Balaji - RED

Balaji – Red

Balaji – Red has a number of fans, Steve Pereira (Incense in The Wind) is one of them and on Ephra World the product description says, “If you love Ambrosia, you will adore this scent.”
Ambrosia, even if not sold by Ephra, can only be the one by BERK / Holy Smokes – or so I thought, and I really love that, so I bought Red. €1.85 for 14 incense sticks, makes 13ct per piece.
That was in January 2022 and since then, I’ve been putting off this review because I’m having an incredibly difficult time describing this smell.

Even raw, you’ll notice how intense Balaji – Red smells, and when lit it’s even more intense. These incense sticks are LOUD!
The smell is dry, astringent, but still floral and somehow fresh. A first association was fresh lemon balm, but more the taste than the smell (the lemon balm, not the stick :P). Because of the dry feeling and the florality, it became “Neroli” in my mind, which it definitely isn’t. Later it settled down to “grapefruit peel”.
Because of their intensity (the after-smell is clearly present well into the next day) I banished Red into the tin of outdoor incense and used it on the balcony a few times last season.
Today, after long days of rain, the weather was reasonably nice again, so I went outside to find out if anything had changed in my perception or ability to describe it.
I perceived the floral aspect to be a little weaker, although that could have simply faded a little over the course of a year. In the old notes I write that, far in the background, they are vaguely reminiscent of a note in BERK’s Ambrosia, but to me, it has more of a frangipani scent.
Today I would just call the smell vaguely floral – I’ve given up trying to find a name for it – and I also think it has a very synthetic perfumey feel.
The “grapefruit peel” is still very dominant, but with enough air, the effect is no longer astringent, but rather tart and fresh. It is accompanied by an underlying, sweet warmth and softness or creaminess that somewhat cushions the tartness.

There are a number of incense sticks with which I have the feeling that I smell something similar dry and citrusy, but I can’t figure out what it could be. Maybe it’s a synthetic fragrance.

Whatever. I recognize Balaji – Red‘s independent character and can understand that some people are very fond of this smell, but Red and I won’t become friends.
Here’s Steve’s review of Red, he gives them a score of 42 – I’m refraining from rating them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *