The Scent Guide: What Does Oakmoss Smell Like?

oakmoss on a branch with acorns

Source: kalmukanin/

Over the centuries, perfumers have discovered countless scents, derived from all sorts of flowers, resins, leaves and other natural elements. But who would have thought to have created a scent from oakmoss, a fungal lichen? 

In this article, Homesick explores this unusual moss and what makes it a fantastic addition to perfumes, candles and more. Plus, Homesick answers the question: What does oakmoss smell like? That way, you can know precisely what to expect. 

In addition, we list a few Homesick candles with the oakmoss scent and similar notes.

What Is Oakmoss and Where Does It Come From?

With a flat yet curling bushy “thallus,” the microscopic-like branches that give it its signature appearance, the delicate oakmoss lichen resembles a deer or reindeer’s antlers. Only three to four centimeters long, the thalli grows in a clump-like formation across oak trees and the bark of other deciduous trees and even some conifers like firs and pine trees. 

Oakmoss typically grows on trees within mountainous regions with lush forests and mild temperatures. Some of these mountainous regions exist in countries, such as France, Portugal and Spain, and around Central Europe. Oakmoss can also be found in North American mountains, too. 

It is found in various colors ranging from a verdant green to a more neutral, olive green, greenish-white and even a bright yellow-green hue when wet. The texture of oakmoss changes, too. When dry, oakmoss is rougher and a bit crisper, but it gives off a more rubbery feel when it soaks up condensation from the forest floor or any moisture. 

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What Does Oakmoss Smell Like?

some oakmoss on a branch in a tree

Source: Alexandra Kovaleva/

As you might imagine, since it derives from lichen, the oakmoss scent delivers a strong earthy and woodsy aroma. Essentially, it’s what you might smell if you were walking through a wet forest with damp mossy trunks and stones and lichen-covered root branches along the ground. Some dryness comes through like a crisp bark or smooth leather in a subtle undertone, giving off hints of musk and amber. Green and slightly bright, oakmoss adds a rich undertone that balances out many other scents, such as bergamot, as well as a variety of other floral aromas. 

Due to the unique scent of oakmoss, the extracted oil, which is blacklisted in some countries, is generally used as a base note in perfumes and other scented items, such as skincare and hair products. Notably, oakmoss oils can act as a carrier or fixative of sorts which allow the fragrance of skincare lotion and the like to last longer on the skin. However, used commonly as a base note, oakmoss also works wonderfully in candles, too. 

Similar Scents and Complementing Notes

Working as an undertone, oakmoss complements a variety of scents. With the smell of a lush forest, it should be no surprise other woodsy aromas like cedar or sandalwood are commonly paired with oakmoss in candles and perfumes. Wondering what does tonka bean smell like? It offers a rich, warm scent that strikes a lovely balance with oakmoss’s damp, rainforest scent.

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Homesick Candles with Oakmoss Scents

a homesick new home candle

Appreciate oakmoss and other earthy, woodsy aromas? Check out some of Homesick’s most loved candles that use base notes of this lovely lichen.

The Dallas Candle

With hints of grapefruit and smoky cedarwood, grounded by an earthy, somewhat leathery oakmoss, the Dallas Candle transports you to the Lone Star State. Top notes of bergamot strike a perfect balance with the woodsy oakmoss and frankincense base notes, too. 

New Home Candle

Are you looking for a housewarming candle as a gift to a new homeowner? The New Home candle offers a ground base note of oakmoss and musk that softens brighter mid notes of lime and top notes of jasmine and cedarwood. Together, this blend of scents gives off an optimistic air, like starting out in an empty, blank slate house filled with possibilities. 

Canada Candle

The Canada candle features the green, earthy notes of oakmoss — and it’s easy to understand why. With abounding lush forests, the Canadian wilderness is brought into your home instantly when you ignite this candle. Complete with the leathery, amber-like scent of mossy branches, fir needles and eucalyptus — not to mention the maple syrup and butter — you’ll feel like you’re camping in the Great White North.