That "New Car" Smell Could Be The Ass Gland Of A Beaver

Have you ever slid onto a sun-warmed (p)leather car-seat, headily inhaled and exclaimed, "god I love that new car smell!"

I know I have. What I didn't know however and am so disturbed by I can only spread the knowledge in the hopes of weakening its hold on my mind, is that the ineffable "new car" smell often comes from an aerosol can. And you know what's inside that sinful little spray-gun? Castoreum. Otherwise know as the yellowish secretion inside the castor sacs of the North American Beaver; yes they're next to the anus and yes, when combined with urine creates the "get-the-fuck-away-from-this-tree" territorial marking.

Dried beaver castor sacs are typically "aged"—ah, like a good bourbon!—for about two years to allow the stench to mellow a bit. Oh, and get this. Not only does it provide that "animalic note suggesting leather," it's also used in perfume to add heady darker notes to chichi perfumes including Lancôme Caractère, Givenchy and Chanel Antaeus.

And that's not all folks! We also eat it! Here in the good 'ol US of A, castoreum is considered a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additive by the FDA. Ever wonder what "natural flavoring" is? It's often castoreum—because what's more natural than the ass-goo of a beaver?! It's used as a substitute for vanilla flavor and even creeps into raspberry or strawberry flavoring sometimes; happily, our annual consumption is only about 300 pounds a year.

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