Here at Escentual, we’re big fans of the rebellious niche brand Juliette Has a Gun. Their fragrances are presented with humour, glamour and gender-bending bravery. What’s more, pretty much all of them smell fantastic (always important, we feel), offering unusual and daring compositions that never take themselves too seriously. Founded by Romano Ricci (the great grandson of the Nina Ricci), Juliette Has a Gun celebrates the power of women, whether they be butt-kicking cowgirls, charming ingenues or androgynous gentlewomen. To put is simply, Juliette Has a Gun portrays the complexity of women in a manner that is approachable, witty and undeniably beautiful.
In 2013, Romano Ricci decided to mix things up once again by elevating his brand with a Luxury Collection. Currently consisting of three fragrances, the Luxury Collection takes Juliette up a gear, taking her off the streets as a live action model and places her straight in a Versace-furnished mansion. Each fragrance focuses on tuberose, perfumery’s most opulent material, showcasing the ingredient in an entirely unique manner, whether it be tuberose via marzipan, the 1980s or a stark, white clinic. Just like Juliette and the women who wear her, the Luxury Collection is a force to be reckoned with.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to bottle the smell of pure gold? Well now you needn’t muse any longer because Juliette has melted down her gold-plated revolver and bottled it as Oil Fiction. Originally launched as a limited edition of just 999 bottles, Oil Fiction was the very first fragrance within the brand’s Luxury Collection and it marked a change in direction for this most tongue-in-cheek brand – a move towards opulent innovation over humorous decadence.
If you asked me to describe Oil Fiction in two words I’d opt for ‘marzipan tuberose’ because that’s exactly how it smells. Sure, there’s a touch of shimmering saffron up top and a crystallised amber accord underneath, but for the most part, the fragrance is all about tuberose, with its sugary nuances intensified by a shot of artisanal marzipan. In a world of thick and overpowering orientals, Oil Fiction is a beacon of luminescent golden light, for it is evocative of the orient yet as light as a golden feather.
Wait, what’s that?! Is that the sound of Rick Astley promising never to give you up, never to let you down, run around and desert you? That’s right, because Juliette Has A Gun Moon Dance is the 1980s in a bottle and it smells great. The ‘80s, if you’re not familiar, were the domain of the bombastic white floral, where flowers were as garish as the hair and fashion of the decade. Today, these overtly opulent scents, the likes of Poison and Paris et al, feel like relics of their time, leaving this most excessive of styles wholly and completely out of fashion. Moon Dance seeks to revive this long-lost genre in an entirely modern way and it succeeds.
Moon Dance is a big, fruit syrup-soaked tuberose, dripping in sugar and accented by roses & violets. It feels gigantic and purple, with a heady, intoxicating vibrancy. Now, Moon Dance may be evocative of the ‘80s but it’s definitely a modern fragrance and like Oil Fiction, it uses transparency to prevent it from being too much. A touch of iris brings a translucent powdery effect and this is really the element that takes Moon Dance from messy ‘80s rehash to modern supermodel glamour. This is a scent for those that can rock a violet lip, big jewellery and one heck of an attitude, or just those that long for the shoulder pad florals of yesteryear. It’s my favourite…
To my nose, Juliette Has A Gun White Spirit feels like the antidote to Moon Dance – a fragrant wet wipe to wash away the syrupy floral hedonism and replace it with something altogether more modern. White Spirit represent Romano Ricci’s enthusiasm for nifty aroma chemicals and his ability to present something entirely synthetic in style. Where one can sniff out some semblance of natural floral tones in Moon Dance and Oil Fiction, White Spirit showcases a tuberose flower crafted in a laboratory.
White Spirit places a plastic tuberose bloom, one that is as thin as cling film, against a back drop of Ambrocenide, a woody-amber material that boosts floral notes and Ambroxan, a fresh material reminiscent of ambergris. All together, these materials create a pale and austere fragrance that is as sterile as a white lab coat, and as fuzzy as television static. White Spirit is an anti-perfume in a sense. It doesn’t follow the traditional trajectory of top, middle and base notes, instead it presents a singular odour that is unique and undeniably innovative.
Over to You!
What’s your favourite of Juliette Has a Gun’s luxury fragrances? Let me know in the comments box below!