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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Le Smoking DSH Perfumes
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Zombi Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Mousse de Chêne - Oakmoss Outremer
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Deep in Earth Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Uncharted Crabtree & Evelyn
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Crown of Gold Anglia Perfumery
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Riviera Palace L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Cordial (Holiday no.12) DSH Perfumes
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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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Vanesya Luxury Perfumes
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Caspian Angela Flanders
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Mascotte Parfico
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Gymkana Jean Dessès
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Want DSH Perfumes
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Bluegrass Moonshine
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Don Carlos Shirley May
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Cuba City Las Vegas for Men Cuba Paris
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Kamennyi Tsvetok Novaya Zarya
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Tramp Lush
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Patchouli Durance en Provence
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Medusa Scent by the Sea
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Ingenue Ava Luxe
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The Forest Library of Flowers
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Acqua degli Speziali Derbe
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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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Intimate Jasmine Neil Morris
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Aventus Creed
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Shipr Korolevskiy Novaya Zarya
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Lapsang Su Chong Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Vetiver Murdock London
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Muschio di Quercia (Oak Moss) La Via del Profumo
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Basque Suzy Larsen Perfumes
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Lichen & Vetiver Voluspa
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Guillotine Parfums Sophiste
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Agent XY LR
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Tribal Arte Profumi
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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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Hedera helix Roxana Illuminated Perfume
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Clubman Pinaud Clubman
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Moss Portland General Store
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Acqua di Gio Giorgio Armani
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Diamella Yves Rocher
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Memory & Desire No.1 DSH Perfumes
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АRТ Elegance ( ART Elegance) Dzintars
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Curzon Cologne Geo. F. Trumper
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Mitsouko Eau de Toilette Guerlain
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Feuille Verte Creed
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Lace Fine Fragrances & Cosmetics
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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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Mokara Voluspa
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Maratons (Marathon) Dzintars
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15 The Fragrance Kitchen
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Volgere L`acqua Di Fiori
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Kremlyovsky Parade of Stars
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Splendia Bvlgari
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Red Gold Jivago
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3rd Eiger Ajne
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Ghala Zayed Al Battash Concepts
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Avada Kedavra Art Deco Perfumes
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Dzintars Dzintars
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No. 6 Luna + Azul Crow
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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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Eau de Monsieur Annick Goutal
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Cristalle Eau de Toilette Chanel
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Precious One Angela Flanders
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Rose Vert DSH Perfumes
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Chypre 2010 YanFroloff Perfumer
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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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Secret No. 1 Nordic EDP Raunsborg
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La Collection du Joaillier Boucheron
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Rayon Vert Artemisia Natural Perfume
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The Wendol Blackbird
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CoolBleu - Cool Blues Ajne
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Terre d`Hermes Parfum Hermes
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Devil's Night Cap Lush
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Banded Sea Snake Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
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Apple Orchard Anna Zworykina Perfumes
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Linden & Dark Moss Voluspa
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Mon Secret Pola
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Casino Novaya Zarya
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Style Lentheric
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Golden Autumn Prince Matchabelli
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Ed Hardy Skulls & Roses Limited Edition Christian Audigier
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Delirivm B&B Cosmetics
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Raunaq Nabeel
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Eucris Geo. F. Trumper
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Charlie Blue Revlon
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Egoiste Platinum Chanel
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Khaltath Al Haramain Perfumes
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Mahogany for Men Mahogany
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U Black Hombre Adolfo Dominguez
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Dakar Al-Rehab
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Madison Soiree Bond No 9
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Cocktail B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful
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Silvestre Victor
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Coca for Men Cofinluxe
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Speakeasy Moonshine
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Osirius Therapeutate Parfums
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Eau d'Ete Antonio Puig
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Da i Niet Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
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Desir de Nature Yves Rocher
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Rich Leather JoAnne Bassett
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Paper & Cotton Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Eau Fraiche Christian Dior
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Mexx Spring is Now Man Mexx
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Age of Aquarius Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite
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Koke Shimizu (Moss Water) Parfum Satori
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Vu par Ted Lapidus Ted Lapidus
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Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
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Desarmant La Parfumerie Moderne
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Aventure Art Deco Perfumes
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Camera On Max Deville
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Cuba Brown Cuba Paris
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Bottega Veneta Eau Legere Bottega Veneta
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Terra Firma Royal Apothic
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La Collection Y Yves Saint Laurent
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Moss Commodity
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CK One Calvin Klein
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Antaeus Chanel
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Champion Black Al-Rehab
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Dune Christian Dior
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Driftwood Arran Aromatics
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Great Jones Bond No 9
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Smitty Coty
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A Rather Novel Collection 5 O'Clock At Belvoir Castle by Stephen Nilsen Anthropologie
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Mystere Novaya Zarya
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Au Dela - Narcisse des Montagnes Bruno Fazzolari
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Invitation Jean Patou

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