Words: Emily Venables
If you’re a fan of earthy scents that remind you of the great outdoors, especially after a huge downpour of rain, then you're in for a treat with the ingredient we’re shining a spotlight on - oakmoss! If you’re wondering ‘what is oakmoss’ and what has it got to do with fragrance, then continue to read to find out more.
What is Oakmoss?
Oakmoss is a type of lichen, a fungus that can be found in forests all over the Northern Hemisphere. The antler-shaped green, yellowish thallus, which commonly grows on branches and trunks of trees is one of the most commonly used raw fragrances in perfume… although it has got a bit of a darker side to it!
The Downside of Oakmoss
Despite being a very popular and well-loved ingredient in the perfume world, fragrances are actually not allowed to contain more than 0.1% of the extract. For many years, oakmoss has been known to cause adverse skin reactions! The IFRA, a body who regulates the guidelines for safe usage of fragrant chemicals and essential oils in perfumes (you see why they shorten their name?!), has listed oakmoss as a restricted ingredient.
This restriction, which came into play in 2001, threw a lot of perfume houses into disarray! Many famous formulations contained more than the teeny 0.1% allowance, meaning brands, such as Guerlain, had to find ways to replicate the scent of oakmoss in some of their famous scents - including Mitsouko - which had oakmoss as a base note without dramatically changing the formulation.
As we know Mitsouko is still one of Guerlain’s most famous scents, the clever lab guys found a way around it! Guerlain now uses oakmoss, but without the molecule which is forbidden by the IFRA - smart!
What Does Oakmoss Smell Like?
The oakmoss scent is truly like being one with nature! It’s rich in earthy tones, very much like a damp forest floor covered in lush greens and aromatic foliage. Not just content with beholding a crisp, green fragrance - it also has layers of muskiness, bark-like qualities and leathery undertones.
Oakmoss can be found across a number of different fragrance families, and it is known as a brilliant fixative agent- meaning it acts as an anchor for more overpowering scents and adds a layer of smoothness to oriental, chypre and floral perfumes.
Fragrances with Oakmoss
Fragrances with Oakmoss
Let Nature Be Your Guide
Discover more green fragrances at The Perfume Shop