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.