Extra Beauty: The anal glands of Chanel N°5

Already in the early age of elementary school I began to understand just how unfair life could be: chickenpox struck me and shortly after the dark violent fate of nearsightedness befell upon my eyes. My glasses forever in my backpack cause wearing them made me feel very little fashion & beauty.

Luckly, however, other things mad eup for those woes: my sense of taste never had rivals and, lately, I’m also refining the sense of smell due to the practice of smelling perfumes.

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But during one of those rare moments in which theory prevails over practice, I made a shocking discovery. If we set aside the poetry evoked by things such as ‘rose water’ and ‘bergamot’ all it takes is opening Wikipedia to understand that perfumes contain unspeakable and quite disgusting things: 

▶ Castoreum: yellowish substance produced by the beaver and secreted by glands located between the anus and the sexual organ.

▶ Moss: and we’re not talking about the green velvet of the woods also used in Nativity scenes at Christmas, but rather of hormonal pellets deposited by the male musk deer (Asian ruminant of small size) during the mating season to attract the female. This ‘moss’ is used for Chanel No. 5 (hello Marilyn) and Shalimar by Guerlain.

▶ Civet: other secretion of perianal glands, this time belonging to the animal’s namesake. When diluted in alcohol and into the ether it releases pleasant floral and aromatic hues. Wow.

▶ Ambergris: after moss, here’s another substance that has placed me in front of my boorish ignorance; I thought it was a variant of coniferal fossilized resin, a waxlike substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas (half a kilogram costs 60.000 euros). Those of you who own Dior Poison now know what you’re spraying on yourselves.

▶ Hyraceum Stones: crystallized urine of South American hyrax rodents.

I’m still very bewildered about the whole thing, but to conclude I only have one profound question:

 How do vegans relate to Chanel No. 5?

marilyn

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