First Smell: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

I sprayed Molecule 01 on a test strip at Aedes de Vensutas, the West Village perfume shop, last weekend, and I couldn’t smell a thing. It was displayed at the front counter, and the man behind the register explained that it had a cult following, that it was one of their best sellers.

Molecule 01 is based on a single note, a chemical called Iso E Super, which perfumers have used more as an ingredient to support other notes than as a note in itself. On the Escentric Molecules website, it’s explained like this:

On its own it is less of an aroma than an effect. The wearer may notice a pleasant, subtle velvety-woody note which will vanish, then resurface after some time…

That’s exactly what I noticed when I sprayed it on my hand, only it took about a half-hour to appear at all. After that, it was a pleasant woody scent, but it was pretty unremarkable. The official description continued:

…but more than this, she or he will notice the impact it has on other people, because Molecule 01 lends an indefinable radiance to the wearer. In fact, its effect is almost pheromonic. This is fragrance at its most radical.

If this is the future of perfumery, it’s clever. But it didn’t really do much for me as a wearable fragrance—at least with the single try I gave it. I wonder, I hear such great things about Molecule 01—are people taken with the scent itself, or with the idea of it?   

At $135 for 3.5oz., Molecule 01 is not something one can buy as a lark, but it may be something to try layering with, especially with other single notes.

Then again, maybe Escentric Molecules’ second release, Escentric 01, is the way to go. It’s basically 65% Iso E Super, along with some of the lime and pepper notes found in Ormonde Jayne’s Isfarkand (and some others). Aedes de Venustas offered me a sample vial of Escentric 01, so I will be testing it soon.

[UPDATE: Tuesday January 18] I had mistakenly  referred to a review of Escentric 01 at Now Smell This, thinking it was Molecule 01. The difference is simply that Molecule came first and consists wholly of Iso E Super, while Escentric has 65% Is E Super, along with other ingredients. The names similar names and ingredients totally threw me off. I’ve edited things above and cut the reference to Escentric 01 to save for its own post.

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6 Responses to First Smell: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

  1. Olfactoria says:

    I tried Molecule 01 too because I was curious. The scent itself didn’t blow me away at all. The concept is a great marketing feat though, to charge that much money for something that must cost mere cents is audacious or genius depending on the perspective. 😉

  2. Thanks for the comment! I totally agree. I gave Escentric 01 a try last week and found it much more interesting. I need to wear again and apply more, because it seemed really light. But the little I could detect was intriguing, while Molecule 01 just smelled average.

  3. Markus Koch says:

    I just bought this stuff in Germany. It came highly recommended by the store owner. THE best seller….but I could not smell anything when applied. I will sick to Duro. 🙂

  4. Hi Markus, Thank you for the comment. I don’t get the hype about this fragrance. This post is one of my most popular — it consistently gets more traffic than almost anything else I’ve written (another big one is my review of Marc Jacobs Bang). I don’t get it, and I wonder if it’s more of a gimmick, like Secretions Magnifique: everyone’s going to talk about it, but only a very few people are going to be able to enjoy wearing it.

    When you wrote Duro, the first thing I thought of was Penhaligon’s Douro, which came up in conversation recently as a good leather fragrance (I have a sample but haven’t smelled it in years). But you must be talking about Duro by Nasomatto, right? Isn’t that sort of leathery too?

  5. heelna says:

    I had a guest in my hotel wearing this perfuem-Molecule 01- and thought it was one of the nicest perfumes I had smelt in a long time. Since the perfume is unavailable on the island of Sylt(Germany) I asked her if she could get me a bottle in her home town of Munich.She did and I thought…great… but when I sprayed it I couldn´t smell anything. My daughter said the same as did my friend who visited me last week.
    Is there some sort of secret to obtaining the scent…or could it be that I have purchased a bottle of Molecule that has gone wrong?
    It seems a lot of money for something that doesnt leave the trace of a good perfume.
    Helena, Sylt

  6. Kay says:

    I have always used molecule and I can not smell the perfume on myself, but other always make comments even strangers have asked what perfume I am wearing, I have just got a new bottle but to my surprise it seems different and I am not getting the same response when wearing the perfume. I have my concerns that something has changed with the perfume, has anyone else noticed this. ?

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