Essential Oil Apothecary

2014 Castoreum Macerated Oil


I never promised the high moral road in the natural perfumery business but I do my best. I make vegan skin care and I source organic, fair trade with everything I can bring in. The animal category is a tough one. Yes, one can make a botanical amber perfume using cistus and labdanum resinoid and other sexy plant based naturals. Yes, it is very good. But animal concentrates bring a different musky element to the game, like bringing Prince (R.I.P) to the party to sing Kiss, after Tom Jones covered it. Nothing against the Tom Jones version but come on, someone is going to get pregnant when Prince sings it. Back to castoreum. I remember beavers tearing through our farm, eating trees like they were KitKats. I took it personal as a kid because poplar trees filled our property and were the source of poplar buds for our much needed Balm of Gilead ointment (not the true Gilead, of course). It was by no means a reason to trap the animal but they did indeed become an invasive species in Canada. (I secretly suspect the choice of the beaver as our national Coat of Arms was a slight on the Queen who had a grip on us for too long and that it wasn’t so much to do with the Hudson Bay Trading company). I ruminated a long time over the whole animal extract equation and then I got off the fence. The best I could do is to buy from sellers who are paid by my government to trap as a measure of animal control.

So, that is where we are at here at Essential Oil Apothecary with animal concentrates or at least our castoreum. I wish I could talk about it like our beach found ambergris but its not. It’ a different conversation.

Our castoreum is Canadian and we have aged it in certified organic oil since 2014. I have a sample of a European supplier’s castoreum about the same age and we feel ours is more leathery, smoky, and definitely sweeter from all the poplar tree munching. I detect a little floral and touch of nagarmotha earthiness. It has traveled many miles to California, been guarded against heat and clumsy movers and ready to be included in the next sensual, musky perfume blend.




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