Normally when I review a perfume, I have to edit myself, as I could literally go on and on, and on, and on, etc. I am going to reign myself in right now, and keep it simple. Molecule 01 demands it.
Escentric Molecules is a simple perfume line, but not simple in a boring way. You can read more about the concept of the creator and artist behind Escentric Molecules, Geza Schoen, here. But, in the spirit of this simple line, I will share Mr Schoen’s perfect analogy: Molecule is to perfume as Bauhaus is to Baroque. In the perfume I am reviewing today, Molecule 01, Geza Schoen used one single ingredient - Iso E Super, which is a trademarked aromachemical owned by IFF (International Fragrance & Flavours) known as 7-acetyl, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydro-1,1,6,7-tetramethyl naphthalene. IFF describes it as:
Smooth, woody, amber with unique aspects giving a ”velvet” like sensation. Used to impart fullness and subtle strength to fragrances. Superb floralizer found in the majority of newer fine fragrances and also useful in soaps. Richer in the desirable gamma isomer than isocyclemone e.
It is very hard to describe a scent molecule in words. It’s deceptive, because you think – oh it is an ingredient, aka a note. It’s not really a note, per se, but more of an evolving scent-sensual sensation, if that makes sense. Molecule 01 has taken Iso E Super and made it magical. It is often used to boost other notes in a perfume, or to ground them. It diffuses and adds longevity to woodsy, warm and floral perfumes. Many perfumistas, in fact, claim that if given some actual Iso E Super (available from perfume suppliers online) they could create their own Molecule 01. This is where my respect for the artist comes in. I have tried two homemade versions and sorry – no thanks. Geza Schoen isn’t recreating The Emperor’s New Clothes with his Escentric Molecules, or just tossing together some crap in bottles hoping suckers will come along and throw money at him. He is an exacting artist, and that is why Molecule 01 is still one of the best selling fragrances at LA’s Lucky Scent, perfume ground zero for the USA’s west coast.
What’s funny is that I don’t like the perfumes that use Iso E Super in copious amounts. Even though it adds a velvety smooth accord, when it’s used with too many other notes, it makes me feel nauseated and suffocated. Ormonde Jayne is one of them, and after 15 minutes in one of her perfumes, I have to hose myself off. Or, use my special method of unsavoury scent neutralization. Don’t get me wrong – Ormonde Jayne perfumes are lovely, beautifully composed and elegant. Jean Claude Ellena loves Iso E Super and uses it in some of his gorgeous and elegant compositions for Hermes, which to my nose are like nails on a blackboard. I said gorgeous and elegant, and I recognize gorgeous perfumes when they happen, even if I can’t stand them on my own skin. Seriously people, with perfume, as well as any art, there is no accounting for taste.
So. Molecule 01 – what does it smell like? Sexy, warm skin that is clean, but not in a sterile way. Clean in a way that perhaps there were two of you (or more) in that shower. Woodsy is a word that comes to mind, but also musk – musk in the 1970s model of musks. Sexy yet clean. It wafts in and out all day long, and some have said that Molecule 01 has pheromonic-like effect. Do pheromones in perfume really work, or actually make one sexually or sensually more attractive? All I know is that I find it addictive in that “I can’t stop smelling this” kind of way, and if I smell it on someone else, I want to get closer to them.
I’d say it is probably the most masculine of my perfumes, which is odd for me, as pretty pretty florals are my signature. Yet I love it. And, I think it is perfect for the man who simply wants to smell wonderful, but not perfumed. One of Molecule 01’s biggest tricks is how it disappears for hours and seamlessly blends with one’s own chemistry, only to reappear hours later, like a phantom. Hands down, Molecule 01 is the single biggest compliment getter in my collection. You have to wear it to get it. I have friends who wouldn’t believe the hype, then I’ve sprayed them. The next day, they are trying to find out where they can buy it. Molecule 01 is a perfume I wear when I can’t decide what perfume to wear.
I got my Molecule 01 at Etiket Boutique in Montreal. I’m sure it’s sold somewhere in Toronto, but I don’t know where. It’s sold at Barneys, as well as Lucky Scent – of course! The value of the CAN dollar has probably caused an increase in CAN pricing. I don’t recall paying $170 for my bottle, but perhaps I blocked that part out.