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Thread: Oakmoss

  1. #1
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    Default Oakmoss

    Compiled from the Note Identification Project Thread:

    Oakmoss, absolute, France, Eden Botanicals – This note surprised me. Chypre fan that I am, one would expect me to know what oakmoss smells like, especially since I complain so much about the restrictions that have destroyed the old-school Chypre formulas, allowing only one-tenth-of-one-percent in fragrance. I used to look for a “mossy” smell, but I didn’t really know what that meant. To be sure, I could have picked some moss from the north side of my house--but that would not be oakmoss or treemoss (known respectively as Evernia prunastri or Evernia Furfuracea) both of which are lichens instead of the plant we know as moss. So, how does oakmoss smell? Nothing like I thought it would. Salty, even briny. Big but soft aroma which is warm, dry and plantlike, with buttery undertones. This sample is a sticky, dark, forest green substance.

    Oakmoss, synthetic, Perfumers Apprentice – Less complex than the natural absolute, it has a pronounced dry, popcorn or buttery note, but no deep, warm, plantlike base. The chemical is a clear, syrupy liquid. It is pleasant, but uncomplicated. Falls short of the natural oakmoss.

    Oakmoss, Synthetic: Salty, nutty, dirty gym socks (smells absolutely nothing like the natural Oakmoss)

    Oakmoss, Natural: grass roots with dirt, horse stable (hay and manure), dry, powdery

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    This is a very powerful, heady EO. I took a pin and put a couple of tiny dots into 2 tbsp of water, heated in a ceramic simmering potpourri. The EO is by Ascention Aromatics, and is of Evernia Prunastri. Info on the back label says the country of origin is Yugoslavia, and it is an absolute from the whole plant. It has a lot number, and I am convinced this is a wholly natural and good-quality product.

    Very brown and woody. Decaying leaves, sap. Peat -- hence it reminds me of a peaty Scotch! Medicinal, rubbery, band-aids, hint of leather. Again, must stress this is a very powerful, concentrated note. It is oddly compelling, it truly seems like Nature in a bottle.
    Last edited by odysseusm; 21st November 2009 at 09:21 PM.
    odysseusm

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    Question Re: Oakmoss

    odysseusm; I wonder if one could revitalize reformulated fragrances that have less oak moss than they once did by adding this absolute proportionately?


    Quote Originally Posted by odysseusm View Post
    This is a very powerful, heady EO. I took a pin and put a couple of tiny dots into 2 tbsp of water, heated in a ceramic simmering potpourri. The EO is by Ascention Aromatics, and is of Evernia Prunastri. Info on the back label says the country of origin is Yugoslavia, and it is an absolute from the whole plant. It has a lot number, and I am convinced this is a wholly natural and good-quality product.

    Very brown and woody. Decaying leaves, sap. Peat -- hence it reminds me of a peaty Scotch! Medicinal, rubbery, band-aids, hint of leather. Again, must stress this is a very powerful, concentrated note. It is oddly compelling, it truly seems like Nature in a bottle.
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 23rd November 2009 at 07:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by N_Tesla View Post
    odysseusm; I wonder if one could revitalize reformulated fragrances that have less oak moss than they once did by adding this absolute proportionately?
    Hi, I remember this question posed in a thread. My take on that is as follows: oakmoss EO is so powerful that even one tiny drop in a small bottle would absolutely overwhelm the scent. I'm speaking here not of a usual drop, but the amount you might get on the head of a pin. Oakmoss EO is fairly viscous so you can use a pin for transfers.

    You would have to go the homeopathic route, namely do a tincture of a tincture and put that in the scent. My opinion is that you would not simply "revitalize" the scent, but rather you would inevitably change the scent, making it much more oakmoss-forward.
    odysseusm

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    The way perfumers usually work with the materials is to create a known dilution by weight or volume. They do this for all their essential oils or absolutes, many of which dissolve directly in the perfumer's alcohol without any need to tincture. Then, the diluted forms are mixed to create accords, etc. So, in principle, you can create an oakmoss dilution and add to an existing fragrance, but as Ody said, you would change the character of the fragrance. This is because you are adding a scent ingredient AND also diluting because of the additional alcohol. Still, there is nothing to stop you, right?

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Asha is correct. Anyway oakmoss is very difficult to use neat in a formula because of its viscosity thus and difficulty with adding it and measuring it. However, it is very easy to disolve it in alcohol. I have an extrait strrength dillution which I have made with about 20% oakmoss absolute to 80% grain alcohol by volume. This is mobile, can be used in a dropper and thus easilly measured. It can also be futher dilluted and the layered sparingly under perfumes in which you want to boost the moss a little. Of course this is not the same as it being in the formula and reacting with the other oils over time, but if there is a specific note of moss you wish to replace, it does go some way...

    I'm not sure I agree about a little bit owerwhelming a mixture as its volatility is quite low and it is a bit slow to "get going". Initially when a perfume goes on skin it is not hugely detectable other than as a background. As time passes it becomes more prominent. It is a brilliant fixative. I used quite a lot in a perfume recently (somewhere between 10% of total perfume oils) and it works really well in an all natural perfume to give longevity and stability. You do need to be after a mossy or chypre perfume though...
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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    I adore oakmoss and agree it is like nature in a bottle! but i have found it does grow and grow and overpower my blends when i have been too heavyhanded with it!, but def a great fixative and it's so complex, i can sniff it out of the bottle for ages with a grin on my face

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Oakmoss absolute, Eden Botanicals: Extremely viscous, gooey and dark brown in colour - stains easily and is quite stubborn to completely remove! Soft, a little salty and slightly sweet. As odysseusm mentioned, I also detect something rubbery at the heart of its leafy woodiness. I'd also have to agree with hirch_duckfinder - its volatility is indeed low and, for the most part, its aroma comes across as very restrained.

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Trying out the Oakmoss absolute from eden botanicals today. It is very thick tar-like.. I diluted a drop in 2ml of 95% grain alcohol then applied to a test strip. It's not root-like or dirty like vetiver or patchouli. It's very moist & radiant. There is a delicate sweetness along with a slight saltiness. Very eye-opening smelling oakmoss au-natural for my first time. I love it!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by teger View Post
    Very eye-opening smelling oakmoss au-natural for my first time. I love it!
    Have got to experience this.

  11. #11
    Moschus
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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    I am allergic to everything, but not to oak moss. It 'a very good note, hopefully they don't have do a mistake, removing the oak moss to the concentrations of many fragrances.
    Last edited by Moschus; 13th December 2011 at 08:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Oak Moss:

    1. I have two references for oak moss. The first is as Asha mentions in this first post of this thread -- a sticky dark tar-like substance. It just reeked. I really did not like the smell of it. Dark, pungent, acrid. It did not smell like any moss I've ever encountered. It didn't remind me of shadowed woods or anything wonderful in nature. It stunk.

    And yet, that same sticky substance, I witnessed someone use a small dab of it, in a mixture of other substances. . . tonka bean oil, and some other stuff. And she turned it into something that just smelled absolutely divine. Tonka bean in itself smells wonderful to me. But with the oak moss, it became something else. I dunno how it happens, but it does.

    Such is the wonder of perfumery, I suppose.

    2. My second reference for oak moss was given to me by another Basenotes member. Its origin? I dunno.

    This liquid is watery, not sticky. And it is not dark in color, as the other stuff I smelled is. No, this "oak moss" is almost clear. And it smells completely different. It is . . . "manly." Almost aquatic. But not aquatic. It's very yummy, though. But not edible yummy. Completely different from the concentrated tar-like substance I first smelled many years ago.

    --------------------------------------

    Two URL's with interesting information on oak moss. . .

    1. "Perfumer's Palette Series -- Oakmoss" by WAFT

    2. "Oak Trees and their Symbionts: The Romance of Mistletoe and Oakmoss" by Jaime_B
    Last edited by Aiona; 29th December 2011 at 05:37 PM. Reason: added extra URLs, corrected source
    [I]"Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere."[/I] -- [URL="http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?p=1496120#post1496120"]Inselaffe[/URL]

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    Exclamation Re: Oakmoss

    I had noticed lichens growing on our pines here in Spokane County, Washington and got curious. Went to this website of the herbarium of University of Washington, and sure enough, Evernia prunastri (note spelling) is found here and elsewheres in the state: http://biology.burke.washington.edu/...collection.php
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  14. #14

    Default Re: Oakmoss

    The only thing I found difficult about working with oakmoss absolute is getting a good ratio (alcohol to oil). Sticky paste is hard to measure. Working with oakmoss is an experiment all its own.

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    I just got an oakmoss absolute (low atranol) diluted to 10% in fractionated coconut oil from Nature's Gift. I didn't want to deal with the complications of the tarry mess I hear described, thus the diluted version. It's in a cobalt blue bottle, so I cant see the color, tho when I put it on the back of my hand it was greenish brownish black. Sniffed I'm getting adhesive tape + Marmite or Worcestershire sauce + wet leaves + old sneaker smell.

    Later, on my afternoon walk, I passed an oak tree. Sure enough, there was the familiar lichen. Crushed and sniffed, less intense, of course, but that leafy wet earth thing is instantly recognizable. Now I have a fame of reference when sniffing chypre.
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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Oakmoss Absolute - almost black\green and viscous.

    In concentrated form it smells like chinese herbs steeped and brewed to be incredibly pungent and bitter. Diluted I smell decaying leaves, damp, still bitter. It takes a long time to volatise and become a scent. At first it seems to make no difference to the mix at all, but after a time it ties all the conflicting notes together and creates a velvety, dark underlay to the scent. You can't really pick it as a note on it's own, it's just a deep, sensuous character that it lends to other notes by binding them together. It takes the edge off patchouli and makes it more of a forrest scent rather than a wild, aromatic stink that could garotte you at any moment. Oakmoss won't jump out of the bottle and hit you but it will creep up on you over time.

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by nicholas lee View Post
    The only thing I found difficult about working with oakmoss absolute is getting a good ratio (alcohol to oil). Sticky paste is hard to measure. Working with oakmoss is an experiment all its own.
    I warmed the bottle in a water bath.* This made it mobile enough to use a pipette to transfer it to another container waiting on the scales. As soon as it cooled the viscosity increased, so after I added the ETOH I put the whole thing back in the water. Shake the bottle a little and it dissolves quite easily. Job done!

    *erm... a cup...

    -

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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Oh now i understand why oakmoss perfumes are called woody:-) and not green.....

    Oakmoss i got from dear BNer:-) (thank you), is olive oil green, oily as well tincture....opens up very raw like some humid forest substance but very woody, like a full wood board, and then when it drys out start smelling so much simmilar to the synthetic woody notes, of iso E super..and some others i smelled in perfumes, that i was so surprised!, its nothing like i get from perfumes that are produced now...where that oak moss smells like some bitter sharp soar thing, almost peppery....

    This natural oak moss is dry, woody note, i don't get the salty note! This type of moss was maybe used in Miss Balmain, while in vintage Caleche i smell this other type of moss that smells really very salty, and humid,like spiced up, peppery and those modern synthetic oak mosses maybe tried to replicate more of that...while Iso Super E more of this 1 st type.....don't know just guessing?

    But yes perfume industry organ lost a lot of deepness by taking this one out....try playing the piano on just one half of it:-)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oakmoss

    Some fell off our ancient oak tree after a windy day the other week, reminded me of the scents of old.

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