Molecule scents, all gender-free, are entirely compelling, but the antithesis of overpowering …
As anyone who’s worn an Escentric Molecules scent will know, there’s one common reaction. Whether you’re wearing the original Molecule 01 or a more recent variation such as Escentric 04, you’ll find that people will stop you and ask what you’re wearing. A cult collection of scents created by rule-breaking perfumer Geza Schoen, Escentric Molecules are coolly minimal, unshowy and magnetically compelling, with legions of devoted fans worldwide. And today, three striking new fragrances with a twist, Molecule+, join the collection …
So what makes Escentric Molecules different? Geza Schoen created Molecule 01 back in 2006, a defiant reaction to the super-sweet, overpowering celeb scents that dominated the market. The idea was simple but brilliant: he turned up the volume on an abstract synthetic molecule called Iso E Super, used by perfumers since the seventies as a supporting ingredient. It’s a subtle molecule that adds a smooth, musky, woody element to a perfume. But when Schoen ramped it up to an unprecedented concentration of 65 per cent, he found that people responded to it in a really instinctive way – it has a quiet magnetism that draws people in. Schoen describes Iso E Super as the sexiest ingredient there is – it’s “radiant, velvety, cocooning”, with an almost transparent effect. Scent researcher Professor Dr Hanns Hatt has described Iso E Super as “The scent of which dreams are made.” It is reputed to strengthen the attraction between people; in his research, Hatt found that Molecule O1 stimulated one of our five pheromone receptors.
With this concept, Schoen broke with tradition and championed a fresh new approach – a “love song to minimalism”. His Molecule scents, all gender-free, are entirely compelling, but the antithesis of overpowering: “While some very strong perfumes can be nice, in most cases it’s rather annoying,” he explains. “That was the original idea with the brand – anything too in your face can feel brutal and not very contemporary.” It’s for all those people who’d rather wear nothing than something too sweet, fruity or strong. “It gives you an olfactoric personality, but one that’s subtle.”
Schoen then expanded the concept with Escentric 01, where he played with a high concentration of Iso E Super in a more traditional perfume structure. Then, as now, Escentric Molecules only release a scent when they have something new to say. “Difference and originality is still the driving force of what we do,” says Schoen. And now a trio of fresh new fragrances has launched exclusively at Brown Thomas and Arnotts. Molecule+ pairs the original Molecule with just one other beautiful ingredient: M+ Iris, M+Mandarin and M+Patchouli.
Schoen explains that the new project began with a request from his partner, Sophie, for an iris fragrance. Since he was using the best possible singular iris note, Schoen decided to add very little else “so as to not detract from the powdery beauty of the orris root absolue itself.” Sometimes, he notes, “perfumery is more about what you leave out rather than what you put in.” And the result was startling: “The simple inclusion of Iso E Super with the orris blew us both away.” It was only after seeing the reaction Sophie got while wearing it that he decided to launch it commercially.
He continued to experiment, adding just one other beautiful ingredient to his star Molecule 01 “to see how they danced together in the bottle”. Each additional ingredient is a natural: “Only naturals have the complexity and radiance to work in a dance of two like this, while maintaining the simplicity of the concept,” Schoen believes. He found that using an unusually high amount achieved the best result. With the iris, for example, he used the best quality there is – iris absolute, from IFF which is “hideously expensive, costing nearly €50,000 a kilo.”
So what are these new Molecule+ fragrances like to wear? As Schoen explains, like Molecule 01 these fragrances will “come and go” – it’s a shifting, intimate and enigmatic way to wear scent. And you’ll find that each of these new Molecule + fragrances has “more of a definite presence” than Molecule 01: M+Iris has a cool powdery elegance; M+Mandarin a burst of bright, zesty orange – it features a particular mandarin oil “that is just so beautiful, almost shockingly zesty and aromatic”, enthuses Schoen; and M+patchouli resonates with a pure patchouli glow – the classic perfume ingredient performs “like a bomb” together with Iso E Super.
The perfect plus-one, Molecule+ offers a new way of wearing scent this season – and is the ultimate declaration that simple can be sensational.
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