Smokin' Hot is a nice polish, no doubt about that. It's deep grey creme with hints of purple and brown in it, covers in two coats, and is shiny even without top coat. Is it "I must have this or I will die" unique? No, most certainly not. I found three candidates for substitution in my stash: Sally Hansen Grey Area, Nina Ultra Pro Never Glum Plum, and Models Own Purple Grey.
All of these other polishes also covered in two coats.
Grey Area is the closest to a dupe of Smokin' Hot in this group. It, like the Essie, is a limited edition that first appeared near the end of last year, but I have seem it in some stores recently, ones that maybe didn't put out a bunch of new displays during the Christmas season thanks to the glut of fragrance sets they seem to think people need for gifts. I also spotted it on eBay for a buy it now price of $4.99, still over retail but not what I'd consider a ridiculous markup if you really like the color. Never Glum Plum is close, too, just a touch lighter than Grey Area. That's core at Sally Beauty as far as I know. Purple Grey is a hint lighter and more purple, but still a fine stand in if you missed Smokin' Hot and wanted it. This overexposed flash picture shows the differences better, but you need to ask yourself how often you are subject to flash photography. I know I'm rarely in the glare of cameras like that.
I can't stop people from paying super inflated prices for Essie if they choose to, but it makes me happy to be able to share alternatives.