Name: Not A Perfume
Brand: Juliette Has A Gun
Size: 50ml and 100ml
Price: €69,00 and €93,99 respectively
What I liked:
– soft, smooth and elegant
– allergen free
– cool bottle
What I didn’t like:
– it’s only one ingredient, which makes it very unoriginal
– way too expensive for what it is
Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume is really not a perfume. It’s one ingredient, Ambroxan, diluted in ethanol. As you can imagine, when Romano Ricci, the creator of Juliette Has A Gun, released it in 2010, it created a lot of controversy. Now, the idea of using just one ingredient is not really new. In the past centuries, fragrances were simply floral extracts, such as rose oil for instance, because they didn’t have the technology to create more complex blends.
This concept has been more recently used by Helmut Lang in his now discontinued Velviona, which contained only a musk note, and by Geza Schoen who created Escentric Molecules, a series of scents based on only one ingredient. Only in this case, two fragrances are released for each note, one called Molecule which contains only one ingredient, and another called Escentric which is a proper, complex fragrance based on that particular ingredient.
But while when Velviona was released fragrance materials weren’t available for purchase by everyone on the internet as they are now, and Escentric Molecules came out with a revolutionary concept, Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume is totally uncreative. There are even those who have accused it of plagium because Ambroxan is actually the ingredient used in Escentric Molecule 02. However, that doesn’t mean that the two scents are identical as a fragrance ingredient has several facets and what it ends up smelling like also depends on how much it is diluted. But why is Ambroxan so popular?
Ambroxan (also known as Cetalox) is a synthetic molecule created in the 1950s by the Firmenich firm as a substitute for ambergris which had become very expensive by then. If you have never heard of it before and thus think you have never smelt it, think again. Ambroxan is a very common base note in perfumes and is actually what gives the very popular Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue scent its smooth and elegant base, which made it very recognizable and popular. Ambroxan actually smells lovely: it as an amber note with musky and woody facets. It is warm, creamy, soft and smooth. It is quite abstract as it doesn’t smell like perfume, a flower or a food. It is complex, and very elegant. And it lasts for ages on the skin.
Although Ambroxan smells lovely on the skin, is it worth buying Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume? Not really. While I like the idea of buying only just one ingredient cos even just a note can smell wonderful (and this one is allergen free) and when you know what single notes smell like, you can detect them in perfumes more easily and thus appreciate your scents more, if you’re gonna create a fragrance with only one ingredient, then you have to price it accordingly. Instead, Not A Perfume costs just as much as all the other perfumes from Juliette Has A Gun and that’s €69,00 for 50ml and €93,99 for 100ml. That’s way too much.
What is it that we’re paying for exactly? Not the cost of the materials as Ambroxan and Ethanol are pretty cheap. The creativity and talent of the parfumeur who created it? He just took an ingredient, bottled it and sold it. In short, such a steep price for only an ingredient is unjustifiable. But if you’re curious to smell it, then you can head over to the Juliette Has A Gun website and, for only €7,90 (p&p are free if you live in Europe) you can purchase their discovery kit which contains samples of all the brand’s fragrances. In addition, together with the samples they will send you a discount code so that, if you decide to purchase one of the scents within 3 months, you can use it to detract the cost of the kit from your order.
Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume is simply Ambroxan, diluted in ethanol. This ambery musky note is longlasting and smells wonderful: very smooth, creamy and elegant. The fragrance is also allergen-free but completely unoriginal, and for what it is, way too expensive.