20 October 2010

Animal Smells: Ambergris

A tincture of aged regurgitated matter of the sperm whale. Sounds nasty, huh? I'll be the first to admit that. But I was also curious enough to give it a sniff. The 3% tincture I have is gorgeous. Ambergris is warm and cool at the same time with a mildly sweet almost floral bouquet. Animalic, yes, but only slightly so. And dare I say it has a titch of smokiness. It is used as a fixative in perfumes and acts as a pheromone. The key to this lovely profile is the aging. Ambergris, after being regurgitated floats along the salty ocean, baking in the sun, before it reaches shore at some point and is collected. Fresh ambergris is said to smell  fecal. Aged ambergris tincture is simply beautiful.

There was a time when ambergris was illegal because the sperm whale was being hunted and killed. If I recall correctly there are still some regions where it is still illegal. Beachcombing is the ethical way to obtain this essence. 

You can read more about ambergris and purchase a tincture here AbdesSalaam Attar   
An article about ambergris here Ambergris
Tinctures also available from Perfumer's Apprentice (1% and 3%) and Ambergris Tincture 



Amanda said...

It sounds amazing, what a beautiful description you gave. I have never been fortunate enough to smell it, but I have heard about it.

Lisa BTB said...

Thank you Amanda. I'm definitely going to buy more. It really is surprisingly lovely.