One Thousand Scents

Friday, May 12, 2006

L'Eau Profile: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules


I think it's fair to say that Molecule 01 is entirely unique in the world of perfumery: it's not just a single-note scent, it consists entirely of a single molecule, a complex aromatic chemical called Iso E Super. (Even a putatively single-note scent such as rose oil has a large number of aromatic constituents which give it its complex character; Molecule 01 is just this one aroma-chemical.)

Molecule 01 supposedly has a sandalwood/cedar overtone to it. It does smell like sandalwood, but just a bit, at first. The first thing I thought was that it smelled puddingy--not like any specific flavour of pudding, but like a sweet, cooked-dairy scent. Then the sandalwood-like note made itself evident, which smelled a bit spicy, but again, not like any particular spice: just a generic sort of soft spiciness. The whole thing had a sort of generic soapiness, though for all I know that's the soap I used when I showered. And really, that's about all there is to it, as far as I can tell. After an hour or so it still smelled mostly the same, mostly that hazy sandalwood; the fragrance clearly can't be developing in the traditional sense, because there's nothing in it to develop, no lighter and heavier molecules to depart at different times. It's tenacious, but for a lot less money I could be wearing a much better sandalwood scent such as Jacques Fath Pour L'Homme.

Molecule 01 is reasonably attractive, but it's hardly even there. I thought, well, maybe it's just me, maybe it's just my nose, it's allergy season and that could be screwing things up a bit, but other people have had the same reaction to it, so I think it's just the nature of the molecule itself: it's not strong or obvious, it doesn't have any throw (I can't smell it at all unless I put my nose a couple of inches from my skin), so it probably works best as part of a composition, like aldehydes, something add glow and interest to a scent. All by itself? I can't really see the point, except as a novelty--a very expensive novelty.

I had ordered a sample vial from LuckyScent.com, and today seemed like a pretty good day to try it. I ended up applying half the vial before the scent really registered (if that's the correct term). I can't even imagine paying $135 (U.S.!) for something that hardly even makes its presence known. If I adored it--if it were instantly irresistible--I might well think it was worth every penny, as was my beloved Ambre Precieux, but it doesn't seem like anything more than a gimmick. (I also got a vial of Escentric 01, which I haven't tried yet; it joins Iso E Super (at 65%) with more usual perfumery notes such as pepper, lime, orris-root, and incense, so that's got to be at least a little more interesting, while the other notes last, anyway. Now Smell This, in a true coincidence, posted a review of Escentric 01 just today.)

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