1980s Oakmoss Base

I have always loved that dark, powdery, mossy heart that is so ubiquitous in the fragrances from the 80’s. One to note is “Zino” by Davidoff. This base is inspired by the heart and base of Zino and, to my nose, captures that punch that makes these fragrances so powerful, bold, masculine, and beautiful. Another fragrance to note would be “Pour Lui” by Oscar de la Renta, it is a bit brighter herbal than Davidoff’s Zino but has that stanky oakmossy kick.

The patchouli, ambrettolide, and beta ionone add a tenacious warm powdery character that rests beautifully on the mossy undertones of the oakmoss and veramoss. This is complemented by the civet absolute, which in my opinion is the defining character, and vetiver to give it that punchy, punctual presence. To round things off the habanolide, vertofix and ambroxan come in to make things smooth as silk. Lastly, the bergamot and linalyl acetate give it that nice sparkle that rests on top.

This base can be used to build your own monstrous powerhouse that has that punch and audacity as the decade it comes from.

Many thanks to Jamie for allowing me to share this with you guys! I hope it leads to new creations and understanding for all of you and I am sure I will grow myself from the feedback I receive!


[Note From Jamie: Frank Saunders, one of our regular readers and patrons, has offered this base formula along with a few fragrance formulas to the site for publication so we can all learn from his work and grow our formula workbooks. Thanks Frank!]

The Formula

Quantity Ingredient Comments
325 Iso E Super
145 Hedione
70 Patchouli -Clearwood can be used as well.
65 Ambrettolide -Musk Ambrette could absolutely be used here!
50 Habanolide
30 Beta Ionone
30 Linalyl Acetate
25 Bergamot 104 (Givaudan)
25 Vertofix Coeur
20 Evernyl
15 Vetiverol Sub: Vetacetex or some other vetiver base will work.
115 Oakmoss Absolute 10%
10 Cinnamon Leaf EO
10 Coumarin
10 Dihydromyrcenol
10 Ambroxan
10 Geraniol
10 Musk Ketone 50%
5 Vetiver -Indonesian vetiver is best.
5 Civet Absolute
5 Miel Oliffac Honey base by IFF
3 Citronellol
2 Citral
5 Vanillin 10%
5 1 vote
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1 year ago

Thanks for this Frank! I have already got half of it mixed and I’ll finish it tomorrow once I pick up a couple of things from my storage unit. I am a HUGE fan of Pour Lui (it’s one of the fragrances I always buy in vintage form from eBay) so I’m sure I’ll like this. I haven’t tried Zino but I’ll get some now that you have published this formula so I can see what it’s like.

1 year ago
Reply to  Frank Saunders

Just bought an unopened vintage bottle! I looked it up on Fragrantica and I can’t believe I’ve never tried it – it lists patchouli as its dominant note and patchouli oakmoss bombs are my absolute favorite fragrances. And it was made by Michael Almairac who made Joop for Men which is one I love. Thanks Frank – I’m off down a rabbit hole it appears! ♥️

Last edited 1 year ago by Jamie
1 year ago

Salute Frank. I can say that it makes totally sense now that I’ve read the formula and got my vintage ‘Zino’ on my wrist. That moss base will be a great foundation towards my Givenchy Gentleman ’74. Brutal patch light austere moss.

Tim Gough
Tim Gough
1 year ago

I’ve made up the Tigerseye formulation (not yet added the Oakmoss) and the Oakmoss base (just completing with a few final materials). Am I safe to use HoneySig in place of the Miel?

The Tigerseye already smells sensational even without the Oakmoss – it’s divine! Thank you so much for sharing Frank and I’m looking forwards to seeing/buying more of your formulations. Great work.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Gough

Miel ollifac is, if I recall correctly, similar to an aurantiol based honey base. I think honeySig would not be considered a good replacer for it in general fragrance terms (honey sig is a million times nicer though). I will let Frank reply as to whether it would be good in this formula if you omit the Miel base though.

1 year ago

I’ve mixed this one today, and I’ve used almost the same ingredients except a few are slightly different: Cinnamon Bark from Hermitage oils, Patchouly fraction B Robertet and Bergamot super premium from Hermitage oils. I’ve put a tiny dap with a toothpick on my wrist and boy oh boy what a great scent this is for a base (it hasn’t even macerated yet!), this could be a scent on its own!! This definitely is the 80s and I can imagine this to be a part of Davidoff’s Zino, I only know the version of 2012 though. Any other suggestion to mixed… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Guido
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank Saunders

You’re most welcome! And thank you for the advice on how to use this base.

8 months ago

Made this base up recently, just awaiting civet and honey to finish – in its current state it is fantastic! Quintessentially 80s! Well done Frank, and Jamie for sharing.

5 months ago

I mixed up a batch of this last night, and have wore it twice since. This is just stunning. Deep, dark, green, warm and slightly spicey. Feels classic, but not necessarily dated… I would wear this, but not something like Polo Green for instance. A few substitutions and omissions were made due to my limited materials. Substituted Ambrarome instead of Civet, Cedryl Acetate instead of Vertofix, more Vetiver instead of Vetiverol, Romandolide instead of Habanolide, Isoeugenol instead of Cinnamon Leaf EO, Linalool instead of linalyl acetate, and Tonka Bean instead of Coumarin. Omitted Geraniol, Evernyl, DHM, Geraniol, Musk Ketone, Miel… Read more »

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