Juliette Has A Gun is a French house that has been making perfumes since the mid 2000s. The name is taken from Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Here we see Juliette armed and empowered with her gun and perfume titles such as Lady Vengence, Mad Madame and Citizen Queen. These earlier perfumes, some of which were authored by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian are as headstrong as the woman they represent. It was a change of pace when the brand launched Not a Perfume in 2010. Not a Perfume came as a surprise for a couple of reasons. The first was that it seemed a complete contrast to what the brand had done so far. It was not a perfume because unlike a perfume, a complex blend of many molecules, this was a singular molecule, known by its chemical name as Cetalox or Ambrox (the name varies depending on the chemical’s producer). Another peculiarity was that Juliette Has A Gun had chosen to showcase the same molecule avant-garde perfumer, Geza Schoen had used in 2008 to create Molecule 02, the perfumer’s second single molecule perfume in his series Escentric Molecules. The only difference between Juliette and Geza’s perfumes was the packaging and potentially the ratio of Ambroxan or Cetalox to alcohol.
Not A Perfume or I can say Cetalox is a wonderful raw material. It was first discovered in 1950 and it is used in a number of modern perfumes as a fixative or base note. A few grams in a perfume formula can bring a fresh ambery tone that is long lasting. It is one of the closest synthetic molecules to white or grey ambergris, having a refined powdery scent with subtle animalic overtones. It is easy to see why this complex smell has sparked the interest of more than one perfume brand that are keen on sharing its magic with the world.
If there is no difference between Escentric Molecules Molecule 02 and Juliette Has A Gun’s Not a Perfume, the choice comes down to preference of packaging. I love Juliette Has A Gun’s bottles; the ceramic-like body and heavy metal cap have a nice weight to them and the branding looks slightly more baroque in comparison to Escentric Molecule’s sci-fi take on perfume. In terms of smell, who wouldn’t like Ambroxan or Cetalox? Chances are that hidden under layers of other notes, your current perfume already smells of it. The question then is; is it all you want to smell of?
Escentric Molecules Molecule 02, Escentric Molecules Escentric 02
Bottle designer: Romano Ricci, Sophie Loir (Sylvie de France)
Release date: 2010
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Classical woods