Is this ambergris...?

    Is this ambergris...?

    post #1 of 13
    Thread Starter 

    Hey guys...

    I found this after a big storm on the local beach. Could it be ambergris ?
    Or is it just something that was in the sea too long..? ;)
    It float on the water, it smell awful, i dont really know how to describe that smell.
    My cat is after this, i did the "needle test " ( hot needle in "this thing" ) and it created some yellow oily thing and some smoke

    If its ambergris, where i can sell it ?

    post #2 of 13

    Hi & welcome, Dronitto!

    These guys buyambergris.

    http://www.ambergris.co.nz/contact.htm

    post #3 of 13

    I buy ambergris too, albeit in fairly small amounts. I'm sorry to report that, despite passing the basic tests, I don't think this is ambergris.

    I say that because:

    1) you say it smells awful

    2) it's mostly white

    3) it is speckled in appearance rather than striated, particularly where bits are broken off

    Either 1 or 2 could be true, but not usually both together. Foul smelling ambergris is normally very dark, almost black in colour, while the white stuff smells faint and sweet with just a slight animalic quality

    The fact your cats like it suggests it is of animal origin, so my guess it it is fat of some kind - there are any number of different fats that get into the ocean by one means or another and any one of them can form lumps that look like those.

    Sorry!

    post #4 of 13
    Thread Starter 

    Okay guys, thanks for the info! Good to finally know what this thing is :)

    Cheers!

    post #5 of 13

    While I think it's unlikely, you need to be careful. "Awful" is a very loaded word (see below). Even though I think that Chris is right, you don't want to make too much of a mistake. I've read some ambergris buyers who urge caution about appearance.

    Here is an excellent, full-page description of how to get started on ways to identify. If you find squid beaks, it is almost certainly ambergris:

    http://www.ambergris.fr/identification_of_ambergris.html

    As for smell:

    Quote:
    Ambergris has a very specific odour and this is the best and quickest way to identify it. The odour makes it possible not only to determine the age and quality but also to predict the evolution of the piece over time. To some people the odour is nauseous while to others it is attractive and even sensuous. There is certainly an animalic component, reminiscent of farm animals, or even a faecal note, perhaps like that of a well rotted manure heap. There can also be a strong marine note like the smell of seaweed on a beach. Once you have smelt it you will not forget it.

    Over time, the odour becomes softer and more "perfumistic" whilst still preserving its marked animal characteristics. Total "refinement" takes 10 to 20 years or more but the animalic notes will always be retained.

    Don't throw the ambergris out with the sea water! :wink:

    post #6 of 13

    Don't throw the ambergris out with the sea water! :wink:

    Throw it in with some in sea water... inside, for the float test. Although fat floats too. it rules another test out.

    I can see why you think it is from the outside. The crumbly nature of the inside doesn't look at all promising. Nor does the yellowing nature. Is it of a fatty consistency? White ambergris would be sort of rolled around itself in striated layers and when dried would be like dried lime layers on an old wall. As Chris says, the smell should be lightly marine for white and more fecal for black.

    Where is this beach in the world? Some waxy deposits were found all around the east coast of the UK. If you really wanted to have a definite check, then send a little bit to your nearest perfumer who's willing, so they can look at it for you.If not, then you've lost nothing but postage but gained peace of mind.

    It is disappointing when you think you've found some, but keep looking. You never know. The look of this was good on the outside, but I say it isn't from what I can see from the inside.

    I'd love to be wrong.

    post #7 of 13

    mumsy - you're a bit of an expert on this stuff, along with Chris- are random coagulated fatty depositssometimes found near shipwrecks, or are theyjust a by-product of general maritime activity?

    post #8 of 13

    There are more bits found that are not ambergris. There are some that prove to bespermaceti, highly prized in ancient times for candles. Huge quantities of fatty ballastmatter is found behind the head cavity. That floats too.I would quite like to try burning some actually.

    Another huge lump turned out to be very ancient butter in the remains of an old churn. Eeech. Some in Wales turned out to be old palm oil.

    Then there are huge lumps of petroleum waste matter that find their way to sea and all the mucky stuff gets out of our taps and drains to get in the sea to coagulate and float ashore. Yummy. There was a huge lump as big as a bus in London here.

    But a nicer tale, have a listen here. It is a lovely story and has made one man and his family comfortable for the rest of their life. I like that.

    post #9 of 13

    Thanks for the info., mumsy - that is a lovelystory!

    post #10 of 13

    The simplest way to find out is to solve about 5-6% in strong, undenatured ethanol (you might add a little potassium carbonate), heat the solution gently in a watherbath (I use a baby bottle warmer: works very well). Test after a few days, a week and a month, in case there is not a clear sweet amber smell in the fragrance (mainly in the dry out) it is probably not ambergris or a quality that is not suitable for use in fragrance.

    In most cases it is fat from one or another kind, not ambergris.

    post #11 of 13
    People I really need help in finding out whether what I have found is ambergris iv been trying to find out from everyone iv sent some to a guy in Paris and he said it wasn't then I also sent some to a perfumer who had it tested as 100% so I feel stuck as what to do and kinda of giving up hope on my find and the other 100% reason I know it is it coz I smashed a bit up and got a squid beak out of it but a reason I still doubt it is because I live in England and iv found almost a kg of it all over my beach really confused can any help
    post #12 of 13

    Heat a needle in a flame and touch it to the piece. See if it melts and smokes briefly.

    post #13 of 13
    Yes it does quote name="purplebird7" url="/t/380448/is-this-ambergris#post_3213465"]Heat a needle in a flame and touch it to the piece. See if it melts and smokes briefly.
    [/quote]I
    class="

    9/16/13 at 1:32pm

    Dronitto said:



    Hey guys...

    I found this after a big storm on the local beach. Could it be ambergris ?
    Or is it just something that was in the sea too long..? ;)
    It float on the water, it smell awful, i dont really know how to describe that smell.
    My cat is after this, i did the "needle test " ( hot needle in "this thing" ) and it created some yellow oily thing and some smoke

    If its ambergris, where i can sell it ?

    9/16/13 at 1:58pm

    lpp said:



    Hi & welcome, Dronitto!

    These guys buyambergris.

    http://www.ambergris.co.nz/contact.htm

    9/16/13 at 3:37pm

    Chris Bartlett said:



    I buy ambergris too, albeit in fairly small amounts. I'm sorry to report that, despite passing the basic tests, I don't think this is ambergris.

    I say that because:

    1) you say it smells awful

    2) it's mostly white

    3) it is speckled in appearance rather than striated, particularly where bits are broken off

    Either 1 or 2 could be true, but not usually both together. Foul smelling ambergris is normally very dark, almost black in colour, while the white stuff smells faint and sweet with just a slight animalic quality

    The fact your cats like it suggests it is of animal origin, so my guess it it is fat of some kind - there are any number of different fats that get into the ocean by one means or another and any one of them can form lumps that look like those.

    Sorry!

    9/16/13 at 10:19pm

    Dronitto said:



    Okay guys, thanks for the info! Good to finally know what this thing is :)

    Cheers!

    9/16/13 at 11:04pm

    Redneck Perfumisto said:



    While I think it's unlikely, you need to be careful. "Awful" is a very loaded word (see below). Even though I think that Chris is right, you don't want to make too much of a mistake. I've read some ambergris buyers who urge caution about appearance.

    Here is an excellent, full-page description of how to get started on ways to identify. If you find squid beaks, it is almost certainly ambergris:

    http://www.ambergris.fr/identification_of_ambergris.html

    As for smell:

    Quote:
    Ambergris has a very specific odour and this is the best and quickest way to identify it. The odour makes it possible not only to determine the age and quality but also to predict the evolution of the piece over time. To some people the odour is nauseous while to others it is attractive and even sensuous. There is certainly an animalic component, reminiscent of farm animals, or even a faecal note, perhaps like that of a well rotted manure heap. There can also be a strong marine note like the smell of seaweed on a beach. Once you have smelt it you will not forget it.

    Over time, the odour becomes softer and more "perfumistic" whilst still preserving its marked animal characteristics. Total "refinement" takes 10 to 20 years or more but the animalic notes will always be retained.

    Don't throw the ambergris out with the sea water! :wink:

    9/17/13 at 2:39am

    mumsy said:



    Don't throw the ambergris out with the sea water! :wink:

    Throw it in with some in sea water... inside, for the float test. Although fat floats too. it rules another test out.

    I can see why you think it is from the outside. The crumbly nature of the inside doesn't look at all promising. Nor does the yellowing nature. Is it of a fatty consistency? White ambergris would be sort of rolled around itself in striated layers and when dried would be like dried lime layers on an old wall. As Chris says, the smell should be lightly marine for white and more fecal for black.

    Where is this beach in the world? Some waxy deposits were found all around the east coast of the UK. If you really wanted to have a definite check, then send a little bit to your nearest perfumer who's willing, so they can look at it for you.If not, then you've lost nothing but postage but gained peace of mind.

    It is disappointing when you think you've found some, but keep looking. You never know. The look of this was good on the outside, but I say it isn't from what I can see from the inside.

    I'd love to be wrong.

    9/17/13 at 5:52am

    lpp said:



    mumsy - you're a bit of an expert on this stuff, along with Chris- are random coagulated fatty depositssometimes found near shipwrecks, or are theyjust a by-product of general maritime activity?

    9/17/13 at 6:48am

    mumsy said:



    There are more bits found that are not ambergris. There are some that prove to bespermaceti, highly prized in ancient times for candles. Huge quantities of fatty ballastmatter is found behind the head cavity. That floats too.I would quite like to try burning some actually.

    Another huge lump turned out to be very ancient butter in the remains of an old churn. Eeech. Some in Wales turned out to be old palm oil.

    Then there are huge lumps of petroleum waste matter that find their way to sea and all the mucky stuff gets out of our taps and drains to get in the sea to coagulate and float ashore. Yummy. There was a huge lump as big as a bus in London here.

    But a nicer tale, have a listen here. It is a lovely story and has made one man and his family comfortable for the rest of their life. I like that.

    9/17/13 at 6:53am

    lpp said:



    Thanks for the info., mumsy - that is a lovelystory!

    9/17/13 at 8:47am

    janmeut said:



    The simplest way to find out is to solve about 5-6% in strong, undenatured ethanol (you might add a little potassium carbonate), heat the solution gently in a watherbath (I use a baby bottle warmer: works very well). Test after a few days, a week and a month, in case there is not a clear sweet amber smell in the fragrance (mainly in the dry out) it is probably not ambergris or a quality that is not suitable for use in fragrance.

    In most cases it is fat from one or another kind, not ambergris.

    10/6/13 at 4:02am

    joejoe said:



    People I really need help in finding out whether what I have found is ambergris iv been trying to find out from everyone iv sent some to a guy in Paris and he said it wasn't then I also sent some to a perfumer who had it tested as 100% so I feel stuck as what to do and kinda of giving up hope on my find and the other 100% reason I know it is it coz I smashed a bit up and got a squid beak out of it but a reason I still doubt it is because I live in England and iv found almost a kg of it all over my beach really confused can any help

    10/6/13 at 7:10am

    purplebird7 said:



    Heat a needle in a flame and touch it to the piece. See if it melts and smokes briefly.

    10/7/13 at 2:49am

    joejoe said:



    Yes it does quote name="purplebird7" url="/t/380448/is-this-ambergris#post_3213465"]Heat a needle in a flame and touch it to the piece. See if it melts and smokes briefly.
    [/quote]I





Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000