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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Ex`cla-ma`tion Noir Coty
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Khaltath Al Haramain Perfumes
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Muschio L`Erbolario
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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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Firefly DSH Perfumes
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Cordial (Holiday no.12) DSH Perfumes
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Patchouli Durance en Provence
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Cathode Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Want DSH Perfumes
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Gymkana Jean Dessès
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Purple Orchid Shirley May
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Caspian Angela Flanders
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Clubman Pinaud Clubman
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Hedera helix Roxana Illuminated Perfume
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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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Camaris Companhia da Terra
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Jazz Funeral Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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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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Eau du Soir 2010 Sisley
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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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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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Dakar Al-Rehab
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Cristalle Chanel
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Audace Faberge
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Garden State 100 Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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UNTITLED No. 1 by Yosh Han UNTITLED
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Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
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Colonia del Forte 1265 Profumi del Forte
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Celui de Jean Dessès Jean Dessès
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Wild Leather Mancera
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Memory & Desire No.1 DSH Perfumes
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Twelfth Night (Holiday no.2) DSH Perfumes
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Morass Teufels Kuche
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Infinitif Infinitif
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Epic Adventure Emper
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Camera On Max Deville
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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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Diamella Yves Rocher
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Aventus Creed
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London for Men Burberry
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Melodrama Space NK
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Patchouli Intense Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
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Jacarandá Fueguia 1833
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Lace Yardley
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Arboretum Le Prince Jardinier
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Eau du Soir 2008 Sisley
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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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Golden Autumn Prince Matchabelli
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Very Sexy Platinum for Him Victoria`s Secret
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Banded Sea Snake Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Lasso Jean Patou
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Cuba Brown Cuba Paris
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Bottega Veneta Eau Legere Bottega Veneta
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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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Charlie Blue Revlon
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Ultraviolet Paco Rabanne
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Cuba Green Cuba Paris
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Revillon pour Homme Revillon
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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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Megumi Ayala Moriel
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Naiad Bud Parfums
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Mystere Novaya Zarya
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La Panthere Cartier
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1747 Galimard
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Chique Milton Lloyd
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Pure Silk Mayfair
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Usain Ona Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
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Love Rose Reminiscence
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X Series Flash Avon
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Terra Firma Royal Apothic
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Happiology Sunshower Illume
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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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Omnia Crystalline Bvlgari
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Envol Ted Lapidus
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Cool Water Davidoff
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Kapsule Woody Karl Lagerfeld
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Tobacco Rose Papillon Artisan Perfumes
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Invitation Jean Patou
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Driftwood Arran Aromatics
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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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