Perfume Review: Agraria Balsam, Bitter Orange and Lemon Verbena
Agraria is a San Francisco based company, which specializes in ambiance products for the home and has a line of bath and body items and a cologne collection that consists of three scents, Balsam, Bitter Orange and Lemon Verbena.
Balsam is, to me, the smell of Baltic pine forests, which I remember from my childhood vacations in Latvia. Or to be more specific, it smells not so much of pine needles as of the tree bark. Put you nose right up to the pine tree trunk, inhale deeply, and the resinously woody, strangely cool aroma that you would get would be that of Agraria Balsam. Because of the evergreen and slightly smoky aspect of the fragrance, Balsam is also pleasantly evocative of winter holidays. For the lovers of woody scents with a pronounced resinous quality this scent is a must, and the price of $36.00 for 100ml can’t be beat. This is my favorite of Agraria scent and a staple in my fragrance wardrobe.
Bitter Orange is another winner in the line. It is an orange scent with a smoky rather than bitter undertone. The sweet, almost jam-like aroma of the citrus is contrasted with the dry spiciness of cloves. I am usually wary of cloves in perfume, I like them in supporting (see yesterdays review of Casablanca) rather than leading roles (except for Poivre, which I adore). When overdone, cloves tend to make me think of Christmas potpourri, which I love to use to scent my home, not my self. Luckily, the clove note in Bitter Orange is not aggressive and overwhelming. Although certainly quite apparent, it is there mainly to serve as a dark-red background for the bright-orange fruits. Like Balsam, the scent does have a festive sort of feel, but in a subtle way, it smells like a homemade orange pomander with with not too many cloves stuck into it. For an Instant Christmas effect try layering Bitter Orange with Balsam.
Lemon Verbena. For those who like verbena in perfume, this scent should be a delight. It is a lively, fresh, fairly sweet scent with a delicate green undertone. It is pretty and summery and impossible to dislike. Compared to the other two Agraria scent, it seems to me to be rather straightforward. It smells exactly like what its name suggests, no more and no less. I find it to be just a little too simple.
The three Agraria colognes are available at Fragrances & More, $36.00 for 100ml, which, as far as I can tell, is less than anywhere else; moreover, the shipping is free for all Agraria orders.
Images sources, Agraria.com, Baltic21.org (Pine forest in Latvia by Laila Kule), Worldofstock.com (Orange with Cloves - Christmas pomander by Steve Sant) and aoki2.si.gunma-u.ac.jp.