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.