Let me state the obvious to anyone who has ever read my posts: I am not a chemist! If you are, and have more scientific information on what follows, don't be shy about commenting (I won't take offense).
Escentric Molecules' latest creations, Molecule 041 and Escentric 042, are about the aroma chemical Javanol — a sandalwood-type molecule prepared from turpentine obtained from pine trees.3 Molecule 04 is "just" Javanol (diluted, of course); Escentric 04 is a more complex composition built around Javanol.
I can't smell Javanol. Some problematic aroma chemicals will cause complete temporary anosmia, blocking my ability to smell anything for awhile (it feels as if two cold steel balls, about the size of golf balls, have been shoved up my nostrils; there's an immediate, and strange, sense of something being "shut down" or "closed off"). Javanol/Molecule 04 does not have this effect: I can't smell the Javanol, but I can still smell the bouquet of roses or cup of coffee next to my computer.
Javanol, like some other sandalwood "substitutes," can't be smelled by a significant number of people. So far, only one person of the six people I've let sample Molecule 04 can smell it. While researching Javanol and its sandalwood-like brethren, I read that many of these molecules — Osyrol, Santaliff, Sandela — are difficult to detect or are "scentless" at certain concentrations. Perfumers sometimes get around this problem in the same way they do with musk aroma chemicals: by using more than one in a composition.
I've read one can sometimes, with patience and daily application, "learn" to smell Javanol and its like (more on my Javanol experiment soon). I've also read that Javanol, if encountered too often, may end up being undetectable even by those who could initially smell it; Javanol can exhaust the nose. I found this personally hilarious: I'm training myself to smell something I won't be able to smell again!
Javanol sounds interesting; it is described as a powerhouse, complex chemical.
For the last month I've worn Molecule 04 every day. In week one, I could not smell anything but alcohol. Week two brought forth the scent of dust motes. After that came the scent of a toaster melting (hot metal and plastic) mixing with the dust. Finally, last week, I was able to smell the faintest of sandalwood aromas: a creamy sandalwood mixed with roses. I can smell this for less than a minute.
I'm bored. I have delightful sandalwood perfumes I can smell. Molecule 04: I'm not your audience.
I smell Escentric 04 just fine (at least, the non-Javanol bits). Escentric 04 goes on with strong and spicy grapefruit/bergamot; this accord is hard-edged (and I can detect the "melting toaster" aspect I also smelled in Molecule 04). The floral elements of Escentric 04 are blurred (with some mild rose, pervasive Hedione and sweet freesia). In its base, I detect Ambroxan, Iso E Super (another molecule that tires the nose) and a mix of notes that remind me of the scent of a pond in summer: a wet, grassy aroma mixing with mineral-rich/musky "water" — maybe that's the vetiver, Ambrox and cavorting beaver (castoreum). I enjoy Escentric 04 but wonder if I'm getting the entire "story."
My Javanol experience makes me realize, more than ever, how much our perceptions of perfumes differ. How many things aren't I smelling that I should be? If there hadn't been a Molecule 04, I would've never known I was missing something in Escentric 04!
If you can smell Molecule 04/Javanol, be a "guest contributor" for a day and give us all a mini-review in the comments section. I'll be sending my Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 to Robin Here at NST™; I can't wait to see if she can smell them.
Escentric Molecules Escentric 04 and Molecule 04 Eaux de Toilette are $150 for 100 ml. For buying information, see the listing for Escentric Molecules under Perfume Houses.
1. Perfumer Geza Schoen; listed note: Javanol
2. Perfumer Geza Schoen; listed notes: pink grapefruit, bergamot, juniper berries, pink pepper, freesia, osmanthus, Hedione, orris, Javanol, rose, mastic, labdanum, musk, Iso E Super, Ambroxan, vetiver, castoreum.
3. Read more on Javanol creation and usage here.
Note: middle image is Egon Schiele Self-Portrait (missing a nose) via Wikimedia Commons.