Not a Perfume 
Juliette Has a Gun (2010)

Average Rating:  26 User Reviews

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Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun

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About Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun

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Juliette Has a Gun
Fragrance House
Firmenich
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Not a Perfume is a shared scent launched in 2010 by Juliette Has a Gun

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Reviews of Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun

There are 26 reviews of Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun.


I can FEEL this when I sniff my wrist, but I can't really SMELL it--unless I'm really concentrating. I gather, from reading other reviews, that the point might be more how others perceive it, rather than how it smells to me. I primarily wear perfume for myself, so this doesn't work for me.


Heartening to see I wasn't just dreaming; that others had similar experiences. I put it on. Nothing. Just a chemical smell. Omg. I got another old perfume? Put more on. More. Then more of a strong smell with a hint of something sort of nice. There's something right? It's just my inexperienced nose, right. Was that nice? Looked it up here and see the one note. The education on the chemistry. And this oder is still on me and I'm wondering if it could be unhealthy to breathe this much in. I wiped it off as best I could and went to my Kilian Discover set a little miffed about wasting a few sprays of Princess.


On my skin... Vaguely reminds me of ambergris. It's salty, rotting dead sea creature, seaweed something, with a tinge of something alive and green. Then it's musky, like faint body odor, on a sweaty day. Sometimes it even smells like mixed greens with a hint of ozone. It doesn't smell too bad on me actually. It comes and goes as if by magic.

The emperor's new clothes - I wouldn't buy a full bottle, for such a vague "scent".


I'm glad I tried “Not A Perfume” because now I know which molecule is to blame for very, very many of my bad reactions to perfumes. It feels like a small victory knowing this, even though few perfumes list it in their pyramid.

“Not A Perfume” consists only of Cetalox and ethanol, which is in the same family as Ambroxan. Zealot Crusader below did a good job in his review explaining the ins and outs of ambroxides. I can add that I react distinctly different to this one with Cetalox, than “Molecule 02” with Ambroxan.

Cetalox smells on my skin like a sort of harsh abrasive “fresh” note, one I've smelled many times in men's fresh fragrances. One that stands out for me was a woman's fragrance, ‘Aventus for Women', where this note ruined the fragrance for me. It's used a lot in detergents, apparently because of its clean, crisp quality. On me it is beyond crisp, more in the ozonic category, quite unpleasant.

Being able to piece this together was helpful, but as a fragrance...yeah, whatever.


This is indeed not a perfume. Perhaps the height of industry cynicism or just a hilarious placebo experiment, Not a Perfume (2010) is extremely useful to any serious perfumista or colognoisseur for one reason: this is one of several references for ambroxide, the oft-used base aromachemical for modern designer perfumes since its popularization in the same year this was launched. Almost an omen is the release of Not a Perfume, showing off the synthetic ambergris tone Francis Kurkdijan used in the previous year's Lady Vengeance (2009) all by itself, and its importance is in allowing those who often malign the "ambroxan overdose" purported to be in every major designer release to actually familiarize and recognize a variant of the note on its own. Cetalox is of course just one patented variant of ambroxide produced by Firmenich that isn't a single molecule like IFF's Ambroxan, and may differ from Mane's Orcanox, and Givaudan's Ambrofix.

Escentric Molecules did this same trick with ambroxan on Molecule 02 (2008), which is a purer representation that offers an even wider range of reactions from smelling nothing to being overwhelmed hours after application, but the point still gets across. This opens as almost nothing too, since the nose doesn't readily detect something this chemically-pure even if it isn't a single molecule like actual ambroxan, because this is meant to enhance a perfume rather than be it alone. However, within five to ten minutes, the familiar warm, slightly earthy, tad salty, and ambery vibe signature to an accurate reproduction of ambergris appears. This doesn't have the depth and complexity of real ambergris because let's be honest, the impurities found in a naturally-sourced ingredient are exactly what gives it depth, and this is just a pure single chemical in wearable dilution.
What Not a Perfume does also varies greatly upon skin chemistry, since it will literally enhance what is there already much like any chemical base note, just not as wildly as Molecule 02.

The clincher here of course is the price, since you're effectively paying full retail price for an entry-level niche brand (over $130USD at time of review) for something you can buy in pure form for much less just because it is diluted and presented as a perfume, hence the cynicism. On the plus side, you can use this as a base for a traditional eau de cologne like 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser (1792) if you don't mind an ambergris base, but you could also just muck around with industry aromachemicals for cheaper so it comes down to price for convenience of a pre-mix, like with alcoholic cocktails. My recommendation is just to sample Not a Perfume for an ambroxide reference, then use it to determine if the cause for your much-loathed modern designer accord is really ambroxan or something else like norlimbanol. Educational, but not really wearable, Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume is exactly that. Solid neutral for me because I appreciate the edification if not the absurdity of the presentation.


How sad that this smelled like literally nothing on me. I may as well have sprinkled a few drops of tap water on my wrists and neck. A big disappointment after all the positive reviews I've seen.

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