Plain And Simple? – Review: Escentric Molecules Molecule 01

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.

Geza Schoen

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.

Picture sources:,, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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12 Responses to Plain And Simple? – Review: Escentric Molecules Molecule 01

  1. Victoria says:

    I love the smell of Iso E Super, which is to me like salt or pepper in cooking–it adds a new dimension to many different accord. I even enjoy it simply in dilution, but to pay the price that EM wants you to pay, no way! It seems unreasonable.

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  4. I wore this constantly for about two years. I loved it because it never interfered with the smell of any wine I was drinking — isn’t that just about the snootiest, high-falutin’ sentence ever 😉

    It was also what I got the most compliments on. People would actually follow me! Really follow me! But then, I don’t know what changed, but suddenly I just smelled cedar. Cedar, cedar everywhere. And I had to stop. Isn’t that sad! Well, I was sad.

    • Olfactoria says:

      They really followed you because of the smell? Amazing! 🙂
      It is sad having to change a beloved perfume, but if it doesn’t work anymore… there is so much to discover!

      • They did! An usher at the theater followed me from the ladies room. Someone followed me down the street. Two friends insisted I take them to go get their own bottles. And a hostess at a restaurant doubled back about 10 minutes after seating us. I couldn’t believe it.

        It is sad to change a beloved perfume. I wish I could be one of those women who has a signature scent, but I have been kind of promiscuous with perfume lately!

  5. Kafkaesque says:

    I think that Jacques Polge is another huge fan of Iso E Super. As for this fragrance, a friend wrote to me about it just yesterday and called it the first fragrance that was a “GTFOMA” fragrance. (Get the F* off my arm!) She compared it to Chernobyl on her arm, was desperate to take a shower, and found the need to change her baby boy’s stinking diapers to be an enormously welcome escape from the hell that was Molecule 1. She is a woman who is rarely emphatic or hyperbolic, so the depth of her reaction to this was pretty stunning to me!

    Have you gotten a chance to try it since this post in July? If so, I’d be curious to see what your reactions were.

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