How do Iso-E Super variants compare to Iso-Gamma Super (Molecule 01)?

santeripe

Active member
Nov 28, 2021
I know, a horse so beaten it's basically salami now. But there are zero details on this online. I've only found people saying Molecule 01 differs from clones. As we probably know, it uses an IFF captive called Iso-Gamma Super. Nobody can purchase this variant without a company contract. Clones use regular Iso-E at huge concentrations or create a blend from different variants. Some get closer than others. But the general consensus is that Molecule 01 is still superior in quality and garners the most reactions.

If you've gotten to smell Molecule 01 (Iso-Gamma Super), what differences do you notice compared to regular Iso-E, Timbersilk and Sylvamber? In odor profile, strength, complexity, longevity, etc. It's interesting that this one variant is still being kept captive +15 years later. Does it really smell that special?

Sylvamber is actually the most potent variant judging by odor threshold. Making it a better candidate for a molecular fragrance with huge projection. Yet it's freely available. So maybe it smells scratchy, and is less valuable because of that? I don't have the materials to know. Only those of you with more experience can finally put this topic to rest!
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
I don't like sylvamber in blends (it does have dry scratchy effects) & greatly prefer true "Iso E Super", sourced from PSH where I know it's real & not just cheapest-available patchouli ethanone. Timbersilk I have not tried, but my understanding is that it isn't pure patchouli ethanone isomers & has other molecular species added to it.
 

L'Aventurier

Well-known member
May 8, 2008
From testing timbersilk (Monoscent E) vs pure iso e super (Home DIY solution) vs Molecule 01 (Iso gamma super), I actually prefer iso e super - it feels more pure, and easier to blend with.

Differences between the three from memory:

Iso e super: Emphasis on cedar, bleachy, comes and goes from perception. Some faint minerals. Lightest of the three, with medium sillage.

Iso gamma super: emphasis on citrus, frankincense and cedar, more mineral than iso e super and timbersilk. Traces of smoke. Heaviest and most woody of the three, strong sillage.

Timbersilk: plastic, burnt electronics, frankincense and cedar. Medium strength and the least sillage of the three. Not much mineral aspect. Complex but I found that it fell flat and was less "alive" than iso e super and iso gamma super.

The most complex of the three, IMO, is iso gamma super, but it's heavy and a little clumsy compared to iso e super. Maybe that's why it works so well on its own.

From my notes:

Iso Gamma Super contains 15% of the gamma isomer, whereas Iso E Super contains 8%, and Silvamber contains 22%. Geza Schoen for some reason claims that Molecule 01 contains 18% of the gamma isomer. I guess by logic, silvamber would therefore have the best projection, like you said, OP. I haven't tried Silvamber, unfortunately.
 

santeripe

Active member
Nov 28, 2021
From testing timbersilk (Monoscent E) vs pure iso e super (Home DIY solution) vs Molecule 01 (Iso gamma super), I actually prefer iso e super - it feels more pure, and easier to blend with.

Differences between the three from memory:
Very interesting and detailed, thank you! Gamma really is complex for a single molecule. It's difficult to describe in short. The citrus aspect pops to my nose in high dilution. For example on the atomizer the next day. I get the frankinsence edge when smelled up close. It really stimulates my nose, almost vibrates in a sense. I personally also get a clean plastic feel. Like how the adhesive side of stickers sometimes smells amazing. And a sweet ambroxan feel. Since Geza chooses molecules based on complexity, it's a logical first pick! A lot of that complexity is probably buried as soon as other ingredients are added.

I don't like sylvamber in blends (it does have dry scratchy effects) & greatly prefer true "Iso E Super", sourced from PSH where I know it's real & not just cheapest-available patchouli ethanone. Timbersilk I have not tried, but my understanding is that it isn't pure patchouli ethanone isomers & has other molecular species added to it.
Thank you for your insight! I guess Sylvamber is just too strong for its own good. And yeah, Timbersilk is sprinkled with Amber Xtreme. So it's really a blend. Quality differences could explain some of the difference people notice in Molecule clones. Even if Escentric didn't use any special version, they'd at least use the highest grade of a material. While clones may use low-grade Iso-E from any random source.
 
Jun 29, 2015
@L'Aventurier, you're notes are great!
@santeripe and @L'Aventurier , curious, how did you come to get to sniff Iso Gamma Super?

Also, it's probably helpful to review this thread started by @Bill Roberts :

In particular, the images of the tables that show some of the constituent breakdowns of the different "Iso E" products out there, which comes from this really insightful publication (pp. 28-29 relevant):

The important detail there is that what we call the "gamma isomer" is not the only part of the story. Two of the major organoleptic constituents of the "Iso E Super" family of materials, a molecule called arbarone, AKA iso e super plus, and a molecule we refer to as the "gamma isomer", iso gamma, have different ratios in the different materials (there is also georgywood, but it doesn't list it as a constituent of those materials, so no data there). From that publication, the material Iso Gamma Super® has the highest amount of Iso Gamma (15%), unsurprisingly, but interestingly, Sylvamber®, while having a lower Iso Gammer concentration (9.5% to Iso Gamma Super®'s 15%), has a much higher arbarone/iso e super plus concentration (14.9% compared to Iso Gamma Super®'s 6.7%). Also, interesting to note, is that Sylvamber®'s iso gamma ("gamma isomer") concentration is a lot less than even the standard IFF Iso E Super® (9.5% to 11.7%). So, in that sense, Sylvamber® does note actually have a higher gamma isomer content than Iso E Super® (going in the face of what most others say).
RE: "going in the face of what most others say", for example, this factoid in description of sylvamber by PellWall: https://pellwall.com/shop/ingredients-for-perfumery/liquids/sylvamber/#tab-description
"Sylvamber has the highest proportion of the gamma isomer of this type of product on the market, typically 22% (compared to around 8% in Iso E Super, just under 15% in Timbersilk, and around 18% in the IFF captive called Iso Gamma Super)."

I'd be really interested to hear from @Chris Bartlett on where that statement comes from (about the "22% gamma isomer content"), since none of the results from that paper (eg combining arbarone and iso gamma concentrations) add up to that figure.

So anyways, there are (at least) two dimensions of comparison for all the "Iso E Super" family of materials (timbersilk also having a trace amount of Amber Xtreme as a fun extra caveat dimension), and it might be helpful when evaluating the different materials to take that into account—if you can record the differences of the different qualities and notes of the different easily-available Iso E materials (Iso E Super®, Timbersilk®, Sylvamber®, etc), you might be able to sniff out the differences between arbarone and Iso Gamma (I personally haven't done this yet).
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
@L'Aventurier, you're notes are great!
@santeripe and @L'Aventurier , curious, how did you come to get to sniff Iso Gamma Super?

Also, it's probably helpful to review this thread started by @Bill Roberts :

In particular, the images of the tables that show some of the constituent breakdowns of the different "Iso E" products out there, which comes from this really insightful publication (pp. 28-29 relevant):

The important detail there is that what we call the "gamma isomer" is not the only part of the story. Two of the major organoleptic constituents of the "Iso E Super" family of materials, a molecule called arbarone, AKA iso e super plus, and a molecule we refer to as the "gamma isomer", iso gamma, have different ratios in the different materials (there is also georgywood, but it doesn't list it as a constituent of those materials, so no data there). From that publication, the material Iso Gamma Super® has the highest amount of Iso Gamma (15%), unsurprisingly, but interestingly, Sylvamber®, while having a lower Iso Gammer concentration (9.5% to Iso Gamma Super®'s 15%), has a much higher arbarone/iso e super plus concentration (14.9% compared to Iso Gamma Super®'s 6.7%). Also, interesting to note, is that Sylvamber®'s iso gamma ("gamma isomer") concentration is a lot less than even the standard IFF Iso E Super® (9.5% to 11.7%). So, in that sense, Sylvamber® does note actually have a higher gamma isomer content than Iso E Super® (going in the face of what most others say).
RE: "going in the face of what most others say", for example, this factoid in description of sylvamber by PellWall: https://pellwall.com/shop/ingredients-for-perfumery/liquids/sylvamber/#tab-description


I'd be really interested to hear from @Chris Bartlett on where that statement comes from (about the "22% gamma isomer content"), since none of the results from that paper (eg combining arbarone and iso gamma concentrations) add up to that figure.

So anyways, there are (at least) two dimensions of comparison for all the "Iso E Super" family of materials (timbersilk also having a trace amount of Amber Xtreme as a fun extra caveat dimension), and it might be helpful when evaluating the different materials to take that into account—if you can record the differences of the different qualities and notes of the different easily-available Iso E materials (Iso E Super®, Timbersilk®, Sylvamber®, etc), you might be able to sniff out the differences between arbarone and Iso Gamma (I personally haven't done this yet).

Very interesting information! To me Iso E Super smells much more woody than ambery, while Sylvamber smells much more ambery than woody.
 

santeripe

Active member
Nov 28, 2021
The important detail there is that what we call the "gamma isomer" is not the only part of the story. Two of the major organoleptic constituents of the "Iso E Super" family of materials, a molecule called arbarone, AKA iso e super plus, and a molecule we refer to as the "gamma isomer", iso gamma, have different ratios in the different materials (there is also georgywood, but it doesn't list it as a constituent of those materials, so no data there). From that publication, the material Iso Gamma Super® has the highest amount of Iso Gamma (15%), unsurprisingly, but interestingly, Sylvamber®, while having a lower Iso Gammer concentration (9.5% to Iso Gamma Super®'s 15%), has a much higher arbarone/iso e super plus concentration (14.9% compared to Iso Gamma Super®'s 6.7%). Also, interesting to note, is that Sylvamber®'s iso gamma ("gamma isomer") concentration is a lot less than even the standard IFF Iso E Super® (9.5% to 11.7%). So, in that sense, Sylvamber® does note actually have a higher gamma isomer content than Iso E Super® (going in the face of what most others say).
This is new information, thank you so much! I remember someone claiming that Sylvamber "increases the wrong isomer". But he was wasn't able to explain why and was shut down with the usual 22% gamma label given to Sylvamber. It's been repeated so many times that it's gospel now.

If arbarone is "scratchy" and gamma is "desirable", and they're both very strong, it makes sense why Iso-Gamma Super is still captive. It has little arbarone and a lot of gamma. Sylvamber is equally strong or stronger, but not in a desirable way.

And I get to sniff Iso-Gamma Super by regularly using Molecule 01 lol. The prices are so low nowadays (0,65€ per ml), that I wouldn't bother getting an Ebay clone for not much less. Might as well get the captive flagship version. I'm not a perfumer and haven't ever smelled regular Iso-E. I was just curious because Molecule 01 is one of my favorites and this topic has seemingly never been settled. So much confusion around one scent molecule.

Very interesting information! To me Iso E Super smells much more woody than ambery, while Sylvamber smells much more ambery than woody.
Amber is an interesting note, because it can mean so many things. Sometimes its very vanillic, sometimes it's incense-like. Sometimes it just means ambroxan. With Iso-E I definitely get a similarity to ambroxan. It has that same indescribable special twang to it. But to my nose Iso-E is just better and more interesting. It's like we took ambroxan from ambergris and remixed it to be even better! Except Molecule 01 is special for having zero creativity behind it. Nobody designed the molecule, it appeared by random.
 

L'Aventurier

Well-known member
May 8, 2008
And I get to sniff Iso-Gamma Super by regularly using Molecule 01 lol.
Same here, that's how I know what it smells like. I've had a love/hate relationship with Molecule 01 for years now.

I bought the IFF version of iso e super a number of years ago from a reliable source, and diluted it myself with pure 96% alcohol from the distillery I used to work at.
 

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