As all animal perfumes Ambergris has a strong effect on our hormonal system, specially the feminine one. It has also been used as a remedy for Parkinson and degenerative diseases.
Its aroma is leathery, sea like and has undertones of mother’s milk. It is sensual, wild without excess and very feminine.
It works magic in perfumery when used with precious flowers like Jasmine and Tuberose.
The Ambergris is produced by the Sperm whale and is present in of all the ancient pharmacopoeias. Its very typical scent, animally but of great sweetness seduce particularly the feminine noses, in which they instinctively recognize the odor that will attract males.
In fact, Ambergris, like all aromatic substances of animal origin, is a pheromone and acts directly on the hormonal system through the sense of smell, without physical contact.
Sperm whale is so called for the large amount of fine and valuable oil that is found behind its head. It is a marine mammal of the whales family that feeds of fish and squids, and a hunter who dives to extreme depths (3000 m according to some) where live the mysterious giant squids that Sperm whale caches with its frightening teeth.
This animal was an enormous source of raw materials before the advent of chemical industry at the beginning of the century (oil, meat, fat, bones and etc) and was hunted also for the Ambergris, although that substance that grows like a football in its stomach is naturally regurgitated by the animal and floats on the oceanic streams to reach the beaches of Mauritania, Somalia and India where it is found.
Few are the animals that produce concentrated aromatic substances. A special organ is necessary to their synthesis. It is the case of the skunk but also of the mythical Muskdeer, of the civet, of the beaver and of few others. In all cases the aromatic substances produced are pheromones.
These have the function of olfactory communication in rapports with the opposite sex and with rivals of the specie. In the reproduction process the olfactory message offers to the partner the very “fragrance” of the animal’s genetic patrimony and stimulates its endocrine system inviting it to mating. In some species the smell is so important that the fecundation does not occur in the absence of a determinate odor produced by the male during mating.
Therefore it is probable that the Ambergris floating on the oceanic currents bring to other members of the species important information about the state of health of the individual, its age, its diet and its identity. In the past Ambergris was eaten and burnt like incense and strangely, being of origin animal, it burns making a pleasant smell.
Through inhalation the body absorbs the aromatic molecule of the smoke that penetrate in the blood circuit reaching all the organs.
In fumigations as well as by ingestion, the medical effect of these pheromones is comparable to a modern estrogen cure. Ambergris is still sold in the city of Mecca. I have seen many Iranians asking for it to perfume sellers. Men eat it to stimulate their sexual power and women to cure infertility. The famous cronist Ibn battuta, known as “the Traveler of Islam” narrates in his diaries to have observed with astonishment in a city of Persia that people ate hashish and Ambergris without sense of guilt, alluding possibly to a narcotic effect of Amber.
In Morocco it is tradition to use Ambergris with tea and it is amazing to observe how a very small piece of Ambergris sticked inside the teapot’s cover flavors the tea by mere contact with the vapor for years along. The Sperm whale strangely it is not on the way towards extinction, but the natural rarity of Ambergris and its precious properties have rendered it mythical just like Musk.
Because of its very high price, Ambergris is nearly not used anymore in perfumery where it has been replaced by the synthetic molecule ambreina.
We do care for the safeguard of the planet and of all the forms of life that it shelters. Ambergris is the only scent of animal origin obtained without killing, imprisoning or torturing the animal that produces it. Ambergris is a substance that the wild sperm whale regurgitates naturally.
When it is fresh it has nearly no value because its smell is extremely faecal and it has no value for perfumery. Ambergris must mature floating sometimes for tens of years on the sea. The sun and the water of the oceans “wash” it until it assumes the sweet and inimitable scent of sea and leather that fascinated man since his origin. We remind that the Ambergris we use is certified “flotte”, that is “from floating”, found on the beaches. This guarantees the safety of the sperm whale.
We remind also that there is no international restrictions on the import and export of Ambergris. The uncertainty about New Zealand’s position ended in 2004 when the country adopted the view of most other countries that ambergris is not a whale derivative.
“We have adopted the view that ambergris is a waste product that’s excreted naturally,” says Jane Denton, the Department of Conservation’s CITES officer.
Ambergris is produced by the Sperm whale as an intestinal secretion that is regurgitated.
This soft black stinky waxy matter floats over the oceanic currents for as long as 20 years. Time, the contact with sea water and the light of the sun transforms the raw fecal lumps into treasures that anyone would dream to find but that very few could ever recognize.