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

1.5006661337597
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.4040282680522
Antaeus Chanel
1.3764654942712
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3478003333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.3341323605116
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.3122504305889
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.2847732166267
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.2788438140155
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
1.2404628755662
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2397729885425
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2323332560618
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
1.2318348140155
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.2194161337597
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2105288894218
Yatagan Caron
1.1983197210232
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1925859885425
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.1840578433253
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.1809735414335
Empreinte Courreges
1.1660892981615
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.1632767860378
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1613588955502
Sulphur [16S] Nu Be
1.1603737095657
Portos Balenciaga
1.1587633389289
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1586943605116
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1.1578924369837
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.1577617732481
Andron for Men Jovan
1.1576593618439
Kinski Kinski
1.1545121337597
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.153402977085
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1511990407674
Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
1.1437895872635
Men's Style Juvena
1.1436650293099
Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.137761945377
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1372823898215
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1370130815348
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.1367337210232
Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.1356721223022
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1356679070077
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.1348411630695
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.1343988140155
Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
1.1279309885425
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1275313082867
Fetish Roja Dove
1.1268518129496
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.1263322675193
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1251332267519
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.1250022422062
Knize Ten Knize
1.1248867210232
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1241300293099
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.123288
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1222648547828
Djin Michael Storer
1.1221767095657
Alameda Robert Piguet
1.1217040993872
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1187397617906
Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.1180466802558
Safina Rasasi
1.1157007617906
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.114725552891
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.1141752152944
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.1139201199041
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.1123100407674
Burnt Amber Neil Morris
1.1113774535039
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.111111
Mozart Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
1.1109277911005
Gala Loewe
1.1106241849187
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.1105675121236
Diorama Christian Dior
1.1093930293099
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1091702038369
Oud Reminiscence
1.1058460815348
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.1057368955502
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.1053962267519
Eau d’E Bogue
1.103863575806
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
1.1028123261391
Sova Slumberhouse
1.102053529976
Intimate Revlon
1.1005365899281
06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
1.0987486013856
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0981548547828
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0971063274714
Fate for Women Amouage
1.0968029898748
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
1.096438779643
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0948158140155
Ambre et Diamant Noir Ambregris
1.0943939898748
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.0919748140155
Kemi Kemi Blending Magic
1.0917083605116
L'Air de Panache The Grand Budapest Hotel
1.0888715350386
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.0879788547828
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.0851830586198
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0847415822009
Occur! Avon
1.083722378364
Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
1.0832431223022
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.0815581987743
Beloved Amouage
1.0806316981082
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0801204420464
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0778937503331
DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
1.0751645656808
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0739132675193
Red Leather PK Perfumes
1.071957802558
Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.0716954535039
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
1.0715963898215
Koto Shiseido
1.0704885643485
Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
1.0702949389821
Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
1.069999355449
Davidoff Davidoff
1.0692624942712
Fig Aftelier
1.0691641452172
A Rebours Friendly Fur
1.0680855350386
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0677328140155
Allegri Allegri
1.0674941593392
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
1.0655630293099
Land Of Warriors The Vagabond Prince
1.0651773210765
Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0640964535039
Lonestar Juvena
1.0631373082867
Special for Gentlemen Le Galion
1.0600541529443
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
1.0589793490541
Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0584194076739
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.0580570993872
gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0574440815348
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0570075872635
Masha Tola
1.0476443082867
Jais Atkinsons
1.0474405350386
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0465963898215
Epices L.T. Piver
1.0461437911005
Amber Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.0454356687983
Sharina Rasasi
1.0453170407674
Misqaal Tola
1.0401332267519
Blue Hope Xerjoff
1.039157575806
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.0390617503331
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
1.0362639885425
Reckless Roja Dove
1.0329241337597
Pancaldi Pancaldi
1.0303182675193
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0295035872635
Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
1.0204073605116
Red Hoba Xerjoff
1.0013322675193
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0007993605116
Cachet Noir Prince Matchabelli
1.0007993605116
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
1.0006661337597
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
1.0005329070077
Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
1.0003996802558
Fire Roberta Andrade
1.0003996802558
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.0003996802558
Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.0003996802558
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
1.0003996802558
Myth of Saso Shiseido
1.0002664535039
Cerequio Acqua Delle Langhe
1.0002664535039
Loverose Lena Hoschek
1.0002664535039
Metropolis DSH Perfumes
1.0002664535039
Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
1.0002664535039
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.0002664535039
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
1.0001332267519
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura
1.0001332267519
Eclat Novaya Zarya
1.0001332267519
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars

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