I believe I first heard about Molecule 01 from this blog post by A Model Recommends’ Ruth Crilly absolutely years ago. At that time I wasn’t into perfumes or wanting to announce my entrance into adulthood to the world by dousing myself in a signature scent. For the life of me I can’t recall how or why I decided to take the plunge and buy it, but I am so glad that I did.
You will know by now, dear readers, that I have a hypersensitive nose and as a result almost all mainstream and coveted perfumes are largely danger zones for me and my sinuses.
Modern day perfumes are made up of hundreds of aroma chemicals, some of them extracted from original sources (i.e. flowers), some of them created synthetically to resemble highly rare or unethically sourced ingredients (e.g. various animal musks, oud).
Molecule 01 is made up of a single scent molecule, ISO E Super, which is commonly used to add woody signatures to a scent. As there is no top, middle, or base note, the smell is linear and unchanging in the conventional perfume way. Initial sniffs reveal a very subtle, slightly sweet, milky/velvety but firmly cedar/sandalwood woody smell, something that you might come across in a woodwork studio. There is truly nothing else to it.
The effect upon spritz is varied – reviews document wearers being chased down the street by passers-by demanding to know what they are wearing, and also having absolutely no effect on anyone else, some people not even being able to smell the molecule once they apply to themselves. To date I personally have only had 3 people pick up that I was wearing something (two have described me as smelling delicious; the other one couldn’t put her finger on it) in the 3-4 years I’ve owned this scent.
Some have argued that Iso E Super behaves like a pheromone, alerting inner primal instincts that are knee jerk reactions rather than logical thought processes in others, and as a result the smell is different on everyone depending on their natural chemistry.
I can’t say I’ve ever turned heads in the way that Robin Scherbatsky did when she donned a little sundress, but I can confirm that a change in temperature definitely changes the smell of Molecule 01 to my nose. I tend to wear this exclusively during winter because the created wood notes are very warm, soothing and comforting; I feel like I’m wearing my favourite duvet with me. As soon as the sun is involved and the temperature rises, I can’t tolerate the smell, which becomes significantly more musky, almost cloying and suffocating. Since I didn’t really give any credence to the pheromone claims, it certainly came as a surprise when I was able to detect a proper change in smell purely based on the change in season.
Despite my love for this perfume, I’d be hard pressed to highly suggest this to a first time perfume user blind, only because the percentage of people who can and cannot smell this molecule is truly 50-50. It would be a waste investing in a bottle of this if you couldn’t actually detect Iso E Super and therefore enjoy it yourself.
The flip side to that argument is that if everyone else can smell you and adores it, then you can feel good that other people think you smell good.
On the other hand if you’re a bit sensitive like I am but still like the concept of perfume, then I couldn’t recommend this as your first scent purchase more. It has the added bonus of being infinitely layerable with other perfumes too, so is a versatile bottle to have in your starting kit as you find more perfumes to add to your signature arsenal.
Molecule 01 is available in Australia at Mecca Cosmetica and in their stores in either the full 100ml bottle, or a 30ml travel size, which comes with its own metal case to protect against knocks.