Castoreum

lat. Castor fiber (Castoridae)

Group: Animal Sources

Castoreum Castor fiber (Castoridae)
Castoreum Castor fiber (Castoridae)
Castoreum Castor fiber (Castoridae)
Odor profile: very pungent and strong animal-derived note from the beaver, today synthetically recreated for ethical reasons. Smells leathery and very intense.

Castoreum in perfumery refers to the characteristic resinoid extract largely used as an animalistic note. The scent of castoreum is wild and bodily, lustful and passionate, bestowing the one who wears it a delicate aura of sensuality. This typical warm, carnal, and leather-like scent is actually a yellowish odoriferous oily secretion from the castor sac of the mature North American Beaver Castor canadensis and the European Beaver Castor fiber. The odor of castoreum is often described as sharp spreading a tar-like note that reminds of an odor of a birch tar or Russian leather. When diluted in alcohol, raw castoreum melts into more pleasant musky and fruity nuances.

Castoreum is derived from the Greek word Κάστωρ (Kastōr), meaning "beaver". Castor was also one of the Dioscuri/Gemini twins of Graeco-Roman mythology. Castor and  were twin brothers who shared a same mother but had different fathers. Pollux was immortal but Castor was not. When Castor died, Zeus heard Pollux’s prayer to share his immortality with dead brother, and transformed them both into stars joined together in the Gemini constellation. Although castoreum smells divinely, the true origin of the Greek word seems to be connected with a Sanskrit word for musk, which was kasturi.

Castoreum is mentioned in the works of the ancient commentators who mistakenly believed this musky substance is derived from the beaver’s testicles. In his tales, Aesop, the prominent Greek fabulist, retells the widespread hunter’s fallacy that cornered beaver bites off its own testicles, only to throw them to the hunter and so escape the death.

And beavers were verily hunted, not for their testicles but for their meat, their waterproof fur used to make hats, and also for their two anal glands present in both sexes, used to secrete sexual attractant. For this reason, castoreum was even used as an aphrodisiac, to seduce and attract the opposite sex by its pure and sensual animalistic vital force.


It is known in materia medica as a remedy for headache, fever, and hysteria. Even the Paracelsus, a Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer and occultist, teaches about this odoriferous oil as a cure for epilepsy. There is no evidence to support the claim that castoreum worked as a traditional remedy, but we do know that beavers feed on the inner bark of willow tree, which contains salicylic acid, chemically similar to the active component of aspirin.

In more recent times, at the beginning of the 20th century, castoreum obtained from the beavers’ sacs was still being used for luxury perfumes. But even much before, by the 16th century, this animal had been hunted to extinction in Scotland. The custom of killing an animal to obtain the scented oil was brutal and cruel, unfitting to fine goods such as perfumes. Today, it has been replaced by chemically synthesized castoreum, which is completely obtained from the laboratory. The synthetic castoreum echoes through many prominent perfumery creations such as Shalimar by Guerlain, Emeraude by Coty, Magie Noire by Lancôme, Antaeus by Chanel, Givenchy III by Hubert de Givenchy, Colonia Russa by Santa Maria Novella, and many others.

Image of Castor and Pollux from V&A Search the Collections

 


Author: Marina Milojević (Mary)
Fragrantica Writer, Translator & Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfumes and Colognes With Castoreum

1.5006780580418
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.4025913813398
Antaeus Chanel
1.3766273393002
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3465883333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.3341466696501
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.3122245223759
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.294161263629
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.2757305044752
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
1.2751680089504
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2389599701654
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2315826696501
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.229203959859
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
1.2194280580418
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2110314643341
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.2104870276648
Yatagan Caron
1.1983483393002
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1926384553838
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.1806576563602
Empreinte Courreges
1.1695871564958
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.166772794684
Portos Balenciaga
1.1665471296447
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1660113393002
Red Leather PK Perfumes
1.1656561074044
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1654265134255
Sulphur [16S] Nu Be
1.1618324464334
Eau d’E Bogue
1.1587086696501
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1.1573635223759
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1572701966368
Kinski Kinski
1.1549308928668
Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
1.1546516162191
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.1545240580418
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.1512205044752
Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
1.1438062812585
Men's Style Juvena
1.1433321250339
Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.1407386701926
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1372350179007
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1370560089504
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.1357365134255
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1356774464334
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.1298318437754
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.1285994062924
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.1279834553838
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1277122321671
Fetish Roja Dove
1.1262205044752
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1251356116084
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.125004857879
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.1246441160835
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1239327366423
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.123288
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1226229604014
Knize Ten Knize
1.122305397342
Djin Michael Storer
1.1221221830757
Alameda Robert Piguet
1.1190610669921
Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.1181894464334
Safina Rasasi
1.1177829197179
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.1154796205587
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.1149912009764
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1131004380255
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.1123315044752
Burnt Amber Neil Morris
1.1113901301871
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.1113822232167
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.111111
Mozart Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
1.1104489197179
Diorama Christian Dior
1.1093313482506
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1092888527258
Oud Reminiscence
1.1057989018172
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.1056177857337
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.1039327366423
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
1.101790111744
Intimate Revlon
1.1008136696501
Ambre et Diamant Noir Ambregris
1.0997938706265
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0992758887985
06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
1.098195397342
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0973838307567
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0968049823705
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
1.0937353707621
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.092388058313
Fate for Women Amouage
1.0917226696501
Kemi K Blending Magic
1.090543357201
Gala Loewe
1.0889192321671
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.088019397342
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.086847589368
Sova Slumberhouse
1.0853309197179
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0848539956604
Occur! Avon
1.0838630848929
Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
1.0837143482506
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.0809858974776
Beloved Amouage
1.0809008616762
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0781639422295
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0732138527258
DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
1.0730563393002
Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.0722091741253
Special for Gentlemen Le Galion
1.0719868036344
Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
1.0717581250339
Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.0717002232167
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
1.0716846295091
Koto Shiseido
1.0709497415243
Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
1.0705162188771
Davidoff Davidoff
1.0692887276919
Fig Aftelier
1.069123602658
A Rebours Friendly Fur
1.0682688437754
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0677518928668
Allegri Allegri
1.0662747548142
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
1.0641012232167
Lonestar Juvena
1.0636360805533
Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0605882234879
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
1.0590461250339
Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0588769018172
Land Of Warriors The Vagabond Prince
1.0537157857337
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0530629777597
gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0514922321671
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0472827857337
Jais Atkinsons
1.0472409867101
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.045725357201
Amber Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.0452240669921
Sharina Rasasi
1.0396186786005
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0391642991592
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
1.0389555134255
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.0388208928668
Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.0362564464334
L'Air de Panache The Grand Budapest Hotel
1.0359096205587
Reckless Roja Dove
1.0329360580418
Pancaldi Pancaldi
1.0329360580418
Masha Tola
1.0328773393002
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
1.0255424464334
Red Hoba Xerjoff
1.0254145044752
Misqaal Tola
1.0169300179007
Epices L.T. Piver
1.0010848928668
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0008136696501
Cachet Noir Prince Matchabelli
1.0008136696501
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
1.0006780580418
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
1.0005424464334
Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
1.0004068348251
Myth of Saso Shiseido
1.0004068348251
Fire Roberta Andrade
1.0004068348251
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.0004068348251
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
1.0004068348251
Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.0002712232167
Metropolis DSH Perfumes
1.0002712232167
Cerequio Acqua Delle Langhe
1.0002712232167
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
1.0002712232167
Loverose Lena Hoschek
1.0002712232167
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.0002712232167
Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
1.0001356116084
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura
1.0001356116084
Blue Hope Xerjoff
1.0001356116084
Gold Saskia Diez
1.0001356116084
Eclat Novaya Zarya
1.0001356116084
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars

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