Friday, November 5, 2010

Juliette has a Gun Not a Perfume: fragrance review & draw

Damn right! If you want to take the ironic (but reversely spot-on!) name of the latest Juliette has a Gun fragrance literally, then you're most certainly there. Not a Perfume, Romano Ricci's latest project in his niche line features one of his favourite perfumery materials...solely. In short Not a Perfume is a dilution of Ambrox (an elegant, inviting creamy musky-woody material we described in detail on this article) in ethanol, to be sprayed on by people who abhor the idea of smelling of something immediately identifiable as perfume.

Indeed the fragrance opens on a singeing the nose blast of alcohol. Is it any good on the whole? If you're questioning whether it smells good, yes, it does, if monochromatically so (imagine an outfit on ton-sur-ton pearl grey). Ambrox does, you know (again, refer to my Raw Material article on it). And Romano Ricci had predisposed us of this notion by heavily relying on it for his previous effort, Calamity J. and including it in all his perfumes. But is it enough? Not it's not. Even if it hides a small helping of violet leaf or iris as I suspect, it's still not enough.

The problem lies with the utter lack of originality; what was arresting first time around becomes a little tired the second time: The idea of anti-perfume was brought out on the market with a bang by the sultan of orientalia (and thus it was particularly impressive and controversial), Serge Lutens with his L'Eau. The formula relying on a single material was first exploited by Helmut Lang (the rare musk in his defunct Velviona) and perfumer Geza Schoen with his Escentric Molecules. The advertising showing a woman drinking from the bottle as it's supposed to be a non-perfume ~therefore good enough to drink!~ was first explored by Moschino in the 1980s as we showed on a previous post.
What's left? The claim that using Ambrox and Amrbox ONLY is a surefire way to avoid allergies (To test the hypothesis I refer you to Umberto Eco's excellent article in Corriere della Sera from the 1970s about advertising ethos by the Bic pens company and his breakdown of their lacking, misleading syllogism). This's got to be a first, addressing the millions who are increasingly sterilising the public space with their abhorence of anything perceived as floating for the sheer pleasure of smelling like perfume. Brownie points, you've got that down pat, mr.Romano!

For our readers ~and since it serves as an educational tool as to how the raw material Ambrox smells~ we offer a sample of Not a Perfume to a lucky reader (coming from a decant we purchased ourselves for reviewing purposes). [Draw is now closed, thanks!]

Not a Perfume by Juliette has a Gun is available at Colette, Paris for 65€ for 50ml and for 88€ for 100ml. Pricey for what it is!

A harsher criticism of the concept can be viewed on Octavian's post.
Pic via


  1. I'd definitely love to smell this! Not sure that I'd want anything more than a small sample, though.


  2. Sure, I would like to know what ambrox alone would smell like. Please include me in the draw. Thank you!

  3. Tamara*J17:13

    Hi sweets, I don't want to be in the draw, the idea of not smelling like a "perfume" eeks me out and is not appealing in the least!

    No, all I really wanted to say to you was that I LOVE how you said
    "Damn right!" I (unfortunately!) love to curse like a sailor. So you saying this and me envisioning you saying this tickled me.
    Thanks for that.
    Damn right.


  4. Futami18:49

    Ambrox is quite the it molucule right now it seems. I believe Another 13 (Le Labo) is made of mostly Ambrox as well.

  5. i'd love to try it.

  6. I too am curious how Ambrox smells alone (though I suspect I won't like it). Please enter me in the draw.

  7. Matt,

    it's a nice smell, you might want a bit. But not at those prices, most probably. ;-)
    You're in!

  8. Tamara,

    so glad you got a kick out of this and it tickled you the right way!
    It's something that immediately came to the tip of my tongue when I thought about the name after smelling it. Yeah...
    And as long as we're not scaring the horses and small children...well... :-)

  9. Futami,

    indeed! I had referenced Another 13 in my Ambrox article (linked) and am planning to review it in full shortly. It's a bit different because it features other muskier facets, it's not solely built on Ambrox, but you're right, heavily relying on it.

  10. Jen,

    duly noted and good luck!

  11. Elisa,

    you're in! I think most people would like the scent, it's subtle and pleasing. Not a screechy "clean" note, not a "dirty" musk; something in between, if that makes sense.

  12. Barbara21:02

    Put me in the draw please, thanks! I am curious, especially after your review.

  13. I'm curious to know what this non-perfume smells like.
    I'm pretty sure that I would like it, but I still think that this is really overpriced for what it is.

    Please, enter me in the draw and thank you!

  14. Valentine22:52

    Interesting take, and I've always been interested in this "anti-perfume" approach to perfume. Please enter me in the draw.

  15. Olivia A.01:15

    I'm very curious to smell the ambrox on its own, too - would love to be entered, please! :-) Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. I'd really like to know what Ambrox smells like, it's one of the smells that I've been having real trouble nailing down!
    Thanks for entering me in the draw :)

  17. Anonymous16:29

    Put me in the draw.

  18. Anonymous20:33

    I don't get the reasoning behind this launch, it has been done before, and quite recently, at that, hasn't it? and everybody knows this, niche costumers are quite informed mostly, so why?! I still want to smell a bit more complicated ;)
    Great article, thank you.

  19. scet00:13

    I haven't smelled Molecule 02, so I'd love to see what Ambrox smells like. Please enter me in the draw!

  20. I'd love to try this, sounds like the antithesis of what I've been wearing this morning (Cumming)in that it seems to be seeking some kind of "nonperfume perfume" status. Sign me up please!

  21. Margaret19:14

    Very tempting offer and great review (learned quite a bit), please include me in the draw.

  22. Thanks for the review. I'd be interested in trying this too. Thank you, Michael

  23. Thank you for this review; I'd be interested to sample this. I remember sniffing pure Ambrox and being blown away; curious how it works diluted and with an overblown price tag. ^_^

  24. Very curious about its scent!

  25. Anonymous16:31

    I ordered a full set of samples from JHAG, and of all them - this one was the real star for me! I was very surprised, but I love it and can imagine wearing this any time of the year and anywhere.

    My husband, for the record LOVED Calamity J on himself - it DOES smell absolutely wonderful on him!!!

  26. "I ordered a full set of samples from JHAG, and of all them - this one was the real star for me!" [2]

    Really, it's amazing! I love it. Too pricey, though.

  27. lol...such pricey stuff!I can make it in my lab without any cost at all!I am smelling Ambrarome and Ambrox 1DIPG. Ambrarome is such a bomb!


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