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  1. #1
    shamu1's Avatar
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    Default Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Much ado has been made among perfume enthusiasts about perfumers' replacement of oakmoss with so-called "tree moss", due to restrictions on oakmoss in the EU. I wear a ton of fragrances that use oakmoss, but I don't believe I've ever smelled a fragrance with tree moss.

    Two questions:

    1. Can any of you describe the differences, if any, in smell between the two?

    2. Can anyone recommend a current designer (no niche, please) fragrance that makes prominent use of "tree moss"?

    I'd love to do a side-by-side comparison with an oakmoss-laden fragrance, and smell the differences if there are any.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Shamu, I can't elaborate on the differences, but I know you're familiar with Eucris. Not sure about your sample or bottle, but my Eucris very clearly stated "tree moss" as an ingredient. I believe at one time it was oakmoss, but may have shifted due to regs.

    I remember having read your review before getting mine and tree moss was one of the few ingredients listed on the box.

  3. #3
    shamu1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by StylinLA View Post
    Shamu, I can't elaborate on the differences, but I know you're familiar with Eucris. Not sure about your sample or bottle, but my Eucris very clearly stated "tree moss" as an ingredient. I believe at one time it was oakmoss, but may have shifted due to regs.

    I remember having read your review before getting mine and tree moss was one of the few ingredients listed on the box.
    You just may have answered my question, Stylin. I too have a full bottle of Eucris (which I bought a year ago), but I have not looked at the ingredient list on the box. I still have the box, so I'll take a look.

    If what's in my bottle of Eucris is in fact tree moss, then I don't understand what all the anger is about replacing oakmoss with tree moss. The Eucris I have is probably the mossiest smelling fragrance I own. I think in my review I said something like, "They could have just called this frag 'Trumper Oakmoss'", or something like that. It smells awesome to me.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I like it too. I think it is more heavily laden with tree moss, than most of the scents I've tried with oak moss are laden with oak moss. So it's hard to make a direct comparison.

    It is MOSSY!

    Someone with more notes knowledge than I may well weigh in, but my gut is that tree moss is a little shaper and pungent. Can't say for sure. Eucris is my only known experience with a frag that lists tree moss.

    I did a quick scan of some sites that list various fragrance's notes and I see that they list oak moss in Eucris.
    Last edited by StylinLA; 2nd December 2010 at 02:50 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    From what I've surmised, the difference between oak moss and tree moss is: complexity. Like Mysore sandalwood, oak moss is complex enough to be a perfume unto itself. Tree moss is probably more astringent and less nuanced. I could be completely wrong about this, however.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 2nd December 2010 at 04:19 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I think tree moss is drier and simpler, almost as if it is somewhere between leather and oakmoss.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    The difference between formulations in vintage Mitsouko and current Mitsouko , or the same with Derby give a bit of an idea of the difference in complexity.
    Last edited by mrclmind; 2nd December 2010 at 04:22 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    The difference between formulations in vintage Mitsouko and current Mitsouko , or the same with Derby give a bit of an idea of the difference in complexity.
    Apples and oranges then

    I'm afraid there's just no comparison between vintage and current Mistouko for me.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I reactivate this topic : tree moss vs oakmoss.
    Is there a significant difference ?
    Which one is better for DIY fragrances ?
    Thank you...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I'd like to know if the difference in smell of these two can be differentiated easily or not, and if so, anything special to pay attention to.
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  11. #11
    Basenotes Junkie Omega1185's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    All I know is that Ralph Lauren Safari with oakmoss is divine, and the new version without it is flat and synthetic.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    The difference in a commercial perfume is likely to be the change from oakmoss as a complex natural to an aromachemical representation which is a cleaner substitute in smell terms. The resulting lack of 'fullness' will be then compensated for by the perfumer with other ingredients such as patchouli amongst many other to re-add the fullness that would be lacking in the substitute.

    The substitution has been going on for years and unless you had an exptemely vintage version next to an extremely modern one. Then the differences you smell will not merely be isolated to the oakmoss. There have been too many other alterations too.

    If you wanted to actually smell the difference between the two, than a sample of the raw ingredient would be the only way to truly tell. I'm happy to oblige for the truly curious but you'd have to cover expenses.
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  13. #13
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    The difference in a commercial perfume is likely to be the change from oakmoss as a complex natural to an aromachemical representation which is a cleaner substitute in smell terms. The resulting lack of 'fullness' will be then compensated for by the perfumer with other ingredients such as patchouli amongst many other to re-add the fullness that would be lacking in the substitute.

    The substitution has been going on for years and unless you had an exptemely vintage version next to an extremely modern one. Then the differences you smell will not merely be isolated to the oakmoss. There have been too many other alterations too.

    If you wanted to actually smell the difference between the two, than a sample of the raw ingredient would be the only way to truly tell.
    Thank you for this explanation.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    My two-cents' worth: post #5 hits the nail right on the head. If you pit vintage One Man Show (the one that says 85% Vol in a clear bottle) against the one in the market right now (the one that says 87% Vol in a tinted green bottle), you will definitely notice the difference. Oakmoss softens the tartness of citrus/aldehydes and imparts a powdery effect especially when used in conjunction with orris root. Treemoss does not. However, both are very good fixatives.

    I hardly ever use tree moss in my DIYs. There's no reason to, I have the natural oakmoss. Givaudan sells a "reconstituted" oakmoss (supposedly devoid of allergens) but it lacks complexity. The best analogy I can think of is comparing homemade soup against canned soup.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by DSun; 29th September 2015 at 10:16 PM. Reason: analogy

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Both have been compromised due to EU regs but my feeling is that oakmoss offers a more expansive 'mood', and, depending on the perfume, a bit more natural 'forest floor'. Treemoss seems a bit 'shrill' and thin by comparison.

    I base this mostly on my bottles of Attrape Coeur, where I have some oakmoss and some treemoss versions (before they just gave up and discontinued the thing), so don't take this as a scientific answer - just a personal take on how they work for me.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by DSun View Post
    Oakmoss softens the tartness of citrus/aldehydes and imparts a powdery effect especially when used in conjunction with orris root. Treemoss does not. However, both are very good fixatives.
    That's exactly what I thought after comparing my Luciano Soprani uomo's vintage mini bottle with the new (reformulated) one which states treemoss in the box instead of oakmoss. The new one is definitely more tart, less "creamy" and seems "thinner".

  17. #17
    Basenotes Institution pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    Oakmoss, Evernia prunastri, is a lichen and one of the most commonly used fixatives in both women's and men's fragrances. Lichen is a category of fungi that lives in a symbiotic relationship with hard porous surfaces like trees trunks, branches, etc. and rocks. Sometimes lichens can also co-exist with certain forms of algae.

    Tree Mosses, Evernia furfuracea and Usnea barbata are also used quite often in perfumery, but more so in men's fragrances. These are found growing on pine trees or spruce trees and are sometimes misleadingly called oakmoss, when in reality they should be called tree moss or fir moss. The reason they're mislabeled or misrepresented is because sometimes they are substituted as cheaper, inferior alternatives to true oakmoss, which grows only on oak trees, particularly the Quercus robur species of oak. Tree mosses tend not to have the complex scent profile of oakmoss but basically work the same way as a fixative to slow down the rate of evaporation of lighter more transient notes. They tend to provide a dry lichenous, mostly one dimensional background note for fragrances.

    Unlike the scent profile of tree moss, the scent profile of oakmoss is very complex, and much like ambergris, it can present a wide range of distinctive notes: animalic, leathery, forest floor, lichenous like notes, a slight marine type salinity, but these notes and the way they present themselves has a lot to do with the concentration of oakmoss in a fragrance and its synergy with other elements. For example, while oakmoss does not have a heavy animalic note per se, in absolute form, it has quite a complex scent profile, part of which is a persistent leather-like undertone. Oakmoss can and frequently does deepen and complicate the animalic component of fragrances it is added to by the persistence of this leather-like undertone from the top notes through to the drydown, and, of course, how prominent such an undertone is depends on how much the use of oakmoss absolute is diluted within any particular fragrance and its synergy with other animalic or leathery type notes. An exemplary use of oakmoss to provide a persistent soft leather note throughout the drydown can be seen in Jean Claude Ellena's Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande. This animalic, leather-like undertone is not part of the scent profile of tree moss. Compared to oakmoss, tree moss tends to have a more one dimensional very dry lichenous quality to it, and this is why many people are worried that its facile substitution in the place of oakmoss in fragrance formulas will simplify the complexity of fragrances and finally their aesthetic qualities. For an excellent use of tree moss as a persistent back note that adds a dry chypre dimension to the fragrance and works well to contrast the moister, richer qualities of rose absolute and the syrupy rich sweet qualities of tobacco absolute, try Domenico Caraceni Pour Homme.

    Finally, oakmoss has unique fixative qualities in that its presence tends to be extend throughout the entire drydown with its own odor profile adding to the to the whole feel and distinctive nature of the fragrance it occurs in, hence, the category of chypres. However, while oakmoss gives fragrances a distinctive enduring character, in many ways, though, oakmoss is the universal fixative par excellence in that while it asserts its distinctive character throughout the drydown of the fragrance it is present in, unlike other fixatives, to a large extent, it leaves the scent profile of the other constituents in the fragrance relatively unmodified allowing them to shine through and persist longer and more intensely even as it works synergistically with them. In many ways, its own scent profile remains a kind of background note. The only other fixative that has this characteristic is civet.

    The vintage formulation of Vetiver mostly definitely has oakmoss in it.

    scentemental
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by pluran; 2nd October 2015 at 11:49 AM.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Very interesting read, pluran. Who wrote that? I am a fan of both of the mentioned fragrances. I have not realized that Poivre Samarcande's deep and complex leathery aroma has to do with oakmoss. It's equally surprising that Domenico Caraceni 1913 contains tree moss instead of oakmoss. This fragrance does not feel like a compromised chypre at all. Maybe tree moss really fits this particular fragrance better.

    So much to learn.
    Last edited by Johnny_Ludlow; 2nd October 2015 at 05:20 AM.

  19. #19
    Dependent Monsieur Montana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    "Oakmoss, Evernia prunastri, is a lichen and one of the most commonly used fixatives in both women's and men's fragrances. Lichen is a category of fungi that lives in a symbiotic relationship with hard porous surfaces like trees trunks, branches, etc. and rocks. Sometimes lichens can also co-exist with certain forms of algae.

    Tree Mosses, Evernia furfuracea and Usnea barbata are also used quite often in perfumery, but more so in men's fragrances. These are found growing on pine trees or spruce trees and are sometimes misleadingly called oakmoss, when in reality they should be called tree moss or fir moss. The reason they're mislabeled or misrepresented is because sometimes they are substituted as cheaper, inferior alternatives to true oakmoss, which grows only on oak trees, particularly the Quercus robur species of oak. Tree mosses tend not to have the complex scent profile of oakmoss but basically work the same way as a fixative to slow down the rate of evaporation of lighter more transient notes. They tend to provide a dry lichenous, mostly one dimensional background note for fragrances.

    Unlike the scent profile of tree moss, the scent profile of oakmoss is very complex, and much like ambergris, it can present a wide range of distinctive notes: animalic, leathery, forest floor, lichenous like notes, a slight marine type salinity, but these notes and the way they present themselves has a lot to do with the concentration of oakmoss in a fragrance and its synergy with other elements. For example, while oakmoss does not have a heavy animalic note per se, in absolute form, it has quite a complex scent profile, part of which is a persistent leather-like undertone. Oakmoss can and frequently does deepen and complicate the animalic component of fragrances it is added to by the persistence of this leather-like undertone from the top notes through to the drydown, and, of course, how prominent such an undertone is depends on how much the use of oakmoss absolute is diluted within any particular fragrance and its synergy with other animalic or leathery type notes. An exemplary use of oakmoss to provide a persistent soft leather note throughout the drydown can be seen in Jean Claude Ellena's Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande. This animalic, leather-like undertone is not part of the scent profile of tree moss. Compared to oakmoss, tree moss tends to have a more one dimensional very dry lichenous quality to it, and this is why many people are worried that its facile substitution in the place of oakmoss in fragrance formulas will simplify the complexity of fragrances and finally their aesthetic qualities. For an excellent use of tree moss as a persistent back note that adds a dry chypre dimension to the fragrance and works well to contrast the moister, richer qualities of rose absolute and the syrupy rich sweet qualities of tobacco absolute, try Domenico Caraceni Pour Homme.

    Finally, oakmoss has unique fixative qualities in that its presence tends to be extend throughout the entire drydown with its own odor profile adding to the to the whole feel and distinctive nature of the fragrance it occurs in, hence, the category of chypres. However, while oakmoss gives fragrances a distinctive enduring character, in many ways, though, oakmoss is the universal fixative par excellence in that while it asserts its distinctive character throughout the drydown of the fragrance it is present in, unlike other fixatives, to a large extent, it leaves the scent profile of the other constituents in the fragrance relatively unmodified allowing them to shine through and persist longer and more intensely even as it works synergistically with them. In many ways, its own scent profile remains a kind of background note.

    The only other fixative that has this characteristic is civet."
    Great explanation, thanks Pluran.

  20. #20
    Basenotes Institution pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Ludlow View Post
    Very interesting read, pluran. Who wrote that?
    Found original post. Figured as much. See above.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Ah, not surprised. Thanks.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I somehow kept associating this restriction with protecting plants, soil and including lifeforms as well as groundwater from overharvesting or I should write overstrain, though I must have confused it with another one. I remembered today that I had a specimen of what must have been an original formulation of "Pour Homme" by Giorgio Armani in the early nineties, which I remember having a complicated relationship with for being somewhat sharp and there being something unround about it. I mention this as oakmoss is described to have a certain similarity to seaweed in scent, which could likely be what contributed to the perception of unroundness. And now that I think about this aspect, I make some sort of cross association with "Pour Homme" by Kenzo perhaps for its maritime feeling. I think that I unfortunately have disposed of the former fragrance possibly during a house moving, which now annoys me knowing a little bit more about fragrances, but what I wanted to get to is whether an allergy to oakmoss is something which can be tested and if so, why a clear warning sentence or label assumably did not suffice? I do not recall certain nuts being restricted in foodstuffs apart from introducing versions without these, so what is the reason for this escalation? In regards to fragrances, a reduction in complexity would seem like a rather severe interference. Mind you, I see regulatory instances as necessary, though with the weighty requirement of acting consequently yet reasonably and proportionately respectively reservedly whenever possible.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Halston z14 is a perfect example. When they removed oak moss, they added or strengthened the other notes to compensate. The fragrance now is a more one dimensional, linear blast of mostly cinnamon. The original formula was rich and nuanced.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Current Eternity is full of "tree moss".
    I've seen some fragrances that have both..tree moss and oakmoss.
    Boucheron pour Homme edp has both listed.
    Last edited by Foamywax; 17th April 2021 at 12:50 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by DEMON View Post
    Halston z14 is a perfect example. When they removed oak moss, they added or strengthened the other notes to compensate. The fragrance now is a more one dimensional, linear blast of mostly cinnamon. The original formula was rich and nuanced.
    I think current Z-14 is a solid cold weather fragrance, but yeah, the first 2/3 of the original's dry down is completely gone. With the current juice you're just getting the basenotes for the entirety of the spray's lifespan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foamywax View Post
    Current Eternity is full of "tree moss".
    I've seen some fragrances that both tree moss and oakmoss Boucheron pour Homme edp has both listed.
    The weird thing about Eternity is that the differences between the vintage and reform are very slight, and yet, just enough to make a difference in fans of the fragrance. Mostly, the vintage is less powdery in the drydown, and is easily a 12hr+ scent.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by Foamywax View Post
    Current Eternity is full of "tree moss".
    I've seen some fragrances that both tree moss and oakmoss Boucheron pour Homme edp has both listed.
    Keep in mind, current Eternity is also full of synthetics... some of them harsh. So, they may list tree moss, but the mossiness could be 1% tree moss and 99% synthetic substitutes.

    It's like when a package at the grocery store says "Made with natural ingredients!" ...but it doesn't say "Made with ONLY natural ingredients" which means it's still loaded with junk. We see this a lot with ambergris, for example. A house will say they use natural ambergris, but in reality, 0.001% of the "ambergris" note is natural ambergris and the rest is something like ambroxan.

    I have a sample of recent Eternity, and I was shocked by how much I disliked it since I enjoy many 90s scents.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by DEMON View Post
    Halston z14 is a perfect example. When they removed oak moss, they added or strengthened the other notes to compensate. The fragrance now is a more one dimensional, linear blast of mostly cinnamon. The original formula was rich and nuanced.

    There are multiple versions/formulations here. I may be remembering this wrong, if so someone can jump in and correct, but from what I recall they went from oakmoss to oakmoss and treemoss, then treemoss, then on to the current version. The Jeff Gordon version is tree moss but is still perhaps 70%, 80%?? of the vintage with oakmoss where the current version is perhaps 50% or less of vintage (in scent/characte)???

    The problem is they were often making other changes at the same time, so even comparing the vintage to the treemoss, you may be identifying other differences that are beyond the "moss". The much older post about the only real way is comparing the raw ingredient seems most accurate. But comparing one of the vintage versions to the treemoss Z-14 could prove interesting just to show that there is more to it than the "moss".....

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    Keep in mind, current Eternity is also full of synthetics... some of them harsh. So, they may list tree moss, but the mossiness could be 1% tree moss and 99% synthetic substitutes.

    It's like when a package at the grocery store says "Made with natural ingredients!" ...but it doesn't say "Made with ONLY natural ingredients" which means it's still loaded with junk. We see this a lot with ambergris, for example. A house will say they use natural ambergris, but in reality, 0.001% of the "ambergris" note is natural ambergris and the rest is something like ambroxan.

    I have a sample of recent Eternity, and I was shocked by how much I disliked it since I enjoy many 90s scents.
    Current Eternity for Men doesn't list oak or tree moss, so if Foamy's bottle does, it's pre-2011. Eternity for Men has always been primarily synthetic anyway, because that's been Calvin Klein's aesthetic since the mid-80's lol
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I believe that original formulation Terre d'hermes had both tree moss and oakmoss in it. Later versions removed the tree moss.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Tree Moss vs. Oakmoss

    I have the box right here. It's a '19 batch made in Germany.
    And yes tree moss is listed. It's from last year for sure because Coty didn't have a factory in Germany ten years ago. IMG_20210417_153334_compress12.jpg




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