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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Mousse de Chêne - Oakmoss Outremer
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Uncharted Crabtree & Evelyn
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Riviera Palace L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Cathode Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Art collection 202 Man M. Micallef
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Firefly DSH Perfumes
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Gymkana Jean Dessès
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Caspian Angela Flanders
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Want DSH Perfumes
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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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Magnetic Blend 7 Initio Parfums Prives
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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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Faberge Audace Brut Parfums Prestige
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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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Aventus Creed
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Lapsang Su Chong Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Vetiver Murdock London
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Basque Suzy Larsen Perfumes
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Lichen & Vetiver Voluspa
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Manto di Rugiada Melograno Selvatico I Profumi di Firenze
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Agent XY LR
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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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Clubman Pinaud Clubman
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Memory & Desire No.1 DSH Perfumes
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АRТ Elegance ( ART Elegance) Dzintars
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Mitsouko Eau de Toilette Guerlain
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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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Naiad Bud Parfums
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Twelfth Night (Holiday no.2) DSH Perfumes
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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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Volgere L`acqua Di Fiori
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3rd Eiger Ajne
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No. 6 Luna + Azul Crow
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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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Lace Yardley
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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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Programme Homme Cologne Lancome
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Pure Silk Mayfair
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Morris Morris
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Adidas Classic Blue Adidas
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Centaure Cuir Fougere Pierre Cardin
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Infinitif Infinitif
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Mokara Voluspa
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VO by Victor Ortiz Eclectic Collections
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Desarmant La Parfumerie Moderne
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Great Jones Bond No 9
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Eau des Merveilles Hermes
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Ange ou Demon Givenchy
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Courant Helena Rubinstein

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