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Every once in a while, someone on the forum asks which fragrance creates the most realistic impression of woodsmoke. Well here it is.
Bois d'Ascese really does capture that scent of the smoke from a raging bonfire clinging to the fibers of your (previously) freshly dry cleaned sweater. It is very, very dry and makes most of the other "smoke" fragrances, from "Essence of John Galliano" to "Patchouli Luxe" seem like sweet, gourmand-y cop outs by comparison.
The great trick is that it is still wearable. It never becomes so acrid or dark as to be unpleasant, and lurking behind all that smoke (and there is a LOT of smoke) is a bright bit of incense which gives the whole thing lightness and lift and a certain airy "freshness". As the fragrance dries down over the hours, this "brightness" moves more and more to the fore, a neat little reversal that has the lighter, cleaner notes one thinks of as "top notes" finishing the whole experience, while the dark brooding woody smokey "base note" starts the whole thing off.
In spirit, it does recall Olivier Durbano's "Black Tourmaline", but side by side reveals Bois d'Ascese to be a bit more pure to the woodsmoke concept and a bit less challenging in terms of complexity.
My only complaint may be the actual bottle, which is a bit "etsy" in its execution given the rather steep price tag. If you want to play at a $3/ml price point then the bottle should reflect that ambition. But the fragrance itself is fantastic.
19th November, 2012