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“My father was an art teacher, so I was always exposed to lots of weird stuff from a very early age on,” says Geza Schoen, the creator of Escentric Molecules. “It was always OK to do things yourself, and to do things differently.” Geza started collecting odd perfume samples as a kid and smelling them blind. More formally, he then trained for 5 years at the German company Haarman and Reimer in a class of just 4 students. That lifelong fascination would eventually lead him to rewrite the book on fragrance.

His breakthrough was a pair of fragrances based on heretofore unseen concentrations of an aroma-molecule named Iso E Super—in Escentric 01, blended with other supporting players, and Molecule 01, isolated on its own. Two other scent pairings have since followed and he’s gained worldwide recognition for fragrances that mold to the wearer rather than the other way around. At home in Berlin (after living in London, New York and Paris), he continues his quest in his apartment, kitted out with a small laboratory: “I want to give someone an aura, rather than a perfume to wear.”