We first discovered Escentric Molecules when stylist Alisa Neely of Scout came in to Dress wearing it almost 15 years ago now. It drew an immediate, "Wow, what are you wearing?!" Soon after, we began stocking the brand, and, to this day, we continue to answer the many frequent questions we hear about it:
Which came first, Escentric 01 or Molecule 01?
What's the difference between Escentric 01 and Molecule 01?
What is Iso E Super?
I can't always smell it on myself, is that normal?
In an effort to clear up some of the mystery that lies around the brand and their difficult-to-put-into-words line of fragrances, including one of their latest releases, Molecule 01 + Patchouli, that we currently can't get enough of, we thought we would share what we know about the brand, starting from the beginning.
Geza Schoen, creator of Escentric Molecules, first discovered his passion for fragrance as a young boy growing up in Kassel, Germany. He would tear fragrance advertisements from magazines and write to the manufacturer to request samples. To his surprise, a few weeks later, samples would arrive in the mail. His collection grew over time allowing him to mix and discover his preferences. He would later pinpoint that all of the fragrances he liked most contained Iso E Super, an aroma-molecule that was created in a laboratory at IFF in 1973 that Schoen first discovered in isolation sitting on a shelf in a lab where he worked over two decades after its creation.
Schoen's overwhelming connection to the scent would lead him to experiment with Iso E Super in unheard-of proportions. One night he suggested to a friend that they spritz themselves in nothing but the aroma-molecule itself. The outcome was very telling as many passers-by that evening halted in their tracks to comment and inquire about what they were smelling. After that night, Schoen went on to create two fragrances in homage to this enigmatic attractant.
One fragrance would contain an unprecedented 65% of the molecule. The rest of the formula would consist of ingredients designed to underscore its low-lit mood (pink pepper, lime peel and orris incense). This was Escentric 01, which we have been replenishing on an ongoing basis at Dress since we first introduced it in 2007.
If Escentric 01 was radical, the second fragrance was totally non-conformist. It would contain only the molecule Iso E Super. Schoen recalled thinking at the time, “This one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.” He was wrong. From its launch in 2006, Escentric Molecules was a phenomenon, with Molecule 01 becoming an immediate cult phenomenon, hailed as the anti-fragrance fragrance and the scent of the 21st century. Celebrities including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rhianna, and Kate Moss were all early fans of the brand.
Interestingly, to some, Escentric Molecules smells like nothing, at least on themselves. Read more about that here in an article that ran in the September 2016 issue of Town & Country.
Schoen followed the first pair of fragrances, Escentric 01 and Molecule 01, with 02, 03, 04, and in 2020, a fifth pair, Escentric Molecules 05. Each pair focuses on those rare aroma-molecules that have the radiance and depth of character to stand alone.
The latest debut is the Molecule 01 + series. Three different fragrances, each comprised of Iso E Super plus one main natural ingredient (+ Iris, + Mandarin and + Patchouli). Of the three, we were immediately drawn to Molecule 01 + Patchouli. It's an unbelievably captivating scent that develops as you wear it.
We are very pleased to now offer Molecule 01 + Patchouli as part of our Escentric Molecules line-up at Dress.
Schoen says of his latest release: “Patchouli is a unique natural. Unlike 99% of perfume ingredients, we associate it with a particular period, with the 60's and 70's and that bohemian spirit. It has a cool, rather aloof woodiness to it. I love it for its moody beauty. I’ve used two qualities of patchouli here. The biggest chunk is Patchouli Coeur which is a very clean, soft patchouli oil fraction with the camphor-like top note removed. I have also included a patchouli oil from Indonesia to round it out with a little bit of a top note. The result is a sophisticated, clean patchouli that pairs fantastically well with Molecule 01.”
Shop our complete collection of Escentric Molecules here on our website.