If you have heard about the beaver anal gland and the story that follows it, then you must be wondering about the 5 brands that use castoreum in perfumes. In case you haven’t, let us explain. Castoreum refers to the excretion made from the pair of castor sacs, which lie in conjunction with the beaver’s anal glands. This, along with urine, is used to mark the beaver’s territory with its unique scent, and is a warning for other animals to move elsewhere. Now, imagine if something like this was used in your food? The mere thought seems foolish and impossible right? Wrong! Castoreum is actually a very common product which is used in not just food, but perfume as well, mainly due to its scent. So how do you actually extract castoreum?
Castoreum is mainly extracted in Canada, where the government actually pays trappers to trap the beavers from whom the castor sacs are extracted and harvested, and is used as flavoring mainly in vanilla ice creams. It is important to remember that castoreum has not been proven to cause any ill effects in the human body, or else it would definitely have been banned by the FDA. However, we have always been taught that good food should be something pure and completely natural, and using the excretion of an animal in manufacturing food disturbs what we have learned throughout our lives.
Natural vanilla refers to vanilla extracted from vanilla pods, which is added to a solution of water and alcohol. However, that alone does not give vanilla its distinct scent. Most vanilla and raspberry products actually use castoreum, mainly for its distinct, sweet smell. Since food manufacturers knew that adding the term beaver anal glands to their ingredients list would be detrimental to business, castoreum was added instead, after gaining approval from the FDA as a “natural ingredient.” This is why it is literally impossible to determine which brands use castoreum in their product. After all, which brand would actually want to bring attention to the fact that their product contains beaver anal glands. Would you use a product if you knew that?
Apart from the food industry, there is another industry which capitalizes on sweet smelling products, and that is perfumes. Some perfumes achieve that exotic smell with more common ingredients, which can include some of the 6 Most Popular Perfumes of All Time. Castoreum is said to produce a raw, animalistic scent which has made it a popular ingredient in perfume made for men.
We have compiled a small list of brands that use castoreum in perfumes, through Fragrantica, though most major brands do not use the ingredient because its extraction is a difficult as well as an expensive process. Now check out the 5 brands that use castoreum in perfumes.