Holy Smokes - Blue Line - Sortiment 3 "Loving Fantasies"

Holy Smokes – Blue Line: Assortment 3 “Loving Fantasies”

[If you have already read one of the other Blue Line sampler reviews, you can jump straight to the last paragraph before the table.]
The Blue Line from Holy Smokes is extremely extensive, the sampler ranges are divided into three assortments: Secret VisionsFlowery Dreams3 Loving Fantasies.
They contain 2 sticks of 9 varieties each. An assortment box costs around €6-7. The regular packs cost €3-3.50 (often offered at a higher price) for 10g.
I would categorize all of them as dry masala. The typical powder coating on these sticks is less a wood powder than a very fine powder, which sometimes makes the sticks look a bit marbled. They are 20.5cm long, the bare bamboo varies greatly in length from variety to variety – from approx. 2.5cm to 5cm.

II was able to get all 3 assortments second-hand but unopened for cheap over a year ago. It took me a lot longer to get to grips with all of them than I expected (and I’m still not completely through it) because I soon realized that there wasn’t much left of my previous enthusiasm for this brand.
From what I remember, the scents smelled much better. Has my taste changed, or the quality?

What I noticed overall is that I often found the sticks to smell very smoky, especially at the beginning. Another observation is the almost omnipresent vanilla sweetness, which almost all the incense sticks in this line have in common.

Since the varieties of this line have all fantasy names, I have taken the liberty of prefixing my respective reviews with the description provided by BERK.

3.7Amber Moon – “A warm, full scent. Sweet, playful and sensual – it is also an ancient aphrodisiac.”
My absolute favourite variety during my teenage days (if you ignore the no longer existing Royal Line) and I still think it’s excellent. The smell is heavy, sensual and sweet; intoxicating, ambery, musky, with a vanillin-like top-note and a balsamic-aromatic body that smells like labdanum to me.
Very far in the background, I sometimes smell a slight hint of the burnt note that I have often complained about in the other varieties. But here it’s not strong enough to bother me.
2.7Aphrodite – “The magic and passion of the goddess of love, feminine and exotic.”
The first note is very smoky, but then follows with vanilla-like softness and a slightly tart note. This composition seems a little more complex to me than the rest.
Aphrodite has a waxy smell, a slightly resinous spice and a freshness that you could perhaps call mineral. The tart aspect is what makes the scent interesting.
Shortly after extinguishing, I smell a sweet spice. Maybe a touch of cinnamon?
2.5Balalaika – “A soft, heavy scent. Melancholic like a Russian balalaika.”
I picked up a pack of this variety on a whim for €3.50 at a store in Passau.
They smell delicious out of the box. Heavy and sweet, dark vanilla tones and a vaguely rose-like top-note.
Once lit, they smell almost exclusively of smoke. They need a lot of air to develop. Once the scent has opened up, I perceive it as a dark sweetness. However, there is something “smeary” about it that bothers me; just a bit on some days, but on others it makes me even a little nauseous.
There’s also a slightly spicy note and something floral.
I gave away the last two sticks in the pack.
3.1Celestial – “Like a soft breeze from heaven, just celestial.”
This variety was the last one I tried and was a real surprise. The scent is tangy like orange blossom/neroli maybe, and incredibly cheerful. They have some of the dryness that neroli brings with them, but are also very sweet, sometimes almost sugary. I find the smell very playful and positive.
2.4Clear Wind – “A delicate, sparkling scent – ​​like a fine, sweet breeze. Wonderfully liberating.”
In addition to Holy Smokes‘ typical base character, Clear Wind reminds me of Five Tibetan Rites by Fleur de Vie. The floral note in this could be lily of the valley, and I smell something slightly tart. If I compare the two directly, the vanilla smell is particularly noticeable and once again the scent appears slightly burnt. They are more subtle than Five Tibentan Rites, but also don’t seem as clearly defined as these. However, they make a more natural impression.
Neither of them knocks me off my feet.
2.0Elegance – “A very elegant musky fragrance for men and women.”
It starts out quite interestingly, with the usual background sweetness and a tart green note, maybe oakmoss or something herbal. Then a burned note adds in. The sweetness is similar to that of Mellow Yellow, a bit heavy and smeary.
It seems like a washed out chypre concept with too much sweetness.
As soon as the smell builds up a little too much, I find it dull.
2.2Etheric – “This fragrance stems from a wild Indian rose, delicate and uplifting.”
I can sense the rose, at least in the raw smell. When lit, it is basically just another variation of what was already there. The character is slightly cosmetic. I recognize a certain similarity to an aspect of Ambrosia, but they are very sweet, with a tendency toward the “smeary” kind.
2.7Isis – “Evokes the atmosphere of a warm Egyptian night under the starry skies of the great goddess. Exciting and stimulating.”
Isis is floral and sweet. The floral notes seem to alternate, which makes the smell interesting.
The first hints are powdery, soft and vanilla-sweet, then a slightly tangy nectar scent joins in. At one point, the floral component reminded me of lotus, but over time I found it creamier, sweeter and rosier.
Occasionally, I smell something in the background that makes me think of popcorn.
It’s friendly but unexciting.
2.0Mellow Yellow – “The aroma of a yellow rose is lush and light, one of our first fragrances.”
Raw, they smell very promising: floral-sweet, bright and “sharp”. In fact, I had it in my hand in the shop where I bought Balalaika and was tempted to take it as well.
When lit, the aroma is very different. This variety also has a sweetness that I find smeary – but it comes out stronger in the summer. In the background, I notice a subtle spice and maybe a little vanilla. They are also floral, but not as creamy as Isis and a bit darker overall. As the smell builds up, it becomes slightly mineral-pungent.
They vaguely remind me of Ambrosia, except that this composition doesn’t seem very balanced to me.
These sticks were the ones in which I found a fabric fibre.

Average rating: 2.6

I have to say that I’m really sick of the Blue Line by now. I only tried the last few, so I didn’t have to leave this review half-finished, and I admit that I only gave the last three (EthericCelestial and Aphrodite) a single try because I simply ran out of patience. Almost everything just smells “somewhat floral” and sweet in slight variations. Perhaps individual scents would have received a higher rating from me if I hadn’t tried them in this condensed form of a sampler. On the other hand, I had bought Balalaika before and wasn’t impressed either. Amber Moon may have a nostalgia bonus, but it is truly excellent and starkly different from the others in this series. The second exception is Celestial. All the others have already blurred into a monotony BERK-mush in my memory.
With a few exceptions, the entire Blue Line – but especially Loving Fantasies – strikes me as incredibly indistinctive and interchangeable. Hardly any of the compositions left a deeper impression on me or showed recognizable individuality. What remains in my mind above all is the tedious, repetitive base character.

I still intend to try the Green Line, in fact, I already have a sampler at home, and a pack of the Long Line. Furthermore, I was given a sample from a Chakra line scent that I would like to write about, and of course, my review of the incredibly good Ambrosia is still missing.
But after that, I need a long break from everything BERK.

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