Red Flower Ambrette and Guaiac

A few days ago I reviewed Red Flower’s organic perfume Champa and gave a brief overview of the company’s founder Yael Alkalay. Today, I will continue with reviews of Ambrette and Guaiac. Like Champa, Ambrette and Guaiac are USDA certified organic and have no petro-chemicals, phthalates, or synthetics.

Ambrette begins quite citrusy. 16674-300A well blended, bitter orange that is a bit spicy with no hint of sweetness. As the name suggests though, this fragrance is not about citrus, it is all about ambrette, the seed of the hibiscus flower. The oil of these seeds has a musky, slightly ambery odor, and that is right where we are headed with Ambrette.

As the drydown progresses the citrus disappears, and the muskiness takes over. I must add a disclaimer here, I do not like musk. And while Ambrette is not a skin musk, or a white musk, or a clean musk, it is a musk. I know that many will love this fragrance because it is a different take on musk. The rose and geranium give it a soft floral quality and the ambrette oil endows it with a vegetal, green muskiness. If you do love Ambrette, you are in luck, this fragrance has great throw and lasts all day, especially in the perfume concentrate form.

david-murray-calamondin-orange-october-ronda-spainGuaiac is vibrant, zesty orange rind. Not the juice, or the pulp, but the rind. As if you were actively grating an orange and rubbing its vivacious oils onto your skin. It’s fresh and spirited, but in a new way. Guaiac is a citrus fragrance that I have never smelled before. It’s not floral (although rose absolute is listed in the notes), therefore, not akin to neroli or orange blossom. I had to do some research regarding copaiba, cabrueva, and elemi, the notes listed on the Red Flower website. I had already looked up elemi for my review of Pacifica’s Spanish Amber. (It’s a tree native to the Philippine Islands and its resin has a sharp lemonish scent). Both copaiba and cabrueva are resin oils from trees that hail from South America. The former having a warm honey-like scent and the later a sweet woody, floral aroma. It was certainly interesting to learn a little bit about these resin oils, and while I’m sure they add some supporting body to the fragrance, it truly is the orange rind that predominates.

Unlike Ambrette, whose name is very descriptive, Guaiac does not become a woody fragrance as its name would suggest. The guaiac tree is indigenous to South America, where Ms. Alkalay’s mother is from, and its oil has a woody fragrance.  Guaiac remains within the citrus range, morphing into the bitterness of grapefruit as the drydown emerges. I was able to test Guaiac in both its forms, the perfume roll-on which is an oil base, and the perfume concentrate which is in an organic wheat-grain alcohol base. Both have excellent staying power and wear close to the skin. The main difference between the two, is that the perfume concentrate allows a hint of the woody aspect to surface while the roll-on perfume oil remains citrusy throughout.

Out of all three Red Flower perfumes, Guaiac is my favorite. It’s clear and sparkling and unlike anything I have in my perfume collection. Each Red Flower perfume has something to offer, but Guaiac gives me the perfect citrus fragrance that is never sweet and never boring.

Red Flower is available at  Beautyhabit

posted by ~Trish

photograph by David Murray at


7 thoughts on “Red Flower Ambrette and Guaiac

    1. Now that you mention it, I have been eating a lot of oranges and tangelos lately. Maybe it’s a Spring Thing? Summer won’t get going here in the NW until July.

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