Blogoversary, demolition and a giveaway.

This is not a photo of my house, but it might as well be. It’s pretty much what our kitchen currently looks like. We’ve embarked on a major remodel, and it’s taking up much of my free time. I’m not the most frequent poster as is, and unfortunately it’s going to slow down even more over the next several months. I know how annoying it can be, checking a blog daily, or even weekly to find the same post lingering there, so please bear with me! And do consider subscribing to Scent Hive so you will get an email notice when I post something new.

Since it is Scent Hive’s 3rd year “blogoversary” today, I want to thank you so much for reading, commenting and supporting my blog, and what better way to do so than hold a giveaway? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a full bottle (save for a few spritzes for reviewing purposes) of Red Flower’s Garnet Hill exclusive, Sweet Alyssum. I included Sweet Alyssum in my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide, which you can read more about here. Drawing is now closed. I will post winner in the next couple days. 

Again, I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate you stopping by Scent Hive over these past three years. As Scent Hive enters its fourth, it might be slow going at first, but I will be sure to write about my most precious finds.



Anniversary card image from

Image of remodel from

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


Red Flower Champa


Red Flower was founded by Yael Alkalay in 1999 with a set of six candles, two organic teas, and a vision for people to create ritual and beauty in their everyday lives. Ms. Alkalay’s heritage is Russian, Bulgarian and Argentinean and she acknowledges her lineage within her products. For example, the mint and lavender used in select Red Flower body products are sourced from Cordova, Argentina where her mother’s family is from. She also spent five years in Japan when she was the creative director for Shiseido and one can sense her admiration of Japanese culture just from perusing the Red Flower website. Additionally, there is a Red Flower Japan line dedicated to the traditional Japanese bathing ritual. Ms. Alkalay’s tranquil aesthetic is matched only by the peaceful energy she seems to exude.

Lucky for us perfume lovers, Ms. Alkalay branched out from candles, tea and body products and into the world of fragrance. She has created three USDA certified organic perfumes that contain no petro-chemicals, no phthalates and no synthetics. I will be reviewing Champa here;  Ambrette and Guaiac will follow in a few days.

42100Several floral notes are listed for Champa including champa flowers, mimosa, jasmine, osmanthus and ylang ylang. And while there are some potentially grating choices for me in this blend (I’m talking to you mimosa and ylang ylang), the flower that predominates is a soft spoken champaca. Champaca flowers have several names. Champa is a common Hindi name, as well as the Joy Perfume Flower, since it is one of the primary notes in Patou’s Joy. It is native to Southeast Asia, and the flowers are used to scent rooms, decorate bridal beds, and anoint the hair. Of course the essential oil is also used in perfumery, such as in Joy and in Red Flower’s Champa.

Even though champaca is the namesake flower and predominant note of this perfume, Champa ultimately is a blend of delicate florals that serve as the foundation for a nag champa incense experience. Although it’s not so much the smell of incense smoke or even smelling the sticks of nag champa in their box. Red Flower’s Champa smells of a freshly burnt pile of nag champa ash, which generates a new take on the incense fragrance. Its heart is floral, flowing, and smoky.

Once Champa settles and the drydown emerges, the smoky quality dissipates somewhat, allowing the osmanthus to surface and its accompanying apricot accord. The fruitiness is mellow, with hints of melon. Overall, Champa is a gauze-like floral layered over a smoky beginning and an osmanthus/apricot ending. Very worth trying in the oil-based roll-on version that is small, but easily portable and a little goes a long way.

Red Flower Champa is available at Beautyhabit.

Champaca flower photo by rbuzatto on flickr