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

1.5006462453147
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.404530451984
Antaeus Chanel
1.3764217396924
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3478263333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.344128200336
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.3341084943777
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.2961859850071
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
1.2803624906294
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.2802695710224
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.2531019775107
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2503877471888
Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
1.2406313511697
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2193962453147
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2116032915859
Yatagan Caron
1.2078999887553
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1889217396924
Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
1.1849367059584
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.1834299775107
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.1785409775107
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
1.1766002490629
Andron for Men Jovan
1.1738717134548
Portos Balenciaga
1.1729807826031
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.171319966266
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1637181028823
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1602567209513
Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.1590749100427
Empreinte Courreges
1.1587952732325
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1578609587695
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1555262378183
Kemi Kemi Blending Magic
1.1554360803929
Kinski Kinski
1.1542178838051
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.153846
Mozart Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
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Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.1437617434406
Men's Style Juvena
1.1430953048985
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1427307246995
Sulphur [16S] Nu Be
1.1418617284477
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.1418144194132
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1406815018741
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1371997134548
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.136941483133
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.1356519962518
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.1355647246995
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1298629775107
Fetish Roja Dove
1.128981512731
Knize Ten Knize
1.1277142303218
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1276801399767
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.1265509887553
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1251292490629
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.1248389887553
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1242652190772
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.1221972340701
Djin Michael Storer
1.1218626984619
Gala Loewe
1.1212452340701
Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.1180607842833
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.1179167059584
Oud Reminiscence
1.1179054981259
Safina Rasasi
1.1170136684762
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.1157464793848
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.112352411529
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.1122742415665
Burnt Amber Neil Morris
1.1098126759726
Sova Slumberhouse
1.1093989700142
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1091828125889
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.1079184943777
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1.1074547209513
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.1065694381543
Diorama Christian Dior
1.1059037321959
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.1056334756366
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.104424413597
06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
1.1040067209513
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
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Intimate Revlon
1.1017457172031
Alameda Robert Piguet
1.1010144998061
Fate for Women Amouage
1.1000086851493
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0999695522812
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
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Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.0983457321959
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0960542415665
Red Leather PK Perfumes
1.0930700204214
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0916844943777
L'Air de Panache The Grand Budapest Hotel
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Occur! Avon
1.0892699887553
Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
1.0889212303218
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.088852415665
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0879112340701
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.0843669925036
Ambre et Diamant Noir Ambregris
1.0843654793848
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0842631890914
Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
1.0831113519452
Beloved Amouage
1.0804089475249
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0790931853432
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0782417284477
Special for Gentlemen Le Galion
1.0773212115807
Land Of Warriors The Vagabond Prince
1.076706483133
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0755109550213
DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
1.0751936947137
Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
1.073372696394
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.0716874981259
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
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Koto Shiseido
1.0703651478609
Davidoff Davidoff
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Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
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A Rebours Friendly Fur
1.0694772378183
Fig Aftelier
1.06871983133
Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0680059812589
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0677009925036
Allegri Allegri
1.0654931815949
gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0640884981259
Lonestar Juvena
1.0615295110508
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
1.0605729775107
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0591264718883
Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0576259887553
Masha Tola
1.0563314943777
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.0545132265736
Reckless Roja Dove
1.0540749100427
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.0476139700142
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.047439483133
Jais Atkinsons
1.0464492153289
Epices L.T. Piver
1.045312200336
Amber Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.0448087546853
Eau d’E Bogue
1.0436352265736
Sharina Rasasi
1.0371022040843
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
1.0368827396924
Misqaal Tola
1.0358432490629
Blue Hope Xerjoff
1.0330334943777
Pancaldi Pancaldi
1.0301492415665
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0294757434406
Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
1.0177244943777
Red Hoba Xerjoff
1.0012924906294
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0007754943777
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
1.0005169962518
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
1.0003877471888
Fire Roberta Andrade
1.0003877471888
Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.0003877471888
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
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Myth of Saso Shiseido
1.0003877471888
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.0002584981259
Metropolis DSH Perfumes
1.0002584981259
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
1.0002584981259
Loverose Lena Hoschek
1.0002584981259
Cerequio Acqua Delle Langhe
1.0002584981259
Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
1.0002584981259
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.0001292490629
Gold Saskia Diez
1.0001292490629
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura
1.0001292490629
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars
1.0001292490629
Eclat Novaya Zarya

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