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

1.3610978956999
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3339917374199
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.3319676349497
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.3300723888381
Antaeus Chanel
1.2814553833486
Les Nombres d’Or Cuir Mona di Orio
1.251787
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.23573315828
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2314277374199
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.20021957914
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.1980384748399
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1978853650503
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.1788175837145
Yatagan Caron
1.1744583705398
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.1723788435499
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.1721764245197
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1683995416285
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1673257374199
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1668983183898
Portos Cristobal Balenciaga
1.1624462772187
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.1610931189387
Kinski Kinski
1.1593222644099
Sulphur [165] Nu Be
1.15395578957
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.1473944300091
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.1436255269899
Men's Style Juvena
1.1408429588289
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.14043915828
Red Leather PK Perfumes
1.1373597392498
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1367818435499
Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.13557415828
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.1331244281793
Empreinte Courreges
1.1327402644099
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.1324963705398
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.1243858956999
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1220860018298
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.1218664226898
Djin Michael Storer
1.1211340018298
Alameda Robert Piguet
1.1171651619396
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1156828801464
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1127578435499
Fetish Roja Dove
1.1125548508692
Intimate Revlon
1.11043915828
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1101158453797
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1098646331199
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1036617392498
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1024153705398
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
1.1021957913998
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.1017359515096
Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
1.0997894766697
Oud Reminiscence
1.0988418472095
Diorama Dior
1.0986404226898
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.0983259341263
Knize Ten Knize
1.0977564226898
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0974094263495
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0942969807868
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.0936537392498
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.0935866349497
Knize Ten Gold Edition Knize
1.0927160667887
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
1.0924690795974
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0907558435499
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.0875308389753
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.0871756349497
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0859065169259
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.0851522900274
06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
1.0842113165599
Allegri Allegri
1.0826886980787
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.0822793723696
Gala Loewe
1.0813567877402
A Rebours Friendly Fur
1.0796444226898
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0783944281793
Beloved Amouage
1.0754920128088
Fate for Women Amouage
1.0738814821592
Occur! Avon
1.0734309496798
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.0721975269899
Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.071429
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
1.0707057392498
Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.0698508975297
Koto Shiseido
1.0691018060384
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0661249515096
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0649278956999
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.06404957914
Lonestar Juvena
1.0599975288198
Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0577921097896
Sova Slumberhouse
1.0567478115279
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
1.0534569606587
Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0529732644099
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0520334519671
Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
1.0487229533394
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.0477196852699
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.0477115324794
gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0468696331199
Jais Atkinsons
1.0463104226898
Rose Oud Parfums de Nicolaï
1.0441367374199
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.0439714226898
Sharina Rasasi
1.0401111079597
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
1.0365690018298
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0362396331199
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.0347831601098
Amber Oud Parfums de Nicolaï
1.034428904849
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
1.0322381061299
Fig Aftelier
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
1.0277648956999
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
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Epices L.T. Piver
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Reckless Roja Dove
1.0009881061299
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0008783165599
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.00054894785
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
1.00043915828
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
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Cachet Noir Prince Matchabelli
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Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.00032936871
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.00032936871
Fire Roberta Andrade
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Tcharas La Via del Profumo
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Misqaal Tola
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Loverose Lena Hoschek
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Masha Tola
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Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.00010978957
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
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Shu Uemura Shu Uemura
1.00010978957
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars
1
Mozart Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
1
Adonis Ajne
1
Eclat Novaya Zarya
1
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1
Attar Maulana La Via del Profumo
1
Heritage Man Nabeel
0.99978042086002
Safina Rasasi
0.61516542086002
Bond-T Sammarco

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