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

1.5006932889628
Feromone pour homme (Pheromone for man ) La Via del Profumo
1.5
Lacrima Les Liquides Imaginaires
1.3983670843039
Antaeus Chanel
1.3766638935108
Cuir Gardenia Aftelier
1.3463773333333
Opium Yves Saint Laurent
1.3341649467554
The Hermit Esscentual Alchemy
1.3187396006656
Ambra di Luna Ramon Monegal
1.3069425779257
Beaver Zoologist Perfumes
1.2912346916251
Cuir Mona di Orio
1.2644059201331
Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug Smell Bent
1.2389048036606
Paloma Picasso Paloma Picasso
1.2316009467554
Signor Vivara Emilio Pucci
1.2295757071547
Cologne Reloaded Bogue
1.2194432889628
Labdanum 18 Perfume Oil Le Labo
1.2144246577926
Youth Memory The Fragrance Kitchen
1.2130280859678
Yatagan Caron
1.2110146539101
Pour Homme Ted Lapidus
1.1983848935108
Otter Luvr Smell Bent
1.1924281558514
Sexual Healing Mark Buxton
1.180518885746
Empreinte Courreges
1.1734510493622
Portos Balenciaga
1.1694596272879
Royal Pavillon Etro
1.1691237487521
Winter Woods Sonoma Scent Studio
1.168236900721
Mad Madame Juliette Has A Gun
1.1672216311703
Linfedele Haiku O`Driu
1.1654821364393
Labdanum 18 Le Labo
1.1618446311703
Eau d’E Bogue
1.160217166944
Kinski Kinski
1.1583109733777
Gringo La Via del Profumo
1.1547459351082
Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums
1.1539846577926
Grezzo (d'eleganza) La Via del Profumo
1.1512479201331
Un Air de Paris Gentlemen Fragrance Dorin
1.143827604548
Men's Style Juvena
1.1415252357182
Red Leather PK Perfumes
1.1403103754853
Midnight Oud Juliette Has A Gun
1.1394754181919
Sulphur [16S] Nu Be
1.1372060227399
gs02 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.1368335246811
Un Air d’Arabie Rose of Taif Dorin
1.1358187603993
Nitchevo Juvena
1.1356896311703
Abu Dhabi AUH The Scent of Departure
1.1334420266223
Nebula 1 Oliver & Co.
1.1277731558514
Wild Tobacco Illuminum
1.1277731558514
Fetish Roja Dove
1.1274020227399
Saffron Rose Grossmith
1.1263865779257
Mystic Oud Historiae
1.1248278352745
Amouage Epic Man Amouage
1.1246745779257
JCC No. 2 Castelbajac
1.1236051026068
Rose Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.1234664448142
Jil Sander Man I (Man Pure) Jil Sander
1.1231007831392
Diorama Christian Dior
1.1223571824737
Djin Michael Storer
1.1221652157515
Knize Ten Knize
1.1206563649473
Alameda Robert Piguet
1.1191311292291
Vivace Sospiro Perfumes
1.1182016311703
Safina Rasasi
1.1172784941764
Black Oud LM Parfums
1.1172498402662
Hascish Homme Veejaga
1.1155374980588
Six Scents Series Three 6 Ohne Titel: M Six Scents
1.1153400454798
Fetish Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.1141020177482
Enchanted Forest The Vagabond Prince
1.1122202623405
Burnt Amber Neil Morris
1.1113883155851
Body Language House of Matriarch
1.1101203261231
Memoir Woman Amouage
1.109422733777
Collection Rouge No2 M. Micallef
1.1093615246811
Marbert Woman Marbert
1.1093203117027
Oud Reminiscence
1.1058781026068
Septieme Sens (7e Sens) Sonia Rykiel
1.1058160188575
Ambre Noir Sonoma Scent Studio
1.1038824181919
Les 4 Saisons: Yellow Sea M. Micallef
1.1038435513034
Special for Gentlemen Le Galion
1.1023733571825
Intimate Revlon
1.0991311824737
Rose Oud Illuminum
1.0983910981697
Cruel Intentions By Kilian
1.0982471824737
Cologne Bensimon 1993 Bensimon
1.0971910715474
06 Incense Rose Tauer Perfumes
1.0969616916251
Chypre Palatin MDCI Parfums
1.0944617676095
Fate for Women Amouage
1.0914636311703
Kemi K Blending Magic
1.0905509162507
Gala Loewe
1.0899367831392
Sova Slumberhouse
1.0892921519689
Danger Pour Homme Roja Dove
1.0875497792568
Occur! Avon
1.0874971136994
Cuir Pleine Fleur James Heeley
1.0861163915696
Leonard Pour Homme Leonard
1.085085547421
Amour de Palazzo Jul et Mad Paris
1.0850694254021
Romantina Juliette Has A Gun
1.0844422623405
Allegri Allegri
1.0833495207987
Knize Ten Golden Edition Knize
1.0815738818636
Beloved Amouage
1.0810744941764
Fireside Intense Sonoma Scent Studio
1.0772806805324
DEV #2: The Main Act Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes
1.0755001558514
Scarlet Oud Illuminum
1.0730928935108
Ettore Bugatti Diana De Silva
1.0718434181919
Colonia Russa Santa Maria Novella
1.071797338325
Koto Shiseido
1.0717063155851
Pour Homme Omar Sharif
1.0708233832501
Calamity J. Juliette Has A Gun
1.0693222357182
Fig Aftelier
1.0683328136439
Secret Garden Aftelier
1.0671688668885
Land Of Warriors The Vagabond Prince
1.0663052085413
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre L`Artisan Parfumeur
1.0661358175263
A Rebours Friendly Fur
1.0641715890183
Fils de Dieu du riz et des agrumes Etat Libre d`Orange
1.0641073155851
Lonestar Juvena
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Davidoff Davidoff
1.0591314181919
Madame X Ava Luxe
1.0576784520244
Atelier d'Orient Shanghai Lily Tom Ford
1.0539031824737
Diable Au Corps Donatella Pecci Blunt
1.0532670721021
gs03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0512758402662
Tendre Est La Nuit Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0484366234054
Oud for Love The Different Company
1.0471928668885
Jais Atkinsons
1.0452941292291
Sharina Rasasi
1.0433589162507
Amber Oud Nicolai Parfumeur Createur
1.0419284448142
Coach Signature Rose D'Or Coach
1.0396714980588
Reckless Roja Dove
1.0394144714365
Jil Sander Woman II Jil Sander
1.0390179694953
Sweet Dreams 2003 A Lab on Fire
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Mirabella DSH Perfumes
1.0361299733777
L'Air de Panache The Grand Budapest Hotel
1.0339218935108
al03 biehl parfumkunstwerke
1.0329512889628
Pancaldi Pancaldi
1.0329512889628
Masha Tola
1.027778
Roses des Vents Sud Dorin
1.0254419201331
Misqaal Tola
1.0254159733777
Red Hoba Xerjoff
1.0170396805324
Epices L.T. Piver
1.0011092623405
Songe Pour Elle Majda Bekkali Sculptures Olfactives
1.0008319467554
Jil Sander Man II Jil Sander
1.0006932889628
Megaleion DSH Perfumes
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Cachet Noir Prince Matchabelli
1.0005546311703
Ambre et Diamant Noir Ambregris
1.0004159733777
Haute Couture Mila Schön
1.0004159733777
Blue Hope Xerjoff
1.0004159733777
Fire Roberta Andrade
1.0004159733777
Arabia La Via del Profumo
1.0004159733777
Tcharas La Via del Profumo
1.0004159733777
Myth of Saso Shiseido
1.0002773155851
Tabac Blanc Roberta Andrade
1.0002773155851
Cerequio Acqua Delle Langhe
1.0002773155851
Gandhara Neil Morris
1.0002773155851
Metropolis DSH Perfumes
1.0002773155851
Audax Fortes Esscentual Alchemy
1.0002773155851
Loverose Lena Hoschek
1.0002773155851
Midnight Tryst Neil Morris
1.0001386577926
Lucky Number 10 Dzintars
1.0001386577926
Shu Uemura Shu Uemura
1.0001386577926
Eclat Novaya Zarya
1
Adonis Ajne
1
Empire Oud Al Musbah

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