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Iso E Super: inspired invention or chemical horror?

Iso E Super: inspired invention or chemical horror? 7 years ago
On the "Off Topic" forum there is a fun thread call Either/Or. One reader will post two choices; say, "Which do you prefer, red M&M's or blue M&M's?" and another reader chooses their preference. Our friend Cryptic posted an interesting Either/Or poser:
Iso E Super: inspired invention or chemical horror?

The aroma chemical Iso E Super is probably best known for striking commercial gold as the strong, dry cedar accord in Jean Claude Elena's creation, "Terre d'Hermes". Elena has also used Iso E in several other Hermes fragrances. I find his use of Iso E successful because he typically pairs it with equally strong yet contrasting essences, especially citruses.

Unfortunately, success breeds imitators so it's not surprising that the smell of Iso E has become ubiquitous. An acquaintance of mine wears some fragrance -I don't know what it is- and the main components are Iso E paired with a very strong animalic accord. It is the definition of the perfume insult, "It smells like a hamster cage." To make matters worse he often wears the same clothing for a couple of days in a row so things get a little ripe. Now I can't get that smell out of my head so I rarely wear any Iso E fragrances.

So, Iso E Super: inspired invention or chemical horror?
Last edited by Greysolon on 18.04.2015, 03:01; edited 1 time in total
7 years ago
Nice topic, Greysolon.

I'm not really pro or anti. Generally speaking I like it when perfumers have a big palette of ingredients to work with. That's how I see Iso E Super and also how I see calone: They have a function and can lead to some good creations. I wear TDH but I'm not crazy about it anymore. But it's undeniable that it has good longevity thanks to Iso E Super. I also smelled "Molecule 01", which consists purely of Iso E Super. On the one hand it's impressive that the 1 molecule can have several different scent-aspects at the same time. But on the downside, it made me sneeze. It's also one of those molecules that stays in my nose for hours, whether you want it or not. So - not a fan, not a hater either.

Now I'm really curious what cologne your acquaintance uses! Maybe a synthetic oud? On the other hand the cages of rodents really smell sour, so I hope he changes to something with more calone Smile
7 years ago
I think it's a matter of, "Familiarity breeds contempt." I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong or substandard with aroma chemicals; actually it's just the opposite problem. Iso E's beauty and complexity have caused it to be a victim of its own success. It's sort of Pachelbel's Canon in D of the fragrance world. It's everywhere! Using Pachelbel's music as an analogy, most people don't realize his (in)famous work imbues the form of the canon with a degree beauty and complexity rarely achieved. Think Freres Jacques on steroids. It's really miraculous. But it's hard to fault someone for thinking, "Oh dear lord, not this piece of crap again!" when they hear the Canon played at yet another wedding.
The same hackneyed overuse of Iso E (and calone) is also true. Iso E is such a beautiful, complex essence that it can almost stand on its own as a complete scent. Almost. Once an Iso E based fragrance hit the jackpot other houses jumped in with their own setting of this novel aroma chemical. My feeling is that these remora flankers are intended to draw in the casual consumer with a scent that is perceived as smelling just like, say, Terre d'Hermes. Since Iso E is the obvious, novel note/accord then the last thing these wannabes want to do is confuse shoppers with anything too complex. So they try to let the Iso E melody stand on its own without any canonic counterpoint to muddle an impulse purchase.
As curious as I am about my friend's perfume, I'm not asking. He's not one to take criticism well and I have a feeling my face would belie my extreme dislike for... whatever it is Crying or Very sad
Last edited by Greysolon on 01.12.2015, 03:01; edited 5 times in total
7 years ago
Yep, you' re right about how cheaper brands use Iso E Super, and also about Pachelbel's Canon!
7 years ago
Well said Greysalon, I think your observations are spot on, about IsoE and Cannon D.
7 years ago
Greysolon:
Iso E is such a beautiful, complex essence that it can almost stand on its own as a complete scent. Almost.

Actually, you can get it in a sort of single note perfume by Geza Schön: "Molecule 01"

But, after having tested "Molecule 01" I am in doubt that Iso E Super is the characteristic Terre d'Hermès note. I would say, Molecule 01 smells different than the typical cedar-like base in TdH. I do recognise it as a perfume ingredient but a different one. To me, it is something along the woody-ambery line.

I know that some people are anosmic to Molecule 01 (Iso E Super), so maybe this fragrance ingredient is generally perceived differently by different people.

Given that it is not a perfume composition, Molecule 01 is grossly overpriced. You pay for the bottle and the packaging, and for the convenience of not having to look further.

Or is Geza Schön betraying us and Molecule 01 does not contain any Iso E Super at all?

Maybe it is worth ordering a small amount of Iso E Super from Perfumer's Apprentice instead, just to find out.
7 years ago
I really like Iso e Super. I like how it smells and I like what it can do to fragrance.

I discovered Molecule One when the very stylish receptionist at my Dentists Practice was wearing it. There was this beautiful, ethereal, woody, smell with a note almost like Iris, and sandalwood, hovering in the air all around her. After that I bought it. It smells great to me, and I love it when I catch the trail of someone wearing it, which I do fairly regularly. It must be a word of mouth fragrance.

There is a good dose of Iso E Super in Dolce and Gabana Light Blue. Encre Noir has one of the highest concentrations. I think It's around quite a bit in the Hermessance range, Poivre Samarcande being one.

I hear people say that they are anosmic/allergic/it gives them headaches. Given the standards for safe materials nowadays I would think that it is safe, for the time being.....
7 years ago
Apicius:
Maybe it is worth ordering a small amount of Iso E Super from Perfumer's Apprentice instead, just to find out.

I have a sample from Perfumer's Apprentice and it seems pretty clear that Iso E is at the heart of Terre d'Hermes. There are other essences used to boost it but Iso E is the dominant note.

Last week I spritzed on Terre d'Hermes from my 2-3 year old bottle and was surprised to find the citrus notes had all but disappeared. Sad Then I thought I ought to check my summer favorite Pamplemousse Rose to make sure it was OK. Same thing, no citrus. Iso E? Just fine. Yes, I stored them well but it's just part of the transitory nature of our obsession with volatile substances. Sigh...
7 years ago
It is sad how the top citrus notes always go first. My poor Emeraude! (though in her defense she is form the 60s). Actually Looking through my Vintages I don't have any over 10 years old where the citrus tops aren't at least flat if not completely gone or even off.

Re reading this thread reminds me that I need to seek out a sample of IsoE so I have a good baseline for reviewing scents comprised of it.
chem lab creature 7 years ago
re ISO-E in Encre Noire. Just posted a review about how the chem lab creature, pure and beautiful, detained me from an uninterrupted focus on the maiden, vetiver. Both vetiver and the Iso touch reminds me of Guinevere and Lancelot being so in love but one of them, antagonizes the other's own place. I really was looking forward to all of the rave reviews about EN hoping to to capture vetiver alone yet had to succumb to the other's presence that trips the switch. The Iso seems to enhance perhaps, but wouldn't leave the moment be vetiver either. Don't know if I can really explain this.
3 years ago
I really like Iso E in molecule 01. I only that brands use it too much now because Molecule 01 is a hype.
2 years ago
the concept of molecules 01 seems incredible to me. but I think we should distinguish the molecule as the main ingredient or the molecule as an addition to a set of ingredients.

As a perfume lover, adding synthetic molecules that can modify or enhance an aroma, on the one hand, as I said, I like it, but on the other, it makes me feel a little cheated.

I think it is the responsibility of the creators to use it with responsibility and moderation
1 year ago
ISO-E 👎
1 year ago
Palmbeach
ISO-E 👎

Oh why don't you like it???

1 year ago
Orandave
Palmbeach
ISO-E 👎

Proč se ti to nelíbí ???

Protože je to čistá chemie - nemyslím si, že je to dobré pro zdraví

1 year ago
Palmbeach
Orandave
Palmbeach
ISO-E 👎

Proč se ti to nelíbí ???

Protože je to čistá chemie - nemyslím si, že je to dobré pro zdraví

Can you translate that please? 😅

1 year ago

The effect of chemicals - especially amplifiers - does not have a good effect on the body. It is absorbed through the skin and respiratory tract. I try not to use such a perfume if the chemistry is too much. The perfume should be beautiful and should have therapeutic value. Unfortunately, good perfumes are usually also very expensive - because they are expensive original ingredients. Someone doesn't feel the chemistry, I have a very sensitive nose, just because they don't feel it doesn't mean they're healthy. But I understand it's always a choice. It's my opinion, but I'm not forcing it on others. Because you asked, I answer. Have a nice day and nice greetings from Prague PS - I'm sorry, my English is not great Smile

6 months ago
chemical horror
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