The Cult Scent: Escentric Molecules 01 Review

Sunday 25 January 2015

Describing a scent is always going to be somewhat of a challenge.

Describing a scent that is purpose engineered to smell completely different on each individual is even harder.

So this post is going to be ridiculously hard. Having said that, I still want to attempt it, because I am in love.

Deeply and irrevocably in love.

And because we’re told love is crazy, this post has to be attempted!

If you dream of smelling unique and breaking free from the ranks of candy apple scented bland offerings from Coty, then Escentric Molecules could be the label that saves you.

They produce singular perfumes that use the wearer’s own body chemistry to create something unique to each wearer.

There are three ‘Molecules’ in the range, all numbered, and all quite different. My love is 01, which is generally described as the ‘warmest’ and most ‘animal’ of each of the scents.

I smelt it on a colleague and instantly fell for it – it was one of those ‘What are you wearing I must own it now!’ moments.

I’m quite fussy about perfumes and generally only wear a very small selection that really appeal to me – so for me to love something at first sniff is unusual.

My daily go-to scent is Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, which I’ve worn religiously since the age of 15 and has made an appearance at all the high days and holidays of my life.

I also like Lancome’s Miracle, and a few single note fragrances, like pure Jasmine oil and orchid. But when I’d smelt this one, I asked my husband to get me some at Christmas, and he very kindly did.

Escentric Molecules 01 is a head-turner, in a very classy way. Its warm, inviting and smooth.

Like velvet, if that had a scent – creamy, luxurious and a little peppery, which I love.

It’s a complex, interesting scent due to the fact it develops so differently. It uses the molecule ISO E Super, described as a ‘subtle, warm, woody accord’ to weave its spell.

Most people can’t place exactly what it smells like, and you can expect a lot of questions about what you’re wearing because it doesn’t smell like much else out there.

Of course, there is the curve ball that its going to smell different on you than on your sister/next door neighbour/dog, but I like that about it – that’s what makes it so interesting.

Due to its single-molecule construction, it also layers fabulously under any other perfume, adding a warm, vaguely musky, darker dimension to the ‘florientals’ I favour.

If you have always wanted a bespoke perfume but lack the hundreds of pounds generally needed to secure a decent custom-blend, then this is a really exciting scent. It takes and enhances your own natural chemistry – literally amplifying the smell of you.

That’s about as unique as anything off the shelf will ever get. I like how it enhances what’s naturally there, rather than adding stuff on top.

The way this perfume works is slightly different, too. The scent is said to ‘vanish’ when you spray it, and then ‘re-emerge’ about 15 minutes later, having merged with your own pheromones. Apparently it is quite hard to smell it on yourself, but you’ll definitely notice other people’s reactions.

Of course, there is always the risk that you might not particularly like how ‘you’ smells.

This scent is definitely Marmite in that people who have tried it seem to either love it or hate – violently. There don’t seem to be many lukewarm reactions out that. Like good writing, it seems to divide the beauty-loving nation.

A lot of people seem to say that they have strong reactions from others when wearing it, that strangers ask them what they are wearing – and that is certainly how I came across it myself - but that could be a part of the mystique that builds up around anything ‘cult’ out there.

Some people smell more citrusy in it, some more woody, some like ‘figs’ apparently. The lady I smelt it on was best described as ‘peppery’ (it reminded me a bit of Molton Brown’s Black Peppercorn, if you like that).

On me its decidedly more ‘creamy’ although there are elements of all of the above. It will be different again on you, but I just adore that. It makes me want to spray it on anyone I come across, just to wonder at the infinite varieties one little molecule can provide.

If you like something unusual, with a really different concept behind it, I think you’ll be intrigued by this.

I have also heard that looking for the molecule ‘ISO E Super’ on eBay throws up a host of similar options that are a lot cheaper, so it might be worth trying one of those first if you feel undecided about the whole thing.

I’m debating picking one up myself to throw into my handbag, although the Escentric Molecules is long-lasting enough that it’s not a dire necessity.

In fact, the only thing I really don’t like about it is the packaging.

I guess its supposed to look ‘sciencey’ and unisex, but the purplish graphics on the bottle just look cheap. I think the box and bottle look like one of the no-name fragrances you see being sold on market stalls and in the kind of shops that only operate for three months in run down malls at the edge of town.

This fragrance deserves better. Its simple and beautifully seductive – the kind of concept that could really speak to a pared-back, minimalist design.

The current one is not it, so I’m not in love with the bottle at all. The perfume is good enough to ignore the packaging, but I do think they could do far better for such an unique concept fragrance.

How do you sum up something so wilfully individual?

I can only say that if you’re interested by the idea of something very ‘you’, something that celebrates the natural beauty of your chemistry, something that is certainly different to the sickly trend of scent in recent years, Escentric Molecules 01 is an absolute must-try.

Buy it from Cult Beauty and Liberty.


  1. Have you ever tried layering coco mad and molecule 01? I love coco mademoiselle but don't want to smell like every other lady in the city, so I'm tempted to try to layer it with something else.

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