Oakmoss

lat. K9ngdom Plantae, division Bryophyta
Other names: Mousse de Chene, treemoss

Group: WOODS AND MOSSES

Oakmoss K9ngdom Plantae, division Bryophyta
Oakmoss K9ngdom Plantae, division Bryophyta
Oakmoss K9ngdom Plantae, division Bryophyta
Odor profile: An inky, bitter-smelling forest floor evocative, prized essence coming from the lichen that grows on oak trees in Europe (harvested in the Balkans). Nowadays severely restricted under skin sensitization concerns, it is nevertheless an essential part of chypre fragrances and fougère fragrances.

 


Oakmoss, also known as Evernia prunastri, is a species of lichen, a fungus found in mountainous temperate forests all around the Northern Hemisphere. As its name already suggests, oakmoss grows commonly on the branches and trunks of oak trees, even though it may also be found on other deciduous trees and conifers. This bushy lichen is very short, flat and has a strap-like thallus that somewhat resembles the shape of deer antlers. Oamkoss varies in color, being minty green or almost white when dry, or dark-olive green and even yellowish when wet.

Oakmoss is one of the most commonly used raw materials, especially in chypre and Fougère types of perfumes. Often used as a fixative, it not only improves the longevity of the composition but also lends a delicate forest-like, rich and earthy aroma to the fragrant composition, leaving a natural, damp and creamy soft trail. This raw material is usually commercially grown in South-Central Europe and exported to Grasse in France, where the majority of the perfumery houses are situated. Oakmoss absolutes and extracts, derived from the lichen, have a distinctively woody, sharp and very sensual aroma that combines very well with floral and green notes, and makes a great addition to oriental type fragrances. A special type of oakmoss which grows on pine trees has a slightly different, turpentine-like smell, which makes it highly valued among perfumers.

Oakmoss absolute can be obtained by solvent extraction or by using vacuum distillation. The one obtained by solvent extraction is dark green or even brown in color and has a strong, natural, earthy-mossy scent with a slight leather undertone. The process of vacuum distillation gives a pale yellow or green aromatic material with a very dry, earthy and bark-like flavor.
 

For many years, oakmoss has been known as a potent dermal sensitizer that should be used with extreme caution in order to prevent adverse dermatological reactions. However, it has become very controversial in recent times, since the IFRA, a body that regulates the guidelines for safe usage of fragrant chemicals and essential oils in perfumes, has listed oakmoss as a restricted ingredient. IFRA regulations state that oak moss extracts obtained from Evernia prunastri should not be used in consumer products if their quantity exceeds 0.1%. Moreover, if the formula already contains tree moss extracts, the levels of oakmoss and tree moss extracts should be reduced in such a way that the total amount of both extracts doesn't exceed 0.1%.

Because it is almost impossible to compose a classic chypre fragrance without a trail of natural moss, perfumers have been under a difficult challenge since 2001, trying to find a new extract that would be olfactively close to the original scent of oakmoss, and yet comply with the IFRA regulations. Following the new guidelines, many perfumery houses have reformulated their epic perfumes. Some of the many examples are Guerlain's Mitsouko and Parure, both using oakmoss as a base note. But, with a little help from modern science, Thierry Wasser, Guerlain's famous perfumer, has found his way to preserve the scent of original version and avoid changing the formulation dramatically.


Guerlain now uses oakmoss that doesn't have the specific molecule which is not allowed by IFRA regulations. Thanks to the modern chemistry, this new raw material is a 100% pure and natural extract that complies with the amendments of IFRA. Some other perfumers have substituted oakmoss with grassy notes of patchouli and vetiver, while others use a synthetic “mossy woods” note that reproduces the deep forest-like smell.

You can still feel the genuine “scent of the wet forest” in the creations of modern natural perfumers, who continure to use oakmoss absolute obtained by solvent extraction. Oakmoss is found in many iconic perfumes such as Paloma Picasso, in the floral-woody-green composition of Chanel #19, in Miss Dior by Dior, a chypre-floral fragrance for women, and Apercu by Houbigant. I should also mention Houbigant’s vintage Fougere Royale, with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin. The whole class of Fougère perfumes, consisting primarily of perfumes for men, is named in reference to this classic creation.

 


Author: Marina Milojević (Mary)
Fragrantica Writer, Translator & Editor

 

 

 


 

 

Oakmoss Perfumes

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Zombi Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Mousse de Chêne - Oakmoss Outremer
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Magnetic Blend 7 Initio Parfums Prives
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Deep in Earth Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Uncharted Crabtree & Evelyn
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Riviera Palace L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Cordial (Holiday no.12) DSH Perfumes
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Art collection 202 Man M. Micallef
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Cathode Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Firefly DSH Perfumes
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Want DSH Perfumes
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Caspian Angela Flanders
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Gymkana Jean Dessès
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Don Carlos Shirley May
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Cuba City Las Vegas for Men Cuba Paris
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Guillotine Parfums Sophiste
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Patchouli Durance en Provence
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Acqua di Profumo al Muschio Bianco L`Erbolario
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Ingenue Ava Luxe
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The Forest Library of Flowers
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Aqua Lumiere Novaya Zarya
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Very Sexy Platinum for Him Victoria`s Secret
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Epic Adventure Emper
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MPH (Miles Per Hour) Washington Tremlett
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Intimate Jasmine Neil Morris
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Faberge Audace Brut Parfums Prestige
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Aventus Creed
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Lapsang Su Chong Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Vetiver Murdock London
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Lichen & Vetiver Voluspa
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Basque Suzy Larsen Perfumes
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Agent XY LR
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Manto di Rugiada Melograno Selvatico I Profumi di Firenze
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Jacarandá Fueguia 1833
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Alea 37 BZ Parfums
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Chique Yardley
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Acqua di Gio Giorgio Armani
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Hedera helix Roxana Illuminated Perfume
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Clubman Pinaud Clubman
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Moss Portland General Store
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Memory & Desire No.1 DSH Perfumes
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Mitsouko Eau de Toilette Guerlain
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АRТ Elegance ( ART Elegance) Dzintars
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Curzon Cologne Geo. F. Trumper
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Feuille Verte Creed
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Lace Fine Fragrances & Cosmetics
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Diamella Yves Rocher
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Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
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Twelfth Night (Holiday no.2) DSH Perfumes
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Naiad Bud Parfums
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Daniel Hechter Sport Daniel Hechter
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Morass Teufels Kuche
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Creation N° 09 Ulric de Varens
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15 The Fragrance Kitchen
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Volgere L`acqua Di Fiori
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No. 6 Luna + Azul Crow
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3rd Eiger Ajne
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Red Gold Jivago
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Bottega Veneta Bottega Veneta
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London for Men Burberry
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Arboretum Le Prince Jardinier
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Cuba Green Cuba Paris
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Cristalle Eau de Toilette Chanel
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Eau de Monsieur Annick Goutal
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Precious One Angela Flanders
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Tau Onyrico
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Rose Vert DSH Perfumes
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Muschio di Quercia (Oak Moss) La Via del Profumo
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Lace Yardley
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Mon Roi Faberlic
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BOSS The Collection Cotton & Verbena Hugo Boss
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Linden & Dark Moss Voluspa
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The Wendol Blackbird
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Style Lentheric
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Golden Autumn Prince Matchabelli
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Secret No. 1 Nordic EDP Raunsborg
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Delirivm B&B Cosmetics
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Ed Hardy Skulls & Roses Limited Edition Christian Audigier
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Egoiste Platinum Chanel
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Eucris Geo. F. Trumper
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Dakar Al-Rehab
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Khaltath Al Haramain Perfumes
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Earthtones #4: Red Sky Neil Morris
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U Black Hombre Adolfo Dominguez
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Charlie Blue Revlon
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Desir de Nature Yves Rocher
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Cocktail B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful
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Antaeus Chanel
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Driftwood Arran Aromatics
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Chanel N°5 Chanel
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Cool Water Davidoff
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Madison Soiree Bond No 9
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Mystere Novaya Zarya
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A Rather Novel Collection 5 O'Clock At Belvoir Castle by Stephen Nilsen Anthropologie
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Invitation Jean Patou
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Programme Homme Cologne Lancome
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Musgo Real Agua de Colonia No.2 Oak Moss Claus Porto
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Pure Silk Mayfair
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Chypre - Fruite Montale
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Green Velvet The Rising Phoenix Perfumery
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One O One Experience for Men Giorgio Valenti
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Morris Morris
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Centaure Cuir Fougere Pierre Cardin
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014 Purple Wood Ajmal
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Adidas Classic Blue Adidas
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Infinitif Infinitif
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Mokara Voluspa
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Spectre Noir Rallet
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Happiology Sunshower Illume
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VO by Victor Ortiz Eclectic Collections
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Fruit Garden Hildegard Braukmann
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Great Jones Bond No 9
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Desarmant La Parfumerie Moderne
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Eau des Merveilles Hermes
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Courant Helena Rubinstein
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