No it's not a new kind of petrol (or gasoline if you prefer). This is what's called an aromachemical. Iso E Super or as a chemist knows it: 1-(2,3,8,8-Tetramethyl-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-octahydronaphthalen-2-yl)ethanone is a compound found in some perfumes, laundry products and cosmetics. I'm pretty sure you've already smelled it without even knowing it. I know I have smelled it before. I own a tiny bottle of Terre d'Hermes perfume. Iso E Super represents a large part of all the smelly compounds in it. Well what does it smell of? It's described as velvety, woody, cedar which is why it has found its way into many male fragrances. Male fragrances are often made to have a woody basenote.
Usually fragrances consist of hundreds of compounds and the the way the combination of compounds interact with the human sense of smell is why creating perfume can be considered an art form. There is however a fragrance that's made up of one aromachemical: Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules, it contains Iso E Super as the sole aromachemical. Iso E Super has extraordinary properties if you can (or are willing to) believe the hype, see Basenotes and Youtube for that. In short Iso E Super is touted te be pheromone-like in that it attracts the opposite sex. Curious about the effects of Iso E Super and a healthy interest in the opposite sex I wanted some to try. However Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules isn't a department store fragrance and if you can source it, it doesn't come cheap at all. A 100ml bottle comes in at US$ 135, fugetaboutit! So internet to the rescue, at Perfumer's Apprentice a 15ml bottle of undiluted Iso E Super can be bought for a mere US$ 6.00... Just add some diluent.
And that's just what I did, I diluted some of the Iso E Super in ethanol to make 10 ml of a 15% concentration. Iso E Super in concentrated form as well as diluted to 15% has a faint scent. Applied to my skin I can smell it somewhat better but it's still very subdued and not particularly nice. Velvety? Maybe. Woody/cedar? IMO, no it does not. How about its pheromone-like properties? I can't confirm that one, because absolutely nothing has happened out of the ordinary when wearing it. Iso E Super doesn't float my boat. YMMV.
What Iso E Super is supposed to be good at is when it's used together with other perfume compounds. I'll have to order myself some perfume oils to evaluate that. Perhaps I'll try to make my own perfume, something with woody basenotes like cedar and vetiver.