Sunday, 13 September 2015

Weird Perfumes: Lump of Whale Vomit @ £7,000 is considered exotic?

Yes, we could not believe it either but this is what the world of perfumes has come to—while we are promoting an organic, more natural approach to perfumery, it seems there is a huge global clientele for extracts from the intestinal depths of the Sperm Whale!
An innocent Sperm Whale

Yes, this material is at par with vomit, i.e. secretion from the intestines of whales that was once considered a prized possession among pirates who sold it as a “secret” perfume ingredient. Now, pirates are not as much in the picture but the world sure has a whiff of this unusual scent.

What makes this even more ridiculous is the fact that this material is considered a luxurious fragrance. Perhaps, the only good thing about this supposed perfume is that you don't need to kill whales for it. The product does not come from a body part or a gland. It is created and expelled by living whales. The amount of this gigantic vomit is huge—in several kilograms. The scientific term for this gross perfume resource is Ambergris. When we first read about this, we couldn’t help thinking about Moby-Dick.

That Weird Stuff Called Ambergris

More gross details follow:
·       Ambergris is actually undigested food that is orally expelled
·       It does not sink easily and tends to float ashore
·       Undigested stuff contains lots of squids, squid beaks to be more precise

Now, some hardcore “perfume” facts about this strange perfume:
·       Its smell is regarded as sweet and subtle
·       For many, Ambergris reminds them of the ocean (we couldn’t help wonder at this observation—it comes from the gastrointestinal depths of a whale…how can it not remind anybody about the ocean?)
·       Ambergris can fetch an amount at part with 24K Gold


Bit of Ambergris History:

·       Ancient Egyptians are known to have dried and burned ambergris as incense
·       Some kings are known to have eaten it for its skin-healing properties. Historians indicate that King Charles II indulged in this heinous act as a part of his breakfast regime
·       It was once prescribed for headaches and epilepsy
·       Perfumers have been guilty of trying to extract it via whaling

Earlier, some perfume experts used to call this Ambergris “whale lump”. Not that we are against animal products but do you really want perfumes made from animal lumps, humps, or bodily bumps? Hold on, there is more to this craziness. Apparently, the whales who create this stuff don’t often feel like puking. So, the vomit is not created too often and finding it is even rarer. This makes the perfume produce very difficult to get and it is now auctioned!

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