We are so proud to bring back our friends from smallflower.com/Merz Apothecary to help us with this three-month long miniseries focused on one house monthly (through June). So, a gracious welcome back to Dana and Grace Ann as we explore the US-based house Juliette Has A Gun for the very first time. JHAG was originally launched in 2006 by Romano Ricci. It is a true honor to have the ladies out of the Chicago apothecary here to discuss the brand. Each will each select their favorite from the line as we discuss a handful of selections from the house. Strange as it may seem, as normal when I do groupings like this, we will be reviewing these alphabetically, and as it just happens to be, this selection also just tends to fall in order by date as well (2006-2021) which will offer a quick synopsis of the brand fragrance history. We even have their latest creation, Pear Inc. on tap here, so read on. Well, here goes:
Lady Vengeance (2006, Francis Kurkdjian): Upsy daisy, er, rosy I should say. What a silken sheen this one casts! It certainly gives me all those Kurkdjian feels in a new delicate crystalline wrapping. The citrus aids and abets the rousing rose all empowered by the ecstasy provided by Iso E Super in its nerve ending-like pulsation. It throbs with a bass as rich as that of Charles Mingus – oh, it goes that low – sinks + swims! Most definitely two powerful for my delicate skin, but for rose lovers from here to kingdom come, you will be rejoicing to the stars above. The dry down, and this is an elongated wear, brings that husky musky purr that will have you curling into the fetal position before too long. (85%)
Dana Jasper (Smallflower.com) says:
My pick from the JHAG collection is Lady Vengeance. She is beauty, she is grace, with a little darkness to temper the sweet. This is another lovely Francis Kurkdijan creation, this time for the house Juliette Has a Gun. Rose and Patchouli commingle in this Chypre fragrance that is way less heavy on the Iso E Super than other JHAG perfumes. Lady Vengeance is often what I put on when I’m not sure what to wear and it does not disappoint. The rose is sweet though not cloying and cut through with Bergamot and Lavender for balance. Patchouli and musk gives this one a nearly 24 hour wear on me; I love it in my clothes and hair as you will sniff traces of it in your home, car, laundry, furniture for days to come. I am sure some do not favor this type of scent but for me it is why I love fragrance. I want to be able to smell it!
Notes: Lavender, Bergamot, Bulgarian Rose, Moroccan Rose, Patchouli, Iso E Super, Geranium, White Musk, Ambroxan, Vanilla
Midnight Oud (2009, Romano Ricci): Mmmmore rose, but quite a variable slant with the urgency and warmth of oud no less. The rose plume is a deeper dive into darkness in this one. It sort of expands and builds like fumes filling a tight space. The woody resonance is sultry smooth, matching perfectly with the thin outer petals, with a delicate oily sheen. This sends my imagination spiraling into spacey abstractions, late night denizens will very much approve of its sense of foreshadowing, even if only for the next day. It moves from passionate Mid East blush to Vantablack in the blink of an eye. This has a sense of renewal, but you must make it through the vortex first. (88%)
Notes: Damask Rose, Saffron, Papyrus, Bergamot, Agarwood, Moroccan Rose, Castoreum, Geranium, Patchouli, Musk, Amber, Sandalwood
Moscow Mule (2017, Romano Ricci): Oh, heck yeah. This speaks to me in volumes, of subtlety, cleanliness, freedom. Expect to be taken on a open top ride through a tunnel swirling of crisp fruit particularly citrus styled with an airy floral factor. This is more on the sharp side, not overly so, but comes with that brisk lil’ bite that goes a long way – kind of like the effect you’d get in the signature adult beverage that this implies. Oh, you do get that twinge of alcoholic spirits, indeed. This is the type of fragrance that gently urges me to drop the needle on an old Sylvester record, a sonic charge to move my booty to the soulful sound — similar to what is produced from the nozzle of this delightful perfume. (92%)
Notes: Bergamot, Lime, Lemon, Hedione, Ginger, Apple, White Musk, Woody Notes, Amberwood, Ambrette
Not A Perfume/Superdose (2019): Another perfume (or “not”) that proves a singular note, however laboratory designed, can have such a generous impression on one’s delicate senses. I’m in. I do not have the non-superpose to compare to, but suffice to say this glistening woody meets marine wildlife fragrance is sublime in every way. It’s like a soft white musk, but with this incredible transparency that attracts me back again and again. Thanks to the creative synthesists at the Swiss lab Firmenich this has come to be, with the JHAG bent, of course, makes this an insatiable olfactory experience. It’s animalic, but only just. Save the Whales – get me some more of this! (90%)
Notes: Cetalox® (Firmenich)
Pear Inc. (2021, Romano Ricci): The carefree, clean aroma of a juicy pear, nothing like it! Here the fruit is consummately paired with a horizon stretch of luminously light musk, like a Summer night with that cool evening breeze rolling in over the Río Negro. This will hit the spot for those who love not-too sweet fruit perfumes, yet one that doesn’t compromise on its sense of intimacy. This is all pear, all the time, but manages to seduce with its unctuous realistic curves and organic imperfections rather than a cloying rant into candied taffy. A clean, fresh take on a true blue (er, green) gourmand. This sates the palette + may keep the doctor away. (86%)
Grace Ann Watson (Smallflower.com) says:
Juliette Has a Gun recently launched Pear Inc. Think ‘Not A Perfume’s’ sassier younger sister. This fragrance is a delightful addition to their collection of lighter, easy wearing scents. Taking cues from some of their top sellers they’ve blended out a wonderful fruity musk. The pear note reads a little sharper and brighter bringing an uplifting sweetness to the warm musks that make up the base of this fragrance. On first spritz it reads a little intense, loud, but not quite biting and mellowing out into that warm comforting vibe we all know, just like a sibling would. Much the same it’ll linger around all day with the occasional whiff of bright fruity sweetness to remind you that it hasn’t gone far. A single spritz or a dousing, this fragrance has the legs to last all day and linger long behind or draw people in and delicately dissipate, if the wearer so choses. This blend lends itself a lot to interpretation, taking on aquatic, musk and fruity in one fell swoop. All in all I’d say a fresh new addition to anyone’s Spring/Summer fragrance wardrobe.
Notes: Green Pear, Ambroxan, Musks, Muscenone, Ambrettolide, Habanolide
- All of these fragrances (and a whole lot more) are available at Smallflower.com.