When Molecule 01 by Eccentric Molecules launched in 2005 famous fragrance addicts like Elton John and Madonna were quick  to rave about it. The word out was that a mere whiff of this magic love potion would trigger a raging lust-fest. Everyone was racing to get their hands on a bottle since nothing sells like sex, right?

Molecule 01 was created as kind of an experiment by the German perfumer Geza Schoen. It was supposed to be more of a non-perfume scent for people who don’t want to smell like they’re wearing fragrance. According to Mr. Schoen, “It was meant for people who wanted a feeling more than an actual fragrance.”

It’s based on a single ingredient Iso E Super, which was rumored to possess mysterious pheromone-like powers. Only one ingredient! For those not familiar with Iso E Super, it’s a woodsy/peppery smelling chemical accord that warms up and fills out everything from perfume to shampoos and floor cleaners.

How does it smell? Well on me it smelled faintly woody with a tinge of musk, kind of a masculine scent. But here’s the thing, you can only smell it for a few minutes before it kind of disappears. The weirdest part of wearing this scent is that even after you stop smelling it, everyone you come into contact with will be able to pick up on the aroma. Frankly that creeped me out more than a little.

Curious to see what others’ reactions were I did an online search on Fragrantica. No surprise that I wasn’t the only person who experienced the peek-a-boo quality or what one reviewer called the “ghosting” effect.

Reviews posted on Luckyscent read:

“This is a magical unisex scent that is so sensual and softly alluring that you might fall in love with yourself while wearing it.”

“Two handsome men walked by me and both of them were wearing it. It’s such a distinct and unique scent. It immediately made me hot and go back to their hotel with them…The tall one seduced me…we lounged by the pool all day and made love all night.”

“A polarizing fragrance. It is the smell of Iso E Super, the chemical that smells like cedar wood (and clings like glue). It’s found in a number of best-selling perfumes, so there is clearly a fan base out there. On the other hand it is frankly noxious to others. Not just as in ‘I don’t care for that aroma’, but as in ‘good lord, get me away from that, it’s giving me a headache.’ So a real love it or hate it proposition.”

Molecule 01 is definitely something you need to wear to understand. I was almost in the “not for me” camp until I tried layering it with one of my favorite fragrances, Knot by Bottega Veneta. What a game changer! Something about combining the two scents produced an amplified and richer version of the Knot scent I’d been used to. I’ve since tried blending it with some of my other favorite scents and it’s produced the same magnified effect.

I guess my final conclusion about Molecule 01 on me is that it’s interesting but best when combined with another fragrance. There are clearly many who experience mesmerizing results just wearing it by itself and happily shell out $135 for a bottle of this juice.

After the success of Molecule 01, Escentric  Molecules came out with Molecule 02 where the single ingredient is Ambroxan and Molecule 03 which is composed of vetiver acetate. They are launching 04 in the near future which is based on Javanol.

Molecule 01 can be purchased from or on Amazon.

AP&Primera Division, Luxury Business Unit