There are a few perfumers who are also trained chemists. Obviously when I am with them we geek out about molecules that smell good. What has always occurred to me during those discussions is we are able to take them a level deeper because we understand the chemistry as well as the perfumery of it all. It seems like there should be a way for those of you who are not chemists to have a way to enter the discussion too. Enter chemist and perfumer Geza Schoen and his Escentric Molecules brand.
"Herr Professor Doktor" Schoen
In 2005 Hr. Schoen introduced the perfume world to an interesting concept in releasing a pair of perfumes. Molecule 01 would feature one aromachemical only diluted in alcohol; for the first one it was Iso E Super. Escentric 01 would be a perfume in which the featured aromachemical was present in high concentrations. It has turned out to be a winning combination allowing consumers to experience a single building block and then see it as part of a structure. It has been followed up by 02 which featured Ambroxan and 03 which featured Vetiveryl Acetate. Now we have arrived at a new pair of Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 around the aromachemical Javanol.
As with all the previous pairs Javanol is being used because it has become used in many new releases. It is a cost effective sandalwood replacement. Focused more on the creamy sweetly woody nature of real sandalwood while removing some of the drier more astringent character. It is that kind of crowd-pleasing ingredient which goes a long way and lasts a long time. Things consumers seem to conflate with quality. When you smell Molecule 04 that creamy woody quality is front and center. Hr. Schoen in the press materials mentions he detects a grapefruit aspect. I’ve smelled Javanol many times and I must say I have never experienced it and don’t when I wear Molecule 04. Another thing about a fragrance like Molecule 04 if you choose to use it as a perfume you wear often you will likely stop smelling it on yourself but almost everyone else around you will still be able to. It is because Molecule 04 as a single ingredient leads to you filtering it out because you become habituated to the smell. It’s like working in a garage and not smelling the motor oil because it is just part of your environment. Same concept with Molecule 04 you won’t notice it but it isn’t gone.
While the Molecule half of the equation is of interest it is always the Escentric side which generally puts a smile on my face. In Escentric 04 Hr. Schoen puts a really big grin on my face.
What has made the Escentric series stand out is Hr. Schoen takes these materials which are base notes and moves them up the pyramid so that they aren’t the finish line they are there right from the start. In Escentric 04 he uses grapefruit in the early going. Presumably to accentuate the grapefruit character I miss in Javanol itself. What does stand out is Hr. Schoen’s use of baie rose. I know he spent a lot of time with this ingredient recently and in Escentric 04 he uses it in a very kinetic manner adding fresh herbal counterpoints to the grapefruit while underneath the Javanol lifts it all up. Orris and rose provide an almost traditional woody floral accord in the heart. The biggest difference is that Hr. Schoen has doubled down on his sandalwood aromachemicals adding Polysantol. This other sandalwood aromachemical amplifies the sweet woodiness and the creaminess. I am guessing just upping the Javanol level didn’t create the effect Hr. Schoen wanted as well as combining the two molecules. Whatever the structural reason is the aesthetic result is like a detonation of sandalwood with orris, grapefruit, and rose shrapnel flung in all directions. In the base, he brings back his original two molecules Iso E Super and Ambroxan to form a molecular quartet of synthetic woods which last for well over 24 hours on my skin.
Molecule 01 and Escentric 04 have overnight longevity and average sillage but remember once they settle into the synthetic ingredients it alters your perception of this.
When Hr. Schoen releases these pairs of perfume I call him Herr Professor Doktor as he seeks to educate and delight at the same time. With his fourth lecture, he has outdone himself. Escentric 04 is one of the best perfumes he has ever produced.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Escentric Molecules.