I wanted to smell Molecule 01 as soon as I heard about it.
Its appeal being not composition, since there is nothing to analyse here, the “perfume” features but one single ingredient, but the allegedly mysterious, pheromone-like powers of pure Iso E Super were what drew me in.
Maybe I would need to be a man, for it to work, or maybe I simply appreciate the more complex approaches that constitute true perfume, whatever it is: Molecule 01 is not for me.
Iso E Super is a very, very tenacious vaguely woody odor, that impresses me as more masculine than feminine. It is recognizably a note that is familiar from somewhere, there are countless fragrances where it is used in various quantities. Jean-Claude Ellena seems to be a fan of the material, he used it in many of his compositions (Voyage d’Hermès, Poivre Samarkand and others) since it lends itself for minimalistic and deceptively simple and clear creations. Also Dior’s Fahrenheit uses it prominently in its formula.
It is supposed to weave in and out of olfactory awareness, but on me it is pretty constant and constantly grating on my nerves. It is flat and unchanging (I am unfair, of course it is unchanging, it is a single molecular compound after all). It is interesting for the experimental and novel value, but in the long run, it is not my idea of a perfume.
Molecule 01 was devised in 2005 as a sort of experiment by the German perfumer Geza Schoen. It is supposed to be more of a non-perfume scent for people who don’t want the obvious smell of perfume, a kind of “ultimate skin scent”. The goal is to smell good without officially smelling good, I guess.
Molecule 01 was released in tandem with Escentric 01, a “real” perfume based on Iso E Super, but with a more traditional composition featuring large amounts of the molecule along with pink pepper, lime peel, orris and incense . Unfortunately I did not get to test it yet.
Meanwhile Escentric Molecules have also launched Molecule 02 and 03, each with accompanying perfumes Escentric 02 and 03, featuring Ambroxan and Vetiveryl compounds respectively.
An in-depth look at the chemical Iso E Super is provided by Elena at Perfume Shrine.