Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 & Molecule 02 ~ brief review

Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 fragranceEscentric Molecules Molecule 02 fragrance

Strictly speaking, this isn't really a review, but in the interest of perfume geekery I'll share my experience with the latest two fragrances (Escentric 02 and Molecule 02) from Escentric Molecules, the niche line of perfumer perfumer Geza Schoen.

When I "reviewed" Escentric 01 back in 2006, I found that the fragrance was so perfectly described by the brand's own description that it was silly to say much more, so I just quoted the description and added a few words. The same is true of the new Escentric 02, so here is what Escentric Molecules had to say:

Escentric 02 uses an unparalleled concentration of ambroxan, in combination with vetiver and muscone, a particularly gorgeous nature-identical musk. Orris, elderflower extract and hedione lead into the instant effervescence of the topnote, again, a fresh “mineral” effect. Schoen free-associates: “Gin and tonic, a hint of an Austrian lemonade called almdudler, the whiff that you get when you first open a brand-new Apple laptop…” It’s a clear, clean scent, but it dries down to something warm, sexy and elusive. If the Escentric Molecules repertoire has a hint of paradox at its heart, you might say, in this case, that Escentric 02 has a haunting sparkle.

Yep, that's what it smells like. I'll add that "effervescence" is an understatement; in the early stages, it very nearly pulsates on the skin. If I were to give it a two word classification, à la Perfumes: The Guide, I'd call it "fizzy dirt" — the only other vetiver I can think of that fizzed so beautifully was the limited edition Three AsFour scent for Colette. The dry down is calmer than the opening, but I'd second the "warm, sexy and elusive". Purists would no doubt call this a "smell" rather than a "perfume", but that is true of many of my favorite fragrances. Great stuff, and I wish I had a bottle.

My experience with Molecule 02 was interesting. Here is the brand's description:

Molecule 02 is based on ambroxan, a nature-identical aroma-molecule. Real ambroxan is found in ambergris, but the stratospheric cost of its extraction makes it prohibitive for use in fragrances. Ambergris itself is one of the few natural animalic fragrance ingredients that has no connotations of cruelty because it is produced and excreted by the sperm whale. It can float on the ocean for years evolving under the influence of sun and salt water. Then it is collected when it washes up on shore, by which stage its distinctive nutty, warm scent is a symphony of boronal, ambrinol, dihydro ionone gamma – and its best-smelling aromatic part, ambroxan. Wear Molecule 02 and you will notice a fresh, almost mineral smoothness which subtly expands to envelop you.

We've had discussions here before about musk anosmias (the inability to smell one or more musk aromachemicals), and while I was able to smell Molecule 01 (made up solely of the musk chemical Iso E Super) quite clearly, the first time I put on Molecule 02, I smelled something vaguely nutty and warm only very briefly; after that, it seemed to disappear and reappear at regular intervals, but it was never more than a very faint smell. Then I walked outside. It happened to be a very hot, very humid day, and the ambroxan literally came alive on my skin: it was very strong and clear. When I walked back into the air conditioned house — poof! — it was gone. Since then, I've had similar experiences. On a warm, not very humid day, I can smell it consistently but it is not nearly as strong as it is on a really nasty-muggy hot day.

Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 and Molecule 02 are available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette. For buying information, see the listing for Escentric Molecules under Perfume Houses.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Escentric 02 sounds like a must-smell. Fizzy dirt? Sexy and elusive?


  2. Anonymous says:

    If you find vetiver sexy & elusive, I should have said! If you don't, not sure you'll find this sexy & elusive ;-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love vetiver, but “sexy and elusive”….

    Thank you for the review–I do want to smell them both.

    Speaking of vetiver, did you get the Unnamed Tauer Vetiver sample? I don't have my brain wrapped around it yet.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It's funny that they describe muscone, a macrocyclic aromachemical (to which many, many people are anosmic by the way), as a nature-identical musk, as it is the crucial molecule in natural musk indeed, yet natural deer musk tincture doesn't smell only of it, but of many components which account for its complex animalistic character with its pungent and urinous shades.

    However ,from a perfumer's point of view I believe they are accurate, only the consumer isn't always in the know and might get confused (expecting a dirty musk, getting a clean one or non-existant one instead)

    Of course I might be splitting hairs here….

  5. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to add that to my understanding Iso E Super is not a musk aromatic, but a woody-amber one, used in functional products:

    Do they advertise the fragrance around it as musky?

  6. Anonymous says:

    This sounds interesting, have to see where to find a sniff…….

  7. Anonymous says:

    I can't seem to find the article on musk anosmia. Can you direct me to it?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I haven't yet gone back to Vetiver Dance (it is named now!) for a second try but will try to do that soon. It was not love at first sight, at least not for me — I know it has some avid fans already!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don't think most consumers expect “musk” to smell animalic these days…most fragrances with “musk” don't, and of course, most consumers have never smelled real deer musk.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think of it as a woody musk, but perhaps it is not officially classified that way. It is all the same to me — many musk aroma chemicals don't smell like “musk” to me anyhow.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Aedes & Luckyscent both have samples, I think.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There isn't any one article, it is just a subject that has come up many times in the past — sorry if that wasn't clear!

  13. Anonymous says:

    funny, I was just talking about this line with w friend of mine. Gotta go and retry02

  14. Anonymous says:

    What did you think of it the first time — could you smell it?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This article prompted me to pull out my tucked away samples of E01 and M01. Back when I first tried them out I only dabbed them on and could hardly smell them if not at all. Today I poured on the entire sample. Can clearly smell the E01 and very faintly the M01. I was given a bottle of Nasomatto Silver Musk. I can't smell it…others do.

  16. Anonymous says:

    That's a good point, true.

    However surely these are fragrances that due to their very niche nature appeal to those who have some experience in these things and are often searching for something beyond the deaprtment store 'clean” musks.

    But perhaps it all boils down to how it impresses them after they sample, since we all perceive things somewhat differently. Which your post makes it very clear is the bottomline!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, I can't remember getting a very strong impression of these at all, thought they smelled vaguely sweet and warm and maybe even a little “synthetic”? Can't quite remember, but I felt no need to try them on skin… Perhaps I should? Anyway, the new and very very bored SA at Harvey Nichols sprayed one of them (I think it was the Escentric one? Probably the one he recommended to me as well – maybe he couldn't smell the other?) all over himself (actually, mostly on his shirt) saying “I hope it works!” He seemed convinced they were aphrodisiac pheromone-type of scents…

    I always thought Iso E Super was synthetic cedarwood! That's what I heard about the 01s and that's what I get – a very faint, soft, warm cedar I easily get anosmic to, plus some nice pepper and lime in Escentric 01.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Haha, Solander, I have met the same guy! He also presented the molecules as aphrodisiac pheremone-type scents, and said most specifically that I wouldn't be able to smell them on me, but other people would, and would be maddened with desire. I said I wasn't interested, because most of my perfume wearing is an in-home activity and there is no point if I can't smell the darn stuff myself. From reading the comments above, it seems there is something to smell after all, if a bit hit and miss depending on the circs. This SA is not going to shift a ton of product telling customers a perfume has no smell, haha! I mean, what if on me these perfumes smelt horrible to other people? Not only would I get no pleasure from them, but those around me would be repulsed. It all seemed much too risky – and in retrospect, a load of cobblers!

  19. Anonymous says:

    If all brands start to write so well, we'll have nothing to do. Luckily, I don't think it is likely to happen :-)
    I cherish my last 3mls of 3As4 :-(

  20. Anonymous says:

    Interesting — I haven't tried the Nasomatto yet, but will see if I can get a sample.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Solander & Vanessa,

    Very funny — sounds like their SA maybe needs another training session.

  22. Anonymous says:

    M, I'm rationing my 3As4 too…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sexy, elusive, fizzy dirt appeals to me. Escentric 01 still knocks me out. I'll try it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And “haunting sparkle.”

  25. Anonymous says:

    What is 3As4?

  26. Anonymous says:

    I can arrange that for you if you'd like.

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is the ThreeAsFour scent for Colette mentioned in the article above.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Let me know if you find that “haunting sparkle”…

  29. Anonymous says:

    Interesting – both the 01s were actually heavily pushed as aphrodisiac type scents in the UK press (as worn by Kate Moss – blargle). Anyhow, I loved Escentric01 and find Molecule01 good for layering so rushed to try the 02s. The Molecule02 is very soft on me – bought it – but fizz or sparkle is not how I'd describe the top notes on Escentric02 – drill straight through the temple is more like it. Sure, it's lovely after a couple of hours but the process of getting there makes me want to rip my head off it's so sharp – not sharp in a citrus flavour sense but in a sharp pointed needle type of way. Disappointing for me – the description sounded so tempting.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Really? Hard to see why, they're so simple, and they both use very widely used ingredients. Whatever.

    So sorry you found Escentric 02 a drill to the temple! We're opposites — the first 20 minutes are my favorite part. That part of my brain must already be destroyed, LOL…

  31. Anonymous says:

    BFL: I'm so sorry I missed this very kind offer! There is supposely a sample already on its way to me, but if that doesn't work out I'll get back to you!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Sexy, elusive, fizzy dirt with a haunting sparkle would appeal to me too.

    Sadly, after a brief hint at gin and tonic, I get eau de carrote w/a splash of mineral water. Not that that's unpleasant, mind you. Something about that sweet/sharp, bitter/green combo in carrots, after all… But sexy? Not on me, anyway.

  33. Anonymous says:

    LOL — well, that's a few pennies saved :-)

  34. Owen says:

    hmm a very pciky fragrance then
    I thought both these fragrances were the same thing.
    but molecule 02 is available at Harvey Nichols. and HN say that molecule 01 is the fragrance that fades then re-appears over the day?

    I’d love to try all three of the molecules, I hope they’ve got them in HN Leeds :)

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