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Do you know Whale Vomit is equal to gold?

+4 votes
Jul 8, 2017 in Science & Technology ⚡ by Dan (5,288 points)

Can a person with a trained dog to the smell find something like this?

4 Answers

Virginia Jul 8, 2017

Dear Dan,

I knew about ambergris, but I never thought of it as 'whale vomit'...seems it is, though! I found this in the dictionary...

"ambergris - a waxlike substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture."

Marianne Virginia Jul 11, 2017
Virginia Virginia Jul 12, 2017

Oh Marianne, I could not help laughing...the ambergris, among other things it is composed of squid beaks and something called ambrein....ty for the interesting link(s)!

"Ambrein is made by sperm whales only to glue together squid beaks. Squid is the main diet of sperm whales but as the beaks can't be digested, they need to be passed out without causing injury. They do this by coating them with ambrein."

Marianne Virginia Jul 13, 2017

Lol, yes, Virginia, it is indeed quite amazing, and these beaks look like parrot beaks.

About the giant squid:

Marianne Jul 8, 2017

Hello, Dan

As I see, you are referring to Ambergris (i.e. probably from "ambre gris", in English grey "amber"), which is a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of Sperm whales or "cachalots".

You might remember the novel and the movies about Moby Dick:

TheOtherTink Jul 8, 2017


 I think it is safe to assume

That ambergris, found in sea spume,

Entails whales' digestion,

But here is my question:

Does whale poo-poo smell like perfume?
Dan TheOtherTink Jul 9, 2017

They said in a video, it's not because of the smell, its because of its ability to make the perfume stick on the human skin and make it work longer.

Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 9, 2017

Wow, yes, T(h)ink - the "gif" is explicit enough - lol.

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink Jul 9, 2017


TheOtherTink TheOtherTink Jul 9, 2017

Well, the announcer said in addition to making it last up to 8 hours, it gives the fragrance "depth". :D

It's remarkable that it ever occurred to anyone to use ambergris in perfume. How did they ever think of such an unlikely thing, unless the ambergris already had an interesting aroma?

Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 10, 2017

Lol, indeed, the ambergris might, if fresh, have a less pleasant smell, i.e. citing:

"Freshly-produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odour. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent, commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol, without the vaporous chemical astringency."

It was highly valued as a fixative for perfumes, but too rare, and it has been widely replaced by synthetic "ambroxan".

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink Jul 10, 2017

Ah, Wikipedia has the answer.  :)

Thank you, Marianne. <3

Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 11, 2017
Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 11, 2017
TheOtherTink TheOtherTink Jul 11, 2017


Virginia TheOtherTink Jul 12, 2017

That is what I wondered, O'Tink...who in the world ever came up with the idea of using that stuff in perfume? I did read in one of Marianne's links that they now have synthetic compounds to do the work of the ambergris...

TheOtherTink TheOtherTink Jul 13, 2017

Yes, Virginia, when the ambergris ages, it seems to acquire a more interesting aroma. :)

Maybe at first, they just tried mixing it in for the smell, but then discovered the stabilizing effect it has.

Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 13, 2017

Yes, T(h)ink, perfectly reasoned: aged ambergris acquires indeed a more interesting aroma, and they discovered the stabilising effect after trying to mix it with other aromas.

Virginia TheOtherTink Jul 13, 2017

Well, O'Tink and Marianne, just shows you that human ingenuity is truly endless, infinite...

Marianne TheOtherTink Jul 18, 2017

Yes, Virginia - although many findings and inventions were accidental - or observed with other species. :)

Rooster Jul 10, 2017

Can I send some of that to my ex-wife as it is! Might be an improvement over that other junk she wears.

Marianne Rooster Jul 11, 2017

Lol, Rooster, here's some information which might be of interest:

And if "grey amber" is too expensive or too hard to find, yellow or white amber might be a nice substitute, though without the smell - lol:

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