys at Lush: Breath of God (originally released by the now extinct english firm B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful).
While Inhale represents the bright fruity side, Exhale is entirely built on a woody/earthy vetiver accord enhanced in its smokiness by tarry notes and some leather. The overall effect will make the joy of any hardcore vetiver lover who likes its vetiver dark, smoky and slightly animalic. Excellent.
Recently reintroduced in the Lush range as an oil.
I like it a lot!
It starts incredibly dark and earthy. Definitely incense notes, and at times a rather quirky note which reminds me of rubber. Fleetingly, perhaps even a mere hint of bittersweet chocolate. It is a complex, shifting scent; very exotic and intriguing. It really can suggest a far Eastern temple, where old stones have soaked in prayers and mysterious incense for thousands of years. The dry-down is an excellent, warm, woody, sandalwood.
Review of the re-issue in 2010 by Gorilla Perfumes, previously B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful:
Simon Constantine's Exhale is an inspirational vetiver fragrance bearing serious leather credentials. Its key notes of vetiver, cedar, neroli and sandalwood are legible in a way that belies its arresting, Laphroaig-type peatiness: I can smell them all individually, but the outdoorsey magic of their combined effect is befuddling. The only comparison I know of is the smokey vetiver theme explored in Duchaufour's Timbuktu, of which Exhale is a more sombre, opaque rendition. A further, remote similarity is found in its leather vibe, for which Exhale makes use of black pepper oil in a way similar to Mark Buxton's Ouarzazate.
Exhale is an unpretentious scent of genius and feels like wandering through a forest so dense that it's forever dusk under its canopy.