Castoreum is an extract gotten from the sacs of beavers; this extract has a very strong, sweet scent; therefore the sacs containing this exudate are harvested from these animals for various uses especially by brands and companies that are involved in making perfumes, expensive drinks, and some other products.
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Is castoreum still being used?
The answer is “Yes”; some brands still use castoreum in perfumes while others use it in whiskeys and many other expensive products.
The process of harvesting and processing castoreum before being used in perfumes or food is quite tedious and lengthy.
So why are perfume brands still using them in this modern age?
Castor is considered safe for use by the FDA and has not shown any toxicity or allergic reaction when applied to the skin or taken orally. Because of this, many brands in the perfume industry use it as a fixative while companies in the food industry use this as a food flavoring.
It is often added to expensive products be it food, beverages, or perfumes.
What brands use castoreum?
The harvesting of castoreum is difficult and therefore, its use in products makes the products expensive.
List of perfume brands that used castoreum
- Emeraude, made by Coty
- Magie Noire, made by Coty
- Antaeus, made by Chanel
- Cuir de Russie, by Chanel
- Magie Noire, by Lancome
- Caractere, by Daniel Hechter
- Madame, by Jean Paul.
- Givenchy III, by Givenchy
- Ysatis made by Givenchy
- Memoir Woman made by Amouage
- Diorama made by Dior
- Shalimar made by Guerlain
- Mad Madame made by Juliette Has A Gun
- Midnight Oud made by Juliette Has A Gun
- Reckless made by Roja Dove
- 06 Incense Rose made by Tauer Perfumes
Most perfumes with leather fragrances often incorporate castoreum in their compositions. A leather perfume has an atypical scent and may have a scent that is smoky, woody, burnt, or as close as the smell of tobacco. If your perfume has a leather fragrance, it may contain castoreum.
Uses of Castoreum in Food and Drinks Industry
Even in the food and drinks industry, castoreum is being used. This animal by-product is used in some whiskeys, ice creams (especially those with raspberry, strawberry, or vanilla flavorings), and desserts. In this modern era, it is not commonly added to food because it is expensive to purchase and scarce to get compared to the artificially produced food flavorings that are far less expensive and readily available.
Why is it not indicated as an ingredient in some products?
Whether it is used in perfumes, food, drinks, or as a food additive, castoreum may just be labeled as a “food flavoring” because it has been declared by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) as “safe for use”. Because of this, some companies especially in the food industry may not want to disclose that they use castoreum in their products.
Therefore, there is a higher chance that some food products may contain castoreum such as flavorings for baking; even some whiskey brands such as Eau De Musc and Bäverhojt drink contain castor. The procedure for extracting and using castoreum is tedious, time-consuming, and expensive; hence it is mostly used in products that are expensive such as perfumes or whiskeys. It is unlikely to be added to food flavorings such as vanilla (but this cannot be ruled out).