Oak Moss Absolute
Every living thing in the forest exudes essence. Flowering finery, tall trees, liniment leaves and robust roots may get all the credit, yet it is nature’s tiniest organisms that really steal the show. Our Oak Moss Absolute is distilled from naturally-growing French lichen, which is a combination of fungus and algae that wraps around oak trees in an endless embrace. The absolute that is extracted from the lichen offers a majestic mossy essence that is popular in perfumery.
Botanical Name: Evernia prunastri
Extraction Method: Absolute
Part of Plant Distilled: Lichen
Country of Origin: Macedonia
Cultivation Method: Wild-crafted
Scent Description: Dewy, earthy, magnificent moss with aromatic notes of fresh forest dirt and pine
Blends with: vetiver, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, spikenard, orris root, cacao absolute, silver fir, pine, Greenland moss, lemon, lime, juniper, cypress and blood orange.
Uses: perfumery, meditation, aromatherapy
Contraindications: Not recommended for children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, epileptics, or the elderly. See note*.
Living Libations Oak Moss Absolute is a verdant earthy aroma that is absolutely unique among essential oils! This viscous, dark green absolute is extracted from lichen that cling to the bark of French oak trees deep in damp forests. The lichen offers a fresh, mossy, aromatic oil that has been a staple scent of chypre accords and fougère fragrances in perfumery for decades.
Oakmoss, called Mousse de Chène in France, is an extraordinary fixative for use in perfumery. Its rich, molasses moss like notes make it an everlasting aromatic base-note that holds the heart and top notes in a foundation of forest freshness. Let Oak moss's molecules envelope you in the strength of stillness and the delight of deep earth.
"It is one of the finest of all fixatives and, in addition, gives a persistent "woody" or "earthy" note to perfumes. It is indispensable to the formulation of chypre of which there are scores of variations, but oakmoss along with bergamot is in all of them. Oakmoss is also an excellent base for fougère perfumes; and in lavender, it is absolutely essential. It imparts a charming freshness to bergamot, lemon and lime; and it adds a je ne sais quois to the floral fragrances of jasmine, rose and orange blossom. To ylang ylang, coriander and vanilla it lends a certain "tone" while to patchouli, vetiver, and musk, it gives depth and stability... Small wonder, then, that oakmoss is so highly respected by the perfumer." Jill Jessee, Perfume Album
"The fragrance is full, mossy, and somewhat tar-like. It is a natural fixative for perfumes."
Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook
"Oak moss absolute, despite its long tradition of use in perfumery, its unique and irreplaceable odor and fixative nature, now has severely restricted use, and a complete ban may be imminent. This is because it has the potential to cause sensitization and cross-reactivity when applied to the skin. However, fragrance manufacturers have made many efforts to identify the oakmoss allergens and produce extracts that are free of the offending components (such as atranorin, chloroatronin, and haematomates). Several methods for the removal of these have now been patented, and all extracts with reduced levels gave good results when tested."
Jennifer Peace Rhind, Fragrance and Wellbeing: Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche
"It [oakmoss] was found in Egyptian tombs. It was popular in sixteenth-century perfumes and remains a fixative in chypre-type perfumes today (named after Cyprus, home of this moss)."
Keville and Green, Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Art
"Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?"
Susan Branch, A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside
Please note*: Since the 1940s, restrictions have been placed on Oak Moss Absolute due to its potential to cause irritation and skin sensitization. This is due to components like atranorin, haematomates, and chloroatronin, which can cause rashes and reactions in sensitive skin.
However, in a recent report investigating the safety of Oak Moss Absolute, Joulain and Tabacchi (2009) found many inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the research that contributed to the current concerns about Oak Moss Absolute. In looking at research conducted between the 1940s and 1970s, the authors of this report uncovered misleading publications, inaccurate information, and unfounded conclusions drawn from potentially faulty toxicological tests (Rhind, 2014). While the safety of Oak Moss Absolute is assured for most skin types, the potential for sensitization is a complex issue still being debated by perfumers. Because of this, it is recommended to dilute Oak Moss Absolute to 0.1% to avoid the possibility of skin sensitization.