Castoreum

lat. Castor fiber (Castoridae)

Group: MUSK, AMBER, ANIMALIC SMELLS

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castoreum Perfumes

1.5004616805171
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5002308402585
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.4006111403509
Antaeus Chanel
1.3848458402585
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
1.3516423333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.2966422603878
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.2959049473684
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.2840153434903
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2593135207756
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.2556925530933
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.25
Black Adamant G Parfums
1.2406909621422
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2380801883657
Yatagan Caron
1.2203199409049
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.2199042012927
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2182828818098
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.2134140655586
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
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Chypre 1950 YanFroloff Perfumer
1.2048703434903
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
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Gringo La Via del Profumo
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Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
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Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
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Cuir de Russie Art Deco Perfumes
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Kemi Kemi Blending Magic
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Absolute Aphrodisiac Initio Parfums Prives
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Peau de Bete Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.1764533037858
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1763414265928
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.1763087636196
Atramental Room 1015
1.1739118642659
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.169643166205
Afrika Olifant Nishane
1.1689754025854
Tigre Du Bengale Malbrum Parfums
1.1676416038781
Bond-T Sammarco
1.1668978402585
Fauna Regime des Fleurs
1.1632472262235
Knize Ten Knize
1.1630853610342
Andron for Men Jovan
1.1617516805171
Body Language House of Matriarch
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Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.1565947811634
El Arquiste
1.1540233979686
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.153846
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.1515462585411
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.150927278855
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1508079409049
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
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Loverose Lena Hoschek
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Beaver 2016 Zoologist Perfumes
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Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
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Vinegia The Merchant of Venice
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Great Britain Roja Dove
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Honey and Tar Anna Zworykina Perfumes
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L'Eau Scandaleuse Anatole Lebreton
1.1394018642659
Pearl Oud By Kilian
1.1377166805171
Black Stone Anna Zworykina Perfumes
1.135135
Couleurs de Nuit Novaya Zarya
1.1326097608495
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
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Red Leather PK Perfumes
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Black Gardenia Anna Zworykina Perfumes
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Fire Roberta Andrade
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Memoir Woman Amouage
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Classic Opoponax Von Eusersdorff
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Eternal Voyage Auphorie
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Quality Of Flesh Homoelegans
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Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
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Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
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Baptême du Feu Serge Lutens
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King Arthur Art Deco Perfumes
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Black Oud LM Parfums
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Rendezvous DSH Perfumes
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Love DSH Perfumes
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Parfum De La Nuit No 1 Roja Dove
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Royal Pavillon Etro
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Kinski Kinski
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Sova Slumberhouse
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Saffron Rose Grossmith
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Alameda Robert Piguet
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Salome Papillon Artisan Perfumes
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Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
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Adjatay The Different Company
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Hascish Homme Veejaga
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Scarlet Oud Illuminum
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Incense Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
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Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
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Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
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Rosuerrier Pryn Parfum
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Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
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Victory Boadicea the Victorious
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Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
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Grasse Experience Milton Lloyd
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Ember Wax Poetic
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Saltus Les Liquides Imaginaires
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Fate for Women Amouage
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Gala Loewe
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Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
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Portos Balenciaga
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Intimate Revlon
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Mystic Oud Historiae
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Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
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Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1078482733149
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
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Empreinte Courreges
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Men's Style Juvena
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Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
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Cruel Intentions By Kilian
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Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
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Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
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Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
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Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
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Ven O`Driu
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Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
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Oud Reminiscence
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Burnt Amber Neil Morris
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Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
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06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
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Heritage Man Nabeel
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Eau d’E Bogue
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Davidoff Davidoff
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Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
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J'ai Fait Un Reve Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
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Wald Euphorium Brooklyn
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Sulphur [16S] One of Those
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Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
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Reveries de Paris DSH Perfumes
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Veilleur de Nuit Serge Lutens
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Cuir de Russie Anna Zworykina Perfumes
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№ 5 Anna Zworykina Perfumes
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gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
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Myth of Saso Shiseido
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Oud Abramad Parfums BDK Paris
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Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
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Allegri Allegri
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Marbert Woman Marbert
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Blue Hope Xerjoff
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Smolderose January Scent Project
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Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
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Koto Shiseido
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Rose Oud Illuminum
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Charuto House of Orpheus
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Fig Aftelier
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DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
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Wolfsbane Parfums Quartana
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Beloved Amouage
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Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
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Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
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JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
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Bourbon Hendley Perfumes
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Occur! Avon
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Goodman's Bergdorf Goodman Roja Dove
1.0860683019391
Aesthete Le Galion
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Fetish Roja Dove

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