Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 Review
There are certain things we’ve come to expect of fragrances. We know that the top notes will probably be fresher, lighter, and ultimately more fleeting. We presume we’ll have to wait at least twenty minutes to start getting to really know the perfume as it grows into its fullness and complexity. And, in the end, we expect a drydown, a hopefully smooth, hopefully well-balanced fadeout accord.
Molecule 01, First of Its Name
And then Molecule 01 comes along, and flips the whole thing on its head.
It’s a clever marketing concept, really. Escentric Molecules built their flagship scent on Iso E Super, an aroma chemical that is well-known among industry insiders and not really a secret, just simply not commonly discussed in advertising copy for fear of boring the customer to death. But someone was able to spot the potential. It took the marketing instinct of perfumer Geza Schoen to turn something tedious into a selling point and offer this component to the public in its simple form, at a concentration that makes it present yet unobtrusive.
The promo materials for this perfume also mention that it should work similarly to pheromones, and that it effectively smells of “nothing”, but in such an intriguing way that strangers will find themselves wanting to hug you, if not more. Which, we assume, is supposed to be a pleasant and not at all frightening prospect.
Fresh, light and woody
But really, what does it smell like?
No Molecule 01 review would be complete without telling you that it smells differently on everyone, and it is true, in a manner of speaking. However the difference doesn’t actually lie in your skin’s chemistry (which is fairly run-off-the-mill and disappointingly same-y from person to person, no matter how uniquely beautiful our eternal astral souls are, or whatever). It quite literally lies in your nose, and, ultimately, between your ears. In other words, it’s all about perception, about the way your nose picks up the scent and the way your brain then tries to wrap itself around it based on information it’s been pre-fed.
So let’s not forget what’s at the heart of this fragrance—simplicity. And that’s exactly what you get, a simple, airy scent of cedarwood, floating above your skin and never quite venturing too far from it. Molecule 01 doesn’t have any top, middle and base notes, it doesn’t develop over time, it doesn’t reveal itself as a different being after the initial moments. Instead, it kind of comes and goes, seemingly disappearing altogether, only to return when you don’t expect it.
You might not be able to smell it after a while—and apparently some people aren’t able to smell it at all—but there’s a great chance those around you will indeed get a whiff of it and appreciate its enticing, uncomplicated nature. Many wearers report getting compliments almost every time they take Escentric Molecules 01 out for a spin, despite the fact they themselves hardly notice its presence.
Molecule 01 Perfume as a Layering Base
Since Iso E Super is a widely used component, it stands to reason that you can find it in some fragrances you’ve probably heard of before. It’s particularly satisfying to play around with them and try to experiment with some layering. The Molecule perfume for instance successfully brings out the woody aspect of Lalique’s Encre Noire, making it a little less of a beast and a little more of a clean-shaven charming stranger. Terre d’Hermès, on the other hand, stays true to its elegant summery nature, with Molecule 01 providing the unassuming vehicle for the fresh vetiver note.
You can’t buy exactly the same product for a lower price, even though you can get so close the difference will be indiscernible to all but the most well-trained noses. Still, with that being the case, there’s no denying Molecule 01 is a well executed idea from the top down. Sure, it’s more of a conceptual than an olfactory achievement. But the concept is definitely one that might very well speak to you, and to anybody who appreciates a bit of minimalism in their everyday life.
Just like black, a colour that makes an impact despite being technically defined as the lack of colour, Molecule 01 leaves an impression of an aromatic “something” rather than nothing. And, in most cases, this something will smell pleasant, calming and alluring. Maybe it doesn’t quite work as a pheromone perfume, but let’s face it, would you actually want to smell like fresh side of beef in a shark tank? Fragrance really is more of a sophisticated affair, and that’s what we love about it.