Animals That Produce the Most Expensive Perfumes

Ambergris, Castor, Civet and musk are the four principal animal perfumes.

Perfumes have been part of peoples’ lives since time immemorial. There are four major animal perfumes in the world. Animal perfumes are valuable for the permanence that their presence imparts to the more evanescent vegetable odors.

Here are the four principal animal perfumes

Sperm Whale produces ambergris

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Image Source

Ambergris is an opaque, grayish, waxy morbid secretion from the intestines of the sperm whale, is supposed to be produced as the result of a diseased condition of the organs. Ambergris has a peculiar sweet, earthy odor that is similar to isopropyl alcohol. It is found floating on the sea or lying on the shore. Ambergris can be found all throughout the world. Bahamas Islands and Providence Islands in the Caribbean are the major sources of commercially collected ambergris.

Beavers produce Castor

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Castor is a glandular secretion of beaver. When fresh, it is semi-liquid; it is prepared for commerce by drying in smoke. Both beaver testicles and castoreum, a bitter-tasting secretion with a slightly fetid odor contained in dried preputial or vaginal follicles of male or female beaver have been articles of trade for use in perfume and medicine.

Civet Cats produce Civet

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Civet is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume secreted by the civet cat (Viverra zibetha), an animal of African origin. Civet is found in a double pouch under the tail, from which it is taken from the living, caged animal 2 to 3 times a week. civet. Both male and female civets produce the strong-smelling secretion, which is produced by the civet’s perineal glands. It is harvested by either killing the animal or removing the glands, or by scraping the secretions from the glands of a live animal.

Musk Deer and other animals produce Musk

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Musk is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. It is a soft, reddish-brown, and powdery or the dried secretion of a penetrating odor obtained from the preputial follicles or musk bag of the male musk deer. It is not only used by perfumers but also in medicine.

A similar substance is secreted by the musk turtle, musk ox, muskrat, musk duck, musk shrew, musk beetle, crocodiles, and snakes. (Photos below are courtesy of Wikipedia)

Musk Turtle

This animal is also another source of musk. Sternotherus is a genus of aquatic turtle known commonly as the musk turtle. They are found throughout the US and Mexico.

Musk Ox or Musk Sheep

Musk ox is a grazing animal of the Far North. It is neither an ox nor a sheep, but is related to both. Musk oxen are named for the musky odor emanating from their fur.


Muskrat is also called musquash, a large North American rodent. It is named for its musk gland secretion, which is similar to that used in perfumes.

Musk Duck

The male Musk Duck is the largest of Australia’s ducks and has a powerful build. Musk Ducks get their name from the strong musk odor produced from a gland on the rump. Musk Ducks are found only in Australia.

Musk Beetle

This insect which is another source of musk called the musk beetle (Aromia moschata) is a Eurasian species of longhorn beetle. Its name comes from the musky smell it emits.


There are two pairs of musk glands found in crocodiles, one pair situated at the corner of the jaw and the other pair in the cloaca.


Musk glands are also found in snakes.

Animal extracts are always used in minute concentrations because of their overpowering odor. When they are diluted to the right proportion, they give a glorious effect. They give the scent a richness and warmth that only an animal note can give. People are always willing to spend money for perfumes that’s why perfume industry is one of the highest generating industries in the world.

For home, family, gardening and other domestic related articles see

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Published in: Consumer Information


RSSComments: 23  |  Post a Comment
  1. Thanks for the info bro., I never thought of these animals before.

  2. great article

  3. Interesting article.

  4. good/educational article

  5. I’ll stick with Chanel thanks! ditto Leo and others, good read

  6. this article really gives a girl pause to wonder which one of these animals contributed unfairly to her perfume! unbelievable! ~ d

  7. Very informative,I´m certain that from now these perfums will be less used , specially for whales.

  8. Informative, and makes me not want any perfume for a while.

  9. Interesting information Norbert. I never knew.

  10. Amazing animals!thanks for sharing this informative article.

  11. Isn’t it a shame that these musks were ever discovered. We shouldn’t buy perfume. I like fresh flowery scents of cologne anyway. Good informative article.

    Glynis, LOL what do you think Chanel uses?

  12. Many perfume fragrances give me a migraine, so I prefer the scents of spices.

    This was very informative. Thanks Nobert. I definitely learned something today.

  13. Thanks Nobert, I learned something new tonight. I will really check what is in my favorite perfume. It is shameful to kill any animal just for perfume. But then again we humans do a lot of shameful things. Good article it has me thinking.

  14. A very good article. I didn’t know snakes and crocodile can be a source of perfume. Thanks for sharing this!

  15. Great article. I’d be happy if we could get the perfume without ever having to destroy any of the animals (like the Civet).

  16. Very interesting information.

  17. A very informative article. I don’t really perfumes but this caught my interest because this is the first time I’ve heard some of them.

  18. thank you very much for reading and commenting, i appreciate it very much more than words can say.

  19. gosh, brilliant article Nobert, thank you.

  20. that is the worst thing ever!!!!! poor animals! girls dont use perfume if u do make sure there r no animals involved. that is just sick!!!!!!

    we should only harm an animal if:

    A: they r hurt n u must put it out of its misery
    B: u need food like chicken or beef
    C: It is the only possible way to get meds that will save ur life
    for ex: plants dont make it or anything else

  21. Interesting article. Poor animals.

  22. Thanks for the article, finally somebody that say the true about how perfumes are produced,.
    With the pain and suffer of animals, and people still loving to put that perfumes in their skin,.
    Terrible where people don’t get the point of cruelty that are doing to animals, for stupid material life.

  23. I never thought of these animals before.


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