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

1.5006546216287
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.40558372663
Antaeus Chanel
1.3764401675831
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3476513333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.3341185459544
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.3322399892642
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.3116542432574
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.2843242435192
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.2731760919089
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
1.262270259492
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2503927729772
Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
1.2415957530767
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2194046216287
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2103834713276
Yatagan Caron
1.1982920919089
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1889401675831
Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
1.1846226703325
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.1834701838178
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.1788430324692
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
1.1766019243257
Andron for Men Jovan
1.1734133514009
Portos Balenciaga
1.1713802757266
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1711828219429
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.1634574218382
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1623457460068
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1612990324692
Sulphur [16S] Nu Be
1.1603086540979
Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.159235735271
Empreinte Courreges
1.1573972922231
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1570183786332
Kinski Kinski
1.1545006216287
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.1539019190888
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.153846
Mozart Parfums et Senteurs du Pays Basque
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Men's Style Juvena
1.1426222000524
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.1415657190364
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1408090756743
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1404028871432
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1370988648861
Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.1369716378633
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.135658697303
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.135609956795
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1308649405604
Kemi Kemi Blending Magic
1.1299031838178
Fetish Roja Dove
1.1281858764074
Knize Ten Knize
1.1278803351663
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1277824927992
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.1263092432574
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1259757622414
Gala Loewe
1.125233259492
Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.1251309243257
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.1248590919089
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1241895784237
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.1222257135376
Djin Michael Storer
1.120887518984
Oud Reminiscence
1.1179088486515
Safina Rasasi
1.1167079196125
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.1157833351663
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.114122259492
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.1130098549358
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.1122893189317
Burnt Amber Neil Morris
1.111634697303
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.1104201568473
Diorama Christian Dior
1.1095522487562
Sova Slumberhouse
1.1094525784237
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1079285459544
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1.1076069408222
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.1075066540979
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.1062594920136
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.1059355621891
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.1056770324692
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.1040586540979
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
1.1035637677402
Intimate Revlon
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06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
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Alameda Robert Piguet
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Special for Gentlemen Le Galion
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Fate for Women Amouage
1.1004431788426
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0994632597539
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
1.0981157135376
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0965985676879
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0960693189317
Red Leather PK Perfumes
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L'Air de Panache The Grand Budapest Hotel
1.0909319028542
Occur! Avon
1.0888254865148
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.0887663946059
Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
1.0879397135376
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.0844986705944
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0844023351663
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0843803946059
Ambre et Diamant Noir Ambregris
1.0843720811731
Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
1.0820055731867
Beloved Amouage
1.0805027622414
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0789469298246
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0773898973553
Land Of Warriors The Vagabond Prince
1.0762306703325
DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
1.0745711838178
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0718887297722
Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.0716908486515
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
1.0715112000524
Koto Shiseido
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Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
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Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
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Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
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Davidoff Davidoff
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Fig Aftelier
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A Rebours Friendly Fur
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Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0680394865148
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0677143946059
Allegri Allegri
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gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0640918486515
Lonestar Juvena
1.0619539300864
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
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Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0576460919089
Masha Tola
1.0574026378633
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0566558109453
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.0476675784237
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.0474696378633
Jais Atkinsons
1.0465112000524
Epices L.T. Piver
1.0453781081435
Sharina Rasasi
1.0452700649385
Amber Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.0450622270228
Eau d’E Bogue
1.0403927729772
Blue Hope Xerjoff
1.0370533676355
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
1.0369011675831
Misqaal Tola
1.0366061081435
Reckless Roja Dove
1.0329126216287
Pancaldi Pancaldi
1.0301643189317
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0294874702802
Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
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Red Hoba Xerjoff
1.0013092432574
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0007855459544
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
1.000523697303
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
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Myth of Saso Shiseido
1.0003927729772
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
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Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.0003927729772
Fire Roberta Andrade
1.0003927729772
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.0002618486515
Metropolis DSH Perfumes
1.0002618486515
Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
1.0002618486515
Loverose Lena Hoschek
1.0002618486515
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
1.0002618486515
Cerequio Acqua Delle Langhe
1.0002618486515
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.0001309243257
Gold Saskia Diez
1.0001309243257
Eclat Novaya Zarya
1.0001309243257
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars
1.0001309243257
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura

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