Perfume Notes: What is Ambergris?

It’s a scent note that pops up in nearly every perfume, either under the full name of Ambergris or the shortened Amber. But what is ambergris?

A lot of notes come from flowers, herbs and other fairly normal materials but ambergris is in fact a secretion from the sperm whale. Some even call it whale vomit or poop but it’s actually neither. The whale produces ambergris to protect its stomach from sharp bones of fish which it eats. The origins of this strange material is still a bit of a mystery since it is only 1% of the 350.000 sperm whales that can actually make ambergris, and sperm whales themselves are quite hard to find and keep track of! Furthermore it takes years for the substance to become useable ambergris. It has to float around the ocean for years and years before it turns into a useable lump. This is why the price for ambergris is extraordinary.

A boy in England found an odd smelling lump on the beach some years ago. He took it home and it turned out that he had discovered a lump of ambergris the size of a football. It  was then sold for over  £180 000! Not bad for an odd looking rock. There have been even bigger chunks found so keep an eye out next time you go for a walk on the beach!

So what do you use ambergris for?
It is used in some foods and beverages and as a fixture in perfumes. You won’t need a lot, but as it is so difficult to come by, it is only ever used in high quality fragrances. Just one drop of ambergris is enough to take a fragrance from just ok to AMAZING!
The scent of pure ambergris is often described as a mix of rotting wood and furniture polish. Doesn’t sound like the most appealing smell in the world, but mixed with other components ambergris will make the fragrance last longer and completely change the scent.
Ambergris can be found in a number of men’s and women’s perfumes. See below for some of our favourite scents containing this floating gold.

Aramis Gentleman
Gentleman is a pleasant casual scent for daily wear. The ambergris really sets off the notes of ginger and black pepper making the cologne manly but not overtly so. This scent is cool but still spicy, and muted instead of brash, making the name Gentlemen very apt indeed.

Creed Green Irish Tweed
At the higher price bracket you find Creed Green Irish Tweed. This excellently blended scent, inspired by a walk through the Irish countrywide, is a favourite among many celebrities.
Creed always uses the fines ingredients in their fragrances, and ambergris is no exception. The highest quality are used and used liberally, making this scent distinct and unforgettable.

Calvin Klein Reveal
A smooth, velvety, creamy and sweet perfume that opens with salty accords and pepper. The heart is a signature blend of ambergris and powdery iris while the base consists of vetiver, sandalwood, cashmere and musk. Reveal is a cosy warm and comforting perfume and a real treat to wear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.