Did you use any gas immunity? I always find the "wondrous smells" to be more frustrating than helpful, though its a fun weapon to use. Is it more powerful than a normal staff?
No gas immunity, so I had to try and keep any contact with the red clouds as short as possible. The only real harmful effect from them ended being polymorphitis, which is why I kept a ring of polycontrol on. Sure, lost my near-perma haste from blue clouds on contact with them for a short while, but that never proved to be a true problem.
I really can't say whether or not it's actually more powerful than a normal staff damage-wise, I only chose it over a normal staff for the effect, plus the fact that it was the only (semi-)artifact weapon available by GC2.