Lichen/oakmoss As Incense

Discussion in 'The Natural Perfumer's Palette' started by Grega, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Grega

    Grega Oud Fan

    389
    987
    93
    My project for this year is to distill lichen (specifically mostly Pseudevernia furfuracea which grows on pine and spruce trees and is not the same as oakmoss) that I picked in surrounding woods, first alone and then as a co-distillation with Dragon's Blood Resin as the scents are very complementary. Here I will keep you posted about my adventure.
    I have already dried it on a clean white cloth and now I have to get me a nice small distillation apparatus which thankfully they make around my parts :)

    (To my surprise I learned when asking my relatives about distillation equipment that my late grandpa was a masterful distiller who also made the best copper distillers around.)

    The second thing is using lichen as incense. Even alone lichen has become my favorite thing to burn. It has a beautiful fungal, wooden and yeasty scent that is just incomparable to anything else. The best thing about it is that on a semi hot charcoal it burns in five seconds emmiting little smoke but leaving the room filled with the scent for hours. Just a small part is needed. Fun fact also. Apparently in the past lichen was used as a sort of yeast for making bread in my country. Will have to try that too ;)
    IMG_20190208_141813.jpg IMG_20190208_142239.jpg IMG_20190208_141631.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
    tyson, Joe King, Sproaty and 2 others like this.
  2. Feder Unix

    Feder Unix Whats this Oud About?

    20
    36
    13
    That sounds, like a very interesting project.

    But I'm afraid you might not be very successful in extracting an essential oil from the oakmoss. In perfumery, the absolute, extracted from organic solvent, is used instead, not the essential oil. I am not aware of any essential oil extracted either by hydro-distillation of steam distillation. Also the oakmoss absolute is solid at room temperature which might require very high temperature for it to evaporate, making the hydro-distillation impractical or impossible.

    I believe you might be more successful by simply tincturing both ingredients together.

    Anyway it would be very interesting to make some test and see how it goes. I don't know the dragonblood enough to comment on that.

    Good luck with your project!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  3. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    424
    710
    93
    This is awesome. Lichens are indeed wonderfully fragrant. Using them as leavening though - that’s news to me. What part of the world are you from? I’m in Oregon - lots of rain, lichen everywhere.

    I believe you can get a distillate off of anything but also never see lichen distillate just solvent extracts. I am guessing you would get a tiny yield.
     
  4. Grega

    Grega Oud Fan

    389
    987
    93
    Thank you both for the input. Yeah I read that the yield should be low with a normal distillation but I am hoping to get just a small amount as I think it will have a very strong scent and should probably work really well in a blend with just a drop. If the experiment fails I will try the solvent extraction method. Meanwhile a tincture sounds like a good start :D

    I am from the alpine region of Slovenia so plenty of lichens to find in the woods. What kinds do you get in Oregon?
    I will try to find out more about lichen bread ;) Lichen tea is also a thing here.
     
    tyson, Sproaty and Woodland Note like this.
  5. Feder Unix

    Feder Unix Whats this Oud About?

    20
    36
    13
    Beware that oakmoss has been banned by IFRA as it's a photo-sensitizer, however IFRA is full of garbage so I don't bother to give them a penny for their recommendation.
     
  6. Feder Unix

    Feder Unix Whats this Oud About?

    20
    36
    13
    Oakmoss is one of my favourite naturals, I never eared of using it as an incense, I'll have to try it

    That might be possible, but you might need to harvest the oakmoss during summer, the yeasts die during winter and it seems that they hide in the digestive system of the hornets that bring them back in summer
     
    tyson and Grega like this.
  7. Grega

    Grega Oud Fan

    389
    987
    93
    That's good info. Thanks!
    How do the tinctures smell?
     
    tyson and Sproaty like this.
  8. Feder Unix

    Feder Unix Whats this Oud About?

    20
    36
    13
    I don't know, I never tinctured oakmoss...yet ;)
     
    Grega likes this.
  9. Feder Unix

    Feder Unix Whats this Oud About?

    20
    36
    13
    The fact that the oakmoss solidifies at room temperature gives it a very low volatility, which makes the scent to last long time but on the other side is not intense. The intensity of a smell is directly proportional to the vapor pressure of the material you are smelling, the oakmoss absolute has a very low vapor pressure, so it might not be very intense. The oakmoss is used as a mid/base note in perfumery.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    Grega likes this.
  10. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    424
    710
    93
    I find oakmoss has a pretty good kick - it seems to belie the low volatility by being extremely easy to detect, yet indeed hangs around like no body’s business. I believe the intensity of an odor will be determined by more than just volatility, since some molecules are detectable at much lower concentrations than others.


    Think this is one of the special things about oakmoss: very very long duration but quite assertive. Somewhat like patchouli and vetiver in this respect.

    Here is a link to some lichens we have in Oregon - over 90 species.

    https://silverfallswordfromthewoods...011/12/lichens-of-silver-falls-state-park.pdf
     
    Grega and Feder Unix like this.
  11. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

    424
    710
    93
    oakmoss (and other random lichens as well it seems) combusted is insanely strong. I toss a log on my wood stove with a few flakes of lichen on the crust, the entire neighborhood smells like oakmoss. Or just a flake or two in a campfire. Pretty epic - it’s signature smell is very hard to miss. Like oud, the combustion seems to be needed to really get it screaming.
     
  12. Grega

    Grega Oud Fan

    389
    987
    93
    Thanks for the pdf, that is a nice list of lichens. Oregon has always seemed like a very lovely place to me.
    I have been reading about lichens in Slovenia and I am glad to read that we have more than 1000 species here. I need to familiarize myself with them more :okay:

    I have seen photos from different people of oakmoss but they seem like different species to me.
     
  13. Grega

    Grega Oud Fan

    389
    987
    93
    Burning logs with lichen on is the best :handok:
     
    Joe King likes this.

Promote Oud!