Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume EDP Perfume Review

juliette has a gun not a perfume

I’m finally going to discuss Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume which brags about being a flacon of a very popular aromachemical, Ambrox.

Reasons this bothers me:

#1 – Why would a fragrance that is supposed to contain only one aromachemical cost the same as the other perfumes in the line that are more complex? Wouldn’t this one be much cheaper? I mean, it’s not like you had to pay a perfumer to make a great, novel composition?

#2 – Why would you say that your perfume is hypoallergenic or whatever? This suggests that the others in the line aren’t. And it also suggests that perfumes are unsafe. Why would a perfume company ever want to suggest that their products are not safe? And if you do think your perfumes are unsafe then why the hell are you selling them?

#3 – Other niche lines have already put ambroxan (and it’s various namesakes – ambrox, amber naphthofuran, Cetalox, etc.) in a bottle and charged us for it. Soooo, not edgy. Also, ambroxan is in every single thing , from Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue to niche things, it’s in everything (OK, an exaggeration but it is is a ton of stuff). In fact, I’ve had friends describe ambroxan in isolation as “department store smell”. There is nothing wrong with this but why should I pay more for this aromachemical to be in isolation?

#4 – See my review below. For a fragrance claiming to not be a perfume and to only be ambroxan, it has more than ambroxan. They’re even being sketch with their sketchy “not a perfume” perfume. I mean, when did bragging about consisting of one thing become cool?

#5 – It lasts on my skin for 1-2 hours. This is absurd. Other Juliette Has a Gun perfumes last for many hours. AND ambroxan is typically used as a base note because it lasts on the skin! This stuff is really, really diluted and wears more like an eau de cologne.

Now the only note listed is ambroxan (by Firmenich) because that’s the edgy thing to do. Kids these days… There’s more to Not a Perfume than ambroxan. It opens with a dazzling lemon. And yes, there’s ambroxan, a synthetic ambergris-like aromachemical. Being such a popular aromachemical, I’m sure that when you smell this you’ll be reminded of a ton of other popular perfumes. I promise that this will feel like an olfactory deja vu. Ambroxan has been in everything. Not a Perfume is a clean ambergris. It’s ambroxan. It’s the cleanest, most sterile, most abstract and futuristic amber.

There is nothing wrong with trying Not a Perfume and thinking it smells good because it does smell good. Ambroxan and all of the other ambergris alternatives smell absolutely amazing. They are truly marvels of modern perfumery, of modern aromachemistry. It’s a complex aroma. It’s creamy, woodsy, smooth, salty, warm…like I said, it’s totally awesome. But, as I mentioned above, there are so many reasons why this perfume gets on my nerves.

We’re grown-ups and you can do whatever you please with your money. If owning Not a Perfume, brings you happiness, go for it. I know I have bought so much stupid stuff in my life…like Karl Lagerfeld-ish collars and lipsticks just for the packaging. However, I would like to share this.

Ambroxan is not as cheap as other aromachemicals. In the world of synths, it’s “expensive”. But, let’s put this into perspective here. The going rate for ambroxan crystals through a site that doesn’t sell it wholesale to perfume companies is $31 an ounce. You then dilute this stuff in ethanol (perfumer’s alcohol). $31 of diluted ambroxan with alcohol could make about 2800 ml. This could make about twenty-eight 3.4 oz bottles or fifty-six 1.7 oz bottles. So yeah, it’s $31 + perfumer’s alcohol ($40 at most) + bottles. And this is the “top dollar” or the “hobbyist” price.

I’m not saying that all of you should go out and experiment with diluting ambroxan crystals. This isn’t something I’d recommend to just anybody. It’s not “DIY’ stuff. These are chemicals and should be treated as such. Plus, one would need a scale, bottles, etc. It would be expensive to create just one bottle of perfume. I’m not telling you to get into the business of diluting aromachemicals. What I’m saying is that even as an “expensive” aromachemical, you’re totally getting ripped off by these niche brands diluting ambroxan.

Notes listed include ambroxan. Launched in 2010.

Projection and longevity are below average. I get about 1-2 hours of wear from it.

Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume comes in two sizes (1.7oz and 3.4oz) with prices ranging from $90-$120 at Beautyhabit. They also sell samples. Sometimes it can be found at discounters like

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONThe smell of being ripped off. Oh, OK, “creamy clean amber” in a cool white bottle. I think I’ve made it pretty darn obvious that this perfume pisses me off. Seriously, if it sold for like $45, I would have been less judge-y. It’s that it costs the same as their other perfumes that contain ambroxan + other natural and synthetic aromas! OK, OK, I’ll stop now. I’ve said enough.

Want more reviews? Try…

Fragrantica – Member reviews

The Candy Perfume Boy

Perfume Shrine

Bois de Jasmin

London Beauty Review

Grain de Musc

Beautiful with Brains


*Product pic from Fragrantica. Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!

18 thoughts on “Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume EDP Perfume Review

  1. …which is another reason i don’t mind paying for natural perfume.

    we all cater, to some extent, to a favored brand; normally because of quality. but there is the lemming disorder and to a great many lemmings, i am sure the idea of smelling like an entire department store the epitome of consumerist victory. The scent of having “made it”. (and you’re right, it probably smells very nice and bland.)

    i think the name is honest and lippy… traits i cannot help but admire. 😉

    1. I tell people to buy whatever they love and they can determine if it is “worth” it.

      I think I’ve made it obvious that I don’t find NaP “worth” it. And the idea has already been done before so it isn’t even “edgy”.

      I wish I could say that the perfume is more dadaist than the name. It isn’t. I think it’s just snark.

    1. But, the bottles are so pretty 🙂
      I feel like in the US (well, most parts of the US) that bottled water is unnecessary. My in-laws have sulfur water, well water, whatever. It’s shocking.

      1. That’s a shame. I guess bottled water is necessary. I wonder how many people get caught up in the brand, Juliette Has A Gun vs actual cost per use on ambroxen? I think your points are on target.

        1. Hey, they say that water is therapeutic! I say it makes for some boiled egg tasting tea!

          You know, I’m sure lots of people. It’s an “edgy” line to some (“gun” is in the title). They really seem to know their demo, which appears to be gals in their 20’s. This sort of thing, even the scent, will appeal to them.

          All perfumes have a mark-up, that’s fine. But, I wish this “simplified” one was cheaper within their line. Because by offering a “single note” one at this price cheapens the rest in their line.

  2. Based on the current price of ambroxan and the fact that it’s diluted with whatever it is, it shouldn’t cost more than $35 for the 50ml. I guess when you throw in the branding and whatever, then maybe yeah. But you’re paying a heck of a lot for overhead and “brand value”.

    1. Thank you for giving me a number 🙂 I was roughly trying to put a number on it (and I’m not a perfumer and bad at maths). It is a volatile market, ingredient prices change frequently.

      It’s all about the branding and stuff. The brand does have pretty bottles but so do lots of other brands. And if I’m going to spend the money with them, I’d rather it be on something like Midnight Oud…something that smells like a perfumer touched it.

      1. It’s very clearly a marketing stunt. I thought your ranting – especially as a perfumer myself – was rather hilarious and just had to go look up the ml. Of course, I wasn’t looking at kilo prices (which are usually better than ounce prices) so it could actually be half my number for the juice.

        1. Interesting…

          I hope that the money they make from this will help to fuel a more artistic creation in the future…one that will employ a perfumer 😉

  3. This line doesn’t do much for me. Ok, I rather like Calamity Jane, but still for the $$ better stuff elsewhere. Maybe it’s a career spent in finance, but it never ceases to amaze me that people confuse cost of production and the retail price. One really doesn’t have a lot to do with the other. Except that a company would at a minimum want to recoup its costs. Perfume is a luxury item and some brands really push it for all its worth. I’ve seen several graphs and articles about the production cost of perfume and the smallest cost is the price of the ingredients. Bottle included more often than not. The rest is overhead and profit. So it sometimes drives me nuts that so many people think niche is more expensive because of better quality or some such. Not always the case and niche doesn’t have to be more expensive. JHAG really isn’t much more than many designer brands. And than there is Costamer, Parfum d’Empire, Sonoma Scents and on and on.

    Ok enough of my rant. Back to the books. It’s the silly season where I work.

    1. I actually own Midnight Oud and Calamity J. I like Mad Madame but didn’t buy it. I can get the appeal of the line as they smell good, aren’t as popular as Chanel Chance (are just as approachable) and aren’t crazy expensive (Sephora has stuff in this price range).

      Yep! I’m not saying that a brand shouldn’t make money. They should! I don’t care if something is marked up 10xs or 100xs the wholesale price. That’s business and not what I’m griping about. As a small business owner, I get this. I also think people don’t realize just how much your profit gets devoured when you’re small – transaction fees, taxes, packaging, shipping and shipping supplies, etc. That’s an entirely different rant. What I dislike is what you mentioned, the mentality that something is better because it’s expensive. That’s not the case. Something is usually more expensive because of branding. There are countless examples of this in the perfume world, fashion, etc.

      My beef with this one, look at you getting me started again! – is that it costs about the same as their more complex perfumes. This “cheapens” their other compositions. If they wanted to play the “not a perfume” game, then they should have made a separate line just for these sort of blends. This is the only way it worked for another niche line doing the single note aromachemical thing. It’s the branding. By launching NaP, they diluted their brand. Plenty of people are doing the edgy “not a perfume” thing – Demeter, CB, Escentric Molecules, and it works for them. And you see that these brands vary in price too but it doesn’t matter. It’s all about a cohesive brand and story. JHaG has lost that. And once that story is gone, you lose a lot of that “luxury” appeal.

    1. I wish I could say that it surprises me. But, it doesn’t 🙁

      I still haven’t tried Anyway…but it does sound like it is a perfume.

  4. […] Conclusion – I still really like this one after reviewing it over three years ago. I do wear it a lot since I like rose/patchouli. It’s also one of my “going out” sort of fragrances. Midnight Oud may be good but the line has irked me. I still can’t forgive them for stuff like Not A Perfume.  […]

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