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

 

 

 


 

 

Perfumes and Colognes With Oakmoss

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Epris Max Factor
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Muschio Bianco L`Erbolario
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Muschio L`Erbolario
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Khaltath Al Haramain Perfumes
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Ex`cla-ma`tion Noir Coty
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Constellation Paloma Picasso
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Mousse de Chêne - Oakmoss Outremer
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Deep in Earth Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Zombi Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Crown of Gold Anglia Perfumery
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Riviera Palace L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Cathode Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Patchouli Durance en Provence
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Firefly DSH Perfumes
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Cordial (Holiday no.12) DSH Perfumes
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Want DSH Perfumes
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Gymkana Jean Dessès
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Caspian Angela Flanders
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Purple Orchid Shirley May
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Clubman Pinaud Clubman
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The Forest Library of Flowers
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Invictus Silver Cup Collector`s Edition Paco Rabanne
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Amplexus Daniel Vaudd
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Champion Black Al-Rehab
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Intimate Jasmine Neil Morris
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Firdous Al Haramain Perfumes
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Vetiver Murdock London
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Jazz Funeral Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Hedera helix Roxana Illuminated Perfume
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Lapsang Su Chong Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Rose Vert DSH Perfumes
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BOSS The Collection Cotton & Verbena Hugo Boss
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Agent XY LR
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Dragon Noir Dragon Parfums
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Mitsouko Eau de Toilette Guerlain
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Ed Hardy Skulls & Roses Limited Edition Christian Audigier
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Acqua di Gio Giorgio Armani
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Chique Yardley
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Precious One Angela Flanders
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Secret No. 1 Nordic EDP Raunsborg
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Dakar Al-Rehab
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Feuille Verte Creed
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Vu par Ted Lapidus Ted Lapidus
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Bottega Veneta Bottega Veneta
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Cristalle Chanel
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Patchouli Intense Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
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Audace Faberge
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Colonia del Forte 1265 Profumi del Forte
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UNTITLED No. 1 by Yosh Han UNTITLED
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Wild Leather Mancera
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Garden State 100 Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Celui de Jean Dessès Jean Dessès
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Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
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Memory & Desire No.1 DSH Perfumes
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Infinitif Infinitif
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Morass Teufels Kuche
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Twelfth Night (Holiday no.2) DSH Perfumes
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Epic Adventure Emper
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Mokara Voluspa
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No. 6 Luna + Azul Crow
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Red Gold Jivago
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Camera On Max Deville
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Aventus Creed
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Diamella Yves Rocher
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London for Men Burberry
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Jacarandá Fueguia 1833
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Vintage Tabarome Creed
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Lace Yardley
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Arboretum Le Prince Jardinier
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Miss Dior Original Extrait de Parfum Christian Dior
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Moss Portland General Store
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CoolBleu - Cool Blues Ajne
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Safary Night Shadow Parfums Louis Armand
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Golden Autumn Prince Matchabelli
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Terre d`Hermes Parfum Hermes
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Very Sexy Platinum for Him Victoria`s Secret
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Ferrari No 1 Ferrari
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Banded Sea Snake Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Lasso Jean Patou
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Rich Leather JoAnne Bassett
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Cuba Brown Cuba Paris
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Egoiste Platinum Chanel
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U Black Hombre Adolfo Dominguez
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Eucris Geo. F. Trumper
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Plaisir d' Amour Libertin Louison Technique Indiscrete
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Cuba Green Cuba Paris
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Charlie Blue Revlon
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Lustrous Fire Antica Farmacista
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Speakeasy Moonshine
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Root Library of Flowers
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Chypre Novaya Zarya
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Ultraviolet Paco Rabanne
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Megumi Ayala Moriel
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Bottega Veneta Eau Legere Bottega Veneta
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Naiad Bud Parfums
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Mystere Novaya Zarya
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Courant Helena Rubinstein
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La Panthere Cartier
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Moss and Mint Body & Soul Nest
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La Collection Y Yves Saint Laurent
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Autenthic Maroussia Slava Zaitsev
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Dune Christian Dior
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A Rather Novel Collection 5 O'Clock At Belvoir Castle by Stephen Nilsen Anthropologie
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Chique Milton Lloyd
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Ange ou Demon Givenchy
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Pure Silk Mayfair
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Usain Ona Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
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Happiology Sunshower Illume
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Terra Firma Royal Apothic
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X Series Flash Avon
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Love Rose Reminiscence
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1960 Bogner
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Earthtones #4: Red Sky Neil Morris
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VO by Victor Ortiz Eclectic Collections
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Vague de Folie Verte Le Cercle des Parfumeurs Createurs
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Alliage Sport Spray Estée Lauder
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Quartz pour Femme Molyneux
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Umber: Bois de Rose DSH Perfumes
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Driftwood Arran Aromatics
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Omnia Crystalline Bvlgari
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Envol Ted Lapidus
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Pure Boadicea the Victorious
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Cool Water Davidoff
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Tobacco Rose Papillon Artisan Perfumes
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Invitation Jean Patou
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Desarmant La Parfumerie Moderne
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Musk Denim
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Invisible Monster CB I Hate Perfume
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Paper & Cotton Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Masculin Acier Bourjois
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Jil Sander Man III Jil Sander
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Peony & Moss Jo Malone

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