The Scent of the Color of a Fresh Bruise
I was very confused by Guerlain Aqua Allegoria HERBA-FRESCA the first time I tested it. Fortunately, my decant from a fellow fragrance traveler was rather large, so I was able to come back to it.
My initial confusion appears to have been caused by seriously dashed expectations. The last thing I expected this fragrance to be was a mint-centric creation. I had already owned and drained an entire bottle of Aqua Allegoria MENTAFOLLIA, which I really like, and it just did not make sense to me that such a careless repetition would be made in this series of what once upon a time were simple albeit very natural-smelling tributes to specific notes.
The series is no longer that, but the circa Y2K launches share the same governing aesthetic, and HERBA-FRESCA falls into that group, having been launched in 1999. I think that after several wears, I have finally figured this one out. HERBA-FRESCA is both minty and anisic simultaneously. This fragrance therefore toes the line between ANISIA BELLA and MENTAFOLLIA. It is actually a perfect product of the two. The green here is tinged blue, due to herbs such as tarragon or basil which are related to anise and impart a flavor not quite reaching anise, but coming pretty close.
The combination of the mint and the tarragon or basil, or whatever is making this composition blue, yields a strangely bright afterimage-like effect. It almost smells like ink, in fact, but I do believe that this is a natural effect caused by the combination of anisic herbs with a substantive mint note.
In the end, I've come around. I now like HERBA-FRESCA, just as I reach the end of my decant. I probably will not buy a bottle, however, because even if "this" fragrance is still in production, it's probably been reformulated to fall in line with the ghastly latter-day Aqua Allegoria compositions. Some suit at LVMH (probably the same one who thought that renaming MISS DIOR and MISS DIOR CHERIE was a fine idea) appears to have decided that "no one will notice" if they remove all of the nature from the once nature-inspired series that was Aqua Allegoria.