Escentric Molecules

Since its launch at Harvey Nichols in the UK in April 2006, Escentric Molecules has proved a runaway international success. It has made US Weekly’s Buzz-o-Meter, it was an Obsession for Fashion Wire Daily, and Item of the Week on It sold out in 48 hours in Australia – and it’s still Harvey Nicks’ top seller.
And along the way, the two fragrances Escentric 01 and Molecule 01 have acquired an army of devotees, among them Elton John, David Furnish, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Mario Testino, Scissor Sisters, Pet Shop Boys, Amy Sacco, Patrick Cox, Dita von Teese and the UK’s latest pop sensations Mika and Amy Winehouse.
What they’re all responding to is a provocative new proposition in the world of fragrance. The proposition is this: two scents launched simultaneously as an homage to a single scent ingredient, or aroma-chemical. As simple as that may sound, it has never been done before, which lends a frisson of revolution to the Escentric story.

The first scent, Escentric 01, uses the chosen aroma-chemical Iso E Super in an unprecedented concentration (65 per cent) together with other ingredients (including pink pepper, lime-peel and orris incense) in a new balance – rather than the traditional formula of top, heart and base notes, Escentric 01 moves quickly from top to bottom, focusing on a long, sensuously lingering base note that shifts almost like colours in a prism. It’s as though the fragrance has no heart, but an enormous amount of soul.
The second scent, Molecule 01, contains only Iso E Super, which, on its own, is less of an aroma than an effect. The wearer may notice a subtle velvety woody note which will vanish, then re-surface after some time, but more than this, she or he will notice the impact the fragrance has on other people, because Molecule 01 lends an indefinable radiance to the wearer. In fact, its effect is almost pheromonic. This is fragrance at its most radical.
For perfumer Geza Schoen, Molecule 01 is an uncompromising purist’s proposition. It is to perfume what Bauhaus is to Baroque. The design analogy is significant, because the Escentric series is a collaboration between Berlin-based Schoen and two visionary London operations: branding experts ThisCompany and the prize-winning MeCompany, whose pioneering graphic work encompasses everything from Bjork’s album sleeves to advertising campaigns for Lancome.
The packaging creates a visual co-relative for the Escentric concept by emphasising radiance, with different inks lending contrasting light effects. The graphics for Escentric 01 are inspired by mathematics. MeCompany was fascinated by the mathematical nature of the scent as much as its sensuous side, and saw this as an opportunity to explore various ways of depicting binary code. As futuristic as this sounds, the packaging is almost luxuriously decadent in its appeal to the senses. The graphic for Molecule 01 also draws on mathematics, and is equally rich and decorative.

As their names suggest, Escentric 01 and Molecule 01 are the first in a series of paired fragrances.