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Thread: Iso E Super

  1. #1
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Iso E Super

    Compiled from the Note Identification Project Thread:

    Iso E super: dry woody with pleasant ambery subnotes.

    Iso-E Super
    – Not as obnoxious as I remembered it from perfumes of previous decades. Big, bright, open, airy, with some of the freshness of aromatic cedar, but sweet and floral, like white flowers and roses. This is Calvin Klein Eternity.

    Iso E Super: oh wow it smells exactly like one of the Escentric Molecules fragrances - either Molecule 01 or Escentric 01. I think it might have been the latter but I never remember! Very sweet, watery, slightly fruity woods - although unlike cedarwood and sandalwood.

    Iso-E-Super, 2% dilution in carrier oil: this famous molecule packs a punch! Strong and long lasting, but it smells a little...well, like a generic men's fragrance base. Woody, full and rich but...meh. But at least, now I'm curious to smell Escentric Molecules Molecule 01, which is based solely on this aromachemical.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    Dry, bright, clear, watery, soft, rounded and sweet. It doesn't smell of much.

  3. #3
    BlackCat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iso E Super

    From The Perfumer's Apprentice pre-diluted solution: I get a tiny bit of watery woodiness, and that's it. I wonder if I'm anosmic to it? Which would be ironic, given that I can smell all the musks in the kit.
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  4. #4
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iso E Super

    Iso E Super is rather difficult to smell directly--my understanding is that the molecule is quite large, and therefore is not easily perceptible. When used in blends it has a "woodifying" effect rather than being a strong individual contributor to the scent.

    Iso E Super is in so many fragrances, it has come a bit boring to me. Almost all the Serge Lutens fragrances have it, as well as many woody designer scents (Bulgari Black, Terre d'Hermes, etc.). To my nose, there is a slight ammonia edge to the note, and if it is used in high percentage, I get a terrible headache.
    Last edited by Asha; 13th December 2009 at 09:25 PM.

  5. #5
    RainDropSparkle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iso E Super

    I keep hearing/reading that the Ormonde Jayne line uses Iso E Super in all or most of their line. It's been a few months since I tried my whole sampler, but I do remember a very distinct note that is present in pretty much everything I tried. As noted, it was/is a "woody", amber-y note, but I also seem to remember an odd characteristic well into the drydown - was it the Iso E Super or something else? Must retry.

    I was interested to learn more about "Iso E Super". With Google's help, I found this interesting PerfumeShrine article on it:

    Noting that the full IUPAC name for it appears to be:

    7-acetyl-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydro-1,1,6,7-tetramethyl naphthalene

  6. #6
    Asha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iso E Super

    RainDropSparkle--yes, it persists well into the drydown. In fact, you might not even be able to smell it until hours into the development.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    Faint, pleasantly woody on paper strip; turns overwhelmingly powerful and rancid on skin. Definitely something to avoid for me!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    It's effect is quite abstract. It adds diffuse volume. I've got a bottle of it (I occasionally make my own perfumes) and it's quite difficult to describe the effect: sort of ambient, peppery amber giving the impression of volume and power without really having a strong, identifiable smell. That's what I mean about abstraction.

    In large amounts I find it a bit sickly - it can give a similar sensation to indigestion as if you've just eaten something rich and oily.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    Iso E Super is usually described as smelling like old wood, with an ambery note and imparting a velvety quality to the finished perfume. Velvety is a good way to describe it I think. It adds roundness, fullness and bulk to a fragrance. In a way the inverse of the sparkling effect you get from the use of some of the aldehydes.

    Some people don't smell it at all or hardly at all, for others it is quite strong. In pure form it is a bit overwhelming. The IFRA limitation is 21.4% in the finished product but I can't imagine ever using that much: I normally work with it at 10% in ethanol at which level it is quite pleasant. I don't think I've ever used more than about 4% in a finished perfume.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    I love this stuff. In molecule 01 it is masterful! To my nose, it smells like...imagine opening your washing machine mid cycle after running a load of t-shirts using that old-school powdered detergent that smells like...well, old school powdered detergent! You get the smell of the water, the soap, the air. This smell could not be disliked by anyone. It's unobtrusive, non-offensive and totally a magic ingredient. People who say it doesn't smell or they cannot smell it, do not understand the ingredient on a molecular level.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    Iso E is very difficult to smell as it is one of those chemicals (the ionones are another set) which seem to paralyse your sense of smell. First sniff is OK, then nothing for awhile. I find it very strong, very diffusive and very long lasting. It is warm and woody, ambery and bright. Dip a smelling strip in neat Iso E, leave the room for half an hour;on your return you will be overwhelmed with the smell. Unless, of course you are anosmic.
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 7th September 2012 at 10:10 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Iso E Super

    I used to find this extremely scratchy and irritating, although my sensitivity to it has faded (thankfully!), and now find it as David and others describe. Do note, however, that some people are sensitive to it and it smells like the olfactory equivalent of sandpaper to those who are - extremely strong and irritating. I used to be able to put a fraction of a drop of this stuff (imagine taking just the tip of one of those applicator sticks from a sample vial - just the tip! - and touching it to your skin) below my belly button, and smell it strongly for hours and hours, despite being under two shirts and literally just a fraction of a ml of juice.
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  13. #13
    Dependent bigsteve's Avatar
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    Default ISO E Super

    I have determined it is the ISO E Super component that caused me to dislike two very popular frags: Terre de Hermes and Encre Noire. Both of these fragrances had a common, very dominant note that I did not find pleasant at all... and I've figured out that what these 2 frags have in common is alot of ISO E Super.
    At least with the TdH I did get a tiny bit of the bitter orange note. But with the Encre Noire, I get *none* of the smoky/woodsy/dark/earthy/brooding feel that many speak of. I just get pure ISO E Super.

  14. #14
    Basenotes Institution JiveHippo's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    You're probably right, but it could also be vetiver, they are both pretty vetiver heavy. If you want to know exactly what iso e super smells like sample Molecule 01.
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  15. #15
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    drseid's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    Sorry you did not enjoy those two masterpieces....
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  16. #16

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I'm not to keen on it and dislike it in Rose 31.

  17. #17

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    It's not a "masterpiece" if it makes you ill ! LOL.

  18. #18
    Dependent heperd's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    Really dislike both of them. I think it is something else combining with the Iso E though for me. I can wear Mol 01 with no problem because i can smell it at all. Its the peppery chemical vetiver in EN and the sharp, awful mineral note in TdH that ruin them.
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  19. #19
    Dependent OctaVariuM's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    That's unfortunate. I for one love TDH edt, though I've never smelled ISO E-super on its own.

  20. #20
    Dependent onethinline's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I suspect it's the vetiver in both that's turning you off (or perhaps vetiver combined with lots of Iso E Super). Iso E Super on its own, though, is a very, very subtle smell. It's more of a "feel" than anything else. It adds texture and diffusion to a composition rather than contributing a note, overall.

  21. #21

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I agree with what some have said about iso e super here, meaning that it comes across as more of a fume than a note, sort of like working at a gas company.

  22. #22
    Dependent senore01's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    Don't feel bad, I too, cannot stand/tolerate Iso E super. It rubs me the wrong way. That is why I do not own edt or en.

  23. #23
    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I own and love TdH, Encre Noir, and Molecule 01. I guess you can put me in the fan column!
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  24. #24
    Basenotes Institution L'Homme Blanc Individuel's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    It might NOT be the Iso E Super. I'm one of those who can REALLY smell Iso E Super. I had no idea what the stuff smelled like until I ordered a sample of Molecule 01 which is just Iso E Super diluted. I ADORE THE SMELL OF MOLECULE 01, but I can't stand Terre D'Hemres or Encre Noir. To me, Iso E Super smells like woods (especially cedar) with a hint of lemon/grapefruit citrus that cuts through.

    What I smell in Terre D'Hermes and Encre Noir that I hate is something darkly orange and pungent. Clearly, it's just something that my nose is particularly sensitive to since so many rave about TdH.
    Last edited by L'Homme Blanc Individuel; 15th November 2012 at 08:15 AM.
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  25. #25
    taint it sweet's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I think Encre Noire is great...wore it today. Not a huge fan of Molecule 01 though.

  26. #26

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    That does it, I'm making a home brew Molecule 01. I don't even think I'll like that all that much, but I really want to know what ISO E smells like by itself without paying out the nose for Escentric. I can easily recognize the common vein that various ISO E scents have (and I like many of them), but I don't know what the stuff alone smells like, and that bothers me! Time I found out! And I'd love to be able to ID it in scents where it isn't so obvious.
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  27. #27
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    Nothing I dislike about the two mentioned by the OP.

  28. #28

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    I agree with the person who said it might not be the ISO E Super you don't like. I am one of the lucky/unlucky few who isn't sensitive to it. I can barely detect anything in Molecule 01, and what I can think I detect may not even be there since I am wanting/straining to sense it, and yet a few others can smell it very clearly (i'd say a 50/50 split in my immediate group). I like Terre d'Hermes and love Encre Noire, and get a similar vibe in both (think Encre Noire is a "more dry" version of TDH), but whatever ISO E Super is in there, I can't smell it. Its possible thats the culprit but without a sample of Molecule 01 its hard to say.

  29. #29
    rum's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISO E Super

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    I'm not to keen on it and dislike it in Rose 31.
    Yikes, Rose 31 has it too? Ouch!

    As it happens, I tried Molecule 01 again only last week in a store. Still couldn't get anything from it. I did find that when it combines with just about any other fragrance, it sort of makes the other fragrance come alive. Is it a propellant of some sort?

  30. #30

    Default Re: ISO E Super

    At the last Perfume Lovers London meetup, Geza Schoen remarked that it is present in around 70% of modern fragrances.
    Take that figure how you will.

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