A few IFRA-related notes on massoia bark and oakmoss

I noticed a few IFRA-related things in the news recently that I thought might be of interest.

Hermes is releasing a perfume by Jean-Claude Ellena called Santal Massoia. The notes sound delicious, a milky blend of sandalwood and massoia, which is a lactonic coconut scented oil produced from the bark of the massoia tree. The interesting twist is that oil from massoia bark is prohibited by IFRA because it can cause skin irritation, so the massoia note in this perfume is likely constructed with synthetic lactones, not with natural masssoia bark, unless they’ve come up with a massoia oil that is IFRA-approved. Massoia bark oil is completely prohibited in fragrance rather than limited to a low usage rate, though you see it used sometimes by natural perfumers who choose not to follow IFRA guidelines. Bo Jensen’s great site has an entry for massoia if you’re curious to read more about it.

Another item in the news that brought IFRA to my mind: Basenotes posted a teaser for an upcoming interview with Guerlain’s perfumer Thierry Wasser. Interviewer Marian Bendeth asks Wasser about the difficulties of reformulating to meet ever-changing IFRA regulations, and he mentions that he now has a natural moss that meets IFRA standards. This is true, we have a natural moss that has had nearly all the atranol allergens removed, but even that is restricted to 0.1% in a formula, which is not going to give you vintage Mitsouko. It will be interesting to read the full interview. I have wondered if the industry will come up with a natural moss that IFRA will approve at a higher usage rate, but I’ve not heard of any such product yet (just synthetic reconstitutions). I love the natural low-atranol moss we have but wish we could use it at a higher rate. Combining it with moss-replacing synthetics can help.

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