In my introduction yesterday I mentioned this quote from perfumer Geza Schoen on why he would use Iso E Super. He said, “it is the perfect basic kind of soup stock to cook the best soup with ever.” It is the reason Molecule 01 which is nothing but Iso E Super is as popular as it is. This is one of those ingredients in perfumery which opens new pathways for anyone designing fragrances. For Hr. Schoen to return to it and add in a single other keynote ends up displaying why that is so. I’m going to review these three new items on Chef Schoen’s menu.
Molecule 01 + Mandarin
All three of these are simple binary perfumes. There are other things in support, but they are there to enhance the two main pieces. 01 + Mandarin is the only one of the three which has two very distinct phases. It opens with the brilliance of citrus radiating through the inherent transparency of Iso E Super. This is part of the flexibility of it. It allows other ingredients to shine like a beam of light through its prism. In this case the mandarin begins to lose the bright wavelengths at the core while keeping the bitter ones as the Iso E Super takes over. This is that dusty dried earth effects the aromachemical is known for. As the dregs of the mandarin add in an appealing bite it all feels as if that early sun is now setting.
Molecule 01 + Iris
This is the perfume which launched this idea when Hr. Schoen created it for his partner. He uses Iris Pallida as the source of that ingredient. This is where he shows the elegance that Iso E Super can display. If 01 + Mandarin was the street food on this menu, 01 + Iris is the vichyssoise. It reminds me of the velvety texture of the best iterations I have had of the creamy soup. The iris is also passed through the prism of its perfume partner. In this case it opens it up. This is where the lift and expansiveness of Iso E Super takes a luxurious ingredient like iris and creates a surface for it to spread out over. There is a chic sophistication in the way the ionones find their way to stay pleasantly on top of it all for the entire time.
Molecule 01 + Patchouli
This is my kind of soup. This is the Asian type full of aromatic ingredients pulsing off the broth in enveloping waves. As Chef Schoen told me in our conversation patchouli is usually propelled through musks and other deeper ingredients. When he uses this prism of Iso E Super it also gives it permission to not be as dark. It asks it to be opaquer. This is the least transparent of the three yet is way lighter than a typical perfume featuring patchouli. The Iso E Super picks it up and then both ingredients keep rotating into different ways of interacting. This is the most dynamic of the three as each keeps the other looking its best.
If you want to understand why Iso E Super is such a critical piece of modern perfumery Hr. Schoen has provided all the pieces you need to learn. These three new menu items round out the story begun in 2005 with Molecule 01 and Escentric 01.
Disclosure: this review is based on bottles of each perfume provided by Escentric Molecules.