“We are really still a garage band, doing what we do from various hubs around the world, but it feels like fun,” declared Geza Schön, referring to his Escentric Molecules team. They’d come to Schön’s home base, Berlin, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ground-breaking perfume line that introduced synthetic-embracing unisex minimalism to the fragrance industry, starting in 2006 with the launch of Molecule 01, composed of 65 percent Iso E Super, and Escentric 01, its complementary perfume.
Among the gang on hand for the recent event was the brand’s design guru, Paul White of Me Company, and author and fragrance consultant Susan Irvine, who made many of the fateful introductions that set Escentric Molecules on its way to becoming the notorious bestselling cult fragrance some couldn’t smell, and others couldn’t resist.
Not only was the Molecule 01 formula a paradigm shift, but the bottle had no cap, and the brand opted for flying particles and binary code over buxom babes for the packaging and imagery.
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“Chemistry, science and technology are the things that feed our vision narrative,” explained Paul White. “We’re not interested in the sex side of selling fragrances. We never put a face to Escentric Molecules ever, no matter what. It has its own story, and we play around with that.”
A new chapter is about to begin. The brand will officially launch its next edition, Escentric Molecules 04, at Milan’s Esxence in March. Molecule 04 is based on Javanol, Givaudan’s sandalwood synthetic; its corollary, Escentric 04, adds grapefruit, juniper, osmanthus, rose, mastic and labdanum to the mix. Escentric Molecules 04 is designed, said Schön, to show this classic perfumery note in a whole new way: “Sandalwood for the first time in a fresh shape, instead of just being cloying and sweet.”
But first, it was time to celebrate with a custom scented dinner for around 65 invited guests, including perfumer Mark Buxton, designer Kostas Murkudis, Linda Pilkington of fragrance brand Ormonde Jayne, and ballet dancer Polina Semionova — all of whom have collaborated with the busy Schön on other scented projects.
Escentric Molecules is on course for something new. Its second edition launched in 2008, two years after the brand’s debut. Two years after that, came Escentric Molecules 03. Then came a break of six years, before the right match was made. Fragrance companies are all constantly looking for “the next big molecule,” noted Schön, so he is sure to have more new possibilities to play with.
Schön said the team does already have a molecule in mind for the fifth generation of the series, but that he plans to keep the line compact.
“We will never see Molecule 10. This is impossible,” he insisted. “Because I think we would look stupid, because if we get to 10 we would have to launch Molecules where you smell them and say, ‘I would never wear this on its own.’”