Perfume Fact No. 2


Did you know that atranol and chloroatranol are two main constituents responsible for a characteristic smell of oak moss (Evernia prunastri) and tree moss (Evernia furfuracea). As you surely know moss is an essential ingredient in the making of chypre fragrances. Until mid of last year neither atranol nor chloroatranol were restricted or prohibited. This is chaging now – after extensive research on IFRA side proving that both of these chemicals cause strong allergic reactions, European Commision has decided to update the law, prohibiting atranol and chloroatranol as a result, effective of August 23, 2017.

By mid 2019 only products conform to new standards can be placed on EU market and by mid 2021 all non-conform products must be removed from the market. Do you think this restriction on atranol and chloroatranol will have a negative effect in perfumery? Is chypre in danger? Do you even like chypre as a perfume family? What are your favorites? One of mine is Parfum d’Empire Azemour.

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26 thoughts on “Perfume Fact No. 2

  1. Bettina says:

    I won’t miss oakmoss. I have found that I am allergic to it and chypre is my least favourite perfume family.

  2. pjmcbride says:

    Ah, Mitsouko. What will become of you?

  3. Jillie says:

    I have loved chypres all my life, and that’s a lot of years! It was in about 2010 that I noticed changes being made to the amount of oak moss being used in old favourites of mine, with the ratio being reduced significantly. Then came the swapping of oak for tree (to my nose a much simpler, “watered down” version). Now, even tree moss is disappearing to be replaced by other notes, like patchouli. The perfumes don’t smell the same to me any more!

    I guess the chypre category is not fashionable these days and is dismissed by many as typical “old lady”, much like aldehydes. However, it is heartening to read that some perfume houses have asked their noses to go back to the drawing-board and to re-create some of their old chypre classics, restoring them to something like their old glory; I have read good things about the latest Mitsouko. So, perhaps there is hope, and tastes change. Estee Lauder made a quite good attempt at creating a synthetic version for their Jasmine & White Moss, and I suspect they will continue to use this as an ingredient even though they have discontinued that particular fragrance.

    And of course chypre isn’t just moss, it’s usually moss plus bergamot plus labdanum. On top of that you have different members of the chypre family, like floral or fruity – it’s a pretty big range to play with, so hopefully there will always be scents in the future that have that familiar chypre element.

    Favourites – so many, but basically some of the older Diors (in particular Diorella and Diorling), vintage Aromatics Elixir, and (arguably chypre) Caleche, No 19 and Cristalle.

    • lucasai says:

      I knew that chypre was one of your favorite perfume families.
      You saw that right, the regulations are becoming more strict, allowing less of those materials in perfume. In case of chypre there are some promising synthetics that might be able to evoke oakmoss without allergens.

      Right, chypre is not the most fashionable at the moment, it seems to be mostly appreciated by real connoiseurs and perfume lovers of higher age. Of course bergamot and labdanum are vital for chypre too. Hopefully neither of these will be banned soon, otherwise chypre might become extinct.

  4. Jillie says:

    I’ll stop writing in a moment! But I just had to add that I have never had an allergic reaction to moss, whereas verbena brings me out in a painful rash the moment I spray it on!

  5. Bill Tse says:

    I don’t suppose it’s appropriate to use the f word here so I digress… I’m just gonna start stockpiling New York Intense.

  6. hajusuuri says:

    You may have to pull my perfumista card because I have never paid attention to perfume types, whether Chypre or Oriental or whatever. That said, as long as the IFRA’s conclusions are based on facts, I agree with restrictions.

  7. rickyrebarco says:

    I am not an oakmoss fan. A tiny bit is ok, but those old school chypres are killer. I stay away from them whenever possible.

  8. […] isn’t going to be a long and well-thought-out post. It’s rather a reaction to the news I read yesterday on the Chemist in the Bottle about further restrictions on the perfume […]

  9. shiva-woman says:

    To he*l with the restrictions! I’m so tired of the oak moss restrictions–synthetics and naturals–both–“can” give a person a reaction. So can waking up in the morning. Every now and then I might get a tiny rash (as in once every two years)–I simply don’t use the product. Chypres are a complex, heady, sophisticated genre, so I’m just aghast at the reformulations, the watering down, the changes, the marketing to a youth group instead of creating wonderful scents that make one think and feel and revel in life.

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