Mumsy (and James), I'm really pleased to hear that you're tinctures are actually lasting a day or more on the skin and clothing. It gives me more faith for my own ones. There not quite as old as yours yet, one's nine months, the other seven.
The seven month old tincture is from a piece of ambergris (around 40 or 50 grams) that was offered on eBay last year (you might have seen it), it's kind of a brown/beige/gold piece with black parts. When I got it I really couldn't smell a thing. It was only after warming it up that I could even be sure that it was in fact ambergris. The seller couldn't give me much info on it, only to say that it was from a friend who made perfumes and that he had been told it was very good ambergris. Because there was so little scent, I'm guessing that person owned the piece for quite a while - because usually the darker coloured pieces smell much stronger. It also had signs of handling - the surface was kind of shiny and oily looking and I think there were even little hairs stuck in it (god only knows what he was doing with it!).
Anyway, I tinctured the lot of it, save for a tiny piece, and it's only in the last couple of months that this tincture is starting to smell of anything at all. It's kind of a really deep, honeyed, ambery
scent, not remotely fecal. And this
one, while very very subtle, seems to be lasting a bit longer already than any of the tinctures I bought. Maybe a day on paper. And it's very waxy on the skin (it's at ten percent). So, maybe this one will turn into something special after another year or two.
Did you say you tinctured some of the white stuff? I have a tiny piece of white ambergris tincturing now for a couple of months (in a 1.5ml vial) and it smells of almost nothing to me. I'm interested to know if a piece of ambergris that initially has little or no scent develops a stronger aroma when tinctured. I think I read ambrein itself is odorless, so maybe the brown/gold/black piece I tinctured had a high ambrein content?
Oh the mysteries of ambergris!
P.S. I will definitely try the sugar thing. It seems to have an interesting effect on rats